Baked Corn

I’m not exactly sure how to classify this side dish, other than call it what my family calls it…baked corn.  It’s not a corn bread, but it’s not a casserole either…it’s baked corn.  Usually we have this for thanksgiving, but I decided to make it to go with the chili, adding some jalapenos added to spice it up.

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Ingredients:

– 1 box jiffy corn muffin mix

– 1 cup sour cream

-2 eggs

– 1 can whole cream style corn

– 1 can whole kernel corn, drained

– 1 stick butter, melted

-1/4 cup chopped jalapenos from a jar

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Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a buttered casserole dish.  Okay to mix a day ahead of time and refrigerate before cooking.

2. Bake uncovered in oven at 350 for 60 minutes, or until center is cooked with a semi-firm consistency and browned on top.

This is NOT a healthy side dish, rather a special occasion side dish.  I have been toying with the idea of going all out and adding shredded cheddar cheese to it as well.

I find that if I mix it a day ahead of time, it needs at least an hour to warm up before putting it in the oven.  I have also used all sorts of dishes, this is an 8×8 but I have used a 9×11 and even a round pan.  To serve it’s best to scoop it out like a casserole.

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Bacon Roasted Beets and Cauliflower

It’s true, everything is better with bacon.  It’s that time of year again that roasting vegetables becomes an acceptable alternative to grilling vegetables.  Roasting root vegetables is a good way to sweeten up the flavor and they look so pretty on the plate.   Beets and cauliflower have a nice contrasting color and when roasted they compliment each other very well.

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Ingredients:

– 2-3 large beets washed and cut into small pieces.

– 1/2 head of cauliflower washed and cut into small pieces.

– 1/2 sweet onion sliced

– 2 cloves of garlic, sliced

– 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, center stem removed

– 4 pieces of bacon cooked and cut into small pieces

– 1 Tbsp of reserved bacon grease

-Olive oil

-salt and pepper

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Directions:

1. Gently mix together in a large bowl the beets, cauliflower, onion, garlic, thyme, and bacon with bacon grease and a drizzle of olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Spread the vegetables out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 23-30 minutes, stirring once.  Depending on how large you cut the pieces, the time may be longer.  Make sure the beets are easily pierced with a fork before serving.

2013-09-05 19.28.36As the beets roast they will give off a lot of color, so be careful not to splash your clothing when flipping or serving!

 

Herb Buttered Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is such an easy and delicious side dish.  Cooking the corn can be done several different ways: boiling, roasting, or grilling with husks on or off.  I personally like the corn grilled with the husks off, the little char marks make for a nice crispy look and bite.  For a little extra flavor I made a seasoned butter to rub on the corn after coming off the grill.

Herb butter can be made in any combination that you may like.  My favorite combination for on corn is cilantro, chive, and parsley with garlic.   For this round I didn’t have cilantro, so it’s just garlic, chives, and parsley with 1 stick of unsalted butter and salt.

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Let the butter sit out for about 30 minutes to soften up, or if you don’t have time you can put it in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften the butter without melting it.  Mince the garlic and herbs then mix into the butter with a dash of salt.  At this point you can roll the butter in wax paper then put in the fridge if you want a log of butter to cut or roll the corn on, or you can leave it in the bowl like I did.

 

Grill the corn on a hot grill for about 15 minutes, turning a 1/4 turn every 3-4 minutes until you start to get grill marks on a few of the kernels as shown below.  While still hot, butter the corn and serve immediately.

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Summer BBQ Coleslaw

Coleslaw is an easy to make summer staple.   A flavor that will cool you off when eating spicy BBQ but not get lost in the meal at the same time.  I found a recipe a few years ago that I changed very slightly to the version I made today.  It is just a little creamy but has a nice punch of vinegar at the same time.

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup light mayo

1 Tbsp cider vinegar

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp poppy seeds

1 red onion, chopped

1 lb coleslaw mix

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Directions:

1. Mix together the mayo, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, poppy seeds into a creamy dressing as shown above.

2. To this, add your chopped red onion and coleslaw mix until everything is evenly coated.

3. Allow it to sit in the fridge a few hours before serving.

Truffle-oil Brussel Sprouts

A great thing about summer cooking is making the entire meal outside.  The kitchen stays clean and it keeps the heat down inside.  Tonight we are grilling out some pork and for a side I am making brussel sprouts in the grill basket.  The grill basket is a new addition for us this summer…we feel pretty dumb for not having one sooner.  I used to kabob vegetables or painfully turn each little brussel sprout on the grill individually, silly.

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Ingredients:

-Brussel sprouts (cleaned and quartered)

-3 garlic cloves

-1-2 slices chopped red onion

-salt & pepper to taste

-truffle oil, 1-2 Tbsp to taste

-1 wedge of lemon, juiced

-Parmesan cheese, freshly shaved

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Directions:

1.  Mix together brussel sprouts, sliced garlic cloves, and red onions in grill basket.   Spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. Grill on medium/high grill for 20 minutes, stirring every 5-8 minutes.

3. Toss brussel sprouts with shaved Parmesan cheese, drizzle generously with truffle oil, and squirt with lemon juice.

This dish is easy but a rich combination thanks to the truffle oil and fresh lemon.  The fresh shaved parmesan is also a source of depth that take these vegetables up a notch.  If weather does not permit, you can always replace the grilling with roasting the vegetables in the oven at 400-425 flipping every 8-10 minutes until cooked.

Bean and Jalapeno Spread

This summer I tried making homemade hummus for the first time, shockingly easy and in-expensive.  This bean and jalapeno mixture is not hummus, but perhaps a distant cousin as it is a base of pureed beans…so I’m calling it a spread.  I also used a lot less oil than I would in a hummus and added water instead.  You can eat it with pita chips, tortilla chips, or pretzel crisps as a snack, or better yet on wraps, salads, tacos, nachos, etc.

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Ingredients:

-1 Can of Pinto beans, drained

-1 Can of Black beans, drained

-1 Small jalapeno, diced

-2 Cloves garlic

-1 Handful of diced red onion

-1/2 Lime, juice

-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

-1 Tbsp water

-Salt to taste

Directions:

Ready for this…put everything in the blender or food processor and hit start.  Adjust water or oil as needed to smooth to desired consistency.

 

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So let me share a few lessons I have learned:

1. Consistency.  Too much water makes for runny spread…too little water doesn’t mix well in the processor.  I find it better to add water slowly as you go.  If you over-water, it will dry out a little if you use it the next day (or add more beans if you really go wild).

2.  Color.  It’s not terrible, but it’s also not the most appetizing spread I’ve seen.  I enjoy the mix of black beans and pinto beans from a flavor perspective, but for serving I would probably go with all one or the other.