Tag Archives: roasted corn

ROASTED CORN-BLACK BEAN-MANGO SALSA

There is an abundance of mangos around here lately. One of the local grocery stores has even used them as a come-on deal. They give you a “free” box of mangos (actually 9) if you spend a certain amount for other groceries. I like mangos as well as the next person, but figuring out what to do with nine becomes a challenge. I think the best way to enjoy them is fresh and with nothing added. That makes a perfect breakfast. Then there are mango ice cream and mango smoothies along with refreshing mango lassi. There are fruit salad and mango pie. Mango salsa is also popular and would fit in with our family Sunday dinner, but I thought it needed some additional ingredients.

Because it’s also the beginning of the season for fresh corn at the local farmers market, roasted corn would make a good second ingredient. Then, corn just seems to call out for beans and chiles. Since there are folks in our family averse to chiles, I used sweet peppers instead, but the kick of jalapeño would be an excellent addition. This salsa wound up being a side dish for this week’s family dinner of Southern fried chicken, fingerling potatoes, biscuits, and gravy. An odd combination, I know, but there were no complaints, and the plates were clean.

RECIPE

Roasted Corn-Black Bean-Mango Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 ears fresh corn, shucked and silk removed
  • 14.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 each red, orange and yellow sweet snacking peppers, seeded and sliced crosswise into rings
  • 2 ripe mangos, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (substitute parsley if you’re one of the many who don’t like cilantro)
  • ½ medium red onion, diced (optional if you don’t like onion)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder (optional and to taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces cotija cheese (Substitute feta if you can’t find cotija)

Method

  1. Place the ears of corn in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Turn frequently and lightly brown kernels on all sides of the ears of corn. When they are roasted to your liking, remove the ears of corn, cool, and in a large bowl, cut the kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife. Break the kernels apart with your fingers if necessary.
  2. Gently fold in the beans, peppers, mangos, cilantro, and onion.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning with chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Remove from the refrigerator, gently stir in crumbled cotija cheese, and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

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ROASTED CORN AND BACON WAFFLES

Fresh corn on the cob is in season, and we always try to take advantage of the harvest before it’s over. Our favorite way to prepare fresh corn is to boil it for a few minutes, slather it with butter, season it with salt and pepper, and eat it directly off the cob. In our family, there are those who use the circular approach, eating the kernels in orderly fashion as they turn the ear of corn in their hands, and there are those who use “the typewriter” approach, working systematically from one end of the ear to the other before starting over. Either way seems to work.

Very atypically, we had some boiled ears left over after a recent meal, but I didn’t want them to go to waste. My first thought was to make corn soup or chowder. That can be delicious as we found out when Sarah and Evan served it at one of their demonstrations in Shreveport. Then I remembered, I had some leftover bacon (Is there such a thing as leftover bacon?) and that made me think of waffles.

First, I cut the corn kernels off the cob using my special corn cutter. It really doesn’t work all that well, but it is one of those gadgets I am reluctant to throw away. I think a sharp chef’s knife works as well or better. I roasted the corn by popping it in a medium oven for twenty minutes until some of the kernels were lightly caramelized. Then I added the roasted kernels to the cornmeal-based waffle batter and went from there.  Here’s the recipe.

Corn kernel cutting tool

Corn kernel cutting tool

Waffle iron

Waffle iron

 

Roasted corn

Roasted corn

Roasted corn and bacon waffles with butter and maple syrup

Roasted corn and bacon waffles with butter and maple syrup

RECIPE

Roasted Corn and Bacon Waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 ears boiled corn
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¾ cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup melted bacon fat
  • 8 slices of bacon, cut into 1 inch squares

Method

  1. Cut the kernels of  corn off the cobs with a sharp knife or with a special tool. Place the cut kernels in a rimmed baking sheet and place in the middle of a pre-heated oven at 350° F. Turning every five minutes, roast the corn kernels until they are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Then stir in the buttermilk.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the  flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cornmeal, whisking together with a spoon or fork
  4. Combine the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients until smooth
  5. Stir in the roasted corn kernels.
  6. Add the bacon fat, and stir until incorporated.
  7. Ladle the batter into a heated waffle griddle, making sure the corn is well mixed in.  Then sprinkle 4 to 6 bacon pieces on each waffle segment.
  8. When the waffles are brown, repeat until the batter is used up.
  9. Serve the waffles while still warm with a poached or fried egg on top or with butter and maple syrup.
  10. Makes 8 to 10 4½ inch square waffles.

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RICH TABLE UPDATE

We just got back from a week-long visit to San Francisco where we tended our grandson while my daughter and her husband worked overtime to get their new restaurant – Rich Table – open by July 19.

