Monday, July 25, 2011

Mexican Corn Salad

I apologize for the abundance of corn recipes!  It's just that 1) corn is everywhere now and 2) it's sooo good!  So here you go, another corn recipe, for a light meal in this hot weather or to bring to all of those bbqs I am sure everyone is going to!
I love this recipe because it is salty, smoky, tart and just barely creamy to bring it all together.

adapted from Smitten Kitchen
What you'll need: (serves 5 as a side dish)
3 cobs of corn
queso fresco (a Mexican, crumbly white cheese)
1 lime
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Boil the corn for just 2 minutes in salted water, and then place on the grill over low heat to blacken the kernels.  Don't be afraid when some of the kernels pop!  Stop when the kernels are blackened to your liking.  The grill adds so much smokiness and totally brings this dish to the next level.
While the corn is grilling, open your queso fresco.  Don't know what that is?  It looks like this:
It's salty and easy to crumble, almost like feta.  
Just take a fork and gently rake it against the block of cheese and it should crumble easily.  You'll need a few tablespoons.  
The corn should be done now!
 Cut the kernels off the cob.
Top with the mayo, pepper, juice of 1 lime and cilantro.
And enjoy!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tasty Dumpling Review

For those who know me, it will come as no shock that I am blogging today about a place called Tasty Dumpling.  In fact, it's a shocker that it's taken me this long to blab about how much I love Chinese food in general.  After enjoying something just so delicious today, I just felt it was time to let everyone in on what I have been enjoying so much.  While I live uptown, I have an internship this summer that lands me right next to Chinatown 3 days a week.  This is heaven for me.  While I'd love to go out for a Chinese feast every day, adventure and frugality has led me to some cheaper, and very tasty restaurants, kiosks and hole in the walls that really have pleasantly surprised me.  
I really like dumplings, so when I saw a hole in the wall called "Tasty Dumpling" right by my office, (located at 54 Mulberry St, between Mosco & Bayard) I had to try it.  Unfortunately, when I went for the first time, the dumplings really were not good.  In fact, I don't think I even finished my 5 for $1.25 portion which has never happened in my life.  I don't know what made me go back a second time, but I think I was somewhat intrigued by the other items on its rather limited menu.  On this second trip, I decided to try the pork and cabbage pancake.  I assumed it would be something like pork and cabbage sandwiched between two scallion pancakes, but I was willing to eat pork, cabbage and pancake in any combination.  What came out surprised me, as I had never seen anything like it before, even after a summer studying in Beijing.  It looked like a disc with a  flat, chewy, golden, almost english-muffin like exterior, stuffed with onion-y, moist ground pork and cabbage.  Oh my.  It was fantastic.  And $1.50.  How can you beat that?  So, if you're downtown and need a very quick and very cheap bite (and you're not near Prosperity Dumplings on Eldridge Street) head on over to Tasty Dumplings for some porky goodness. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Seared Corn and Feta Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

This salad doesn't need much introduction other than it is a really delicious, light and refreshing summer meal.  It is perfect to bring to a bbq, and it has way more complex flavor than you'd expect from just a few ingredients.  Have you ever seared corn?  Well, searing the corn gives it a smoky taste, turning it into an almost popcorn-like flavor.  The light dressing adds a tang and sweetness, and the feta adds some saltiness.  Tomatoes and onion round out the dish and just make it really, really yummy.

What you'll need:
Corn and Feta Salad
3 cobs of corn
1/2-1 cup crumbled feta
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon honey
salt+pepper to taste
1/2 cup canola oil

Boil the corn for about 4 minutes in salty water.  This will slightly under cook the corn but you will be finishing it off in a pan so this is the goal.  While the corn is boiling, put the vinaigrette ingredients, minus the oil in a food processor or vitamix.  Pulse a few times, and then pour in the oil slowly while mixing.  This will create a very pleasing light green dressing that is sweet, tangy and light.  
 When the corn is done, carve the corn off of the cob, season it with salt and pepper and begin heating 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron or non non-stick pan.  When the oil is hot, and nearly smoking, put the corn in the pan.  Place a cover partially over the top of the pan so as to not hurt yourself because these corn kernels will pop.  And they hurt, too.  Don't touch the corn for about a minute or so so it browns on one side, and then (very carefully) take a spatula and flip the kernels.  The corn is done when it is slightly brown on each side.
Toss the corn, feta, onions, tomatoes and dressing together while warm and serve.  The salad tastes just as good the next day, cold, from the fridge.