A few summer things happening lately: the farmers market has started to sell more than plants and cups of coffee. This week I picked up ears of corn, a bag of arugula, a bunch of carrots, pecans, and the teensiest new potatoes I’ve ever seen.
I spotted my first miniature watermelon on display at the grocery store.
Sno-cone stands have popped up like mushrooms all around town.
Sunsets are getting lustier.
Mosquitoes are emerging.
Our air conditioning unit is getting a daily workout.
I’m craving iced coffee and ice cream.
A few “new” pairs of thrifted shorts were totally justified.
I’m antsy to get out of the house every morning for a daily dose of sunshine.
Freshly polished toes are the best dress code.
Heaping salads are plenty for dinner.
If I could celebrate the first day of summer in any way I could, I would cancel work and delete deadlines, pack a picnic and find the nearest creek. Mandatory naps would be taken under shade trees, beers would be drunk with cold pork tacos, guacamole and a big salad. We’d cut into a watermelon and eat it with the juices dripping down our arms. There would be books and hats and maybe a campfire in the evening, and then there would be stars.
Instead, it’s just another Friday, and later we’ll be heading into the big city to see family and lounge in a nice hotel. Not quite my first day of summer fantasy, but I’ll take it.
I made this salad for a dinner with friends, served alongside roasted pork, bacon-mushroom-onion gravy and mashed cauliflower. If you can recreate that entire meal, I would certainly recommend you do so.
Smoky Roasted Corn + Kale Salad with Basil-Avocado Dressing
3 ears fresh sweet corn, husked and cut from the cobb
1 Tbsp. ghee
1-2 Tbsp. smoky spiced salt blend
2 bunches curly kale, washed and torn
extra-virgin olive oil
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 large ripe avocado
For the spiced salt blend: In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp. chipotle powder, 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika, 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon and ground black pepper, and 1 Tbsp. sea salt. Whisk to combine.
For the dressing: In a food processor, combine the flesh of an avocado, the juice of a lemon, a small handful of fresh basil and a generous pinch of salt. Process until smooth, adding a bit of water to thin.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large baking dish, melt ghee and toss in corn. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until charred and slightly crisp. Stir in 1-2 Tbsp. of smoky spice mix and set aside.
In a large bowl, massage a hefty drizzle of EVOO into the kale, working the oil into the leaves until the kale begins to soften and decrease in volume. Pour dressing over and top with warm smoky roasted corn.