Grilled Zucchini and Corn Salad

2016 Food Blog June-0899As you can no doubt discern from the dead giveaway of two grilled corn dishes in three weeks, I’m itching for summer. Southern California has dipped into its customary “June gloom,” a period of several weeks that I adore, because the marine layer keeps my morning cool enough for a comfortable dog walk, for a bit of gardening, sometimes even for a (gasp) sweater while I sip a cup of tea. And this would, under normal circumstances, be a satisfying start to summer.

2016 Food Blog June-0877But for the first time in a few years, I’m teaching a summer course. It only lasts six weeks, and so far they are engaged and have made me think new things about some of the stories we’ve read – always a wonderful thing for an English professor. Yet still, upon arriving home this past Thursday afternoon, the end of my initial week with the class, I realized I had to go back on Monday, when all I wanted was grilled food and maybe a beer on the back porch, and certainly not to craft a lecture on Frankenstein.

2016 Food Blog June-0884Since only two of these desires can be realized (Frankenstein must be attended to, whether I want to or not), I decided the grilled food should be as summery as possible. Some weeks ago I attempted a warm vegetable salad like this: corn and zucchini sautéed at high temperature and then doused with a sharp shower of lime, but the vegetables were disappointingly wilted. What they needed for the dish I’d envisioned was the grill.

2016 Food Blog June-08892016 Food Blog June-0890If you haven’t already investigated the trio that is corn, zucchini, and lime, I suggest you do so immediately. Zucchini is such a mild, grassy, vegetal taste, so a hit of acid wakes it up and makes it interesting again. It plays well with corn, which carries its own grassiness along with the starchy sweetness that we so prize. Both benefit tremendously from the savory char of a grill – that taste of fire we seem to cling to particularly as the weather warms outside. Michael Pollan has speculated that there’s something about the process of cooking – of submitting food to heat and to flame – that truly awakens our humanness. Grilling – that barely tamed version of fire as a cooking medium – is perfect for summer dishes, then, because it echoes the looser, easier, perhaps even more primal feel of the season. Besides, aside from, I don’t know, cheesecake or ice cream, I can think of few foods that don’t become better when cooked on an oiled grate over a bright flame.

2016 Food Blog June-0887But in case you aren’t in love already with the summery ease and boost of flavor the grill imparts, dousing the still-warm veg in a dressing of lime, honey, and cilantro makes a sprightly side dish that needs only the crunch of toasted pumpkin seeds and the squeaky saltiness of crumbled cotija to complete it.

2016 Food Blog June-0892Because he’s nursing the same summer bug I am, N. wanted steak, so in addition to the vegetables he grilled a piece of sirloin flap.* As I played with presentation ideas, I realized the now-flexible planks of zucchini with their glorious char marks could be artfully arranged on a long platter, and the steak could be sliced thinly across the grain and draped over top, and I could have something that looked, well, like it came from somewhere a bit fancier than my backyard.

2016 Food Blog June-0903By the same token, though, the salad could simply be piled high on a plate, dusted with cheese and pumpkin seeds, and served alongside anything grilled, or perhaps spiced potatoes, or even wedged inside a tortilla as a quite respectable base for a vegetable taco.

2016 Food Blog June-0910* You should make this, too. I didn’t document it with any kind of precision, but I marinated the steak overnight in some dark beer, crushed garlic and coriander, and a bit of red pepper flake, then N grilled it for something like 3 minutes per side over the cooler side of the grill (ours has some hot spots), and rested it wrapped in aluminum foil for about five minutes to produce an incredibly tender, flavorful main course.

