Corn Pudding

Ree Drummond’s recipe for Corn Pudding is amazingly good.  I made it for supper the other night and we couldn’t leave it alone!  I did make some very slight changes, but mostly it is pure Ree.

Ingredients

4 strips bacon or turkey bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced (Ree used sweet onion)
1 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow corn meal
3/4 sugar
1.5 Tbsp Baking Powder
1.5 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
5 eggs
1.5 cups half & half
1/2 cup melted butter
2.5 cups fresh or frozen corn (I used a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute bacon in a large, oven-proof skillet. (I used my cast iron skillet.) Once bacon is soft, add onions and saute until onions are soft. You can remove any extra bacon drippings, but it does add wonderful flavor and I left it in.  Once cooked, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add the corn in and mix gently.

In a mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In another mixing bowl, mix the eggs, half & half and butter. Gently blend the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring just until blended and there are no large dry lumps. Pour the mix into the skillet, and fold the onion, bacon and corn into the mix.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the center is just set. If you’re making it in a cast iron skillet, you will probably need the longer cook time. The roasted corn has a wonderful flavor but looks pretty awful when you cook it. If you are making this dish and need it to look pretty – just use regular frozen corn.

Sauteed Cabbage

I have never really loved cabbage.  It’s okay – but I can’t tell you how much cabbage I’ve thrown away over the years.  You need 2 cups for a salad, and then what?

But I’ve changed my tune after making sauteed cabbage.  Just like roasting brings out the mind-blowing deliciousness of so many vegetables, sauteing turns cabbage into sheer nirvana.  It gets a sweetness yet retains a nice bite.  And it’s ridiculously easy.

Ingredients:

1 cabbage, cut into 1″ squares (They will all fall apart so no need to be precise.)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 fresh ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and as soon as it is mostly melted (happens quick – watch carefully) dump in all the cabbage and start stirring. If it won’t all fit in the pan, that’s okay.  You can add it in stages.

Sautee for several minutes until the cabbage is reduced and edges are starting to brown very slightly. Add the salt and pepper and stir well. Taste and check seasonings.

Serve. Devour. Yum.

That’s it. The simplest ingredients and method turn a plain Jane vegetable into a star. Leave out the butter for a vegan version.

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce over Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Rice

Our friend Sharon recently served us this incredibly delicious Vegeterian/Vegan dish and was kind enough to share the original recipe with me, from CookieandKate.com. I made it almost exactly as shown, and then a couple nights later used the leftover peanut sauce as a dipping sauce for oven-roasted sweet potatoes. It is so delicious and uses ingredients you probably have in your pantry already.

INGREDIENTS

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce (Can use Tamari to be gluten-free)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 and 1/2  Tbsp honey (or agave nectar, to taste)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp water

Roasted vegetables

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1 inch long, ½ inch wide chunks
1 red bell pepper, cored, deseeded, and sliced into bite-sized strips
about 2 Tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
1/2 tsp cumin powder (I used more than original recipe.)
1 tsp Sea salt (to taste)

Rice and garnishes

1 1/2 cup jasmine rice (could use any rice, really)
3 green onions sliced into thin rounds (green and white parts)
Handful cilantro, chopped
Handful peanuts, crushed

Sriracha sauce on the side (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of olive oil, salt and cumin. Put the sweet potatoes in a roasting pan and drizzle with about 2/3 of the oil. Drop the peppers in the remaining oil and toss them. You’ll add them to the pan a bit later.

Spread the sweet potatoes out, but leave about 1/4 of the pan empty. Bake for 15 minutes and toss. Then add the peppers in the empty space and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.  Check to be sure the potatoes are cooked and the peppers are soft and starting to caramelize.

In the meantime, cook the rice. Add 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice and 1 tsp kosher salt to a pot. Add a bit less than three cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cover and cook for 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Make the sauce: in a bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. If the sauce is too thick whisk in a little more water.

To serve: Spoon rice onto a large serving dish, and top with sweet potatoes, then peppers, a nice heavy drizzle of sauce, and sprinkle chopped green onions, cilantro and peanuts. Serve any extra sauce in a little pitcher.

To serve it as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries, just gently stir in the onions, cilantro and peanuts. So good!

Lemony Green Beans

Our friends Gary and Dorie always have amazing vegetable gardens, with surplus enough to share. I have vegetable garden envy – since our backyard isn’t sunny enough to produce much more than leaves…

Anyway, I made green beans last night that Gary and Dorie shared with us, and they were so good and fresh!  (I often just cook the green beans with the stems on and just cut them off on my plate.)

1 lb. whole green beans, washed
1 Tbsp butter or bacon drippings (I used a bit of both.)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
Black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp kosher salt (Skip if cooking in pasta water.)

Bring a pot of water to the boil. (I had just cooked a pound of pasta, so instead of draining the pasta, I used a big strainer spoon to remove all the pasta, and just cooked the beans in the pasta water.)

Add the green beans to the pot and let them simmer for about 3 minutes. Drain the water, add the butter and/or bacon drippings, garlic powder, salt, lemon juice and pepper and toss the beans in them. (Skip the salt if you cooked the beans in the pasta water.)

