Best Recipes: Avocado and Roasted Corn Salad with Cumin Dressing

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avocado on black

From The Culinary Center of Kansas City’s


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Avocado and Roasted Corn Salad with Cumin Dressing

When summer is in full swing and corn is at its height of sweetness and flavor, this salad shines! Make sure the avocados are ripe and buttery. Served with fresh bread, summertime eating doesn’t get any better!


¼ cup olive oil

1-1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin

1 teaspoon honey

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste


2 cups golden corn, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)

2 medium avocados (ripe, but firm), peeled, seeded and diced

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

Fresh hot chili pepper (such as jalapeño or seranno), finely diced

6 cups mixed baby lettuces

Cilantro leaves, for garnish


For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake well to blend. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a small baking sheet, roast corn until fragrant and slightly charred, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. In a medium bowl, combine corn with avocados, bell pepper and hot pepper. Add dressing and toss very gently, just to cover. Serve on a bed of baby lettuces; garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

Makes 4 servings

Food For the Soul – A Warming Winter Soup

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There’s nothing like a piping hot bowl of soup on a snowy winter day.  A pot of this Minestrone will perfume your home and entice the brave sledders and snowman makers in from the bitter cold.

Italian Minestrone Soup


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 oz. pancetta or 2 slices of bacon, chopped (optional)

Heat over medium heat in a large soup pot until the pancetta or bacon has released its fat, 2 to 3 minutes.


1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

2 medium celery stalks with leaves, minced

1 4-inch sprig fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried

¼ cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped

¼ cup tightly packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ small head green cabbage

3 swiss chard leaves washed, dried and chopped

1 14-oz can whole tomatoes, drained and broken into pieces

1 16-oz can borlotti or pinto beans, rinsed and drained, half of them mashed

10 cups chicken stock, or water

Add all ingredients above except last three and cook, stirring, until the greens are beginning to wilt, 5 to 10 minutes.  Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.


Stir in tomatoes.  Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.



Stir in beans and stock.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.  Remove the rosemary sprig, if used.  Stir in 4 oz penne pasta.  Continue to simmer for 15 minutes.  Ladle into warmed bowls and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and garlic over each serving.  Sprinkle with ground black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste over servings.

Strawberries in Red Wine and Black Peppercorn Sauce

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A jar of these strawberries makes a unique and  fantastic Christmas or hostess gift!

Strawberries in Red Wine and Black Peppercorn Sauce

2 quarts fresh strawberries

1 bottle dry red wine

2 cups sugar

1 T fresh lemon juice

Zest from 2 lemons

Zest from 2 oranges

2 cinnamon sticks, approximately 3” long

10 whole black peppercorns

Pinch of kosher salt

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for garnish

Clean strawberries and cut into desired size.  In a heavy saucepan combine wine, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns and salt.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by at least one-half, about 15 minutes.  Strain and serve warm or at room temperature over the strawberries and garnish with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  Makes 8 servings.

Apple Crumble

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Base Ingredients:

4 cups chopped apples (or apples and pears!)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

Crumble Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c flour
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 c crushed graham crackers, lady fingers, vanilla wafers or other cookies

Place  base ingredients into a pot on the stove on medium heat with a lid on, so that the apples steam. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes- or until the fruit softens but is not mushy.  In a bowl combine the crumble ingredients using a spoon or your hands to press the mixture together so it resembles big clumps. Put crumbles into a sauté pan over medium heat and toast for  5 – 10 minutes, until the oats get slightly golden, stirring occasionally.  When the crumble is ready spoon the base mixture into a bowl, top with the crumble and ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!

Rather make this in the oven? Butter or spray with a cooking spray an 8×8 inch oven proof dish. Pour base ingredients into dish; sprinkle crumble ingredients on top; preheat oven to 375°F; place dish on baking sheet(to catch any yummies that bubble over), bake for about 35 minutes ,or until golden brown. Cool slightly. Spoon warm crumble into bowls. Serve with ice cream.

Broccoli Woccoli

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1 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 c. dried cranberries or raisins
¼ c. chopped walnuts or cashews
2 bunches broccoli florets
1 c. mayonnaise
3/4 c. white sugar
2-3 T. white vinegar


Wash and cut broccoli.  Combine broccoli, onion, dried fruit and nuts.  Refrigerate until one hour before using.  Mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar.  Pour dressing onto broccoli combination no sooner than one hour before.  Refrigerate until ready to use to keep cold.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Visit our new website at!serves 6-8


2 large butternut squash or other yellow fleshed sweet squash (even sweet potatoes)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, sliced
6 cups chicken stock
salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg or sugar (if needed)
honey or molasses for garnish
sliced natural almonds (toasted)
minced chives


Preheat the oven to 400 °. Prick each squash with the point of a knife (so it won’t explode when it bakes!) Bake about an hour or until the squash feels somewhat soft to the touch and a knife penetrates the skin easily . Let stand until cool enough to handle.Cut them in half through the stem ends. Remove the seeds and scoop the pulp into a bowl.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until they are translucent. Add the chicken stock and squash pulp. Heat to boiling; reduce the heat to simmer for a few minutes. Let this mixture cool a bit; then pour into food processor or food mill. Puree  until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the squash is starchy rather than sweet add some grated nutmeg. If this doesn’t give you the proper balance, add a pinch of sugar.

To serve, reheat the soup, Garnish with a swirl of  honey, a sprinkle of toasted almonds and minced chives.

Caramel Apple Dip

Visit our new website at!· 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

· 1/2 cup mild honey or light corn syrup

· 3/4 cup brown sugar

· 1 can condensed milk

· Apples (and Pears! ) for dipping

Mix together the syrup, honey, butter and sugar in the sauce pan. Turn on medium-high heat while stirring regularly.  Bring the mixture to a boil for two minutes while stirring constantly.

Add the condensed milk and mix well, keeping the stirring and heat constant. Store the caramel dip in airtight jars in the refrigerator. To warm the dip back up, do so in the microwave on a low setting.


Visit our new website at!Summer Succotash Salad

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1/2 small red onion, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 lb green beans, end trimmed and cut in half crosswise
2 ears white or yellow corn, shucked, kernels removed
1/2 lb frozen BABY lima beans
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp.+ chopped fresh basil

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey and red onion.  Add sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. In a medium sauce pan bring 2 ½ quarts of water to boil.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt and green beans and boil for 1 minute. Add lima beans and corn and cook for 5 more minutes or until tender.  Drain in colander, rinse with cold water and drain well.  Transfer to serving bowl and pour dressing over vegetables.  Toss and coat evenly, add basil and toss gently, adding more salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

This is best made one day ahead of serving.  If made ahead, take out of refrigerator and let set out for a few minutes.  Add basil just before serving.

Cantaloupe Salsa

Visit our new website at!Ingredients

8 medium tomatoes chopped
3 cups chopped cantaloupe (about 1 cantaloupe)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
3 fresh Serrano or Jalapeño chilies, seeded, minced
2 or 3 fresh limes juiced and zested (about 4 tablespoons of juice)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt


In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir to combine and serve immediately.  This salsa is great for chips, over grilled chicken or fish, mixed with rice, or even served with shrimp and black beans!

White Sangria Recipe

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1/2 pound seedless green grapes, stems removed
1 – 2 Red Delicious apples, cored and thinly sliced
3 cups white wine (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, white rioja, alborino, etc.)
1 cup apple juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups ice cubes

In a pitcher combine grapes, apples, and white wine. Let sit for 1 to 2 hours. Pour in the apple and pineapple juices. Add the ice cubes and serve with any combination of additional fruit garnish.  Enjoy!