 

 

Grilled Zucchini and Corn Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
Serves 2-4 as a side dish
3 ears corn on the cob, husk and silk removed
4 medium zucchini, stem and flower ends removed
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup lime juice from 1-2 limes
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese

 

  • Preheat a gas grill or a grill pan to high heat. While it warms, rub the corn with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Grill the ears of corn over direct high heat for about 8 minutes, turning every minute or two, until the kernels are cooked and all sides are lightly charred. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  • While the corn cooks, prepare the zucchini: slice from stem to flower end into ¼ inch planks. In a large bowl, toss with remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Lay out on grates or pan, being careful to keep them in a single layer, reserving any leftover oil in the bowl. Grill until cooked through and nicely marked, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  • While vegetables are grilling, toast pumpkin seeds and mix dressing. Scatter pumpkin seeds in a small baking tray and cook in a 300F oven for 10-15 minutes. Seeds will take about 10 minutes if the oven is preheated, and more like 15 minutes if you forgot that whole preheating part. When they are browned and starting to crackle, take them out and set them aside.
  • To make the dressing, combine the lime juice, honey, and chopped cilantro in the bowl with the reserved olive oil from tossing the zucchini. Whisk well to combine.
  • When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut off the kernels by standing up the cob on your cutting board (you can use the stem to hold onto, if you’ve left it attached) and carefully cutting straight down the ear with a sharp knife, sawing the blade back and forth a bit to help loosen the kernels. When you get to the bottom of the ear, rotate the cob a half turn or so and cut again, repeating until you have removed all kernels. Some will be individual and some will come off in big chunks; that’s okay. The variety is nice.
  • Add the corn kernels and the grilled zucchini planks to the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine. To serve, either keep the vegetables in the bowl and offer the pumpkin seeds and cotija cheese for individual diners to add to their own portions, or arrange the vegetables on a square or long rectangular platter and sprinkle the seeds and cheese over the top.

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Grilled Corn and Radish Herb Salad

2016 Food Blog May-0711When Corin Tucker, one of the vocalists of the musical group Sleater Kinney, released her first solo album after the band’s separation in 2006, she described in song how losing the band in some respects meant losing her vision of music and composition as well – she “stood frozen for so long,” and the silence felt like 1,000 years. To me, the song resonates with all kinds of creativity blocks. Every once in a while, when I think about writing here, I feel frozen – not just cold feet, but cold hands and stiff fingers and icicles in my brain – a sensation of writer’s block that extends to my enthusiasm for cooking itself. Broken off from my usual schedule, and with all but one stack of final papers graded and recorded and filed* in hopes students will return in the fall to pick up their work, you would think I would be panting for the kitchen and the refreshing feeling of absolutely zero comma splices or missing thesis statements to worry about.

2016 Food Blog May-06782016 Food Blog May-0679Instead I feel immobilized by a combination of exhaustion, puritan work ethic, and plain old laziness: if I’m not doing schoolwork, I should feel guilty, but I’m too tired to grade anything else. The kitchen, then, becomes a strange zone of misdirected productivity, and the couch and TV are just so friendly…

2016 Food Blog May-06892016 Food Blog May-0696But I should enjoy the sliver of summer I’m allotted (I’m teaching a session of summer school this year), so if I have to force myself, the gateway drug is corn on the cob. Corn speaks summer in ways few other vegetables do. Tomatoes, of course, but they typically show up a little later in the season, at least the massive spurting heirlooms I’m most interested in. Zucchini is a late summer crop – an overload that reminds you the last few weeks are approaching. Corn is sweet and juicy and plays so well with others. Raw, it has a kind of grassy starchiness, and of course the classic boiled or steamed cob works so well with butter and plenty of salt. For the past few years, though, my favorite way to eat corn is from the grill. Rubbed with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted all huskless, it blisters and crusts, and the sweetness we’ve bred into those kernels deepens into a toasty richness that reminds me vaguely of popcorn.

2016 Food Blog May-07012016 Food Blog May-0702For this dish, I was after a kind of warm salad, and thought the cold, peppery bite of radishes would work amazingly well with corn, especially doused with assertive lime vinaigrette. Both Food and Wine and Martha Stewart make a jalapeno dressing for this combination. I didn’t want spicy, but I did want to amp flavor, which I did with a bumper crop of added herbs: parsley, dill, chives, even some basil, to play with the flavors of the vegetables and contribute a different kind of sharpness to the dressing. For color and for fun, I added a handful of cherry tomatoes. You could also toss in some baby arugula or chunks of avocado.

