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Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

First, let me tell you this: in our house, the TV is almost permanently tuned into the Food Network. Seriously – we love watching this station. When we change the channel, it typically gets changed to the Cooking Channel. Notice a pattern yet? Okay, so I have watched a few shows that talked about Mexican street corn and each time, my mouth started watering! So when I was at the grocery store last week, I saw some fresh ears of corn and decided it was time to give this a try. The other night, I cooked this up along with some grilled chicken tacos. Let me tell you… These were DELICIOUS! They got 2 thumbs up by the kids and grown-ups alike. If you’ve never tried this before, let me tell you – you are missing out! If you do try it, let me give you a hint – don’t be afraid to slather on the mixture. The more, the better!

Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Ingredients

  1. 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1/4 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
  3. 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija or feta cheese, plus more for serving
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ancho or guajillo chili powder, plus more for serving
  5. 1 medium clove garlic, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  6. 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  7. 4 ears shucked corn
  8. 1 lime, cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, chili powder, garlic, and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir until homogenous and set aside.
  3. When grill is hot, place corn directly on to grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes total.
  4. Transfer corn to plate and use a large spoon or spatula to evenly coat the corn on all sides with the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with extra cheese and chili powder and serve immediately with lime wedges.
http://www.justusbarkers.com/2013/11/mexican-street-corn-elotes/

*Photo and recipe courtesy of Serious Eats.


Hereford Style Bagels

These are not NY Bagels.

They are not grocery store, gummy texture, never grow mold bagels.

They are not . . . english muffins, either.

These are Hereford Style Bagels, baby!

 bagel_Snapseed

I was going to show you a photo of the bagel I ate for breakfast. Instead, I offer you the photo of where the bagel was last seen.

I started making bagels when my family lived in Crete. We couldn’t reliably get bagels from our commissary. Either someone would fail to order them, people would buy them in bulk when the shipment came in, or maybe there was a bagel strike somewhere. Regardless of the reason, I realized that if I wanted a bagel, I was going to have to make it myself.

Bagels are easy to make and they are so much tastier than store bought ones. Please do not be intimidated by the making of bagels. Essentially, they are bread rolls that are boiled first. Not a big deal. If you have ever made any kind of dough, including play dough, you can do this.  In fact, I think you may be qualified if you’ve ever made Mud Pies.

Hereford Style Bagels

Ingredients

  1. 4 c. flour (I use bread flour)
  2. 1 T. sugar
  3. 1 1/2 t. salt
  4. 1 T. oil (I use coconut oil)
  5. 2 t. instant yeast
  6. 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 c. of warm water

Instructions

  1. Fill a measuring cup with 1 1/4 of warm water and sprinkle in the yeast. (This step isn't necessary, but I like to make sure that the yeast is activated before adding it into flour mixture.)
  2. In a large bowl, mix the first 4 ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, & oil.
  3. Add your water/yeast mixture to the flour mixture. If the mixture is too dry, add a little bit of water and mix well.
  4. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it on the counter for a few minutes. We're looking for a smooth and uniform texture.
  5. Cut the dough into 8 equal sized pieces. Let them rest on the counter for about 15 minutes.
  6. After they have rested, take a ball and roll it into a rope. Do this by using two hands side-by-side to roll the dough back and forth. The rope should just be a tad longer that the width of both hands. Basically, it should stick out about an inch from both hands.
  7. Take both ends of a rope into one hand so that they overlap. Then you roll the rope back and forth on the counter to join the seams. You end up with your hand in the middle of a bagel. Be sure not to press too hard or one side of your bagel with be thinner than the other. Try for a uniform shape. (Don't worry, this part takes practice.)
  8. Let your bagel babies rest for about 20 minutes. While you're waiting: Preheat your oven to 425 F, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and grease a large baking sheet.
  9. After 20 minutes take your puffy bagels-to-be over to the boiling water. Gently place a few in the water, careful not to crowd them. Boil 1 minute on each side. Place them on a wire rack to drip dry. At this point you can place your bagels face down on a shallow plate sprinkled with a topping of your choice (i.e. sesame seeds, poppy seeds). I let them dry & cool down, about a minute or so, before adding a topping.
  10. Next, place them on the baking sheet. They don't have to be completely dry and you will find they that dry quickly, anyway. Bake for at least 10 minutes on each side (you may adjust this time according to your preference).
  11. Let them cool. And enjoy.
http://www.justusbarkers.com/2013/10/hereford-style-bagels/


Pure Joy

Do you like Almond Joys? Or Mounds? Or Bounty?

