The Commons
Food and Drink

The chef’s recipes

Originally published in The Commons issue #168 (Wednesday, September 5, 2012).


Cantaloupe, Corn, and Tomato Salad

This sweet-savory salad is open to variation depending on what fresh produce appeals to you at the farmers’ market — such as tiny, deep purple Thai pepper, a spontaneous addition based on its visual appeal and mild heat.

Be generous when it comes to seasoning with the lime and salt: the lime provides a tart contrast to the sweetness of the fruit, and the salt brings all the ingredients together and makes their flavors pop.

Note that as the corn kernels marinate in the fruit juices, they become tender and sweet in a matter of minutes, without any cooking.

Serves 4 to 6.

1 medium cantaloupe

2 cups sungold or cherry tomatoes

2 ears fresh corn

A couple of handfuls fresh basil leaves

Lime juice to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sea salt to taste

Husk the corn and cut off the kernels. Cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters. Cut the cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds, then cut each half into quarters and remove the skin. Thinly slice the melon pieces and put them in a large bowl, and add the tomatoes and corn.

Make chiffonade from the basil leaves by stacking them lengthwise and rolling them into a tight bundle. Cut the bundle crosswise into thin, even strips. Separate the strips.

Add the basil to the bowl, season to taste with lime juice, add salt and pepper, and mix well.

Dehydrator Zucchini Chips

For raw food enthusiasts, these chips can be made in a dehydrator that has a thermometer, such as the Excalibur, with the temperature kept at 115 degrees F. They can also be made on parchment-lined baking sheets in the oven at its lowest temperature, adjusting time and method accordingly.

Makes 4 dehydrator trays of chips.

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 pound zucchini, roughly chopped (about 5 cups)

1 large tomato, roughly chopped

2 cups sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

1 cup ground flaxseed or chia seeds, or a combination

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 tablespoon dried rosemary, oregano, or thyme

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

Mince garlic in a food processor. Add the zucchini, tomato, sunflower seeds, lime juice, and salt and process until fairly smooth. Add the flaxseed, garlic powder, onion powder, and rosemary and process until combined.

Spread the mixture about ¼-inch thick on 4 dehydrator trays lined with ParaFlexx drying sheets or parchment paper.

Place in the dehydrator, set the machine to 115 degrees F, and dehydrate for about 10 hours, until the chips are beginning to get crisp and can easily pull away from the liner.

Flip them over onto a dehydrator screen (remove the liner), brush with oil, sprinkle with salt, and dehydrate until very crisp, about 2 hours.

Note that dehydrating times can vary widely depending on the moisture content of your ingredients and the temperature and humidity of the kitchen, so the true measure of doneness is crispness rather than time.

Remove from the dehydrator and break into chips; store in zip-top plastic bags or airtight containers.


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