2016 Food Blog May-0704We ate this with fish tacos, but it would be equally good with grilled meat of any variety, really, as well as a nice, lighter side salad option at a picnic or barbecue. A crisp white wine, especially with a touch of effervescence, would pair well.

Bring on the summer, then. I’m ready to thaw.

2016 Food Blog May-0721* well, in a carefully shoved stack on the back corner of my desk

2016 Food Blog May-0720

Grilled Corn and Radish Herb Salad
Serves 4-6
4 ears corn on the cob
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
juice of 1-2 limes
1-2 teaspoons honey
½ cup mixed chopped soft-stemmed herbs, such as parsley, dill, basil, chives, or cilantro
6-8 large red radishes, tops and tails removed, thinly sliced
4 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
(1-2 ounces baby arugula, optional)
(1 avocado, cut in cubes, optional)

 

  • Preheat a gas grill or grill pan over medium high heat. While you wait, shuck the corn, removing the husk and as much silk as possible, but leave on the stem, as this will make for easier kernel removal. Rub the ears with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place on the preheated grill and cook for about 8 minutes total, turning every two minutes or so, until the corn is fully cooked and has a healthy golden brown char.
  • Set the corn aside until it is cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the lime juice with the honey and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add in the mixed chopped herbs and whisk well to incorporate.
  • When the corn has cooled enough that it won’t toast your fingers, cut off the kernels by standing up the cob on your cutting board (you can use the stem to hold onto, if you’ve left it attached) and carefully cutting straight down the ear with a sharp knife, sawing the blade back and forth a bit to help loosen the kernels. When you get to the bottom of the ear, rotate the cob a half turn or so and cut again, repeating until you have removed all kernels. Some will be individual and some will come off in big chunks; that’s okay. The variety is nice.
  • Add the corn, the sliced radishes, and the halved cherry tomatoes to the bowl with the dressing and herbs, and toss well to combine and distribute. The herbs will sometimes clump together; be sure to mix well so they – and the dressing – coat the other vegetables evenly. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  • If you are using arugula and/or avocado, add these as well and toss gently to avoid breaking up these delicate ingredients too much.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with a grilled main.

Smoky Summer Spice Rub

Let’s talk about your spice cabinet.  No?  Okay, then let’s talk about mine.  I really started cooking when I moved to Oregon, and that first Christmas, coming back home to Northern California after three months of what seemed like non-stop rain, the gift I wanted more than anything else was a spice rack.  This, I was sure, would be the essential catalyst in my longed-for transition from college-graduate-experimental-cook to full-scale domestic goddess.  Mom and I went to kitchen store after kitchen store, looking for the right one.  It needed to hang, so it couldn’t be too big.  It had to have a fair number of bottles, but I wanted them empty, not filled, because I wanted to choose my own spices.  We finally found it in Cost Plus World Market, which was convenient, because it was immediately adjacent to their spice selection.  We picked out ten or twelve of the usual suspects, and then Mom said “okay, now turn around while I put it in the cart, and forget what you saw here,” which has, since the days of Santa Claus, always been our funny way of buying presents for each other in full view of the giftee.

Food Blog June 2013-1526This little spice rack worked fine, and hung proudly from a nail above my stove, until my spice requirements exceeded the twelve little bottles the shelves would hold.  Suddenly whole AND ground cumin were necessary.  Tumeric and cayenne and cream of tartar and even the dreaded pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice found their way into my kitchen and demanded homes.

So I’ve ended up with something I am going to guess looks familiar to many of you:

Food Blog June 2013-1529This is not a good system.  There, I said it.  It’s just not!  It holds the whole collection nicely, but it’s dark back there, and things fall over, and sometimes I don’t feel like digging around to see if I have any poultry seasoning, and then it’s Thanksgiving and I’m in a dark, cranky place and I think “screw this noise!” and buy a new bottle.  So then I have four.   What I really need, what I covet and dream about, is something like Aarti’s magnetic spice wall.

In the absence of space or motivation to build something that fancy, though, I stick with my system.  Every once in a while, I summon the courage and the patience to investigate the dark reaches of the cabinet, to get a sense of what’s in there, what needs replacing, and what deserves a space in my weekly menu.  The early days of summer are a good time to do this, because they offer a prime opportunity to make a smoky, spicy, aromatic rub for grilling.

