Saturday, July 28, 2012

Spicy Grilled Corn

One of the best things about summer is sweet fresh corn.I never buy corn during the rest of the year because if it isn’t summer, it isn’t time for corn on the cob.
Here’s one way I like to celebrate the bounty of sweet summer corn--a definite crowd pleaser at summer gatherings.

Spicy Grilled Corn

1 TBLS butter
2 TBLS olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 large garlic cloves, minced fine
2 TBLS Hot Pepper Jelly
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
6 medium ears sweet corn, husks removed

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the honey, garlic, Hot Pepper Jelly, and seasonings until blended; heat through. Brush over each ear of shucked corn.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Grill the corn --covered lightly in foil (but not wrapped), over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until the corn is tender, turning and basting occasionally. Serve corn with any remaining butter mixture on the side. If you are grilling salmon or swordfish this sauce makes a super addition as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blueberry Shortcakes

Like blueberries? Why not try them in a blueberry shortcake with cornmeal biscuits and fresh whipped cream. Yesterday was blueberry picking day for me--26 pounds of the biggest juicy berries I've ever picked. Of course once I got my buckets home and rinsed them all and packed them away I was really tuckered.. but not too tuckered to prepare my fave dessert of the season.

With the essence of lime and the subtle crunch of the cornmeal, these shortcakes are really easy to love ♥

Blueberry Shortcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBLS baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 TBLS finely grated lime zest
1 cup heavy cream
2 TBLS fresh lime juice

Lime Sugar

1 1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 1/2 TBLS sugar

Blueberry Filling

6 cups fresh blueberries, divided
3 TBLS sugar
5 TBLS water
1 TBLS fresh lime juice

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare the lime sugar by mixing the sugar and lime zest in a small bowl and set aside.

For the shortcakes: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a food processor pulse flour mixture together with the cut butter pieces and lime zest until the mixture is crumbly.

Combine the heavy cream and lime juice in a measuring cup. It may curdle, but that's okay. Slowly drizzle the cream mixture into the processor over the crumbled flour mixture. Pulse a few more times until the dough is moist and starts to form clumps. Pour dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press and roll the dough over about 5 or 6 times until it comes together smoothly. Now pat the dough mixture into a square approximately 8 inches square and 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 3 columns, then across into 4 rows--yielding 12 cakes. Using a spatula, transfer the cakes to your baking sheet, spaced 2 inches apart. Sprinkle lime sugar on top of each cake and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

While the shortcakes bake, make the blueberry filling. In a medium saucepan, heat 3 cups of the blueberries, sugar and water over medium heat. Cook gently, stirring often--mashing some of the blueberries with a fork until the berries are softened and juice has thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Cool five minutes--then stir in the remaining 3 cups blueberries.

Assemble the shortcakes. Split the biscuits in half horizontally using a serrated knife. On the bottom of each biscuit, spoon about 1/3 cup of the fruit and juices, add a dollop of freshly made whipped cream, and then just cover with the top half of the biscuit and dig in. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pesto Pasta

Boy, hasn't it been a hot week? One thing in my garden that simply loves the warmth and sunshine is my basil patch. This morning I harvested two baskets full! I knew I wouldn't want to do much indoor cooking, so I made a really quick pasta salad this morn before I headed off to the beach for the day.

A summertime staple around our house is basil pesto. It makes such a nice dressing for grilled summer veggies or in my favorite morning crepe with spinach, ham and provolone..or on an easy appetizer with roasted tomatoes. But today most of what I made went into a pasta salad with a handful of olives and roasted red peppers. Yumma!

Basil Pesto Pasta

For the Pesto

3 cups fresh basil leaves (packed into measuring cup)
4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pistacchio nuts
3/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

For pasta salad:

1 # pasta of choice
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
1/4 cup black olives, chopped

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain & cool completely.

For the Pesto

Wash basil leaves if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Put basil leaves and sliced garlic into food processor that's been fitted with the steel blade and process until basil and garlic is finely chopped. Drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube as you process.

Add pistacchio nuts, cheese, and lemon juice to the chopped basil mixture and process 1-2 minutes more, until the pesto is mostly pureed and well mixed.

Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and pulse a few times more.

If you aren't planning to use the pesto right away, store it in the refrigerator in a covered glass jar, where it will keep for more than a week.

For pasta salad, add 2 cups of Basil Pesto to cooled pasta along with 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers and 1/4 cup chopped black olives. Toss all together until completely blended. Chill covered at least two hours in refrigerator before serving.

Toss some chops onto the grill and pour yourself an ice cold herbal tea and pass the Pesto pasta around the table. Stay cool! Enjoy!