Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hot Corn Dip

Twice a month I play poker with friends.  The first is a ladies game we play in the “Women’s Game Room” at the country club.  There are 6 – 8 women who get together for a low stakes, friendly game where the conversation is more about birdies and bogies than poker, but I love these women and look forward to the game.  The second game is hosted by my friend and co-foodie, Michael.  At this game there are 9 men and me.  I can’t begin to tell you about the conversation at that table, and I look forward to it every month. 

Michael always cooks dinner and everyone is required to bring something.  Most show up with a bag of chips, 6-pack of beer, M&Ms or a box from a local bakery, but we can always count on Mary to send a delicious casserole with Bill and I take the opportunity to try out some new recipes and always bring something homemade.  It’s a pleasure to cook for these men.  They are so appreciative and always complimentary. 

This week I brought my Hot Corn Dip.  With the amount of attention and number of compliments this dip received, you would have thought it took a long time and a lot of effort to prepare.  It is not one of my original recipes but it is one of my favorite go-to dips and has become one of My Most Requested Recipes.

It is easy to prepare, contains ingredients I always have on hand, and I can assemble it ahead of time and bake it at the last minute.  Nowadays fresh corn in the husk is available all year long so I rarely use canned corn, but for this dish I make an exception. 

§     2 cans of Mexicorn, drained
§     1 1/2 teaspoons Accent
§     8 ounces sour cream
§     1 cup Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
§     15 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided
§     1 small jar of pimentos, drained
§     4 – 5 green onions, chopped
§     1 chopped jalapeno pepper
§     1 teaspoon garlic powder
§     Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together the Mexicorn, Accent, sour cream, mayonnaise, 12 ounces of grated cheddar cheese, pimentos, green onions, chopped jalapeno and garlic powder.
I like a little spice so I add all of the seeds in the jalapeno pepper.  If you don't enjoy the heat, add only a few of the seeds.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spray a casserole baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and add corn mixture.
Bake approximately 20 - 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 3 ounces of shredded cheese.  The warmth of the dip will melt the cheese.
Serve with corn chips.  For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Hot Corn Dip.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Warm Potato Salad

I recently wrote the recipe for Warm Potato Salad because it fits well with my summer entertaining menus.  It's served warm or at room temperature so we can eat it on the back patio or on the boat.  It keeps for hours but never lasts that long.  It uses fresh seasonal ingredients which I always have on hand and takes just a few minutes to prepare. 
I’ll share with you a little secret.  I sometimes make a lot more than I need so I have leftovers because it’s so easy to warm up.  All I do is pick out the potatoes, warm them in the microwave and add them back to the salad. 
This dish is so versatile I occasionally add grilled shrimp or substitute pasta for the potatoes.  

In order to give you a recipe I had to give you measurements for each ingredient, but use what you have and more .  I typically buy small yellow, red and orange peppers, so that’s what I use. 

If you have a large red pepper…go ahead and use that.  I love the small new potatoes and I always have them on hand, so that's what I use, but if all you have are large potatoes, cut them into 1” squares.  Grace doesn’t like raw onions, so I don’t add them, but if I was making it for myself, I would thinly slice a red onion into the salad.  We all love goat cheese, so I use it frequently, but if you don’t, substitute feta or cheddar.  I’ve given you my recipe which has the ingredients we like to eat.  Create your own family recipe with your favorite ingredients.

§     1 bag (1 ½ pound) of small yellow potatoes
§     1 bag (1 ½ pound) of small red potatoes
§     1 cup small red, yellow and orange peppers, sliced
§     2 – 3 ears fresh corn
§     6 - 8 basil leaves, chiffonade
§     1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese
§     1 small lemon
§     olive oil
§     kosher salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place small potatoes on a sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and bake approximately 20 – 30 minutes until potatoes are soft.  The length of time will vary based upon the size of the potatoes.  While the potatoes are in the oven, prepare the vegetables.  Cook the corn by placing the fresh corn, husk and all, into the microwave.  For 3 ears of corn, cook in the microwave for 5 - 6 minutes depending on the size of the ears. 
Remove from the microwave, cut through the husk at the bottom of the corn and the clean ear should slide out of the husk.  I sometimes grill the cooked ears to char the corn and create another layer of flavor.  Slice the kernels off the cobs. 
Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut in half.  In a large bowl, add cooked potatoes, sliced peppers and corn. 

Add salt and pepper to taste and dress with olive oil and the juice of one small lemon.  Feel free to use your favorite bottled vinaigrette, if you prefer.  Place on serving platter and dot with marble sized pieces of goat cheese. 
Top with basil chiffonade.  To chiffonade the basil, stack the basil leaves in a neat pile so they are curling upward.  This makes them easier to roll.  Roll the basil leaves tightly like a cigar.  Using a sharp knife, slice the leaves into thin, evenly sized strips. 
For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Warm Potato Salad. Enjoy!