The dining room before any renovations

First-day restaurant owner thinking, “What have I gotten into?”

To my wife and me it seemed impossible to believe that they had signed the lease and accepted the keys on May 1 and were planning to be open by July 19. Part of our disbelief was grounded in having been there the day they walked into the space. The previous owner occupied the space for 12 years, and so much of the clutter of over a decade was still around. The restaurant had only shut its doors for the last time the night before, so there were also the leftovers of last-minute meals and unwashed dishes.

Wonder what else is in that scary basement?

The space is in a very good part of the city, close to the performing arts centers as well as the city hall. Still, the space was in  desperate need of a major redo. And that’s exactly what Sarah and Evan did. Walls were torn out, the restroom was relocated so that it was ADA compliant and no longer opened into the middle of dining room, banquettes were tron out, and major cooking equipment, including the range led together with duct tape,  was either replaced or sent out for a total refurbishment. Carpet was pulled up, and lurking beneath was a beautiful hardwood floor just begging to be refinished and polished.  Other discoveries included beautiful wooden pillars hidden behind drywall covers and a great red support beam for the ceiling. An image of the red beam has become a part of the web site home page for Rich Table. Old furniture was out and natural wood tables with classic chairs were brought in.

“The Beam”

After the demolition was completed. the new construction began. Evan went to an old saw mill which was being torn down in Petaluma. He bought several hundred square feet of old barn wood to be used on the walls of the dining room. With the help of their designer, Sarah and Evan put together a new space with soft-colored wooden walls, a gleaming cherry-stained hardwood floor, complementary curtains, and interesting lighting.  The roughness of the wood was softened by welcoming throw pillows at the back of the banquette.

Finishing touches on the community table

The new corner of the banquette

In the meantime, the two remained busy cooking for private parties, trying out some of the dishes they plan to offer on their menu. Their goal is to provide creative, well-prepared high-end food in a relaxed atmosphere without all of the fuss and with affordable prices. A couple of the dishes which will make their menu are shown here.

Grilled artichoke and crab bouillabase with ramps

Braised oxtail with foraged spring things and flatbread

They still have lots of finishing touches to put in place, but the restaurant is close enough to being ready that we wound up having a sort of family picnic. Sarah cooked some of the food at home, then brought it to the restaurant to be finished. Our son joined us from his home in Silicon Valley. After a sparkling wine toast (New Mexico Gruet, what else?) we wound up having a  feast – nothing fancy: roasted chicken, giblet sauce, fresh-baked biscuits, ears of  corn seared on the restaurant plancha, sautéed shaved Brussels sprouts, and a delicious dessert  leftover from a private party: sort of a deconstructed Black Forest cake with rich chocolate cream served between wafers of a crisp chocolate panade and topped with macerated fresh sweet cherries and whipped cream.

The big push now begins. The reservation program is not yet set up, but the plan is for Rich Table, 199 Gough, San Francisco, to be open by the end of the month.

Ready for a toast

RECIPE

Jacques Pepin says that one of the marks of a good chef is to be able to cook a perfect omelet. The other mark is the ability to roast a perfect chicken. Here is Sarah’s recipe.

Oven-Roasted Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh four-pound baking chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • good handful of your choice of fresh herbs – thyme, rosemary, sage, or tarragon are all good choices
  • ½ cup melted butter (about)

Method

  • Thoroughly clean the chicken, inside and out, with running water
  • Salt and pepper generously inside and out
  • Stuff the cavity with the chopped garlic, cut lemon, and herbs
  • Brush the chicken all over with the melted butter and place in the middle of a heavy, oven-proof pan (cast iron works the best) over a hot flame.
  • Turning frequently and basting as needed, brown the chicken on all sides
  • Move the chicken in the skillet to the middle of an oven preheated to 425º F
  • As it bakes, turn the chicken frequently and baste it with pan juices and remaining melted butter.
  • Bake for about 1 hour or less  or until the temperature of the thigh muscle reaches 165° F using an instant read thermometer
  • Remove from the oven, let rest for about 5 minutes, and then slice into serving pieces while the skin remains crisp.

Grilling corn and Brussels sprouts on the plancha

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BIG SUR

Another view of Bixby Creek Bridge

I have been away for a couple of weeks, enjoying our annual family rendezvous in Big Sur. For the last six years or so, we have met at the Pfeiffer State Park, each family laden with food, snacks, and wine. Unfortunately, our son and his family could not join us this time because of school obligations. Those seem to increase as children get older. But the others came prepared for a week of hiking, playing on the beach, enjoying one another’s company,  and getting caught up on events since we last saw one another.