Food Blog June 2013-1532Food Blog June 2013-1534I started with a recipe from Fine Cooking originally designed for beer can chicken, and then I tweaked and adjusted and adapted for what was, as you might have guessed, in my spice collection.  It’s got cumin, it’s got crushed red pepper, it’s loaded with garlic powder and mustard seeds and sea salt and just a hint of ginger for an intriguing and different kind of heat.

Food Blog June 2013-1535This is a tasty rub for grilled meat, obviously (we like it for chicken, patted on before a liberal slather of equal parts Dijon mustard and apricot jam), but I think it would also be great on slabs of pressed tofu, or buttered corn, or potato wedges (you make your steak fries on the grill in the summer, right?).  And if you were really feeling adventurous, you might even add some to a light, lemony vinaigrette to carry the flavors through your side salad.

Food Blog June 2013-1540This recipe makes enough for several applications, which means you’ll have enough to last part of the summer.  It keeps well in a sealed zip top bag.  And in between grilling, you can just store it… in… your spice cabinet.  Oh.  Well, just jam it in at the front, for easy access.  Maybe it will help you forget the mess nightmare treasure trove behind it.  Plus, it’s got so many tasty flavors in it, you surely won’t need anything else for the rest of the summer, right?  Right.

Food Blog June 2013-1542Happy grilling!

 

Smoky Spice Rub
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine
Makes about ¼ cup
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 TB coarse sea salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground ginger

 

  • If you are feeling especially ambitious, toast your cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds in a small, dry pan over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, or until the cumin starts to pop a bit and look just a touch oily.  Once that has happened, turn the heat off and let cool before moving on.
  • If you are feeling lazy less ambitious, skip the toasting step and put the cumin, coriander, and mustard into a spice grinder (or your husband’s coffee grinder.  If there’s a little residual ground coffee in there, all the better!  Extra shot of flavor you didn’t have to work for!) and pulse until the seeds become a fine powder.
  • Mix together ground seeds and all remaining ingredients in a small bowl or, if you are lazy especially efficient, the zip-top bag you’ll be using to store your mix in.
  • Ta-da!  Apply liberally, patting and massaging for good coverage and adhesion, to whatever you’ll be grilling for a smoky, slightly spicy kick.

Milestones. And Cake. And Salad.

This September has been a big one for me.  New home (okay, so we technically moved in July), new job (okay, so school started in August), and new decade!  I’ve finally hit my 30s, and I like what I see so far (though admittedly I’ve only been stationed in this new world for two weeks).

Given my fanciful proclivities for putting food in my mouth, then, N. knows that my birthday must involve a restaurant in some form.  Since we are only just beginning to explore our new culinary surroundings, this was a perfect opportunity to embark on our adventures.  I started with Culver City which, delightfully, has a whole webpage devoted to its downtown restaurants, including (in most cases) links to each restaurant’s website.  This was almost too much.  I spent the better part of an evening cruising through online menus, imagining what kind of mood I might be in on the big day and what I might want to order and what, if the restaurant I ultimately chose should happen to be out of my top choice, I would order instead.

Based on menus and Yelp reviews, I decided on Fords Filling Station (FFS), whose upscale comfort food and wide range of offerings sounded promising.  I tend to like mid-range restaurants: not too fancy, where a prix fixe menu or outstandingly high prices make me feel like a grubby graduate student out of place (I know, I’m not anymore.  But it’s a hard habit to break in this new world of adulthood and employment), but not too casual either, where the food is sub-par or inconsistent and the wait staff makes no pretense of caring about our presence.  A gastropub – a self-proclaimed innovative collection of food, decor, and atmosphere – seemed like the right fit.

FFS is a fun spot.  It’s centrally located downtown, and the dining room is a big open space with a bar to one side, traditional tables, and long narrow two-tops where the couple sits on a bench next to one another looking out at the other diners, rather than across from each other.  N. and I were seated at one of these bench seats, and it was fun to sit side by side for a change in a restaurant setting.  Brick walls, big barrels, and warm colors make it inviting and, I thought, pretty unpretentious.

