Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grilled Corn With Chili-Lime Butter

You know it's summer when the farmers market has fresh corn. It's so simple to grill and really needs no embellishment but salt. However, if you're feeling fancy, you can whip up this flavored butter. Enjoy!

Grilled Corn With Chili-Lime Butter
Corn on the cob
Squares of aluminum foil for wrapping corn
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Zest and juice from 1 lime

1. Place 1 ear of corn on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap corn with foil. Repeat with remaining ears of corn and aluminum foil squares.
2. Grill at medium heat for about 10 minutes. (Andy says he can tell it's done when he hears the oil begin to pop inside the foil wrapper.)
3. Meanwhile, combine butter and next 2 ingredients. Spoon onto a sheet of wax paper, and roll up to create a log shape. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Serve hot corn with butter mixture.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Blueberry Pie

Last night we had some friends over for dinner. Another friend had given me some fresh blueberries her mom had picked, so I decided to make this pie for dessert. However, I changed it a bit to make it even easier. The variation is as tasty as the original. I usually buy refrigerated piecrusts, but I forgot to pick one up at the store, so I made a homemade crust instead. Trust me, it was very easy; anyone can do it. In fact, the recipe I used is the one for Fried Apple Pies. I omitted the cinnamon and nutmeg and added lemon zest to complement the berries.

Blueberry Pie
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 pint blueberries
Lemony Piecrust

1. Combine sour cream and next 6 ingredients in a bowl. Pour into prepared crust.
2. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until pie is golden and set. Serve warm with ice cream.

Lemony Piecrust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1/4 cup ice water
1 tsp. lemon zest

1. Combine flour and next 2 ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture resembles coarse sand.
Stir in ice water until mixture comes together. Stir in lemon zest. Shape dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.
2. Roll out dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Fit dough into pan, and crimp edges.
3. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Easy Queso

This cheese dip recipe is a variation of this slow-cooker version that ran in the February 2006 issue of SL. I like the original a lot, but when I'm in a hurry I make this variation. It's great with homemade tortilla chips.

Easy Queso
1 lb. white American cheese (Buy this at the deli counter; I ask for it to be sliced without plastic separating the slices.)
1 can lime-and-cilantro Rotel tomatoes
1/2 to 3/4 cup cream or milk
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin

1. Tear cheese into pieces and place in a small saucepan. Add in tomatoes and green chiles and cream. Stir in pepper and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and mixture is blended. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


This isn't related to food, but I wanted to post a picture of the pretty arrangement that is on my dining room table. One of Andy's work houses has three side-by-side hydrangea bushes—one is pink, one is purple, and one is blue. Nothing says summer in South like beautiful hydrangea blooms!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake

This recipe was inspired from one in the April issue of Bon Appétit. It uses Greek yogurt (it's much thicker than regular yogurt) in place of the more common sour cream. I used a springform pan, which worked very well because it's a fluffy cake. This would be even better with homemade caramel sauce drizzled on top.

Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Beat butter and 1 1/3 cups brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until yellow disappears.
2. Combine 2 cups flour and next 3 ingredients. Gradually add to butter mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in pecans.
3. Pour batter into a lightly greased springform pan. In a separate bowl, stir together 2/3 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup flour, and next 2 ingredients. Dollop mixture over top of batter in springform pan.
4. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until done. Let cool in pan 30 minutes; release sides of pan to serve.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Raspberry Shortbread

This recipe is so easy but it tastes amazing! It has a short list of ingredients and a very straightforward preparation. The flavor combination are just right. The original recipe ran in the February 2002 issue of SL. My version is a little different because I didn't follow the directions very well but liked how it turned out. Almond extract is what makes the recipe stand out. It calls for a powdered sugar glaze to be drizzled on top. I omit the glaze because the shortbread is sweet enough already.

Raspberry-Almond Shortbread
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Seedless raspberry jam

1. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixture until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in almond extract.
2. Divide dough into 6 portions. Roll out each portion into a narrow strip (Mine look like Play-Doh snakes.) Flatten each strip; use your thumb to make a shallow indentation down the center of each strip.
3. Heat jam (about half a jar) in microwave for 30 seconds. Spoon jam in center indentation of each strip.
4. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into small pieces.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Grilled Potato Salad

I posted about this potato salad several weeks ago. The recipe is now available on You have to make it! I've prepared it several times now and think the following modifications make it even better. Now I slice the potatoes in thin rounds, instead of cubes. This allows them to cook quicker and avoid crunchy centers. I also caramelize the onions separately so that they stay soft and don't become too charred. Tossing it with half the dressing recipe gives a more subtle flavor profile.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fried Apple Pies

Granny Hunt used to make fried pies for us when we were children. She used her homemade applesauce and canned biscuit dough. Those pies have been on my mind lately, so I decided to try my hand at making them last night. The pastry dough recipe was very simple to make as was the apple mixture. I can't wait to try this with other kinds of fruit.

