Sweet Corn Pudding

I’m a sucker for corn puddings and corn casseroles. I’m even known to use the recipe from the box of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix (recipe found here) or even the cheesy goodness of Paula Deen’s version. Since those can be a little sweet, I was pleased to watch P. Allen Smith introduce his Aunt Antha’s Sweet Corn Pudding on his show (here is the video). I cut his version down, as I rarely entertain eight people at one time these days.

4 ears fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob (about 2 cups kernels)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk (for richer pudding use half and half)
1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (white if you have it)
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Put about half the corn in a blender or food processor until finely chopped.

Stir eggs and milk into a bowl. Add the corn and all its liquid. Stir to combine. Add in the cornstarch, salt, pepper and melted butter. Stir well. Pour into a well buttered baking dish and bake until the center jiggles slightly when shaken and top has begun to turn brown. This takes 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot.

Peanutty Chocolate Cheerio Clusters

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

Ovid

In honor of taking it easy on Labor Day, I’m making these no bake dessert clusters. I recommend using bar chocolate here as morsels have a stabilizer that means the finished candy will have a bit of a waxy texture. I used 3 oz unsweetened and 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate to come up with a cup of chopped but you can use any combination of chocolate (including milk and white) to come up with the level of chocolate intensity that you prefer.

Peanutty Chocolate Cheerios Clusters

1 cup chocolate, chopped
½ cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups Cheerios cereal
flake sea salt, optional

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Alternately, set out paper candy cups on a baking sheet for more contained servings.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and the peanut butter, stirring regularly until melted together and smooth.

Place the Cheerios in a large mixing bowl and pour the melted chocolate and peanut butter over them. Stir gently with a spatula, until the cereal is well-coated in chocolate and no dry spots remain.

Drop small spoonfuls of the candy onto the prepared baking sheet. While the chocolate is still wet, lightly sprinkle with flake salt, if desired.

After all of the candies are formed, refrigerate until the chocolate is completely set. Store the candies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month but they aren’t going to last that long!

Carolina Gold Grilled Pork Chops

My mom has been up in Asheville for the summer so my thoughts turned to the many different Carolina styles of barbecue. I decided to virtually head down I-26 from her and try the South Carolina style (mustard based). I had pork steaks instead of a whole hog so I didn’t need to use a sauce. Instead, I rubbed on a basic mustard based spice mix on the chops and then melted some butter and mixed it with more rub to baste the chops while they cooked. Because these aren’t particularly thick, instead of letting them come to room temperature before going on the fire, put them on the grill right out of the fridge.

Carolina Gold Rub

3 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix together. Sprinkle generously over pork or chicken. Store any remaining in an air tight container.

Grilled Chops

4 pork chops
1/2 cup kosher salt
12 peppercorns
2 black teabags

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the salt, peppercorns and teabags and stir to mix. After 5 minutes, remove teabags and add a cup of ice cubes. Stir to lower the temperature of the water. Mix with another 4 cups of water and add the chops.

Brine the chops for 1 hour – no more or they will be too salty. Rinse and pat dry. Lay out on a rimmed baking sheet and rub both sides with dry spice mix. Place in refrigerator overnight.

Use 2-3 tablespoons of remaining rub to mix with 4-6 tablespoons of melted butter.

Set up your grill for indirect grilling. Start the chops on the cool side for 4 minutes per side. Move to the hot side and baste with the butter/rub mixture for an additional 2 minutes per side or until done.