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Ford: Time to live it up a little bit

July 17, 2012


I can’t believe it is already time to buy new backpacks and look for school supplies. Pretty soon I will be bringing the crockpot back out and only shopping for dinners that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. I have decided to live it up until then. I have one more trip to the beach and two other weeks of flexible bedtimes to have fun in the kitchen. The recipes I am sharing this week are going to be just right for this time of year. First is a recipe that my family has loved for years and comes from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Parties”. I always make it when corn goes on sale, which seems early this year with the mild winter. I love so many of Ina’s recipes especially because if it only needs three ingredients, she only calls for three. Of course she has many more complex recipes that are labor intensive but worth it.  

The next two recipes are from “Tables of Content”, the Junior League of Birmingham’s cookbook. My cookbook club is working through “Tables of Content” and I have enjoyed it so far. For those of you who have never heard of a cookbook club, I had not either until three years ago. Leah Kemp is our fearless leader who keeps track of dates and food assignments. In our version, we have eight ladies who meet monthly. We take turns hosting and working our way through a cookbook until we try everything that interests us. The lady that hosts makes the main dish, two ladies make appetizers, one lady does a soup or salad, two make sides, one makes dessert and if you hosted last month, you bring wine or a cocktail out of the cookbook. 

We invite the husbands to our Christmas meeting and make a “best of” from the year. It is a really fun way to carve out time to see some women I don’t normally see and try new recipes. I made the Caribbean salsa a few months ago and it was yummy. The recipe makes a bunch, so I think it would be smart to take half for a cookout at a friend’s house with pita chips; save the other half to serve over grilled fish or chicken later that week. It will stay fresh for up to five days in the refrigerator. The next recipe is frozen chocolate peanut butter pie. My friend Emily made this treat for cookbook club last month and it tasted just like chocolate peanut butter ice cream from Baskin Robbins. Have a delicious end of the summer.

Sauteed Fresh Corn (skillet corn)

8 ears corn on the cob
3 tablespoons  unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
(I add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper after I serve the kids plates)
Remove husks and silk from the corn and cut off the kernels as close to the cob as possible. *Tip I read this in Real Simple, put the corn cob in the whole of a bundt pan and the kernels won’t shoot all over the kitchen.  
Melt the butter in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the corn, salt, and pepper and saute, uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until all the starchiness in the corn is gone. Taste for salt and pepper, add cayenne if you want and serve.

Caribbean Salsa

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 each ripe papaya and mango, peeled and finely chopped (1/2 cup each)
1 cup finely chopped pineapple
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
1/2 cup each finely chopped red and green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine the beans, papaya, mango, pineapple, pineapple juice, lime juice, bell peppers, onion and cilantro in a bowl and mix well. Stir in the cumin, salt and pepper. Chill, covered in the refrigerator.

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

1 1/2 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter
1 cup of frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened

Mix the wafer crumbs and butter in a bowl and press the crumb  mixture over the bottom of a buttered 9-inch pie plate. Fold the peanut butter and whipped topping into the ice cream in a bowl and spread the peanut butter mixture over the prepared layer. Freeze, covered for 8 hours.

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