One of our traditions is to bring lots of the family’s favorite snacks – “Texas trash” and old-fashioned Southern cheese straws. The Texas trash is our version of the chex mix recipe that you can find on the back of a box of wheat chex. We add a few more items like different nuts, funny pretzel shapes or whatever and more butter. You can be as creative as you like. The cheese straws come from Craig Claiborne’s classic cook book, ”Southern Cooking”. The only thing we do a little differently is to  put the dough through a cookie press into the form of five-petal flowers. That shape has been obligatory for as long as I can remember.  It has the advantage for the eater of being able to  just bite off one petal  at a time. That way you feel more virtuous even though the recipe calls for practically nothing but butter, cheese, and just enough flour to hold everything together.

Grilled flank steak

This year, we gathered while my older daughter prepared one of her old standby recipes – “Law School Chicken”. She developed the recipe while she and her husband were both in law school. It was a cheap, easy-to-fix one-dish dinner that could be served to company. It was also a welcome change from instant  ramen. 

Roasted corn fresh from the coals

Carol says it is easy to make. First, she dusts some chicken breasts with flour and sautés them in a little butter and oil until they are cooked through and browned and crispy on the outside. While the chicken is cooking, she caramelizes some fresh peeled peach halves along with some slices of red and white onion. She boils some couscous in chicken stock with just enough of the stock left over to moisten everything. A good squeeze of fresh lemon brightens the taste.  When everything is done, she serves the chicken over the couscous, peaches,  and onions  and completes the meal with a green salad. Delicious. It is so good that, unfortunately I got busy eating and forgot to take a picture for you. Nevertheless, you get the idea.  Give it a try. I think you will add it to your list of tasty meals to make when you are in a hurry.

Plum tart

The next night we had our traditional cookout with steaks, roasted corn on the cob, beverages, and of course, s’mores over the campfire. This year, though, we did it differently, and I would highly recommend our new approach. In the past we have had big steaks for all of the adults and a shared steak for the children. While that sounds wonderful, the problem is always that the steaks have to be grilled in batches because the grills available in the picnic grounds are too small. Some turn out to be too well-done while others are too rare, and some of the adults have finished eating before others have even started. This year my younger daughter suggested flank steak – which turned out to work beautifully. We bought two large flank steaks for six adults and three children, marinated them all day with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and then grilled them over a charcoal fire. My son-in-law, the chef, grilled them to perfection, sliced them, and served them to everyone at the same time.  

Another change this year was to use charcoal for the main cooking and to save the campfire for later. The charcoal gave us an even fire and also let us put ears of fresh corn in the coals. In preparation, we removed all of the silks from the corn while keeping the husks intact to fold back over the individual ears. 

All got their fill, so it was soon time for s’mores. We put a log on the charcoal fire, waited until it flared up, and then made classic s’mores with toasted (burned) marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers.  If you have not eaten one of these fabled treats for many years, trust me: only kids can eat one of these sugar bombs, So dessert for adults was a delicious plum tart that Sarah had made with fresh plums from a friend’s back yard.

Tomato jam quiche

Lunch the next day included a delicious quiche from Sarah. She made a jam from tomatoes that we had brought her from our garden. She peeled and seeded the tomatoes and then cooked them down with flavorings into a beautiful jam.  She then ; made a pie shell using a favorite recipe of my wife, Susan, and filled it with a thin layer of caramelized onions, topped it with a custard of cream, eggs, farmer’s cheese, and basil, and baked it. After it had cooled, she covered it with the tomato jam. Beautiful to see and wonderful to eat.

There were a lot more good things to eat, including treats from some of our favorite restaurants in Big Sur. With my next post, I’ll tell you about some of our favorite places to eat in Big Sur

RECIPES

Cheese Straws

1¾ Cups all-purpose flour

8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated on a box grater

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into 16 pieces

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.

  1. Add the flour and cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Cover and pulse together  until well combined.
  2.  Add the butter, salt, Cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and process until  the mixture comes together as a ball.
  3. Stop the processor and knead the dough briefly to bring together any loose particles. Wrap in plastic wrap and let set at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
  4. Divide the dough in fourths or enough to fill a cookie press fitted with the patterned plate of your choice.
  5. Push the dough out as individual “cookies” on two ungreased baking sheets.
  6.  Place the baking sheets in an oven preheated to 300° and bake for 20 minutes until the cheese straws are crisp and slightly browned. Bake longer if you wish them to be darker,   but be careful as they burn easily.
  7. Transfer to cooling racks. Store the completely cooled  cheese straws in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Yield: Makes about 60 flower-shaped cheese straws

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