Introducing the Improv-ers: Cucina 49

You know, we all have different talents.  Some people are incredible musicians or artists, others are cooks, while still others just know how to make you feel welcome.  My favorite bloggers tell a great story, feeding my soul while my eyes drool over their food.  Krista from Cucina 49 has just such a voice.  Her preambles are just as much fun to read as her recipes.  She recently took us on her trip to Europe.  Earlier in the year, she invited us to the theater and to participate in a Passover seder…all in the exciting state of Alaska.  If you haven’t discovered her blog, you need to add her to your reading list.

I’m really excited to be guest blogging for Kristen—my first ever guest post since starting my blog, Cucina 49, in July 2011. When I started Cucina 49, my goal was to learn authentic Italian cooking from two cookbooks I purchased after my first trip to Italy. Nearly a year later, my goal has expanded to authentic Italian regional cooking incorporating seasonal ingredients—a challenge while living in Alaska, since our seasons don’t match everyone else, and even common ingredients aren’t readily available.

Farmstand Summer Salad with jalapeno butter

 In keeping with Kristen’s focus on healthy, gluten-free and hassle-free food, I give you this salad, which focuses on the best seasonal produce and is a great accompaniment to a simple roasted chicken or just some rice or couscous for a meat-free meal. Feel free to vary the ingredients depending on what is available at your local market.

Farmstand Summer Salad with jalapeno butter

 The leftover jalapeno butter is terrific on French bread.

Farmstand Summer Salad with jalapeno butter

Farmstand Summer Salad with Jalapeno Butter
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife and sprinkled with salt
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (4 ears fresh corn)
  • 1 lb. summer squash (combination of zucchini and yellow squash)
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut in half-inch long pieces
  • ½ cup water or vegetable broth
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot with a lid, over medium heat, then add the shallot and cook for about five minutes, until it is soft and slightly browned.
  2. Add the garlic, red pepper, corn, squash and green beans and stir to combine.
  3. After a minute, add salt and pepper to taste and add the broth.
  4. Increase the heat to high and cover the pot.
  5. Cook for about five minutes, stirring once.
  6. Remove from heat once the vegetables are cooked to your liking.
  7. While the vegetables are cooking, make the jalapeno butter.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the butter with the minced jalapeno, lime zest and lime juice.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste—it will have a very mild zing.
  10. Add a tablespoon of the butter to the vegetables and stir to combine. Serve as a side dish to grilled meat, or serve with quinoa or rice for a vegetarian main dish.

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