If so, this is the recipe for you. I couldn’t pass this one up. It is as healthy as you are going to get, when indulging in a candy bar. It even has the Matt stamp of approval. So, you just know they rock!

These are so easy that I also made these for Cookie Wednesday, along with those yummy Chocolate Crispy Bars.

Pure Joy

Pure Joy

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
  2. 1/3 maple syrup
  3. 12 whole almonds
  4. 6 oz. dark chocolate, melted
  5. 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Place coconut and maple syrup in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 2 minutes, until coconut is very moist and is firm enough to keep a shape.
  2. Place a cooling rack on top of a large baking sheet. Using your hands, take about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture and form it into an oval. Place on the cooling rack. Repeat with remaining coconut. Place an almond on top of each coconut mound.
  3. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil and mix until smooth. Using a large spoon, drizzle enough chocolate over each mound to cover. Refrigerate for 10 minutes until firm. You can dip the bottoms in the remaining chocolate. Turn upside down on rack and refrigerate again. En-Joy!
http://www.justusbarkers.com/2013/05/pure-joy/

The right kind of coconut is key here – finely shredded, unsweetened. I could not find this type and had to substitute it with shredded, sweetened coconut. It worked, but not well, as they photo clearly shows. This recipe yields 12 bundles of joy. However, I only produced 9. Mine were a little larger due to the coconut problem. But they still taste amazing!


Chocolate Crispy Bars

Three years ago, or was it four? I decided to liven up summer vacation by introducing Cookie Wednesdays. This has turned out to be a big hit.

The kids and I (okay, Matt too) decide what to make. Since summer break tends to be long, everyone gets to have his or her cookie and eat it too. Typically, we all run out of ideas before the end of summer. I know. It’s a cryin’ shame.

Why Wednesdays and not Tuesdays or Thursdays? Well, simply because Wednesdays are mid-week and I was really trying hard to cope with those long summer days. The great thing about these days are that the kids are involved in the cookie making process. However, they usually are anyway, so this really isn’t breaking news.

This week, I chose Chocolate Crispy Bars. They turned out to be delightful.

Decadent.

Delicious.

Dreamy.

Downright Delectable.

I’m done.

Chocolate Crispy Bars

Chocolate Crispy Bars

Ingredients

  1. 6 Tablespoons Salted Butter
  2. 10 ounces, weight Large Marshmallows
  3. *1/8 teaspoon Salt (optional)
  4. 1/3 cup Chocolate Spread (like Nutella)
  5. 6 cups Crispy cereal
  6. 1-1/2 cup Miniature Marshmallows
  7. 1 cup Pecans, Finely Chopped
  8. 5 ounces, weight Semi Sweet Chocolate Melted

Instructions

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add marshmallows and salt and stir until melted. Halfway through the melting process, add Nutella. When Nutella and marshmallows are melted, add additional two tablespoons of butter and stir until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, melt semi-sweet chocolate over a double boiler until smooth.
  3. Add Crispy cereal to the large pot and fold in the chocolate mixture. When it's almost all combined, add mini-marshmallows to the bowl, then continue folding until everything's combined.
  4. Immediately press mixture into a thoroughly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle with half the pecans. Drizzle semi-sweet chocolate in zig-zags all over the top of the treats. Sprinkle rest of pecans on top.
  5. Allow to set before cutting.
http://www.justusbarkers.com/2013/05/chocolate-crispy-bars/

 

 


Pirog (Russian Apple Pie)

We tried this recipe as part of the two week study of Russia. It was really good and I’m planning on making it again. Plus it was so easy.

