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    Corn and Black Bean Salad

    I know. It’s been a long time. I just haven’t been able to get my head in the game. But I am back. And it’s Thursday. Which means it is Every(thurs)day Food Recipe day!

    I loved the July/August 2011! Then again, I love anything that is chock full of simple, it’s-to-hot-to-cook recipes!

    So here I was making these fabulous Burgers al Pastor – you have to make these, they were seriously slammin’ – with Cilantro Fries – yet to come! – and needed some sort of salad to tie it all together, but within in my FIESTA theme! Everyday Food and Corn and Black Bean Salad to the rescue!

    • 1 T vegetable oil
    • 2 C corn kernels
    • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 t seeded, and minced Serrano chile
    • 4 t chopped cilantro
    • 1 T lime juice
    • 1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced medium
    • coarse salt & pepper to taste

    NOTE: Obviously, fresh cilantro and fresh lime juice. I couldn’t find Serrano chilis – well, the husband couldn’t – so I used jalapeno. You will get about 2 cups of corn from 3 ears of fresh corn. Go with the fresh if you can.

    In a large, nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is browned in spots, should be about 3 minutes.

    Transfer corn to a large bowl. Add balance of ingredients. Stir well. Serve immediately.

    Really, does it get easy than this!?


    Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Chops

    After a long day of work, I want a recipe that is simple, easy and quick to put to together. But wait, it has to be nice to look at, and tasty, , and good for company, and make the testosterone triplets think I slaved over a hot stove AFTER having worked all day. How else do you think I get that dishwasher emptied, the garbage cans taken out, the dog walked, etc.? I’m not asking for too much, am I?
    I found this recipe searching through Everyday Food Magazines for inspiration and another recipe for Every(thurs)day Food Magazine day. This instantly caught my eye … pork … prosciutto … one pan … less than 30 minutes. PERFECT!
    • 4 boneless pork loin chops (5 to 6 ounces each)
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
    • 4 slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces total)
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

    NOTE: I used dried thyme leaves. I had bought a bunch of thyme for a different recipe, didn’t use it all, dried the leaves and put them in a jar. Cheaper, less wasteful, and more convenient as I ALWAYS forget to buy the herbs!

    Season pork chops with salt and pepper.

    Sprinkle thyme leaves over each, pressing, to help them adhere to the meat.

    Wrap 1 prosciutto slice around middle of each chop, like a belt; press ends to seal.

    NOTE: I was worried how the prosciutto was going to stick together once it started cooking, but it was kitchen magic and they stayed in place (and I managed NOT to eat the prosciutto before wrapping it around the pork!)

    In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Cook chops until golden brown and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. (Cook in two batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding.) Serve chops with lemon wedges, if desired.
    NOTE: Skipped the lemon wedges.  Steamed some green beans and made some quick (but yummy) potatoes to go with. Everything started and ended at the same time!

    For the potatoes:

    In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 lb halved new potatoes, cut sides down, and 6 peeled garlic cloves; cook, turning potatoes occasionally, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

    Add 3 sprigs of rosemary and 1/2 cup water; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook, turning potatoes occasionally, until tender and water has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes (check after 15 minutes and add more water if potatoes are not done).

    Fudgy Rocky Road Bars

    As you flip through magazines, things catch your eye and you just can’t help but re-create them.

    This recipe from Everyday Food had everything I love in a sweet snack – FLUFF! – nuts – graham crackers – and fudge. Very hard to resist. Very simple to put together.

    It’s a good thing there’s always an endless stream of hungry boys through my house or I would be eating way too many of these things!

    • 8 graham crackers
    • 1 1/2 C natural almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
    • 1 C marshmallow Fluff
    • 1 bag (12oz) semisweet chips
    • 1 can (14oz) condensed milk

    Preheat oven to 375

    Line bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with graham crackers, breaking if necessary. Bake until crackers are lightly toasted and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

    NOTE: Who knew that lightly baked graham crackers could smell so good!? They get slightly nutty in flavor and smell and the flavor of them becomes much deeper.

    Sprinkle with almonds.

    Dollop with Fluff.

    NOTE: It should say dollop the bars with Fluff and not you. Very hard to take 1 cup of Fluff out of the jar and dollop onto the bars without ingesting it all! Fortunately there was enough leftover in the jar for a Fluffernutter or 2 – JUST FOR ME!

