Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Pinterest Challenge: Oven Cooked Corn on the Cob from House of Joyful Noise

And the second pin I tried from my Summer Pinterest Challenge is also a food pin. Surprised? You probably shouldn't be.

I have always loved corn on the cob. As a kid, I loved each step of the process. Waiting for ears of sweet corn to go on sale. Going with mom to Jewel. Pulling back just enough of the husk to see if the ear was good, replacing the husk on bad ears and ferreting away good ears into our produce bag. Taking it home. Helping mom set the pot to boiling. Going outside with the ears of corn and shucking them. Ending up with cornsilk EVERYWHERE. Eating the glorious, pop-off-the-cob-covered-in-butter-and-salt corn. I had only ever had boiled corn until I went away to college. The town my alma mater is in holds an annual Sweet Corn Festival. Festival! Festival for corn! And the best part (to the ears of a college student)? They gave away a FREE ear of corn to college students with ID. (The best part to a graduate's ears is now the blues music that accompanies the sweet corn festival.) It was at this festival my freshman year of college that I, for the first time, tried grilled corn on the cob. I loved had that sweet corn taste that I love, with that extra roasted flavor. But with that love came the problem...I am a bit afraid of the grill. Alas, I would likely never make grilled sweet corn on my own.

All that changed when I across a pin leading to House of Joyful Noise's oven cooked corn on the cob. It may not be perfectly like the grilled corn on the cob from my college days, but it tastes pretty darn good. The instructions are stupidly easy to follow, and worked perfectly.

Start with preheating your oven to 350 degrees.


Then, take your corn and cut off all the extra dry bits of husk and the silks hanging out. I don't know if this is a necessary step, but I did it because I was concerned about the extra bits catching on fire. I'm still not entirely clear on how to use my fire extinguisher, so I didn't want to chance it.

I set my corn directly on the rack in my horribly-overdue-for-a-cleaning oven.

Next, set your adorable penguin timer (What? You don't have one of those? Fine, set any kitchen timer) to 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, your husk will look drier and more brown, and your house will smell of roasting corn. Remove your corn from the oven. I definitely recommend using some kind of oven mitt or glove, unless you are like my mother and have fingers that must be made of Teflon.

Once your corn is out of the oven, make a cut all the way around the bottom of the ear. This will make removing the husk and silks seem like magic!

Squeeze the husks a bit and slide them off of the corn.  It took my a couple of tugs to get all of the husk layers off of the ear.

After removing your husk, you will notice a relatively small amount of silk left on the corn. Pull it off, then season your corn as you like.

You can tell we really like corn, since we have a slab of butter with a corn indentation in it.

I enjoy my corn seasoned with salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne pepper.

I very much enjoyed this method of cooking corn. The corn had a great roasted taste, while still coming out juicy and perfectly pop-off-the-ear cooked. And I didn't burn my house down trying it!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Pinterest Challenge: Crash Hot Potatoes from Frontier Woman

Of course, I go for a food pin first in my Summer Pinterest Challenge. This recipe just happened to sound like it would go great with the baked Dijon Lime Chicken in the plans for this week from eMeals, so on to the shopping list red potatoes went. I attempted to have my husband pick them up during his small grocery run, but he had no idea what red or new potatoes were, and thought it would be better if I just bought them on my next trip.

I found the instructions from Frontier Woman very easy to follow, except when I had to google what exactly fork tender meant. Still think I may have a little bit undercooked my potatoes at first, but it didn't make a difference in the end. I also made a couple of changes to Ree's recipe, because I like spicy and cheese.

I used a bag of organic red potatoes from Meijer, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the salt and pepper grinders from Oxo, cayenne pepper (because I have been on a CAYENNE ALL THE THINGS kick), and cheddar cheese (because my life is a CHEESE ALL THE THINGS kick).

I brought a pot of salted water to a boil, as instructed, and then jammed it full of potatoes. I maybe, after boiling the potatoes, realized I hadn't washed them first, like a dummy, and then ran them under cold water hoping that would make it better. Once the potatoes were what I assumed to be fork tender, I used my pastry brush to spread olive oil over my cookie sheet, because I figured that just the drizzle wouldn't be enough to keep the potatoes from sticking. I then placed my potatoes on my cookie sheet, like I would cookies.....and this is the point at which I realized I had boiled way too many potatoes, so the quest for my other cookie sheet began.  I finally found it holding 40K miniatures in the basement, and had to thoroughly clean it.

Potato masher and red potatoes

Next up was to use the potato masher to smoosh the potatoes.  First, smoosh lightly one way, then turn it 90 degrees and smoosh it more. This is where I really figured out that I had undercooked my potatoes.  Instead of smooshing, they more cracked and stuck to the potato masher.  Perhaps next time, I would oil the masher, too, to keep the potatoes from sticking. You can see how much potato is stuck in the masher in the above picture. I also saw the suggestion (I think in the comments on her post) to do pilot cuts to help the potato mashing along...a small crosshatch in the top would probably help the process, too.

Spreading olive oil with a pastry brush on potatoes
Forgive the's very hard to take an iPhone photo and spread olive oil at the same time

I then followed the instruction to brush the tops generously with olive oil. I love the Oxo Good Grips pastry brush...the yellow bristles do a great job of holding the oil until I'm ready to spread it over each potato.

Unbaked crash hot potatoes

I followed with covering each potato with 2 twists each of salt and pepper, as well as a sprinkling of cayenne and just a bit of cheddar cheese. Because cheese and cayenne make everything taste better. Ok. Most everything. Next, I just popped them into my oven at 450 degrees for 25 minutes....ish. It was probably closer to 30 minutes, because MasterChef is very interesting.

Crash Hot Potatoes on plate

Here they are, all crispy and beautiful out of the oven. They actually ended up even better when I stupidly left my oven on, with the cookie sheet still on the stove over the vent for about an hour...they were gloriously crispy then.

Whole meal

And here they are as a part of my whole meal...Dijon Lime chicken, wilted broccoli and bacon, and Crash Hot Potatoes. The chicken and potatoes will become part of my recipe book, but the wilted broccoli and bacon was disgusting.

I'd love to try these potatoes with different herbs and spices, and perhaps even different cheeses. My husband, who is an immensely picky eater, even liked the non-spicy batch that I made for him, but ate them with ketchup.