Roasted Corn Salad

Almost everyone loves corn, especially corn on the cob.  This recipe combines roasted corn with peppers and cheese and a dressing with a little kick.  Awhile ago I bought a cast iron pizza pan (made by Lodge).  This pan makes the most awesome pizza.  It’s non stick.  It retains the heat.  And while it does a great job with pizza it’s also wonderful for roasting vegetables.

Ingredients:

5-6 ears of sweet corn

2 T olive oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 jalapeño pepper seeded

1 sweet pepper (red, orange or yellow)

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

juice of 1 lime

dash of smoked paprika

smidgen of cayenne pepper

salt to taste

1/2 cup diced cheese (feta, cotija or cheddar)

1/2 c of cilantro

Brush the corn with olive oil.  Roast the corn under the broiler turning once.  It would probably be even more flavorful charred on a charcoal grill.

Allow the corn to cool while you make the dressing.  Finely dice the jalapeño and the bell pepper.  Mince the garlic.  Remove cilantro from the stems and rough chop.

Dice or crumble the cheese.

Years ago one of my daughter’s friends gave me measuring spoons labeled pinch, dash, and smidgen.  Who knew how handy those would be!?  Just use your judgment if you don’t own these.

Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream and spices and whisk together.  Add the fresh squeezed lime juice and stir in the peppers and garlic.

Once the corn has cooled use a sharp knife to remove it from cobs.

Add the corn, cheese and cilantro and stir to combine.

Add salt to taste and refrigerate for a least an hour before serving.

I served this salad with roast pork loin, asparagus, mashed potatoes and applesauce.  Tonight I’m serving the leftover salad with fish tacos.

NOTE:  If you have extra space in your freezer the corn cobs can be frozen and used later to make a vegetable broth.

As with any recipe you can adjust the spices based on your personal taste.  Diced scallions would also be a nice addition.

7 Layer Taco Dip

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Several years ago we started hosting or going to house parties with a small group of good friends on New Years Eve rather than going to restaurants or bars or large organized galas.   Maybe it’s the iffy Michigan weather that makes us not want to be on the roads.   Maybe it’s because we are getting older.  Whatever the reason, it’s been a good choice.  We all bring appetizers and beverages and enjoy each other’s company, some singing and picking, and all the good food and drink.  It’s the best way to bring in the New Year.  This year I made a 7 Layer Taco dip as my passing dish.  As always we had lots of amazingly good food.

Layer 1

2 15-ounce cans of navy or pinto beans drained and rinsed

1 large sweet onion rough chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

1 cup chicken broth

jalapeños and cilantro to taste

salt to taste

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Heat a couple tablespoons of canola oil in a heavy saucepan.  Cook the onions over medium heat until they are caramalized.  Add the beans and broth to the skillet and heat through mashing with a potato masher.

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If necessary add additional broth to get a nice creamy consistency.  Stir in jalapeño and cilantro.  Season with salt to taste.  This is the way I prepare beans for any Mexican dish I serve.

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Spread the bean mixture out on a large platter or pizza pan.

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Layer 2

1-2 cup(s) sour cream

Taco seasoning to taste (I used 2 T)

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Combine the sour cream and seasoning mixture well and spread over the beans.

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Layer 3

1 jar of homemade salsa or your favorite store brand

Spread over the sour cream.

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Layer 4

Pico

1 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup diced sweet onion

1-2 jalapeños diced (with or without seeds)

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 lime juiced

salt to taste

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Toss the vegetables together.  Squeeze lime juice over the mixture and season to taste with salt.

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Spread vegetable mixture over salsa.

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Layer 5

2-3 Avocados peeled and diced

1/2 lime juiced

Salt to taste

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Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado and season with salt.  I love avocado but everyone does not feel the same.  So I put my diced avocado around the outer edge of my platter.

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Layer 6

Black olives and/or pickled jalapeño.  I only used the black olives.

Layer 7

Shredded cheese.

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Garnish with additional cilantro.  Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.  Enjoy!

NOTE:  You can add a meat layer if you choose by cooking ground beef or turkey and adding some tomato paste and seasonings to the meat.

 

Mango and Red Bean Salsa

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This is a quick and easy salsa to make and one that we enjoy with fish.  My father loved to fish. To him it was one of life’s greatest pleasures. He can tell you a lot of fish stories. We ate a lot of fresh water fish, never ocean fish, and we enjoyed our fish pan fried or occasionally made into fish soup. Friday nights were fish fry nights. But we would have never considered eating salsa with fish.  Especially not one made with mango.  I never tasted a mango until I was an adult. My dad would look at this salsa and say, “what is that?  I don’t think I’d care for that.”  But that’s okay. I think if you try it, you’ll like it.

Ingredients:

2 ripe mangos

1 can small red beans or black beans

1/2 cup diced red onion

bunch of cilantro rough chopped

Juice of one lime (1/4 cup)

3 T olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

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Peel and dice the mangos. Dice red onion.  Drain and rinse the beans.

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Rough chop the cilantro.

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Put the beans, onion, mango and cilantro into a bowl and toss. Squeeze the lime, add the olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.   Toss again.

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Ready to serve.

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We had the salsa tonight with grilled walleye and asparagus. It was a perfect dinner.

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If you like things a little kicked up add a diced jalapeño pepper.  You can also serve this with corn chips.  Or with fish tacos.

Enjoy.