    In a heatproof bowl over simmering water, combine chocolate chips and condensed milk. Cook, stirring occasionally until chips melt and mixture is smooth.

    Pour chocolate mixture over marshmallow topping.

    NOTE: This mixture is very thick and as it cools it gets even thicker. You have to work very quickly and very lightly. Anything but a light touch makes the nuts and Fluff move around too much.

    Swirl with a knife. Refrigerate for about an hour to set.

    NOTE: Be careful swirling. The mixture is thick, the Fluff is thick so a thin blade doesn’t really swirl it, but be careful not to scoop up the nuts in the swirling.

    Cut. Enjoy!

    NOTE: The only problem I experienced with cutting these is the graham crackers don’t really get adhered to the nuts, Fluff and fudgy goodness. The nuts are between the fluff and fudge and crackers so unless, somehow, the goop gets through the nuts to the crackers, they don’t stick much and the crackers tend to fall off when cutting or first bite. Really, seem like much of a problem? Gonna stop you from eating them? Nope and nope. Just sayin’ …

    Thai Beef with Chilies and Basil over Coconut Rice

    So here we are again at Thursday. I need some quick. I need something that doesn’t cluck. I need something that will satisfy 2 hungry boys and one hungry though trying to be healthy man.

    I pulled my stack of Everyday Food Magazines from the shelf, searching for inspiration.  I have passed this particular recipe dozens of times. I have it saved on my iPhone. I have it printed in a pile of recipes I am dying to try.

    Well, this is it… JUMP IN …

    • 1 1/4 cups jasmine rice
    • 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
    • Coarse salt
    • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
    • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 3 long hot peppers or red jalapeno chiles, seeded and sliced into 2-inch matchsticks
    • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
    • 1 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
    • Lime wedges, for serving

    NOTE: I had a terrible time finding the peppers. I used a plain old green jalapeno pepper and it was fine. It was requested, however, that I use a little bit more pepper next time so the kick was a little bit bigger.

    In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

    NOTE: Doesn’t really get much easier than that! The rice isn’t overly coconutty in flavor. It has a subtle behind the scenes taste that you can’t quite put your finger on, but is perfect with the beef.

    When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Heat a cast-iron skillet or wok over high. Add oil and heat; add garlic and half the chiles. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds.

    NOTE: I used a skillet. I didn’t want to fuss with my cast iron. I was tired. I t was after work. I didn’t want to clean it. Truthfully, the skillet goes straight in the dish washer so occasionally the skillet wins!

    Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until completely browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy mixture and cook 30 seconds. Add basil and remaining chiles and stir to combine. Serve beef over coconut rice with lime wedges.

    NOTE: I drained a lot of the liquid (fat) from the skillet before I added the soy mixture. There was a substantial amount of liquid in the pan already and I didn’t want the soy mixture to be diluted.

    NOTE: I didn’t think this was going to be substantial enough just over the rice. I had 2 Romaine lettuce hearts. I separated them into leaves and piled them on a plate. The beef and rice went side by side on a platter. Turning this into wraps somehow stretched it a bit and made it seem more substantial. The lime wedges really add a layer of flavor. We also used a sprinkling or 2 od sweet chili sauce for some sweet heat.

    I wasn’t sure that this dish was going to be a winner. It certainly was – so much so it has already been requested as a do-over. I am going to try this with ground turkey or chicken. I think the sauce is flavorful enough to fool the feather haters.

    Tangy Raspberry Fool

    I must really see life through rose colored glasses. Pink clothing, pink reading glasses, pink plates and glasses. If it’s pink, it’s for me. I may become Pinkalicious – truly not a bad thing to be (unless of course you end up with her tummy ache and actually turn pink).

    Flipping though the recent Everyday Food Magazine, it was natural, then, that I immediately stopped on this recipe. The photo was pink. The recipe would be pink. It would taste so yummy, that the testosterone triplets would (hopefully) not notice it was pink.

    • 1 bag (10 ozs) frozen raspberries, thawed
    • 1/4 C granulated sugar
    • coarse salt
    • 2 1/2 C heavy cream
    • 1/3 C confectioner’s sugar
    • 4 t fresh lemon juice

    In a blender, combime raspberries, granulated sugar and pinch of salt. Puree until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids. Discard seeds.

