Category Archives: Vegetable

Corn! 2 Ways to Enjoy Fresh Corn (That isn’t corn on the cob)

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Creamed Corn that is guilt-free!

Creamed Corn that is guilt-free!

Corn Casserole - all sorts of yumminess

Corn Casserole – all sorts of yumminess

It is corn season.  And like any self-respecting Midwesterner, that means I’m drawn to the large pick-up trucks full of sweet corn stationed on county roads, parking lots and farmers markets.  We’ve had plenty of grilled corn and boiled corn on the cob, but sometimes you want to mix it up.  Or I have overbought in my excitement about yummy corn and realize I need to do something with it while it is still all fresh and juicy.  Here are 2 recipes to use up yummy corn and mix it up a bit.

The first recipe is for creamed corn.  I know you are picturing that little can of creamed corn from your childhood.  This is anything but that.  Think more adult, more flavorful and best of all – nearly fat free!  I whip up a batch of this and use about half for the following casserole recipe.  But Arvind and I fight each other for the last drop of this one!

The second recipe you may already have.  Perhaps written on the back of an envelope or a scrap of paper stuck in with the rest of your recipes. It is the corn casserole you make with the Jiffy cornbread mix.  Super easy!  Almost no measuring involved.  It is juicier than cornbread, but more solid that creamed corn.

If you still have more corn after this, save some for the winter. I grill corn, cut it off the cob and then put it in freezer bags.  In the winter when I’m making something that calls for frozen corn, I have some all ready to go!

If you now have cornbread on the brain, I would recommend this recipe for quite possibly the very best corn bread ever.   Personally, I only make ¼ of the maple butter and serve that on the side.  And I have made it in a 9×9 pan or doubled the recipe and put it in a 13×9 pan.

If you want to see any of the pictures more closely, just click on them.

Get a firm hold of the cob and cut off the kernels

Get a firm hold of the cob and cut off the kernels

Creamed Corn
4-5 ears of corn, kernels cut off (see picture for how)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans fat-free evaporated milk
¼ c whole wheat flour (all-purpose is OK too)

Cut the corn off the cob.  There are different schools of thought on how to do this.  I find holding the cob flat on a cutting board and cutting along the length of it, then rotating a little and repeating works well.  When I’m done, I go around the corn looking for stray pieces.

Creamed corn as it thickens

Creamed corn as it thickens

Mix the corn, salt, sugar, pepper butter and 1 can of milk in a skillet.  Pour about 1/3-1/2 of the milk in from the second can in as well.  The mix the flour into the remaining milk until it is fairly smooth.  Add that into the corn as well.  Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasssionally.  When it comes to a boil, stir constantly until it is as thick as you’d like it to be.  Turn off heat and serve or use in the following recipe.

Corn Casserole
2-3 ears of corn corn
2 c creamed corn (see above)
1 (8-ounce) package Jiffy corn muffin mix
8 oz container (1 cup) sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Have at those cobs to get all the corn off of them

Have at those cobs to get all the corn off of them

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 13” x 9” pan.  Cut the corn off of the cob.  Mix everything together and put in 13 x 9.  Bake for 45 min until starts to brown on top.

The casserole before it goes in the oven.  (See above when when it is done)

The casserole before it goes in the oven. (See above when when it is done)

Perfect Picnic Potato-Vegetable Salad

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Fresh, crunch veggies blanched to perfection.  Summer in a bowl.

Fresh, crunch veggies blanched to perfection. Summer in a bowl.

Here is one that is perfect for 4th of July parties.  It is a change on a recipe I got from The Splendid Table.  Lynne Rosetto Kasper, the host of the show, emails out recipes once a week for weekday cooking.  If you don’t subscribe, I highly recommend it.  In last week’s email was the following recipe for “Farmers’ Market Salad with Buttermilk Chive Dressing”.   It was fantastic, but I made a few changes to the salad part of it.  If you omit the eggs, you can bring this to a picnic or BBQ and only have to keep the dressing chilled/out of the sun/omitted to make it a safe salad.  The dressing is perfect as is, so I recommend clicking on the link above and making it. (And it is non-fat!)

Since this version doesn’t have lettuce in it, and you don’t dress the salad until it hits your plate, it is a good one for making after a trip to the farmers’ market or grocery store, you can prep it all and then keep it in the fridge for veggies all week.   It is super healthy and fresh tasting and you’ll be anxious to try up new veggies in it as the season progresses.

