Corn and Black Bean Guacamole

This guacamole is an amazing way to stretch your avocado budget.  I can’t believe I bought them for $2 a piece!!  Fortunately,  I have an avocado tree in my backyard now.  Unfortunately, they’re only the size of golf balls right now.  I’ll have to wait for them to ripen so my avocado budget can balance out a bit.

I could seriously have eaten the whole bowl of this guacamole.  The flavors of sweet corn, tangy lime and fresh tomato and cilantro are a reminder of why I love summer recipes. YUM!

Corn and Black Bean Guacamole

2 avocados

1 ear of corn, boiled and cut off the cob

½ can (8 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tomato, diced

2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

1 lime

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 tsp hot sauce

Put avocado in a bowl and smash with a fork.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl.  Cover and chill for one hour for flavors to marry.  Enjoy with tortilla chips.

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Red Corn…………Yes I said RED Corn!

Yes, this is a real edible ear of corn.  I was surprised when I saw red corn for the first time.  For the last 35 years of my life I’ve only eaten yellow or white corn.  This red corn really rocked my normal corn-eating world!

I wanted to make some kind of fancy recipe with it, but I stopped myself.  I really just wanted to taste the true flavor of this oddly-colored corn.  I simply boiled it and rolled it on my stick of butter with some salt.  The difference in taste is very subtle.  It’s a bit more woodsy and creamier than regular corn.  To be honest, in a blind taste test I don’t think I could pick out the red corn.

Where was this corn on the 4th of July?!  I could have made a really cool looking corn salad to match the holiday colors.  I guess I’ll have to wait til next year.

Here is a better picture of the corn with a truer color.  I had the midday sun in the kitchen and it threw off the hue.

Help the Hale Family

To all my foodie friendsout there, this is a very special post which I hope will move you to action.   It is about a family who is close to my heart.  Please take a minute to read about the Hale Family’s story in our local newspaper.

Cherie, the mom in the picture is a friend of mine.  I’ve known Cherie for 4 years now.  Her children have been in school with my kids and we’ve shared many memories together in the past years.  Unfortunately, some of those memories have not all been good ones.

In 2008, Cherie’s son Xavier was diagnosed with leukemia.  This was devastating news and I could not imagine the feeling of helplessness a parent experiences when watching a child battle cancer.

In 2009, her husband Jared was laid off from a job in construction.  Due to Xavier’s medical bills and the job loss, they are also in the process of losing their house.  Either of these issues would be more than enough for any family to suffer.  But, the story goes on……..

The summer of 2010, Cherie found out that she had a malignant brain tumor.  After brain surgery to remove the tumor, she underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment.  Family and friends brought the family meals for weeks to come. At Cherie’s request, I made her some chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons.  In the following weeks, I also made chocolate whoopie pies for her.  It was a joy to cook for her family and know that I could give her some joy with my food.

On one of the trips to her house with a meal in hand, Cherie asked if I wanted to see her incision.  I will never forget the day we sat together in her kitchen and she braved my reaction as she removed the scarf hiding her shaven scalp and 8-inch surgical scar.  I’ve never tried so hard to fight back tears in my life.  I wanted to be strong for her.   When I got home, I let the tears flow.

Family and friends saw Cherie through a year of recuperation, but she is in need of our help once again.  Last month, she went for a followup MRI exam and the doctor found the tumor has returned!

We are in an effort to raise money for her to have her second brain surgery.  Please consider contributing to the Hale Family at this critical time in their lives.    Click on this Help the Hales website link for information about how to give.  You can make an amazing difference in Cherie and her family’s life today.

Would you also consider praying for the Hales?  We know the Lord hears our prayers and we believe on the life-changing power of prayer!!!

Pork Sandwich with Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw

We had friends over for dinner and I wanted to make something that did not require the use of my oven.  Southern California summers are pretty brutal, so I didn’t want to add to the heat in my house.  I made this pork sandwich with a slow cooker and I was able to “set it and forget it!”  Anyone remember that from those infomercials in the 90’s?  Very catchy phrase…

With these kind of ingredients together, it’s gotta be good!

Here’s my pork butt in the slow cooker.  I love the sound of the fizzling soda  as I poured it over the meat.

I wonder what a soda and chipotle bath would feel like!  Is it weird that I think of these things when I cook?  Nah!!

For the cole slaw, start by coring your cabbage.  Very simply cut a triangle shape out of the core.  Easy peasy.

And Ree, coring is not boring.  It’s fun!

Slice very thinly.

Do the same thing with this beautiful purple cabbage.  Love that God gave us such beautifully colored foods!

I added half a bag of this broccoli slaw.  I love the crunch that it adds.

After adding the chopped jalapenos, slather on the dressing….the best part.

I heard somewhere that everyday you should eat foods from every color of the rainbow.