It was a lovely summer supper.

Roasted Eggplant

So simple, so delicious – Maya and I made this for dinner last night.

When you start with a lovely, fresh vegetable, you don’t need to do much to bring out the best flavor, and this is a perfect example.  Roasting the eggplant brings out its sweetness and tenderness and salt, pepper and a bit of butter make it crazy delicious.

4 small eggplants, halved, with the stem end removed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt  (I’m guessing here – I really just used a good pinch.)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Butter

Heat oven to 400. Pour the olive oil into the center of a baking pan and slide the eggplants around cut side down to get olive oil all over them. Flip them back over and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper.

Roast for a good 20 minutes or until they have sort of sunk in, and are browning on the top.

Melt a pat of butter on top of each eggplant and serve in the skin. When eating, just scrape out the inside and leave the skins.  Nirvana – sheer veggie Nirvana…

Wonder if there is any left?

Elote – Mexican Street Corn

If you live in Omaha, you must go to the Farmer’s Market in Aksarben and pray that the sweet corn lady is there making Elote.  Kumy and I had gotten one, and quickly realized that there was no way we were willing to share.  (Okay, so there was no way I was willing to share, and I ran back to get another.)

There is nothing better than sweet corn that’s just been picked, quickly boiled and slathered with mayo, fresh lime, parmesan and Tajin Seasoning.  This is a version that I make at home.   Tajin seasoning is tart, salty, not super hot and easily available in Mexican markets and online.  You can make traditional Elote using ears of corn or  make a casserole using frozen sweet corn.  It’s delicious either way!

Ingredients

6 ears of corn, freshly shucked and washed (or 24 oz frozen sweet corn for a casserole)

Crema:

1/4 cup Mexican mayonnaise (or use regular mayonnaise with a good squeeze of lime in it.)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Cotija cheese (or parmesan in a pinch)
1/2 tsp Tajin seasoning
1 clove garlic crushed, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped pretty fine
Juice of 1/2 lime

For traditional Elote corn on the cob:

Mix crema ingredients in a bowl.  

Cook corn by boiling in unsalted water or grilling. Slather the corn with the crema, and sprinkle with extra cotija and dust with tajin seasoning.

For Elote casserole:

Mix all ingredients except Cilantro in a bowl and pour out into a baking dish. Baked uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Garnish with chopped Cilantro and an extra sprinkle of Tajin seasoning.

Thai Rice with Veggies

Made this for the first time on Kumy’s birthday last year, with Sriracha-Glazed Salmon.  It was quick and very good.  Yellow curry paste is available in Asian Markets.  I use Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste – which is also available online.  You can use coconut milk or coconut cream – both are good, though the coconut cream is of course slightly heavier.  (Avoid using cream of coconut – which is sweetened and used in cocktails.  Ali made that fateful mistake once on what was otherwise a very promising curry!)

2 cups rice
3 7/8 cup water
1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 package mushrooms, sliced (Add more if you like mushrooms.)
1 or 2 red bell peppers, cut into bit-sized pieces

1 1/2 Tbsp Yellow Curry Paste
1 cup coconut milk/cream

Make rice with salt and water. See recipe here.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute peppers for a few minutes, then add mushrooms and saute a few minutes more. Add curry paste, and stir in well. Add coconut milk or cream and remove from heat. Gently blend in cooked rice. Season with a little salt if needed.

Brown Butter Roasted Potatoes

Another recipe from the Wall Street Journal – I have made this dish so many times and it’s always amazing. It’s great for supper or brunch.

2 lbs. small potatoes, scrubbed well, but not peeled
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
4 eggs, rinsed well before adding to pot
6 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp lemon juice
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 450.

Boil potatoes and eggs in salted water for 15 minutes. Remove and halve potatoes. Lay on a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, flip the potatoes and bake another 10 minutes.

Peel eggs and quarter them.

Heat butter for 5 minutes over medium heat in a pan large enough to hold everything, until it just starts to brown. Add lemon juice and stir. Then add potatoes, eggs and green onions and toss everything together.

Check seasoning and serve.

Green Beans with Walnuts and Gorgonzola

I made this recipe up one day when faced with an overly ambitious purchase of green beans. In hunting through the fridge, I found Gorgonzola cheese and thought, why not? It’s pretty tasty.

1 lb. green beans, washed and trimmed
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted in the oven or in a pan for 5-7 minutes
1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese
2 Tbsp vinaigrette
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

In a medium pot, bring half a pot of water to the boil. Drop green beans in and boil for just a few minutes. Drain water, and add walnuts, cheese, vinaigrette,salt and pepper. Toss to coat and slightly melt the cheese. Check seasonings and serve.

Amazing Green Beans with Walnuts and Dill Seeds

2 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, diced
1 lb fresh green beans
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup walnuts, rough chopped
2 tsp dill seeds

Melt butter and saute shallot for a few minutes. Add salt, pepper and dill seeds and saute a minute or two more. Turn down heat, add green beans, cover and cook for several minutes, shaking occasionally. Add walnuts, stir and serve.