Green Chili Cornbread


My wife and I stumbled on a product by Desert Gardens when we were visiting relatives in Arizona. For years, it was my favorite cornbread – moist, slightly-sweet with a fair amount of zip. We would buy six to ten packages (at $6.50 each) and squirrel them away for future use. Unfortunately our local distributor here in Wisconsin stopped carrying it.

Out of frustration….OK, desperation, I reverse-engineered the recipe and tweaked it until I thought it was spot-on to the original product. Chilis vary in heat, so you’ll want to ensure they are palatable for your taste before combining them in this recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 flame-roasted poblano or New Mexican green chili, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375-degrees F. Grease a ten-inch cast-iron skillet with vegetable oil or Crisco shortening. Preheat the skillet in the oven while you prepare the batter and the chili pepper.

Wash the poblano or NM green chili pepper and char the tough outer skin until blistered, using a portable propane torch. You’ll need to be careful, ensuring that you have a flameproof bowl or secondary skillet so you don’t burn your kitchen countertop. When completely charred, place the chili pepper in a sealed brown paper lunch bag for about ten minutes.

While the chili pepper is cooling, melt the butter in a large microwave-safe mixing bowl. In the same bowl, add the sugar and stir. Add the eggs and quickly beat until blended. Combine the buttermilk with the baking soda and stir into the mixture. Next, add the cornmeal, flour and salt and fold gently until incorporated, (it’s OK to have a few lumps). Wash the skin off of the chili pepper in cold water. Remove the seeds and stem. Dice the chili and gently fold in.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the skillet. BE CAREFUL – it may splatter. I’ll argue the step of pre-heating your cornbread skillet with anyone – it is essential to creating an authentic, crispy crust.

Level the batter and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. A toothpick should pull out clean when inserted into the center of the cornbread. Remove and serve immediately.

Serve with butter.

Serves 4-6.

Cowboy Salsa


Here’s a fantastic mild salsa that everyone can enjoy. The avocados are amazing in this recipe. A big thanks to my friend John for sharing.

Ingredients:

1 can Shoepeg corn
1 can black-eyed peas
1 can black beans (optional)
1 avocado, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2/3 cup green onion, chopped

For the Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. (to taste) cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions:

Combine ingredients and let sit covered in your fridge for one hour before serving.
Serve with lime-flavored tortilla chips.

Serves 6-8

Grilled Corn, Poblano and Black Bean Salsa


Take advantage of your outdoor grill during summer months by adding incredible flavor and depth to this unique salsa. Enjoy! It’s well worth the extra effort.

Ingredients:

4-6 cobs fresh corn, soaked in cold water with silk removed (keep the husks!)
1 large poblano pepper, cored and washed
2 serrano peppers, stems removed and minced
3 ripe roma or 1 large garden tomato, cored and halved
1/2 red onion cut into planks
1 small can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloved peeled garlic, minced
1/4 cup washed cilantro leaves, minced
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
Juice of 1/8 lime wedge
XV olive oil

Charcoal for grilling
Paper lunch bag
Tortilla chips

Directions:

Preheat your outdoor grill with enough charcoal for a medium fire. (You can try this recipe on a gas grill, but it will not turn out the same.)

Prep the vegetables. Let the corn soak in cold water for at least an hour.

When the coals are white hot (use direct heating method), place the corn cobs with husks on the grill and cover, rotating for about 45 minutes until slightly charred. During this time, keep the corn moist by adding a small amount of water over the cobs after turning. Remove and set aside to cool.

Check the temperature of your fire and re-stoke if necessary.

Working quickly, place the poblano pepper, the tomato and onion planks to the grill. Brush with olive oil and allow to char evenly. Rotate to avoid overcooking. When done, remove and place the poblano pepper in a sealed paper bag. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. The pepper’s tough outer skin will sweat and blister off.

Cut the kernels off the cobs and place the corn in a bowl. Add the salt, lime juice and minced cilantro. Dice the skinned poblano, tomato and onion. Add to the bowl. Add the minced serrano pepper. Use the serranos to control the heat to your preference. Add the black beans (about a cup), and the garlic. Stir well.

Allow to sit for at least 1/2 hour, taste and correct the seasoning if necessary. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4-6

I highly recommend blue corn chips with this recipe.

Arizona Baked Corn Dip


This is a great recipe that keeps well when reheated the second day. The green chili and jalapeño add just the right amount of zip for even the pickiest guests.

And now for my helpful tip: Being the chef who actually made this stunning appetizer, you have first dibs. Strategically grab a ginormous serving spoon — or better yet, a gravy ladle. Cut to the front of the line, load up a plate and don’t worry about embarrassing yourself — you’re going to be eating that much anyway, so you might as well beat everyone else to it. Trust me — they’ll respect you for it.

 

Ingredients:

1 can, 15-1/4 oz. whole kernel corn – drained
2 cans, 4 oz. each, chopped green chilis, drained
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tbs fresh chopped jalapeño pepper
1 cup mayo (please do this dish justice and don’t go with the low-fat version)
1/2 cup grated hard Parmesan cheese
1 4 oz. can sliced black olives, drained

Snack tortilla chips or crackers

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a bowl, combine the corn, chilis, red pepper, Monterey Jack cheese and fresh jalapeño. Stir in the mayo and grated Parmesan cheese.

Transfer to an ungreased 2-qt. baking dish and level. Sprinkle the top with the black olives. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until heated through, slightly brown and bubbly, and most of the liquid has cooked off. Remove from the oven and let stand for ten minutes to set, before serving.

Serve hot with tortilla chips or party crackers.

Serves 8.

Eula Mae’s Maque Choux (Stewed Corn and Tomatoes)


A classic, Acadian French-Indian inspired side dish from Louisiana.

Ingredients:

2 tbs. butter
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup seeded and chopped green bell pepper
4 cups kernel corn (canned, fresh or frozen, but thawed)
1 medium-sized tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Tabasco® hot pepper sauce

Directions:

Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often until soft – about five minutes.

Add the corn, tomato, salt and pepper sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, until the corn is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: the traditional method uses rendered bacon fat instead of butter.

Recipe courtesy Tabasco.com