Simple Summer Lunch

It’s raining, the garden’s growing, and giant green zucchini keep appearing on my kitchen counter (Dad must be out early scouting the ready ones). Yesterday I turned one into the star of a light summer lunch; I think zucchini are great sautéed, and since they don’t have a strong flavor on their own, you can season them just about any way you love. Mexican and Tex-Mex flavors have always been a favorite and a go-to for me in the kitchen, so I dressed my Zucchini-Corn Salad Sauté with one of my favorite dressings I’ve recently come up with, a Spicy Southwest Cilantro-Lime Dressing . Had some bagels in the fridge, so I whipped up some spicy Chipotle-Almond Cream Cheese as a topper. Plated, the two made a nice little lunch! The zucchini salad would make a nice summery side for grilled meats as well.

Recipes for you to tweak and try:

Zucchini-Corn Salad Sauté

1 large zucchini, chopped
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
½ a medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
bit of salt
bit of freshly ground black pepper

Sauté the vegetables in about 1 tbsp of vegetable oil on medium-high heat until everything is tender (10-15 minutes). With a slotted spoon, spoon the vegetables into a bowl, leaving the excess liquid in the pan (a lot of liquid cooks out of zucchini). Pour Spicy Southwest Cilantro-Lime Dressing (below) over the vegetables and serve warm.

Spicy Southwest Cilantro-Lime Dressing

¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
1/8 tsp salt
chopped fresh cilantro (about 1 tbsp)

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, or blend in a food processor. Taste and adjust the cumin and chili powder as you like…I always sprinkle a bit more in. Bold flavors! (I’ve also used this dressing for green salads and pasta salads.)

Chipotle-Almond Cream Cheese

4 oz cream cheese
¼ cup chopped almonds (I used roasted salted almonds)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (from a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce) + 1 teaspoon of the Adobo sauce from the can
1/8 tsp lime juice

Grind all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Slather on toasted bagels, or use as a sandwich spread!