You will notice the amounts are not too precise.  It is a salad after all, so adjust things to fit your tastes and what looks good at the market.  I’m thinking as the season progresses, you can just keep adding more veggies to the mix.

1 bunch carrots, washed and cut into 1.5” pieces (I don’t peel little carrots, just wash them well, but do what you prefer)
1 lb sugar snap peas, shucked
1 bunch green beans, trimmed and snapped in half or thirds
½ – 1 pound potatoes, cut into smaller chuck rough the same size as the other veggies
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and cut into small chunks
1 red pepper, cut into smaller pieces
1 pt cherry tomatoes (leave whole)
4 large hard-boiled eggs*

Use scoopy things like this, or thongs, a sieve or anything else that will accomplish the same goal of veggies out of hot water.

Use scoopy things like this, or thongs, a sieve or anything else that will accomplish the same goal of veggies out of hot water.

*To boil eggs, put them in a small pan, cover with 1” cold water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and set aside for 15-17 min.  Remove the eggs from the pan and put into a bowl of ice water to cool them down so they are easier to peel.

Fill a large saucepan with water and a little salt.  Bring to a boil.  Make an ice bath – a bowl mostly full of ice and some water.  Put a clean kitchen towel down next to it.

Boil carrots for 3 min.  Scoop out the carrots with anything heat-safe that will drain the water out.  I have a couple of scoopy things that do this job well.  See picture.  Put the carrots into the ice bath, which stops the carrots from cooking any further so they’ll have a nice crunch still.  When the carrots are cool, take them out of the ice bath and put on the towel to dry.

Meanwhile, bring the water back to a boil.  Repeat this process with the peas (about 1-2 min) and green beans (2-3 min).  Keep adding more ice and cold water as needed and as the veggies are dried out a little, add them to a big salad bowl.

The potatoes should go into boiling water, but then turn down to a vigorous simmer (not a boil, not really a simmer) for 10-15 min, until they are cooked.  Drain them and then put in the ice bath.  I use a colander for the potatoes and then let them dry out a little bit in the colander.

Add in the radishes, peppers and tomatoes into the salad bowl.  Mix carefully.  Add in the potatoes and mix carefully.  Shell the eggs and slice length-wise and decorate the top of the salad.  Serve with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing.

Asma’s Brussel Sprouts

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My friend Asma brought this dish to a book club party a few years ago.  I have never seen brussel sprouts be elevated to rock star status, but they were that night.  If you are not eating brussel sprouts, I have to insist you try them again.  Forget the mushy, smelly mess of your childhood.  Now think complex, nutty, roasted goodness instead.  This recipe takes that one step further by making a little crunchy topping for them.  I have adapted Asma’s recipe and feel free to do the same.   Also, feel free to only do parts of it.  Sometimes I just do the topping and skip the dressing.   Oh, and don’t be intimidated that there are 3 parts to this recipe.  You can make the dressing and topping while the brussel sprouts are roasting and still have time left over.

I know brussel sprouts are more of a winter vegetable, but since spring is taking soooo long to come around, brussel sprouts are still looking like good options to me in the grocery stores these days!

Ingredients:

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trim the bottom and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For dressing
1/4 cup soy sauce
Lemongrass, thinly sliced and soaked in soy sauce, optional
1/4 cup water
pinch of red chili powder
2 T finely chopped mint
2 T finely chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1 1/2-inch) fresh red Thai chili, thinly sliced crosswise, including seeds
Lemon or lime for taste

For puffed rice
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil (I do a pinch more just to make it easier)
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
1/2 cup crisp rice cereal such as Rice Krispies

Roast brussels sprouts:
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Put down some parchment paper on a backing sheet or preheat your cast iron skillet in the oven.  Put the brussel sprouts in the pan and toss with oil.  Arrange in a single layer, cut side down and spaced out as much as possible.  Bake for 20-30 min until they turning brown and the cut sides look nice and toasted.  While the brussel sprouts roast, make the other 2 parts.

For the dressing:
Stir together all dressing ingredients.  Taste it to make sure it tastes good.  Adjust any flavors to suit you.

For the topping:
Heat the oil over medium heat in a small frying pan.  Mix in the spices until you start smelling them, then add in the Rice Krispies, stirring constantly.  When the Rice Krispies are coated and begin to turn a golden color, about 3 minutes, transfer to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally.

Finish dish:
Put Brussels sprouts in a serving bowl, then toss with just enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with puffed rice and serve remaining dressing on the side.