Monthly Archives: June 2013

06/28/13

A Great Grilled Side

In the Summer, corn is abundant.

My boss owns a farm here in GA, so when the corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers are being harvested, a big truck pulls up to the front of the office. I love hearing the sweet voice over the loud speaker telling me that “Triple Sweet Corn has arrived!”

These sorts of things could only happen in the South, right?

One of my favorite ways to enjoy this corn is grilled right on the cob. Nothing better with a grilled steak, pork chop, hamburger, or chicken. Actually, it’s good with just about anything. I make a simple compound butter, slather them really generously, wrap them up in foil, and place them on the flames. In about 15-20 minutes, you have delicious tender, grilled, sweet corn.

Here’s how I do it:

You will need…

  • 6 ears of corn, shucked and silked
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, very soft
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 3/4-1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 6 sheets of  aluminum foil

Step 1: Combine butter, garlic, lime zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl until its well mixed and in the state of optimum slathery goodness.  

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Step 2: Slather the corn.

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Reminder– this is a messy job. NO easier way to do this but get your hands dirty. They are your best kitchen tools after all!

*Tip– go ahead and tear off your sheets of foil prior to starting the slathering process. It will make your life much easier and much less messy. 🙂

Step 3: Place well coated ear of corn into center of foil paper and wrap.

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Step 4: Place on grill, turning and rotating ever so often until all sides of corn are nicely cooked. This process will take about 20 minutes or so.

Still doing some other grilling? Remove your corn to the top rack of the grill and keep warm until serving.

Step 5: Unwrap, spear with your corn handlers, and eat! So, so good!

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I call this “Margarita Grilled Corn” because of the lime zest in the compound butter, but whatever you call it, it’s delicious.

Other great butter or flavor combos include:

  • Garlic & Herb– simply combine 1 stick butter, 3 cloves chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and 1 Tablespoon of your favorite herb. Rosemary & Thyme would both be delicious and would stand up to grilling very well.
  • Lemon Butter– nothing could be more simply than mixing up 1 stick butter, zest of 1 whole lemon, a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
  • Buffalo Style– some like it hot! Combine 1 stick butter, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp hot sauce or desired amount of cayenne pepper, about 1/4 tsp should be sufficient.

 Happy grilling and happy weekend!

xoxo

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06/26/13

Fun Times with my Team + Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have a couple different families.

My family family.

My friends family.

My Church family.

And my work family. My coworkers are my family.

Just think about it… You spend more time with your coworkers than you do your family, your kids, your spouse, your friends, your dog. 8-10 hours per day for 5 days straight? Whew! It’s an enormous blessing when your coworkers are as amazing as mine. They are extremely kind, giving, encouraging, crazy, hysterical, sometimes make you sane and other times insane, are always giving credit where it is due, praising one another, cutting up with each other, and most importantly, they want to bring honor to Him in their work.

I absolutely love them. No joke.

So, this past team meeting, we planned to take a little time to have some fun, let loose, and celebrate one another. We had a cookout and outdoor picnic right in the middle of the workday. We grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, members of the team brought coleslaw, potato salad, watermelon… all the usual suspects at an outdoor picnic party.

4 members of the team celebrate birthdays in the month of June and I wanted to commemorate it with lots and lots of delicious Red Velvet cupcakes. Plus, who doesn’t love red velvet cake? 

3 words… Cream Cheese Icing.

‘Nuff said.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

(recipe from Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is that? Cookbook… one of my personal favorites!)

Ingredients:

For the cake…

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken (buttermilk has a tendency to settle)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring*
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

For the icing…

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (3/4 pound or 3/4 of the Box)

All the usual suspects…

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Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Spray them lightly with non-stick cooking spray just so the liners peel off easily. (I have learned this one the hard way)

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

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And in a separate, large measuring cup or bowl, combine the buttermilk, food coloring*, vinegar, and vanilla.

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*Note on red food coloring: this stuff is dangerous! Be sure to wear an apron or other protective layering because once food coloring gets on you, it’s not coming off!

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.

You will now have a total of 3 mixtures.

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4. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients alternately in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mix until combined. Stir with a rubber spatula to be sure the batter is mixed. Sometimes pockets of dry mix hide in the bottom of the mixing bowl.

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Perfect bulldog red batter.

5. Scoop the batter into the muffin cups with an ice cream scoop or large spoon, just to ensure they are all the same size. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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6. Cool completely and frost the cupcakes with that luscious, delicious, Red Velvet Cream Cheese Frosting.

Loved the crackled, crispy tops. So pretty!

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Now comes the fun part…

7 . For the frosting, place the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed just until combined. Don’t whip! Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

DO NOT resist the urge to sample. You should not deprive yourself of one of life’s simple pleasures.

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It’s absolutely perfection piled high on top of a bright red cupcake.

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If you like, you can top these with chopped toasted pecans for extra crunch and garnish. That is certainly a very classic, Old-fashioned way to serve a very Southern, Old-Fashioned cake. But, I felt that these needed no decoration, embellishment, or additional enticement to get the team to gobble them down.

And they didn’t!

Happy baking!

XOXO

J

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