Broccoli and Corn Casserole

I like broccoli casseroles. I like corn casseroles. So, why has it taken me so long to come up with a broccoli and corn casserole? This is a cheesy casserole that is a perfect way to eat your veggies.

Feel free to use other cheeses besides cheddar – I tossed in some Monterey Pepper Jack (upping it to nearly two cups cheese) as the grilled chicken we ate with the first version of the casserole because it had an adobo rub on it. The second (when I added the sour cream), just had cheddar as we ate ribs with it.

Thanks to my taste testers – Zach, Michelle, Charlotte, Thomas and Kathy.

Broccoli and Corn Casserole

1 stick butter, melted
1 box corn bread/muffin mix (I used Jiff)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups corn cut off the cob (or 2 cans whole kernel corn)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 cups frozen broccoli, thawed and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together 1 cup of the corn muffin mix with the melted butter and sour cream.

In a large bowl, mix together the corn, the egg, the seasonings and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Stir in broccoli. Stir in the buttered and and sour creamed corn muffin mix until well combined.

Pour into a buttered 9×13 casserole dish. Sprinkle top with remaining dry corn muffin mix and the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

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Adobo Rubbed Grilled Chicken

I’ve been getting a lot of use out of my Soul box from Penzey’s Spices. This is a box with 8 different spice mixtures the company puts out. As Bill wrote, “The blends make up much the soul of American cooking and each represents those souls brave enough to find their way to American and whose courage has always made America great.”

I’ve already used the Ozark style seasoning on brined, grilled chicken:

the Galena Street Rib Rub on some ribs;

and, the Cajun Seasoning in my Cha Cha Cha Cajun Shrimp.

Now it is only fitting, I use the Adobo seasoning on more grilled chicken. It is a little spicy, so I needed to make a rub with brown sugar and salt first.

Adobo Rub

Brine:

4 black tea bags (I used orange pekoe)
1 quart boiling water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 quarts water
10 lb chicken leg quarters

Rub:

3 tablespoons Adobo seasoning (I used Penzey’s)
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Steep the tea until good and dark. In a large pot mix the tea with the sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add in additional water and stir to mix. Place the chicken in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Mix the rub ingredients together and set aside in an airtight container until ready to use.

Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and coat with the dry rub. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours.

Prepare your grill for indirect grilling. Remove chicken from the refridgerator and let sit on the counter until the coals are ready. Grill meat side down for 15 minutes, then turn over and grill until done about 40 to 50 minutes more.

A Fine Strawberry Eton Mess

Both Prince Harry and William attended Eton. It seems only fitting, as the older brother is best man when his younger brother gets married to Meghan Markle, to make another British dessert created at that school. The Eton Mess has layers of whipped cream, meringues and rough chopped strawberries.

Strawberries in whipped cream can be pretty darn romantic. At least as romantic as when the prince says to the commoner, “I’m so lucky.”

I could probably come up with a recipe but, seriously, this is a super easy dessert to make, especially if you use store bought meringues. Whip the cream with a little sugar and vanilla. Mix the chopped strawberries some sugar to get them juicy and to keep things sweet.

Crumble the meringues and mix with the whipped cream. Your choice to either mix the strawberries with the cream to make a more traditional mess or to layer the whipped cream and strawberries in glass for a prettier presentation. In any event, prepare to gobble this up!

If you’re like me and make yours in a glass, you can raise it to the newlyweds. My toast to them is: “A toast to love and laughter, and happily ever after.”

Sticky Toffee Pudding

In celebration of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, I decided to make a decidedly British dessert. Of course, I’m going to put a southern American twist on it, too. Sticky toffee pudding is one of those things I’ve read about in novels and thought that it would good to eat in the early morning hours.

I started with this recipe from the BBC’s Good Food but then had to make a number or substitutions and conversions (and translations). I don’t have treacle, but I did have molasses. I don’t have the demerara or muscovado sugar but I did have brown sugar. I had no dates but I did have figs.

The result is a figgy spice cake that is very rich with complex flavor.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

1 cup whole dried figs
¾ cups boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour, sifted
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 stick butter, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses (or black treacle)
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon rum

For the toffee sauce

¾ cups light brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon molasses (or black treacle)

Chop the figs into small and pieces and then put them in a bowl. Pour over the boiling water over and leave for about 30 mins until cool and well-soaked. Use a potato masher or a fork to mash the figs. Stir in the vanilla extract and set aside.