    NOTE: My berries were semi-frozen. Have I mentioned yet that I am also impatient?

    In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and confectioner’s sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Beat in lemon juice.

    Using 6 small glasses, alternate layers of raspberry puree and the whipped cream. With a skewer of thin bladed knife, gently swirl whipped cream and puree together, smooth tops.

    NOTE: As if this dessert wouldn’t be pink enough, I took a bit of the cream and puree and mixed it together for a 3rd pink layer.

    Lemon Parsely Pork Chops

    I really can’t eat any more chicken. No more turkey. I must have a revolt or start to find it revolting. I know, turkey and chicken can be used in so many ways and in so many dishes, we shouldn’t know the difference. But I am tired of looking at …. CLUCK! CLUCK! CLUCK!

    See! I am turning into some form of poultry! What next coughing up feathers? (Hmmmm, maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that duck last night at The Modern!)

    Anyway, the Pork Council is advertising pork as the other white meat. I know, I know, it’s a red meat, but a girl can dream can’t she? And as long as I tow that ‘other white meat’ line, perhaps I can get him to eat it once a week.

    This recipe is quick and easy. Pair it with orzo and a salad and you’re ready to go!

    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 t kosher salt
    • 1/4 pepper
    • 2 T olive oil
    • 4 bone in loin pork chops (about 8 ozs each)
    • 1/2 C water

    Mince the lemon zest and combine in a small bowl with parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.

    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season pork with s&p on both sides. Cook in skillet until browned, about 3 minutes per side.

    Add water to skillet, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer gently until pork is cooked through, about 8 – 10 minutes.

    Transfer pork to platter, drizzle with pan juice and sprinkle with lemon parsley mixture.

    NOTE: Nope, no notes. Just YUMMMMMMMM-O!

    Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam

    OK – now really – does it get better than this? The slow cooker AND bacon AND jam. All 3 words swoon inducing on their own, but put them all in the same recipe and the outcome could be lethal.

    When I saw the Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam recipe in the December ’09 Everyday Food Magazine’s “mmmmmm … bacon” section, it got an instant flag. I thought a jar of this would be great tucked into my Christmas goodie baskets.

    Doing this in the slow cooker had to make it simple, right? Well, almost simple. There is a lot of prep to be done before it hits the slow cooker.  That’s the part that’s annoying. Once it goes into the slow cooker the house fills with the most amazing smells of bacon and coffee and maple syrup … just wonderful.

    And then it goes into a food processor after cooking. There is a LOT of clean-up after this one! You get about 3 cups from one batch. So, while delicious, it causes a lot of mumbling and cursing while this process and clean-up is going on.

    This particular slow-cooker recipe calls for the cover to be off during cooking. I am BARELY comfortable with the slow-cooker being on while I am not home PERIOD, now you want me to go out and leave the cover off too! What will I have to endure for a recipe next? Juggling knives?

    Anyway, off we go –

    • 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1″ pieces
    • 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
    • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
    • 1/2 C cider vinegar
    • 1/2 C packed dark brown sugar
    • 1/4 C pure maple syrup
    • 3/4 C brewed coffee

    NOTES: I don’t drink coffee and don’t have coffee in my house. I bought a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts and used that.  I may switch next time to muscavado sugar in place of the dark brown sugar. It has a deeper, more molasses flavor. I used Oscar Mayer center cut bacon.

    In a large skillet, cook bacon over a medium high flame, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat.

    NOTE: DO NOT eat all the bacon while it is sitting there. It is tempting to grab it by the handful, but don’t.

    Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.

    Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes.

    NOTE: Once all of these ingredients hit the pan, you are in for a real treat. The smells are just fantastic. Those smells still bring me back to being a little kid down in Breezy Point and waking up to the smells of coffee and bacon wafting up the stairs from the kitchen.

    Add the cooked bacon and stir to combine.

    Transfer mixture  to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high uncovered, until liquid is syrupy – about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

    Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool. refrigerate in airtight containers.

    NOTE: Great on toast. Makes an amazing BLT! I am trying to think of other ways to use it – aside from just spooning it right out of the jar. I thought perhaps on top of sautéed chicken. I am open to suggestions! It is a little sweet for me. When I do this again, I am going to use moscavado sugar and perhaps a little less of it. Maybe espresso instead of coffee would cut the sweetness a little!