We made it back to our cabin in the woods for the first time in two years.
It sits atop a forested hill overlooking a quiet, clean lake. We bought the original fishing cabin about 12 years ago with its bumps and bruises and have since fixed it up, little by little, turning it into something slightly more livable for our family. The functionality has improved but the simplicity remains the same.
Wifi free we disconnect from the noise around us for a while and enjoy long swims with warbling loons, sunset sails and roaring campfires that endure through the night.
One deliciously lazy afternoon my husband and I sat in a trance watching a couple of hummingbirds catch water droplets off our rotating sprinkler. Their suspended bodies vibrating wildly as the sun hit their iridescent wings in bands of silver and gold.
Above our outstretched bodies on the dock, the night sky is clear and black and filled with winking stars. We fall asleep to a racket of throaty frogs and wake to a most enthusiastic, and early rising, woodpecker. Even this is welcome.
On my favorite walk to nowhere along the winding gravel road, I encounter not one but six wild rabbits in pairs of two. Observing and then eventually photographing, it occurs to me that one of them is stuck and unmoving – frozen in the middle of the road and without a friend. Flush with guilt, I gently crouch down and then lay flat on my back to remove any perceived threat and watch the bunny bounce to freedom out of the corner of my eye.
I never realized just how high and far rabbits can jump. I’ve only ever been up close to them in cages before.
All the things we look at but don’t see.
And this salad…
Full of seasonal goodness! Thin strips of raw zucchini are surrounded by paprika spiced grilled corn, creamy avocado, juicy blueberry and crunchy sunflower seeds ~ the salad is then drizzled in a soothing honey-herb buttermilk dressing.
I’ve been working on perfecting my homespun version of buttermilk ranch and I’m so pleased with the result. It only takes a few minutes to whip it up too. Be sure to read the Notes in the recipe card for best results.
And remember, there’s still plenty of summer to enjoy so let’s not rush the process. The snow will arrive soon enough; meantime, let’s savor the green.
- The Salad
- 2 ears of shucked corn cooked on the grill, (or 1 cup corn kernels)
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- 2 medium sized zucchinis, sliced thin with a mandoline
- 1 avocado, diced
- 2 Tbsp sunflower seed
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- The Herbed Buttermilk Dressing
- 4 Tbsp buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp natural mayonnaise (see Notes)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp honey
- pinch sea salt, coarse pepper
- 2 tsp finely chopped dill
- At least one hour before serving time, assemble the Herb Buttermilk dressing ingredients in a container with fitted lid shaking and/or whisking to fully combine - store in fridge. Making the dressing ahead allows the ingredients time to harmonize and the flavors to develop.
- Brush shucked corn with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.
- Heat barbecue to high setting and then reduce to low heat as you place corn on the grill.
- Grill corn for approximately 6-8 minutes, rotating as you go along and adding more paprika if you wish, until the corn is cooked and nicely browned in spots.
- Carefully remove corn from grill and allow cobs to cool slightly before slicing the corn off the cobs with a knife.
- Assemble zucchini ribbons on a serving plate and top with grilled corn, chopped avocado, blueberries and sunflower seeds.
- Remove Herbed Buttermilk dressing from fridge, give it a good shake or whisk and taste making any final flavor adjustments desired before drizzling over salad. Enjoy!
Mandoline - if you search the word mandoline on my site you will see all of the recipes I've made using my mandoline (a worthwhile $14 investment).
Raw Zucchini - I have come to love the taste of raw zucchini - particularly in the company of a delicious dressing - but if it's not your thing, you could grill the strips along with the corn in a vegetable basket.
Sizing - I know many of you are growing your own gorgeous garden zucchini and I have seen some the size of an adult's head! If you are working with a huge zucchini just slice enough to reasonably accommodate your salad servings.
Non-grill option - if you don't have a grill or don't wish to use it for this recipe, simply use 1 cup of sweet corn kernels (you can boil the cobs or steam from frozen). If you wish you can also sauté some corn in a skillet with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.
Mayonnaise - I prefer a simple olive oil & egg mixture for mayonnaise which can be tricky to find in stores. (Even the one's that announce that they are made with olive oil almost always list soybean oil as the first ingredient). A combination of fat fear and a preference for cheap oil means that the more traditional whole ingredients are scarce on the shelves. Empire mayonnaise is one brand available at Whole Foods but you can also try your hand at making your own mayo - it's wonderfully simple - here is one method.