Fried Apple Pies
2 apples, cored and chopped (I don't peel mine.)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Pastry Dough
Vegetable oil

1. Melt butter in skillet. Sauté chopped apples, brown sugar, and next 5 (through lemon) ingredients for 30 minutes until apples begin to break down. Let mixture cool for 1 hour.
2. Roll out pastry dough on a well-floured surface; cut dough into circles using a biscuit cutter. Spoon a small amount of apple mixture into center of dough circle. Fold over dough, aligning edges. Crimp edges with a fork.
3. Fry pies in hot vegetable oil until golden brown.

Pastry Dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1/4 cup ice water

1. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients. Cut butter into mixture with pastry blender or two forks until mixture resembles peas. Stir in ice water. Shape dough into a disc; cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blue Cheese Butter

This decadent flavored butter recipe is outstanding; the flavors complement one another beautifully. It's terrific to top off steak. Next, I'm going to try using it in hamburger meat for a cookout.

Blue Cheese Butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Olive oil
1/2 cup butter, softened
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
Pepper to taste
1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1. Sauté shallot and garlic in hot oil until softened. Stir shallot mixture in softened butter; stir in lemon zest and juice. Stir in blue cheese, pepper, and, if desired, parsley. Spoon mixture into a piece of wax paper; roll butter mixture into a log, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Sweet Potato Hash

For dinner tonight, we had steak with Blue Cheese Butter, Roasted Asparagus, and Sweet Potato Hash. Andy really liked the savory sweet potato dish. It tasted even better today for lunch.

Sweet Potato Hash
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
Olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water for 8 minutes or until potatoes begin to soften. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, sauté onions and garlic in hot oil 10 minutes until onion is tender and begins to caramelize. Add sweet potatoes to skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes caramelize and begin to crisp on the edges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grits Cakes

Last weekend I went to the beach with some girlfriends and we ate at the beach standard, Red Bar. I had the blackened flounder with grits cakes. The cakes were creamy, crispy, and loaded with bacon and cheese—outstanding! Today I made grits for a brunch shower at work and decided to make grits cakes with the leftovers. They turned out pretty well, but next time I will add cooked, crumbled bacon to the grits. Smoked gouda in place of the white Cheddar would also be tasty.

Grits Cakes
Cold Cheese Grits
2 sourdough bread slices
Salt and pepper
1 egg
2 Tbsp. butter

1. Shape grits into patties. Process bread in food processor to form breadcrumbs. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly beat egg in another shallow dish. Dip each grits patty in egg and then in breadcrumb mixture.
2. Melt butter in skillet; cook patties until crispy on each side and heated through.

Cheese Grits

To make grits, I use a combination of milk (sometimes cream) and chicken stock for the best flavor. The following proportions will serve four people; you can increase the proportions as you need to.

Cheese Grits
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup grits (Quick cooking grits will be ready in 10 to 15 minutes; stone-ground grits will take almost an hour.)
1 (10-oz.) block white Cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring chicken stock and milk to a boil. Whisk in grits, whisking occasionally, until cooked. Stir in shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Belated Mother's Day

It's been a while since I have I gone so many days without posting some recipes. I have been cooking, but it's been leftovers from the freezer, sandwiches, nothing new. Things have been very busy lately. Tonight Mel, Russ, the girls, and my mom came for dinner so we could celebrate Mother's Day. (Mom was visiting my brother and his family on the actual day.) Also joining us was our adoptive college student, Chris, who graduated from Samford on Saturday. Our meal consisted of tried-and-true recipes: Lemon Chicken Pasta, Apple-Blue Cheese Chopped Salad (this time the blue cheese was on the side due to the picky eaters at the table), and Cherry-Peach Cobbler à la mode (I added a bag of frozen peaches to the cherries). I wanted to remind you of these tasty dishes!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pork Chops With Apple Gravy

Pork chops are something we don't eat often. Too many memories of dried-out ones, I think. The trick to avoid that dried-out texture is to brown the pork on the stovetop and finish them in the oven. When I did my menu planning last week, I remembered this apple-potato-onion soup I made several years ago. Those flavors went together beautifully and seemed like great partners for pork chops, so I came up with this recipe. (I've also probably seen the "pork chopsh and appleshauche" Brady Bunch episode one time too many! I served the pork chops over buttermilk mashed potatoes. Definitely try this!

Pork Chops With Apple Gravy
1 tsp. olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 apples, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
buttermilk mashed potatoes

1. Sauté chopped shallot in hot oil in a cast-iron skillet for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle pork chops on both sides with salt, pepper, thyme, and fennel seeds. Place in skillet, and brown on both sides. Add in chopped apple. Combine chicken stock, vinegar, and flour. Pour into skillet. Place skillet in preheated oven.
2 Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Serve pork chops, apples, and gravy over mashed potatoes.