Saturday, September 22, 2012

Corny party food!

I am on the board of the community choir that I sing in, and we had a gathering on Thursday evening at another board member's house to stuff envelopes for program advertising. Ho hum. But the four of us ladies had a nice time chatting, and the wine flowed freely, and the hostess served us this incredible corn salsa that I had to beg the recipe for, naturally.

Since I had a potluck birthday party to attend tonight, I decided to whip up a batch of the corn salsa to take along. I made a couple of changes, as is my way. Mainly, I swapped out fresh corn for frozen because....DUH...corn is still in season. Also, I added a lovely heirloom tomato because I had it knocking about on the counter, plus an avocado because I love them and want them in practically everything. This is addicting stuff!

Corn Salsa

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (chili beans are good, too)
1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed (I used three fresh ears of corn, steamed, shucked, and cut from the cob)
1 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped green pepper (I used Anaheim peppers)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 medium garden tomato, seeds and gel removed, diced, optional
1 ripe Haas avocado, diced, optional
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (better yet, use a couple of cloves of minced fresh garlic!)
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, peppers, onion, parsley, and tomato and avocado (if using). Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar and seasonings; pour over corn mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve with tortilla chips. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 4 cups.

As one of the party guests was bringing chili for our entree (using tomatoes and peppers that she grew herself!), I decided to continue my corn theme and bring along some cornbread as well. However, I realized too late that I was out of cornmeal, so I ended up using a couple of boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix and "zhoozhing" it up with an extra egg, some buttermilk, a can of creamed corn, a dash of honey, and some roasted hot peppers. Turned out delicious!

Sweet and Spicy Cornbread

2 tablespoons butter
2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon honey
1 can creamed corn
1/4 cup roasted Anaheim chiles, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place a 9 x 13 baking dish in cold oven with the two tablespoons of butter in it. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the rest of the ingredients together. Don't overstir--it's okay if there are a few lumps. Remove the hot pan from the oven, swirl the melted butter around, pour in the batter, and return to the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and a tester pulls out with just moist crumbs sticking to it.

Last but not least, I would be remiss if I did not mention the life of the party, my new (to me) margarita machine! I bought it half price from a nice lady on eBay, and it's easy and lots of fun to use. And I think I have perfected my basic recipe:

Classic Margarita (Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker)
Yield: one pitcher

1 cup Jose Cuervo light classic lime margarita mix
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup tequila
2 tablespoons triple sec
juice of 1 1/2 limes

ice--filled less than halfway (ignore the fill line!)

Blend, rim a glass with salt, pour, and let the party begin!

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