It's rained here almost every day for the past month, which is totally atypical for this time of year. Logistically, it means that I watch the forecast every day like a broker studying a ticker tape, trying to gauge what summer activities we'll be able to do. Even still, it's always a crapshoot: looking outside at a clear blue, sunny day, we'll pack up the kids and travel less than 2 miles, only to discover torrential downpour in another part of town.
We were having just one of those days a few weekends ago when we went by our friends Jess and Ben's house to have a pool day with them and their little one. On our way over to their house, we did a little rain dance and hoped for sunny weather. The rain held off just long enough for us to have a little pool time and for us to enjoy a picnic by the pool, including a delicious peach, mozzarella and basil salad Jess made from Real Simple. The Gravy Baby isn't crazy about eating raw leafy greens, and so this salad was a perfect palate pleaser for all of us -- fresh and healthy for the hubby and me, but flavorful and varied enough to hold the Gravy Baby's attention.
The other night I made this salad again, taking advantage of the bushels of basil we've grown as a result of the heavy rains. I added ribbons of zucchini cut with a vegetable peeler to mine, and the family loved the "zucchini noodles" that added crunch and freshness to the salad.
One of the first major events we attended when we moved here to Charleston was the Charleston Restaurant Association's Taste of Charleston Festival. It was a ton of fun, and a great way to sample of all the good eats available to us here so that we could pinpoint which places we wanted to revisit in the future.
One of the dishes that stuck out to us was the pepper jack creamed corn made by Halls Chophouse, where the hubby recently had a work dinner last week. His rare night out reminded me that my blog post on this creamed corn is hands-down one of the posts I get the most e-mails about. According to most of you, this creamed corn makes you want to lick your computer screen.
Well, guess what? Now you can actually make it instead of potentially static shocking your tongue. I've done my best to combine everything I do with creamed corn and make it even better with the addition of a roasted red bell pepper and smooth, creamy Monterey Jack cheese. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did -- oh, and this recipe is by no means "heart healthy," so if you're trying to cut back, this would definitely not be the way to go.
Oh, but if I had to go, I wouldn't say no to a plate of this before I went . . .
I first prepared this recipe in a Le Creuset over the stove, but a slow cooker version turned out much better
Pepper Jack Creamed Corn (2-4 servings)
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
8-10 ears fresh corn
1 8-ounce package of reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks and slightly softened
1/4 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven in broiler mode. Place red bell pepper and jalapeno pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet under broiler for 2-3 minutes until skin on one side is blackened. Using tongs, rotate peppers to a non-blackened side and broil for another 2 minutes. Continue rotating peppers until all sides are blackened and skin is peeling slightly. Remove peppers from oven and immediately place in a bowl. Cover bowl with a plate and let cool.
Using a sharp paring knife, remove corn kernels from the cob into a medium bowl, scraping the cobs to make sure the milk from the kernels is reserved. Combine all ingredients except the peppers in a slow cooker.
When peppers are cool, remove blackened skins, seeds and stems from the peppers and mince. Add peppers to slow cooker and cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.