Roasted Corn Coleslaw

A perfect side dish for summer.

Roasted Corn Coleslaw

4 ears of fresh corn, husked or 16 ounce bag of frozen sweet corn kernels
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and shredded
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon vinegar
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
dash ground cayenne

Roast the corn. If using fresh corn on the cob, you can roast it in the oven or on the stove top (or even on a grill). For the oven method, preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the ears of fresh corn directly on the middle rack and cook for 25 minutes, or until golden. Let cool. Cut the kernels off the cob and set aside. For the stove top method, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the corn and cook, turning often, until there is a little char around the entire ear of corn. This takes about 8 – 10 minutes. Let cool. Cut the kernels off the cob and set aside. Alternatively, if using frozen corn, add the frozen corn (no need to defrost) to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, for 10 – 12 minutes. You want a little char on the kernels. Let cool.

Combine the roasted corn, shredded cabbage, jalapenos, and cilantro in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Pour over the corn and cabbage mixture. Toss well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Rigatoni alla Disgraziata (Rigatoni with Eggplant & Bread Crumbs)

Rigatoni alla Disgraziata (Rigatoni with Eggplant & Bread Crumbs)

This is a delicious eggplant and pasta dish. This recipe makes a big batch and freezes well.

Rigatoni alla Disgraziata (Rigatoni with Eggplant and Bread Crumbs)

2 medium Italian eggplants, trimmed and cut into 1 ” cubes (Japanese eggplants can also be used, you’ll need about 4) – you don’t have to peel them
salt
extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 pound rigatoni
2 cups of your favorite marinara or tomato pasta sauce
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
Parmesan cheese, grated

Toast the fresh bread crumbs in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In a clean skillet, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high.  Add the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes (sometimes I have to add a bit more olive oil to the pan if the eggplant is sticking to the bottom).  Season with salt to taste. Add marinara (or pasta sauce) to the eggplant and bring to temp. Lower temperature and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook rigatoni according to package directions. When just tender, drain well. Add to the warm eggplant and tomato sauce mixture. Add the toasted bread crumbs and mozzarella and mix well. Serve with grated Parmesan.

This recipe is adapted from:  Italian Classics:  Fourteen Favorite Recipes from the Pages of Saveur Magazine (World Publications, 2003).


Vegan Carrot Bacon

Vegan Carrot Bacon is great as a snack or as part of a sandwich or wrap. Use it to make a vegan BLT (with avocado) on your favorite bread.

Vegan Carrot Bacon

1 large carrot, peeled, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Dash garlic salt
Dash black pepper
Combine oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, liquid smoke, garlic powder, and black pepper in a medium sized bowl.
Using a vegetable peeler, make length-wise carrot ribbons. Add the carrot ribbons to the marinade and toss to coat well. Let marinate for 20 – 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lay the marinated carrot ribbons out on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake another 5 minutes. Thicker pieces may need to cook a little longer. Let carrot bacon cool slightly, allowing it to crisp up before eating.

Chocolate Waffle Cookies

Chocolate Waffle Cookies

It is kind of fun to bake cookies on the waffle iron instead of in the oven. These cookies are very similar to brownies and are so easy to make, that my 9-year old could make and bake them with very little assistance.

Chocolate Waffle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate – melted
1 cup all purpose flour
Powdered sugar

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Blend in melted chocolate. Add flour and mix well.

Drop by large teaspoonfuls one inch apart on a pre-heated waffle iron. I find that I can do 4 cookies at a time on my waffle iron. Bake for two minute (sometimes less baking time is needed, adjust the timing after the first batch). Lift out cookie carefully by easing it loose with a fork, then gently lifting it up and off the iron. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Finish off with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies.


Broccoli Casserole

I was volun-told to make a Broccoli Casserole for a Christmas luncheon at work last week. In the South, a typical Broccoli Casserole contains a boat-load of mayonnaise. I think it is gross. I wasn’t too happy about having to make the dish, but set out to create a Broccoli Casserole recipe I would be proud to serve to people. I wanted to make one that had way less mayo and fat, but still maintained the essential elements of the dish. I think my revamped Broccoli Casserole turned out great. It was creamy, but didn’t have an overpowering mayonnaise taste. I really liked it. I will definitely add this side dish to my repertoire.

Broccoli Casserole

2 12 oz. packages frozen broccoli florets
1 10.5 oz. can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I recommend Duke’s)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I use mild)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a casserole dish (a 9 X 13-inch will work) with cooking spray.

