Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sweet Corn

When we were kids growing up on a farm in Ohio, sweet corn was our favorite garden crop. In the summer we picked ears of corn by the dozen. We shucked and boiled them on the stove until they were crisp. Then we slathered them with butter, sprinkled them with salt, and ate them nearly every day.

There were other ways we prepared corn. When the ears were mature, Mom used a paring knife to cut a line from end to end on each row. Then she used the dull side of the knife to scrape the cobs until the creamy contents were removed. She placed an iron skillet with butter on a hot stove, poured in the creamy corn, and added a little salt. Then she stirred it when it began to brown. It is unbelievably delicious when hot from the stove.

Mom even used this late corn in her cornbread. That was long ago, but corn is still one of our favorite dishes.

Now, we usually roast ears of corn on the grill or cook them in the microwave if we’re in a hurry. If we have any leftover ears we cut the corn off the cob and add it to salads or make corn dip. Corn dip is a family favorite. Try this at your next reunion, cookout, or party. It’s fast and easy to make and all your friends will want this recipe. Enjoy your corn before the season is over. Oh, don’t forget to freeze any leftovers.

                                                       Corn Dip

1 ear or 1 cup of whole sweet corn (leftover or fresh made, canned or frozen)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 or 3 chopped green onions with the stems
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 small can chopped green chilies, drained
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2-3 drops of hot pepper sauce
salsa to taste if desired

After preparing your corn, drain and place in medium sized bowl. Add remaining ingredients, mix well and place in serving dish. Surround dip with your favorite corn chips, or tortilla chips.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Never Too Many Strawberries

June for me always meant strawberry time. When I was young strawberries were sweeter, smaller, and juicier than today.  I made jam in a large gray kettle, inhaled the aroma, scraped the foam from the luscious concoction, and shared it with the children. The finished product was canned in half pint jars and kept in the cellar for winter.

Recently my daughter Becky came to visit and made strawberry jam. It was delicious, took much less time to make and is now stored in the freezer. We don’t have wild berries, but it certainly brings back memories when poured over ice cream, or spread on toast.

A couple of weeks ago we went shopping at Costco and got a huge crate of strawberries. We got creative and made strawberry bread from Heaven’s recipes. (Recipe found on this blog). There were so many berries we didn’t have room to store them in the refrigerator. So I rinsed and froze most of them in two cup portions and thought of ways to use them: smoothies, muffins, jam, and a recipe for a strawberry fruit cake that I invented.

This is a variation of a Mexican fruit cake that I have been making for years. The recipe originally came from my daughter-in-law Stacey. The difference being I substituted a package of frozen strawberries for crushed pineapple. Try this extremely moist cake while strawberries are still available at a reasonable price.

                                                     Strawberry Fruit Cake


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

  1. Combine eggs, sugar, and chopped strawberries in medium mixing bowl.
  2. In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, and baking soda.
  3. Add contents of medium bowl to flour, sugar mixture and combine thoroughly. Then add nuts.
  4. Grease bottom of oblong cake pan and pour batter into pan.
  5. Place into preheated oven at 350 degrees and bake until golden brown about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Ice with this cream cheese frosting recipe while still hot.
  7. Cool on wire rack and refrigerate until ready to serve.
                                              Cream Cheese Frosting


8 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 stick softened butter (no substitute)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

While the cake is baking, cream the softened cheese and butter (no substitute). Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat with mixer until ingredients are well combined. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven pour the icing over the cake. Cool on rack and then refrigerate until ready to serve. This iced cake with the frosting is very rich. Cut it into small pieces and it will serve a large crowd. Let the children help with this project. They love to mix and of course lick the bowl. Have fun cooking with the kids.