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Wed, April 24

Corn-centric veggie appetizers

While vegetables are at their highest peak, I thought I would do one more veggie column. There should be something to appeal to everyone from appetizers, slaw and even a delicious versatile summer soup. My personal favorite corn has always been Olathe, which is available everywhere right now for its flavor, tender kernels, and 3-4 minute cooking time. This column is certainly "corny."

AVOCADO AND ROASTED CORN DIP

Good with tortilla chips

1 cup fresh corn

(slice off the cob)

2 tbsp. canola oil

2 large avocados, peeled

3 tbsp. lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. onions, minced

1 can (3 1/2 oz.)

jalapeno peppers, drained, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

Combine corn and oil in shallow baking dish. Roast at 400 for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned, stirring occasionally during baking. Cool. While it is cooling, chop one of the avocados and set aside. Sprinkle with a little lime juice.

Mash the other avocado; add lime juice, garlic, onion peppers, salt and cumin. Fold in chopped avocado and roasted corn. Chill. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

ZUCCHINI SPREAD

1 cup each finely shredded zucchini and 1 cup shredded

sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz. cheese)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Place shredded zucchini in cheesecloth or strainer; squeeze or gently push to squeeze out excess moisture. Then, combine zucchini with other ingredients, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Serve with chips, crackers or raw vegetables.

CORN SLAW

A little different twist on the usual cabbage slaw. 8 servings

2 cups cooked fresh corn, cut off the cob

1 cup each chopped

carrot and green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup each sour cream and mayonnaise

2 tsp. vinegar

1 tsp. each sugar and prepared yellow mustard

1/4 tsp. salt

In bowl, toss corn, carrots, green pepper and onion. In small bowl combine remaining ingredients; pour over vegetables and mix well. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

VEGETABLE-WHITE BEAN SUMMER SOUP

4 generous servings

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, minced

(or I used 1/2 green onion)

2 medium carrots, cut in circles

1 potato (I had a Yukon gold on hand)

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 ear corn, kernels removed from cob (opt.)

3-4 sprigs fresh

parsley, minced

1/4 tsp. each fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped (I have fresh

herbs, but use 1/8 dried if fresh not available)

5-6 cups warm reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock (or more if needed)

3 cans (about 16 oz. each) white beans or equivalent amount pre-cooked white beans

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Fresh ground pepper to taste before serving (salt optional as it is so full of flavor it is not needed unless you are a heavy salt user).

In large pot heat olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery and potato stirring and cooking until they sweat. NOTE: (If you have an ear of fresh corn, you could also slice it off the cob and add now).

Stir in herbs. Add squash, stock and beans. Cook about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point, if you have an immersion blender you can puree a bit to thicken to your liking. Stir in butter and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes more. Refrigerate leftovers or may freeze. I skipped the pureeing step and the soup was fine.

NOTE: I had some fresh mushrooms and celery on hand and chopped and also used them, sautéing

with the carrots, onions, etc. at the beginning. This is where the versatile part comes in!

The second day, with the leftovers, I poached

1 large chicken breast and diced it. Either

way it had a lot of rich flavor and I served it with freshly made muffins day one and a salad day two. It is a good basic recipe you can "play" with according to your ingredients. Could add a few fresh or frozen peas for color, chopped red or other peppers.

If adding peppers, sauté at beginning with other vegetables, but add frozen or fresh peas last few minutes. (great possibilities and healthy and satisfying). Good for lunch, too!

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