Pirog (Russian Apple Pie)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Pirog (Russian Apple Pie)

Ingredients

  1. 4 apples - peeled & diced (I used 3 large)
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 C. sugar
  4. 1 C. flour
  5. 1 teaspoon (or more) butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs.
  3. Add flour and sugar.
  4. Butter pie dish and add apples.
  5. Pour egg mixture over apples and smooth it out evenly. *I topped it with small pats of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until apples are golden brown.
  7. Best served with vanilla ice cream.
http://www.justusbarkers.com/2013/03/pirog-russian-apple-pie/

 


Malva Pudding

Thanks to a very dear friend of ours, we were introduced to a delicious South African dish while we were living in Crete. Malva Pudding is a wonderful dessert for any occasion – and last night we decided to finally make it for ourselves. It was absolutely delicious – and brought back memories of sharing time with our friends back in Crete.

Malva Pudding

Servings: 4 to 6 servings

Malva Pudding

Ingredients

    For the pudding
  1. 6 ½ ounces sugar
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  4. 5 ounces all-purpose flour
  5. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  6. ½ teaspoon salt
  7. 1 tablespoon butter (a generous tablespoon)
  8. 1 teaspoon vinegar
  9. 1⁄3 cup milk
    For the sauce
  1. ¾ cup fresh cream
  2. 3 ½ ounces butter
  3. 3-5 ounces sugar
  4. 1⁄3 cup hot water
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F (180 deg Celsius).
  2. Grease an oven dish. I used a polish pottery pie plate. Any oven dish about that size should work.
  3. Beat or whip the sugar and eggs. It's quickest in a food processor, or use electric beaters. Beat until thick and lemon coloured, then add the jelly (jam) and mix through.
  4. Melt the butter (don't boil) and add the butter and vinegar to the wet mixture.
  5. Sieve, or simply mix together: the flour, soda and salt.
  6. Add this mixture with the milk to the egg mixture in the processor or mixing bowl. Beat well.
  7. Pour into an oven-proof dish and bake until pudding is brown and well-risen -- depending on your oven and oven dish this will be between 30 - 45 minutes. (Mine was done in 30 minutes this time).
  8. In a pot, melt together the ingredients for the sauce, and stir well.
  9. Pour it over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  10. Leave to stand for a while before serving, but serve warm. Because it's rich it does not really need enhancement, but if you want, serve with vanilla ice cream.

Notes

I skipped the food processor altogether and did all the work in my Blendtec blender. Worked great!

http://www.justusbarkers.com/2012/03/malva-pudding/


Spaghetti and Pesto Trapanese

We just made this delicious dish last night and were very impressed. Ginger made some homemade whole wheat spaghetti noodles to go with this and they helped to bring out the delicious flavors of this very easy to prepare dish. We’ll definitely be making this again – and VERY soon!

Spaghetti and Pesto Trapanese

Servings: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  1. ¾ pound cherry tomatoes, very ripe and sweet
  2. 12 leaves fresh basil
  3. ⅓ cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
  4. 1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
  5. ¼ teaspoon peperoncino
  6. ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cooking the pasta
  7. ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  8. 1 pound spaghetti
  9. ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Instructions

  1. Rinse the cherry tomatoes and pat them dry. Rinse the basil leaves and pat dry.
  2. Drop the tomatoes into the blender jar or food processor bowl followed by the garlic clove, the almonds, basil leaves, peperoncino and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend for a minute or more to a fine purée; scrape down the bowl and blend again if any large bits or pieces have survived.
  3. With the machine still running, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, emulsifying the purée into a thick pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning. (If you're going to dress the pasta within a couple of hours, leave the pesto at room temperature. Refrigerate for longer storage, up to 2 days, but let it return to room temperature before cooking the pasta.)
  4. To cook the spaghetti, heat 6 quarts of water, with 1 tablespoon salt to the boil in the large pot. Scrape all the pesto into a big warm bowl.
  5. Cook the spaghetti al dente, lift it from the cooking pot, drain briefly, and drop onto the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, sprinkle the cheese all over, and toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.

