Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheddar Soup

In our family we have a weakness for broccoli soups, especially broccoli cheddar.  When I came across this variation in The Gourmet Cookbook I knew we had to try it.  Of course, as with all recipes, we adapted the original instructions—cut down on the cheese, used half-and-half instead of cream and added leek, fresh corn and some shredded carrot. The corn adds a nice crunch as well as sweetness—use frozen, if fresh is unavailable. This is a great chowder for a cool, cloudy day when a mug of hot soup is just the tonic needed to warm you up from the inside out.

Continue reading

Watermelon Gazpacho

When we stopped at the Model Bakery in St Helena this summer we tasted the most wonderfully refreshing watermelon gazpacho.  This was one of those moments when you try a dish a bit skeptically and end up completely enthralled by the fabulous flavors.  This recipe is my attempt at recreating a most memorable dish.

Continue reading

Mexican Fried Rice with Tomato, Zucchini and Corn

If you have leftover rice (white or brown) this is a tasty way to finish it off.  Any zucchini (or other summer squash) languishing in the fridge, left from last week or overflow from a backyard garden will be the perfect addition.  The basic ingredients listed are a starting point, but you could easily add (or substitute) other vegetables you have on hand such as leafy greens, green beans, potatoes and other types of peppers.

Continue reading

Classic Boiled Corn (Indiana Style)

When I was a girl growing up in the mid-west, we ate our summer sweet corn boiled—with lots of butter.  It never occurred to us to try grilling or sautéing for variety.  We were happy with our method.  Plus that’s just how vegetables were cooked back then—where we lived.   Each summer, when my family gathers at our lake cottage in Indiana we revert back to time-honored traditions, one of which is boiling corn the way we always have.  I doubt this will change anytime soon.  Grilling corn is something we do in California.

A friend told me years ago to boil the corn for as long as it takes to say the Lord’s Prayer.  This is not something we’ve ever tried, but I suspect our method probably achieves pretty much the same result (with a decidedly more secular approach).  It certainly couldn’t hurt to say a prayer in the kitchen now and then—though frankly, I don’t think any is needed for summer sweet corn’s sake.   A little butter, and freshly ground pepper is all it really needs.


  • Freshly picked sweet corn, husked and silk removed
  • One stick unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Fill a large pot with water to within 3 inches of the rim.  Bring water to boil.
  2. Place stick of butter on a plate.
  3. When water comes to a rolling boil, carefully place ears into the pot.
  4. Boil for 30 seconds to one minute then turn off the heat.
  5. With tongs, remove corn from the pot and serve.
  6. To eat, hold an ear at both ends and roll on the stick of butter so corn is coated with butter on all sides.  Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.