Posts Tagged ‘corn’

Bacon + Pimiento Cheese = Happy Fourth!

July 2, 2013

Are you there, Kitchen Mischief? It’s me, Josh. Sorry I’ve been away. My new job at Taste of the South magazine has kept me pretty busy! Between dashing downstairs to the Test Kitchen, editing recipes, and trying to not eat myself into a support group, I haven’t had a ton of time for mischief making. But our July-August issue’s Fried Green Tomato and Pimiento Cheese BLT (take a peek here) inspired me to get my mischief on. And so Cornbread Bites with Pimiento Cheese and Bacon were born.

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I’m not one to toot my own horn, but these little darlings are ridiculously delicious! Nothing earth-shattering here, folks…just three classic Southern flavors, all packed into one addictive bite. They’re actually pretty easy…and you can even cheat with store-bought pimiento cheese and cornbread. But why do that when homemade is so easy? Read on and decide for yourself.

Cornbread Bites with Pimiento Cheese and Bacon

8 to 10 appetizer servings

Here’s the gameplan. Tackle the cornbread first. After it’s cooked and toasted, you can make the Pimiento Cheese while it cools. Microwave the bacon while the cornbread cooks.

Cornbread Bites

Martha White “Hot Rize” Yellow Cornmeal Mix
2 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob (optional)

In a large bowl, mix cornbread according to directions on the back of the bag (I cut the sugar down to 1 tablespoon). Stir in corn. I split the mixture between one mini-muffin tin and 1 8×8-inch pan. Bake at 425 degrees until golden, 10 to 15 minutes…watch those tiny muffins; they cook fast!

After the cornbread has cooled, use a knife to hollow out the tops of the mini muffins (you’ll be removing about a teaspoon of cornbread). Cut the 8×8 cornbread into cubes; split cubes in half horizontally.

Place cooked cornbread on a baking sheet, and spray with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.

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Pimiento Cheese is a personal decision. Some folks like it spicy, some like it mayonnaisy, others pack it full of some crazy stuff. Here’s where I started; take it where you like and make it your own.

Homemade Pimiento Cheese

6 to 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (orange)
6 to 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese (white)
4 to 6 ounces diced pimientos, drained
¼ cup finely minced onion
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)

For starters, grate your own cheese, please. It really makes a huge difference. I used the grating blade on my food processor. Combine cheese and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring to combine.

Tip: To give your pimiento cheese a creamy texture without adding a ton of mayo that drowns out the cheese flavor, put half of the pimiento cheese in the food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulsing a few times. Stir it back into the reserved pimiento cheese.

Assembly: Cook 4 slices of bacon; let cool, and crumble. Spoon or spread about 2 teaspoons Pimento Cheese atop each Cornbread Bite. Crown each little darling with a bacon-crumb crown, and proceed to stuff yo face. 😉

SUPERFAST VERSION:

Grab a loaf of store-bought cornbread; cube and toast as described earlier. Spread with store-bought pimiento cheese, and top with crumbled bacon. D-O-N-E. It won’t be as good as homemade, but it’ll do in a pinch!

Please have a wonderfully Happy Fourth, and grill carefully!

And now, as Jon Stewart would say if he were a culinary blogger and could enjoy bacon, here is your moment of Zen:

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Cream Corn, Reborn!

July 30, 2012

I grew up on my grandmother’s cream corn. I don’t know if it had actual cream in it or not, but it definitely had LOTS of butter. Plus, it seemed as if she cooked it for HOURS to get that creamy consistency.

My Mom modernized the routine by microwaving the corn, but she kept her Mom’s requisite butter. Still tasty, and with a good deal less stirring.

Well Mom, and May, I’m sorry — but I’ve got a new plan for cream corn. My method is less creamy, more crunchy, and very fresh. And … it doesn’t depend on butter for the flavor. But that doesn’t mean there’s no fun. Here’s what you need:

Josh’s Sauteed Summer Corn
Serves 4

Four ears of fresh corn
half an onion, diced
3 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup (about) of 1% milk
salt and lots of fresh pepper, to taste
1/cup chopped basil, optional

Shuck your corn and dice your onion. When removing your corn from the cob, place the pointy end in a bundt pan to catch the kernels as you run your knife down the cob, like this:

Next, saute your diced onions. While that’s happening, remove the kernels and set aside, then run your knife along the corn husks to extract the corn milk.*  Best thing to do is show you how. Watch:

Now, add the corn kernels to the pan, along with the corn milk.* After 3-5 minutes (or when the pan is looking dry), add the milk a little at a time, allowing it to cook down. After about 10 minutes, right before serving, add your basil. Done!

There’s nothing better than a plate full of soul food!

If you’re a traditionalist, this may not float your boat, but every time I’ve made it this summer it’s been my favorite thing on the plate. Plus it’s so easy and not that messy.