Notes

This delicious recipe is courtesy of Lidia's Italy

http://www.justusbarkers.com/2012/03/spaghetti-and-pesto-trapanese/


Paella

I just made this recipe today (see Variations below) and it was a big hit with everybody.

Paella

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Paella

Ingredients

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 tablespoon paprika
  3. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  4. salt and black pepper to taste
  5. 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces
  6. 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  7. 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  8. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  9. 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  10. 1 pinch saffron threads
  11. 1 bay leaf
  12. ½ bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  13. 1 quart chicken stock
  14. 2 lemons, zested
  15. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  16. 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  17. 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  18. 1 lb. chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled
  19. 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper. Stir in chicken pieces to coat. Cover, and refrigerate.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron threads, bay leaf, parsley, chicken stock, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Stir in marinated chicken and onion; cook 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and sausage; cook 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cook, turning the shrimp, until both sides are pink.
  4. Spread rice mixture onto a serving tray. Top with meat and seafood mixture.

Notes

I used a little less chicken than what this called for and I think it was just the right amount – 2 chicken breasts as opposed to 2 lbs. of chicken breasts.
I did not use the red pepper flakes as most of the folks in my house can’t handle the heat.
I could not find any saffron locally, so I substituted with a 5 oz. packet of Mahatma Long Grain Rice with Saffron Yellow Seasonings. I added regular short grain rice to this to equal 2 full cups.
I did not use onions, as 50% of my household doesn’t like onions (though I’ll probably add them in the future just to see the difference in taste).
I used a frozen bag of red/yellow/green peppers instead, adding them when I added the shrimp.

http://www.justusbarkers.com/2010/06/paella/


Three Bean BBQ Beans

Just cooked these up for last night’s dinner at the chapel and they got rave reviews, so I thought I’d share the recipe. Very easy to cook and come out absolutely delicious!

Recipe: Three Bean BBQ Beans

Summary: Great BBQ Bean recipe for picnics and potlucks.

Ingredients

  • 31 ounces dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 31 ounces white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 20 ounces pineapple chunks in juice, drained
  • 44 ounces pork and beans (DO NOT DRAIN)
  • 18 ounces barbecue sauce, any flavor
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 lb kielbasa, sliced and quartered into bite-sized pieces

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot, stir, and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.

Quick Notes

I could not find any white kidney beans, so just used Great Northern beans instead. I think any white bean will do.

Cooking time (duration): 10 minutes prep / 7-9 hours til ready.

Meal type: dinner

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

My rating:5 stars: ★★★★★


Chili Corn Bread Salad

I’ve been looking for a way to share recipes for some time now and finally think I’ve got it figured out. So, here’s my first recipe that I think you all will love.  I have made this a few times now and it has been a hit every time.

Recipe: Chili Corn Brean Salad

Summary: Easy to make and extremely delicious salad. This will be a hit at any potluck!

Ingredients

  1. 1 (8 1/2 ounce) package corn muffin mix
  2. 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, undrained
  3. 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  4. 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  5. Pinch of rubbed sage
  6. 1 cup mayonnaise
  7. 1 cup sour cream
  8. 1 envelope ranch dressing mix
  9. 2 (15 ounce each) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  10. 2 (15 1/4 ounce each) cans whole kernel corn, drained
  11. 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  12. 1 cup chopped green pepper
  13. 1 cup chopped green onions
  14. 10 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  15. 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400.
  2. Prepare corn bread batter per instructions on package.
  3. Stir in the chilies, cumin, oregano and sage.
  4. Spread into 8×8 greased baking pan.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until an toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean); cool.
  6. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream and dressing mix; set aside.
  7. Crumble half the corn bread into a 13x9x2 dish.
  8. Layer with half the beans, mayonnaise mixture, corn, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, bacon, and cheese.
  9. Repeat layer.
  10. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

CulinaryTradition: USA (Southwestern)

My rating: 5.0 stars
*****