Our server, who was the perfect balance of informative and attentive, sold me on one of the night’s cocktail specials: citrus vodka, house made lemonade, and a little float of chambord.  It was nice – punchy and bright and sweet-tart, but oddly similar to a Rennie’s Lemonade from our erstwhile happy hour hangout in Eugene, and therefore it felt drastically overpriced at $12. 

We opted to share entrees so we could order a few things, and got a Cuban flatbread with smoked pork pieces, cilantro, mozzarella, and some kicky little red chilis; grilled asparagus blanketed in shaved parmesan,; and a flattened half chicken with amazing garlic mashed potatoes and succotash.

N. was most attracted to the chicken (as is often the case when we dine out), and here he was clearly right to be.  Flattened, the bones were gone, the meat was compressed, flavorful, and intensely juicy, and the skin was crunchy and buttery and tender and perfectly unctuous.  Because he is fonder of white meat, it was also a perfect dish for us to share, because N. left me the thigh, with its dark, meatiness pleasantly encased in a crisp layer of fatty crunch.  Beside the chicken, the mashed potatoes swam in a sauce of garlic confit, which was rich and intense: the best gravy I’ve had in a long time.

The flatbread, which would have been just delightful on its own, paled a bit in comparison to this chicken.  The crust was cracker-like in texture, and the pork pieces paired nicely with the pepper and cilantro, but together the dish was a little bit dry.  It needed – perhaps – some herb oil drizzled over the top, or maybe 45 seconds less in the oven.  Tasty, but not the star of the show by any means.

The asparagus was excellent: nicely flavorful and light, well cooked and, aside from the piece I dropped on myself (grace embodied, truly), a nice vegetal accompaniment to our meal.

Since I didn’t get any dessert that night (I was full but not overstuffed, and didn’t want to tempt myself by even glancing at a dessert menu), I was still longing for birthday cake a few days later.  Fortunately for me A., who blogs from the other side of the world at Over and Under, had told me about Porto’s – a Cuban bakery in Burbank that turns out to be right on my route to and from work.  I had to drive up to the school for a Friday meeting, and as I headed toward the freeway to come home, I decided to stop in and treat myself.

Inspired by the flatbread we’d shared at FFS, and because I thought it would be a good benchmark for a Cuban bakery, I got the Cubano.  Then, because it was still my birthweek (I’m big on extending the celebration as long as seems rationally possible), I picked out two tiny cakes to share with N.: flourless chocolate, and tres leches.

The sandwich was good.  Ham and pork packed tightly onto a fresh bakery roll with cheese, sharp mustard, and a pickle.  A simple sandwich, but a delicious one.

My dessert selections, though, were fantastic.  The tres leches was rich and light at once, not overly sweet but dripping with cream, like a well soaked angelfood cake topped with toasted marshmallow cream.  The flourless chocolate selection was less cake than a giant chocolate truffle: impossibly rich solidified ganache inside a thin shell of cake-like crumb.  N. was only able to eat two or three bites before declaring it too rich for his tummy.  I had no such trouble, but did talk myself into enjoying only half at that sitting, and saving the other half for another night when chocolate felt mandatory.

Indulgent?  Certainly.  But (at least in the case of the desserts) at $2-3 each, a reasonable indulgence.  Still, when one is a responsible adult (as I suppose some might now imagine me), one must temper such indulgences.  In this case, that means salad.

80. Trim and coarsely chop chard (rainbow makes for a gorgeous salad) and combine with white beans and chopped scallions. Dressing is minced ginger, a suspicion of garlic, olive oil and cider vinegar. 

I collected:

½ huge bunch red chard, thick stems removed

1 15 oz. can white kidney beans

5 green onions, finely sliced

1/2 inch knob of ginger

2 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp coarse salt

1/4 cup each cider vinegar and olive oil

1 TB honey

I tossed together the chard, beans, and green onions and set them aside in a big salad bowl.  To make sure the ginger and garlic were fine enough, I minced them by hand, then sprinkled them with coarse salt and dragged the flat of my knife across them until they turned into a thick, aromatic paste.  I scraped the paste into a glass measuring cup and whisked it up with cider vinegar and olive oil.  A taste of this was a cheek puckering revelation, so I added a healthy squeeze of honey to make it less astringent.

