Summer Corn Dip

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I’m not a huge fan of Emeril Lagasse. It’s not that I don’t respect his accomplishments, which are vast. In fact, he’s one of the longest lasting tv chefs in the U.S. We just never clicked. I didn’t get the “night show” element of live music on his cooking show, and the “BAM” was way overdone. Just my opinion.

So I wasn’t completely thrilled when I received an Emeril cookbook as a gift. But when I opened the book, Prime Time Emeril, to a random page, it was to the recipe for Hot Corn Dip.

Not being from the Midwest, I haven’t always been a huge corn fan like some people. I mean, it’s really good with butter and salt – on the cob, of course. But corn dip???

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Well I made it, and it’s now one of my few repeat recipes I make in the summer. For this one recipe alone, I will always keep Prime Time Emeril, published in 2001.

So here is my version of Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for corn dip, from his cookbook. It’s especially fun to make when corn on the cob is 10 for $1.00! However keep in mind that to make it simpler, canned corn can also be used.

Hot and Cheesy Corn Dip

4 corn on the cobs
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 green onions, chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces grated white cheddar or Monterey jack
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground cayenne pepper, to taste

Remove the corn from the corn cobs using a knife, slicing vertically on four “sides” of the cob. Then break up the pieces of corn into individual kernels.

Cook the corn in boiling water for about 10 minutes; test it to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. Drain the corn in a colander, and set aside to cool.

Place the butter in a large saucepan and heat it over medium-high heat. Chop the onion, red bell pepper and green onions. Add the vegetables and sauté for approximately 5 minutes.

Then add the corn, the cream cheese and cubed or grated cheese, and allow the cheeses to completely melt into the vegetables.

Add the salt and cayenne, or sprinkle the cayenne on top of the dip when serving.

Serve the dip warm with good corn chips. I like the “scoopable” variety!

I’ve also used mayonnaise in this dip along with cream cheese. It just adds a depth of flavor.

Now to change things up. You can make a Southwestern version of this corn dip by adding chopped green chile peppers and cilantro, plus a little ground cumin.


I’ve included made this dip with crumbled chorizo. Yum. Italian sausage also works.

For a pescatarian option, add crab, some Old Bay, and top with chopped avocado!

Double Corn Grits

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There’s nothing quite like fresh corn, especially just picked. Where I live in the Midwestern U.S., corn is a major crop, so it’s readily available and extremely inexpensive. So in the summer, I like to use it in as many ways possible. Some of you may live in areas where corn must be imported, so your choice of corn might be limited to canned varieties, which unfortunately do not compare.

I’m not going to say that canned corn is completely off limits in my kitchen. I have used it, but it’s just not the same, which isn’t surprising, because what is better canned commercially rather than fresh?

Today I’m making grits, which is essentially cornmeal or polenta, and adding cooked corn to it. I mean, why not? Fresh corn has a very different flavor from grits/polenta/cornmeal, so it will just add another layer of corn flavor. So if you love corn…

Double Corn Polenta

3 corn on the cobs, husked
3 cups water
1 cup polenta or grits
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
Cream or milk

Cook the corn on the cobs until done, about 7 minutes in boiling water. Drain and set aside to cool.
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Meanwhile, pour the water into a medium saucepan or polenta pot. Heat to boiling, then whisk in the grits, salt, and butter.

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Whisking occasionally, cook the grits until it has absorbed all of the liquid. This should take about 15 – 20 minutes on medium heat.
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Turn the heat to low, and cook the polenta for about another ten minutes or so, adding cream as necessary as the polenta thickens. You will probably use about 1/2 cup of cream at least. The amount will depend on how coarsely ground your polenta is, which is why I’m not using an exact measurement. You will know when the polenta is completely cooked.

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Cut the corn off of the cobs, then break the pieces up to get the individual corn kernels. Then add them to the polenta.

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Stir well and taste for seasoning. For this polenta I kept it simple, but you could add cayenne pepper, hot paprika, ground chipotle pepper or ground ancho chile pepper, or just about any herb, fresh or dried.

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I topped the double corn polenta with slices of filet, and sprinkled everything with fresh tomato, goat cheese, and a chiffonade of fresh basil.
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note: If you’ve never made grits or polenta, give it a try. Grits are inexpensive, and one cup of the dried ground corn makes a lot of servings.

Also, I did publish this post last summer, but I’ve been spending a lot of extra time with my pregnant daughter when her husband is out of town. Priorities people!!! Hope you’re having a lovely summer!

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Black Bean Salad, variations

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I use black beans all the year round. They’re delicious and versatile, and they’re also healthy. I make black beans from scratch, refried black beans, black bean soup, black bean gratins, black bean dips, black bean enchiladas and black bean flans. Fortunately, everyone in my family loves black beans.

In the summer I tend to throw black beans along with other goodies together to make salads – especially when I have company. And it’s so surprising how well these salads go over. You can make them ahead of time and they’re so easy!!!

These black bean salads are vegetarian, but you can always serve grilled chicken or shrimp to top the salad, for those who desire more protein.

So here are three versions of a black bean salad. The first is extremely easy, and a little more effort is required for the next two versions. I just want you to know that no matter what you do, it will work! Use the ingredients you love and get creative!

Summer Black Bean Salad, version 1

2 cans black beans, well drained
1 can whole corn, well drained
1 fresh tomato, seeded, diced
1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper
Fresh cilantro

For this super easy salad, combine the black beans, corn and tomato together in a large bowl. Add the tomato, the juice of the lemon, and the olive oil.
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Then season with salt and pepper and give everything a gentle toss.

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If you want, the salad can be made ahead of time and sit and room temperature up to an hour before serving. If you need to refrigerate the salad, don’t add the tomatoes until the last minute before serving. Especially if you refrigerate the salad overnight. Toss again, taste for seasoning, and then serve at room temperature.
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note: If you want this salad more Southwestern inspired, add about 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander. And then add a small can of chopped green chilies. Super fast and easy!

Summer Black Bean Salad, version 2

2 cans black beans, well drained
1 can whole corn, well drained
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 small purple onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
4 tablespoons olive oil
Chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt
Cayenne pepper, optional

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, purple onion, jalapeno and garlic. Toss together gently. Then add the lemon and lime juices, olive oil, cilantro, and seasoning. Toss again gently.
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As with the above salad, let sit at room temperature before serving, if you wish, so that the flavors come together. Then serve at room temperature.

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Summer Black Bean Salad, version 3

This salad is mostly like the last salad, with all of the fun goodies included, but the dressing is different. For this salad I used the Green Goddess dressing that I posted recently.

You don’t have to use this dressing, you can just add some chopped avocado to the salad if you prefer, but I liked the addition of the creamy dressing. It’s an option. But it’s a really good option. It’s just a little more work to make the dressing. I actually liked the green goddess dressing so much that I whipped up a batch! That’s why there’s a bottle of it in the photos.
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I actually meant to roast some fresh corn on the cob for this last salad but I completely forgot. That would have been instead of using the canned corn. But it just goes to show that you can create your own salad and make it your own. Use the ingredients that you love, whether they’re canned or not. And season how you wish as well. You’re the one eating the salad!!! Enjoy!

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note: With any of the these salads, vinegar can definitely be used instead of the lemon and lime juices. It’s just that lemon and lime juices go so well with beans. It’s just a choice.