Matthew & I have been super-busy with work, but we’re going to try to get more quick recipes like this one in front of you more often. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment on our Facebook page!

Thanks, and happy Mischief-making!

*Corn milk should not be fed to Baby Corn. It prefers soy sauce.

I’m Cuckoo for Quinoa!

July 28, 2011

Hi, I'm Josh Miller, President of the Quinoa Council

I am obsessed with quinoa. It is an absolute wonder-grain. Yep, I said Wonder Grain. I’m not ashamed — I am a total dork in my love for this stuff!

I’ve been cooking with it for years, and Matthew’s a fan — he shared a quinoa salad recipe years ago, and I alluded to its greatness in a post of my own starring avocado bisque. But these paltry posts don’t do my darling quinoa justice.

So, just in case you’re not already cuckoo for quinoa, let me tell you why you should join my culinary lovecult.

Quinoa — The Healthy Alternative
Quinoa has, like SO much protein. This is unusual for grains. And as for other sides like rice, potatoes, and couscous — forget it! Quinoa lays the nutritional smackdown on those punks. Here’s a close-up look:

I'm so happy that David was around to photograph. Whenever I use my point-n-shoot, my hands look like "The Curse of the Monkey Paw."

Quinoa — She’s Fancy
Quinoa has a cool name. It’s pronounced KEEN-WA. Not “Quin-Oh-Ah” like I referred to it for years. Keen-Wa! Like you’re about to karate chop a brick in half. Say with me now: “Keen-WA!” Do it! “Keen-WA!” See, it’s fun.

Quinoa — Versatility is Her Middle Name
It goes with EVERYTHING. You know, sometimes potatoes just don’t go with your meal. Like, who eats potatoes with Asian food? And pasta as a side is just silly. Quinoa is neutral but nutty, a rich flavor that spanks rice in the taste department. Beat, it basmati — quinoa is way tastier!

Quick Quinoa — The Easy-Going Grain
Quinoa’s so easy to cook a four-year-old can do it. Unlike RICE, which I still mess up EVERY SINGLE TIME. And I have a rice cooker! For quinoa, it’s easy — just one part quinoa, two parts water, done! Bring to a boil together, reduce to low, simmer for 15 minutes, DONE.

Spend Every Meal with Lady Quinoa
Quinoa is the perfect side dish at dinner, but it’s also a great option for a filling vegetarian lunch. I’m not saying you have to become a celery-licker and munch on a bowl of alfalfa sprouts, but a little less wouldn’t hurt. In fact, you can make a pilaf of sorts with quinoa and sauteed veggies, have it as a side at supper, and then take the leftovers for lunch. Here’s a quick recipe for one I just made (and that I’m having for lunch today!)…

Quinoa with Sweet Corn and Basil
4 servings

1 cup of quinoa
2 cups water (or chicken/vege broth)
2 ears of corn, shucked and de-cobbed (yes, i made that word up)
half a red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of basil, chopped
salt, pepper*, and olive oil

Shuck and de-cob your corn, then dice your onions. Here’s mine and Matthew’s little trick for corn…

A bundt pan is a corn shucker's best friend! Photo not by David.

Combine your quinoa and water in a saucepan (adding salt if not using broth); bring to a boil, then reduce heat to LOW, cover, and cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté your onions in several teaspoons of olive oil for 5-7 minutes, seasoning to taste. Add garlic and cook for one minute, then add corn and sauté for another 3 or so. Watch it — the corn has more sugar and starts to stick. If you have a little extra basil, toss in about a tablespoon as you sauté, but reserve the bulk of it. Once your quinoa is done, fluff with a fork, then add to the veggie pan. Stir in reserved basil, and you’re done!

I snapped this in a hurry. Again, photo NOT by David. 😉

*Note: I used Penzey’s Shallot Pepper as my primary seasoning. I recommend traveling to Homewood posthaste and picking some up. It may just be the best seasoning ever.

Well now you’ve gone and gotten me distracted. What was I talking about? Quinoa…obession…oh yeah — you can eat it at every meal! It’s healthy, remember, and packed with protein, so you can treat it like oatmeal. In fact, it’s better than oatmeal, because it doesn’t look like throw-up. I added a 1/4 tsp of almond extract while cooking, then a TBSP of honey, a squeeze of orange juice, then stirred in some chopped walnuts and craisins. A dollop of yogurt turned this into a suitable breakfast alternative. I had it this morning and I am still full! Take a look:

Quinoa is part of a healthy, balanced breakfast! Photo by David

I’ll be honest, I’m a bigger fan of it in savory applications, but you gotta love quinoa’s versatility. It’s the little black dress of grains.

So go grab a box today (you can find it at Publix and Whole Foods) … and start playing with flavor and veggie combinations. It’s easy and forgiving, and that’s why we love it — Quinoa: The Quintessential Mischief Grain.™  😉