Aside from spinach, raw bitter greens are not always N.’s cup of tea.  Because I feared this might be the case with this combination, I decided to treat this more like a slaw than a salad.  I combined the main ingredients early and doused them in dressing a good fifteen minutes before dinnertime.  This would, I hoped, give the acidic dressing time to wilt the chard a bit, much like the vinegar in coleslaw dressing does for the cabbage.

It worked well.  By the time we ate (grilled chicken breasts sauced with equal parts whole grain mustard and apricot jam), the chard had lost just a bit of its aggressive bite but its freshness was not compromised.  The beans, sometimes bland customers, had soaked up a bit of flavor from the tangy bright dressing, and so while they were a steady, creamy counterpoint to the earthy-fresh chard, they weren’t at all boring.  We were both surprised by how well we liked this simple little salad.

Success, then, and balance: excitement and indulgence followed and tempered by stability.  If this is what the 30s are like, I’m ready.  Bring it on.  I’ll just be 30 forever.

Polling…

Eight or nine months ago, two good friends of ours (mine, N.’s, our department’s) got married.  Because they were in Canada at the time on a Fulbright scholarship, no one here in Oregon who adores them were able to share their celebration in person.

But they are back now, and I have conspired to throw them a belated reception in my backyard in a few weeks.  We will be grilling, but I know there will be plenty of chopping, roasting, sauteing, and baking as well.  I have plans, but I’d love to hear some input:  if you were going to an upscale backyard BBQ, bringing your own grillables and perhaps a bottle of wine, what would you be bringing?  What kinds of side dishes would you hope to eat?  What items should not be missed when we assemble our menu?

First fire

Don’t look back.  Don’t stop and talk to your loved ones.  Do not pass GO or collect $200.  Just grab your beer bottle, your children, your spouse, whoever, and run to your grill.  You must make and eat this, now: Honey-lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Fresh Corn and Avocado-Orange Salad.

At my request, N. just lugged our baby gas grill out for its first showing of the season.  It just needed to be dusted off, scraped down, and switched on.  And then we cover it with unreasonably delectable things like these fajitas from the June 2008 issue of Cuisine at Home (the recipe for the chicken can be found here).  With my numerous food magazine subscriptions expired, and me on a graduate student budget, I’ve started going back through old issues by month and, rather than cooking whatever I want willy-nilly, only permitting myself to use recipes from the month we’re in.  Thus this month I have four issues of various titles from June to choose from.  I didn’t need to look further than June 2008, though.

N. did an excellent job grilling the chicken breasts, which got crunchy caramelized exteriors from the honey in the marinade.  While he was busy, I was able to compose our two sides.

Love it or hate it, the cilantro in this grilled corn mixture added bright, grassy freshness and went with the sweetness of the corn extremely well.  Surprisingly, the queso fresco I crumbled over the top went along well too, probably because the salad was all freshness and crisp juiciness, and benefited from some creamy curds of cheese.

Because we had a sudden profusion (read: six) of tart garnet strawberries weighing down their respective stems in the backyard, I made a fruity addition to the Avocado-Orange salad Cuisine at Home offered.  Eliminating the garlic from the recipe and using the orange’s dripping liqueur instead of lime juice (one of my limes was most reluctant to give up anything), I mixed the roughly chopped strawberries in with an avocado, an orange, a few pinches of cilantro, and some salt and pepper.  Then I tried not to eat everything in the bowls while I waited for N. to bring the chicken in.

Fingers burning, we sliced it, then loaded up warm flour tortillas with thick moist slices of chicken, crumbles of queso fresco, sweet juicy pops of corn, and some green salsa (not homemade, but what can you do?).  I substituted a spoonful of Avocado-Orange salad for the salsa on my second fajita, and was equally overwhelmed.  So fresh.  So fragrant.  Such a pleasing, intriguing combination of flavors.

So quickly gone.