Use two tablespoons of the butter to butter and flour seven ramekins or a small bundt pan and sit them on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, whisk the sifted flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda together. Beat the remaining 6 tablespoons of the butter and sugar together in a large bowl for a few minutes until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the molasses. Gently fold in one-third of the flour, then half the milk, being careful not to overbeat. Repeat until all the flour and milk is used. Mix in the rum. Stir the soaked figs into the pudding batter. The batter will be soft and thick. Spoon it evenly between the containers, allowing room to rise. Bake for 20-25 minutes for ramekins and 35-40 minutes for a bundt pan, until firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, put the sugar and butter for the sauce in a medium saucepan with half the cream. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring all the time, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the molasses, turn up the heat slightly and let the mixture bubble away for 5 minutes or until it is a rich toffee color, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn. Take the pan off the heat and beat in the rest of the cream.

Remove the puddings from the oven and set on a wire rack for 5 minutes before loosening them from the sides with a small knife before turning them out. They can be served now with the sauce drizzled over, but they’ll be even stickier if left for a day or two coated in the sauce. To do this, pour about half the sauce into one or two ovenproof serving dishes. Sit the upturned puddings on the sauce, then pour the rest of the sauce over them. Cover with a loose tent of foil so that the sauce doesn’t smudge (no need to chill).

When ready to serve, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Warm the puddings through, still covered, for 15-20 mins or until the sauce is bubbling.

Undertow

For Mother’s Day, my sister and brother-in-law took us to the Undertow in Orange Beach, Alabama for their $10 all you can eat Crawfish and Royal Red buffet. Sure, there were also potatoes, corn and sausage but we were there for the seafood.

Royal Reds are a variety of shrimp that live the deeper waters off the Alabama Gulf Coast and are large and sweet. The meat is comparable to lobster and that’s why we had ours with drawn butter.

The Undertow is a casual, local hangout and the staff are friendly, even as they worked their tails off keeping up with refilling the buffet and slinging drinks. They run the buffet on weekends during the shrimping season but get there early – it runs from 2pm to 7pm or until they run out! Smoking is allowed at the bar and there is outside seating as well.

The Undertow
25025 Canal Rd
Orange Beach, Alabama

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding

I’ve been trying to find more recipes for my sister that are lower in sugar and friendly to diabetics. I’m still working on desserts she can enjoy but, in this recipe, the bananas (high in fiber) and peanut butter (low glycemic index) are a good start. I put them in small ramekins to help with portion control, too.

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups 2% milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium banana, one smushed the other sliced
1 1/2 cups ‘Nilla wafers

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch and milk and stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into eggs before pouring the eggs into the pan. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the peanut butter, butter and vanilla. Stir in smushed and sliced bananas. Let cool slightly while you prepare the dessert dishes.

Crush all but 6 ‘Nilla wafers and sprinkle them into ramekins or pudding cups to cover the bottom. Pour in peanut butter and banana pudding. Place any additional crumbs and a single ‘Nilla wafer on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cha Cha Cha Cajun Shrimp

When I lived in San Francisco in the 1990’s, one of my favorite restaurants was Cha Cha Cha in the Mission. The menu is Cuban and Puerto Rican inspired while also fusing some of the best of many other cuisines.

I recently came across the restaurant’s cookbook in the used cookbook store in New Orleans (Kitchen Witch). The literary revisiting of their restaurant made me hungry and sent me to the kitchen to cook. One of the dishes that I really liked, I fixed for my folks this week. Cha Cha Cha Cajun Shrimp is a tapas dish there and is colorful and flavorful. It can be a little spicy, so I dropped the spice level from the original (1 1/2 cups!). Serve it with lots of crusty bread to dip into the delicious sauce.

We ate it as a main course after doubling everything and served it with rosemary sweet potatoes medallions.

I will be returning to their cookbook for other recipes soon!

Cha Cha Cha Cajun Shrimp

1/2 cup Cajun Spice Mix
12 ounce dark beer
2 cups heavy cream
1 lb peeled medium sized shrimp

In a heavy saucepan, mix cajun spice mix and beer. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk to make a thick paste. Gradually stir in cream to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add shrimp and stir. Reduce heat and cook shrimp over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Serve with fresh, crusty bread.