I’ve got green, orange and purple covered!!

Here’s another shot of the very tasty pork sandwich for you to drool over.  The amount of spice and sweet, then hot and cold are in perfect balance in just one bite.  You can’t ask for anything more!

Now go and try this one and let me know how you like it, or LOVE it!

 

Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw

Adapted from pioneerwoman.com

 

1 whole Onion, Peeled And Quartered

1 whole Pork Butt (pork Shoulder Roast, about 5-7 lbs)

Salt And Pepper

1 can (7 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce

3 cups or 2 cans Cola (Dr Pepper, Coke, etc.)

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

12 whole Good Quality Kaiser Or Deli Rolls

12 Tablespoons Butter

½ head Cabbage, Sliced Thin

½ head Purple Cabbage, Sliced Thin

½ bag Broccoli Slaw

1 whole Jalapeno, Halved Lengthwise And Thinly Sliced

½ cups Whole Milk

½ cups Mayonnaise

1 teaspoon White Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Sugar

¼ teaspoons Salt

¼ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper

2 cups Cilantro Leaves, Barely Chopped

 

 

MEAT

Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in a slow cooker.

Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.

Place lid tightly on pot, then set the slow cooker on high. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not falling apart, cook for another hour.

Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it’s cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.)

If you find the pork is too spicy, tone it down with some sweet bbq sauce.  This works well for kids.

 

SLAW

Combine shredded cabbage and sliced jalapenos in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Pour over cabbage. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate two hours.

Before serving, toss in cilantro leaves.

 

SANDWICHES

Butter both halves of Kaiser rolls, then brown them on a griddle or skillet until golden and crisp on the surface. Load up each sandwich with shredded pork, then REALLY load them up with the slaw.

The magic is in the combination of the hot liquid from the meat and the cool, creamy liquid from the slaw.

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

We are really trying to eat leaner nowadays so I always have lean chicken breast on hand.  This was a creation that came out of what was in my pantry and fridge.  Chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella cheese, sundried tomato, fresh basil and black forest ham.  It’s so easy to put together, but makes for a beautiful presentation.

There’s something about foods that are stuffed and rolled, then cut that just looks so pretty…..don’t you think?

Exhibit A: Pumpkin roll

Exhibit B: Rolled cookies and of course

Exhibit C: Cinnamon rolls.

Need I say more?!

First, I butterflied one chicken breast to make it thinner.  Butterfly is just a fancy way of saying I cut the chicken horizontally to thin it out.  Lay down one piece of ham, then string cheese, sundried tomato slices, then one leaf of basil.

Roll each chicken breast into tight little bundles and tuck the seams on the underside.

I served the chicken with some alfredo pasta and a cold salad.  This chicken makes for a nice weekday meal, but looks fancy enough to serve to guests.

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

3 large chicken breasts

6 slices black forest ham

6 sticks of mozzarella string cheese, cut in half

¼ cup sundried tomatoes, sliced thin

6 large basil leaves

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Butterfly (slice horizontally) the chicken breasts to get 6 slices of chicken total.   Place one piece of ham, two slices of cheese, some sundried tomato, and one basil leaf onto each chicken breast.  Roll each breast tightly and place, seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  When all the chicken is rolled, drizzles some olive oil onto the chicken, then sprinkle with some salt and pepper.

Bake the chicken at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until done.

American Flag Cake

Okay, I’ve officially been off the blogging radar for a month and I’ve missed it dearly.  A lot has happened since my last post, including moving into a new house.  For anyone that has ever done that, you know it’s lots of work and doesn’t seem to end for months to come.  I still have boxes to unpack and things to hang on the walls, but it’s slowly feeling more like home everyday.  What better way to celebrate than to make a cake for our country’s birthday!!

I am very happy to post this flag cake in celebration of Independence Day.  The summer berries are just so festive and I love the combination of whipped cream frosting with berries.  Here I made a chocolate sheet cake and it was the perfect size and shape for our flag.

The field of blueberries with white whipped cream stars.

I realize that I have the wrong number of stars, but that’s okay.  This is a cake, not a history lesson!

The strawberry stripe.

Try making this on Monday for your 4th of July barbeque and I guarantee people will LOVE it!!  There really is no other food that’s more patriotic than this, right?  And besides, it tastes amazing!

Chocolate Flag Cake with  Whipped Cream Frosting

From Hershey’s Kitchens

2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pan.
Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes.

Whipped cream

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Assemble Cake

When cake is cooled, place on platter and cover cake with whipped cream evenly.  Start by placing the blueberries on the top left of the flag.  You do not need to be precise, just eyeball it.  Wash and cut strawberries and place them in line.  Spoon the remaining whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a start tip and pipe the white stripes in between the strawberry stripes.  Then finish with white stars on the blueberries.