Cook the broccoli according to the package directions (I just zap it in a bowl in the microwave) and drain well in a colander. 

In a large bowl, combine the cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, egg, cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the drained broccoli and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and spread evenly.

Mix the crushed Ritz crackers with the melted butter. Spread evenly over the top of the broccoli mixture. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until nicely browned.


Minestrone Soup

Minestrone

I have been making this Minestrone Soup recipe for over 20 years. It’s one of our favorite soups. This soup is very versatile and can easily be tweaked to use what you have on hand. Garbanzo or cannellini beans are excellent substitutes for the kidney beans. Other veggies, like green beans, can be added to this soup. If you like a brothier soup, add 1 or 2 cups more of vegetable broth when you add the pasta. This recipe freezes very well.

Minestrone Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15.5 oz.) kidney beans, drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 – 3 teaspoons dried basil
½ cup dry pasta (small shells, ditalini, or elbow macaroni)
2 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 cup fresh spinach or kale (optional)
salt and black pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté 2 more minutes. Add the vegetable broth, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sliced carrots, and dried basil. Bring the soup to a boil, lower heat to medium low, and simmer 10 minutes. Add the dry pasta; return to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 5 – 7 minutes. Add the zucchini and spinach or kale, if using, and cook until tender, about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese is a perfect topping for this soup.


Lemon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lemon Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think lemon and chocolate is an interesting and delicious flavor combination. These cookies showcase that combination without being overly tart. These cookies do not tend to get golden brown, but they still have a nice crunch while maintaining a soft center.

Lemon Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
zest from one whole lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325º degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Blend in the eggs, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract. Set aside. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Gradually mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls (about 1 tablespoon) onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on baking sheet for a few minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad

Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad

I love this salad! It’s something I make quite a bit. It’s fresh, crunchy, colorful, virtually fat-free, nutritious, and very flavorful. This salad keeps fairly well in the fridge for up to two days.

Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad

1 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 to 2 carrots, grated
1/2 to 1 cucumber, seeded, peeled, and chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 (or more) fresh chiles (I usually use jalapenos or serranos), seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
chopped roasted peanuts

Combine cabbage, carrot, cucumber, cilantro and chiles in a large bowl. Mix vinegar, sugar, garlic, and fish sauce together in a small bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over cabbage mixture and toss well. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts right before serving.


Kimchi Fried Rice

This is a great way to use up Kimchi. The rice used in this recipe should be at least one day old, otherwise it is too wet.

Kimchi Fried Rice

4 1/2 cups day-old cooked white rice (if you can find it, get a medium grain rice like Kokuho Rose brand)

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced tablespoon minced ginger
4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, halved, and sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup kimchi, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 cup fresh spinach (optional)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
sesame seeds

eggs
butter

Make the rice the day before.

Heat the canola oil in a wok over high heat. Add the diced onions, and cook, stirring, until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped kimchi and cook another 1 or 2 minutes to heat through.

Add the rice and cook until warmed through and well combined with the other ingredients, another 3 minutes. Season with the soy sauce, gochujang, and sesame oil, stirring to evenly coat all of the rice and veggies. Mix in the the spinach, if using. Turn the heat down to low while you fry the eggs.

In a small fry pan, melt the butter and fry the eggs to desired doneness (I like mine over-easy).

To serve, place the Kimchi Fried Rice in a dish and top with a fried egg. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.


Vidalia Onion Upside Down Cornbread

Vidalia Onion Upside Down Cornbread2

Make cornbread special with the addition of sweet onions. The onions caramelize and add just the right flavor to this slightly sweet cornbread. This recipe is easy enough to make anytime and is sure to impress.

Vidalia Onion Upside Down Cornbread

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium Vidalia onions (or other sweet onions like 1015s or Walla Wallas), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet (I use a 10 1/4-inch cast iron skillet) on the stove top over medium heat. Arrange the onion slices, taking care to keep the slices intact, in the melted butter in the skillet. You can half and quarter the onion slices to fill in empty spaces. You may not use all of the onion slices. You can save leftover onions for another use or finely chop them and add them to the cornbread batter. Let the onions cook over medium heat while you prepare the batter. Do not turn the onions while they are cooking.

Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the milk, canola oil, and eggs with a fork. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir  until just combined.

Take the skillet off the heat. Pour the cornbread batter evenly over the onions. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 25 minutes.

Carefully invert the cornbread onto a cutting board or plate.