Monday, May 28, 2012

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Hey y'all!

This recipe was inspired by a salad I once enjoyed at a Ladies Luncheon at our church. They served it with tortilla chips, and I enjoyed it so much that I came home and recreated it myself.

Not only is the recipe quick, easy, delicious, and very versatile. Of course you can simply serve it with tortilla chips, but you can also serve it as a party appetizer by scooping some into a clear shot glass and garnishing it with a grilled or boiled shrimp. You can also turn it into an entree by placing it on top of a plate of shredded lettuce and then placing pieces of grilled chicken breast atop that. it's pretty to also garnish it with a wedge of fresh lime. Fiesta time!

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends do.........   Lulabellle

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1 1lb. bag, frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped fine

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine

1/2 medium sweet vidalia or red onion, chopped fine

4 tbls. olive oil

Juice of one lime, (plus an additional lime for garnish * optional )

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper

2 tbls. fresh cilantro, chopped very fine

2 tbls. fresh parsley, chopped very fine

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well to mix. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.

yields about 12 -18 appetizer servings or 6 entree/ salad servings

Easy Peasy Pickles

OK y'all; let me first explain these pickles have absolutely nothing to do with peas. LOL! It is just a term I am using to let you know how simple these pickles are to make. My daughter from Missouri first told me about them and I couldn't believe how easy the are. Yep, I am originally from the show me state, so I had to see it, to believe it, and they made a believer out of me.

How simple? Just two ingredients. Cucumbers and leftover jarred pickle juice.

Here is what you do. The next time you eat up all your (dill/ kosher/sour/ ) pickles, save the juice in the jar and keep the lid on it and refrigerate it. Preferably, get some fresh cucumbers from the local farmer's market or produce stand (I haven't tried cucumbers from a regular grocery store, but I'm sure they would work too, however, the fresher ones are better)

I use a 24 oz pickle jar, and two fairly good size cucumbers. I pour half of the juice into a glass and reserve it. Next stand up cucumbers along side of jar to measure how much to cut off the end of each. The goal is to have the height of the cucumbers match the height of the jar. Cut each cucumber into spears and pack tightly into jar of juice. Pour remaining juice over cucumbers, to fill to the the brim. Save any remaining juice in a jar and refrigerate for another jar of pickles.

Next, simply refrigerate pickles and let them cure for at least one week, however, they do get better the longer they cure (if you can wait longer!)

Viola! you now have delicious pickles similar in taste to Clausens. I used a spicy pickle juice the first time and they were sooo good! You can also enhance them by adding fresh dill, garlic cloves, and or small hot peppers and a little salt if you so desire. 

I am now experimenting with using fresh green tomatoes (instead of cucumbers) and plan to try fresh okra as well. Will keep you posted on the results.

So there you have it. Easy, peasy, pickles. Enjoy!!!

Rise & Shine Muffins

Hey Y'all!

This recipe is one I created for a friend who was coming to visit me. Now I have a confession to make: Even though I probably have over a hundred cook books ( no kidding!) I love to just look in the fridge, see what I have and just get crazy and start creating. LOL!

When I was a child, I would watch my mother and grandmother cook like this and was amazed at their cooking~ no recipes, just a little bit of this and a little bit of that & I longed to be able to do the same.

 I've been cooking since I was ten years old, but actually started out cooking by following recipes. As I became more confident, I would change the recipes up a bit, tweaking it and finally making them my own. The more I experimented, the more confident I became. It is much easier to do this with with regular cooking, however not so much with baking, because baking is more of a science, and the ingredient proportions need to be precise in order for the recipe to turn out just right. So, it surprises even me when I can just start combining ingredients to create a baked product.

This recipe is easy and will keep fresh for several days in a sealed Tupperware container in the refrigerator, then you can reheat them for 7-10 seconds in the microwave. They are also delicious spread with a little softened cream cheese on top. Yum Yum!

I hope you enjoy them!........ Lulabelle

Rise and Shine Muffins

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups regular flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1  1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup peeled, grated carrots
1 granny smith apple cored; grated with peel left on
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 shredded coconut

1 cup powedered sugar, *** for tops of muffins after baking

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. In large mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar, eggs, & oil. Beat at low speed 2 minutes to blend well.

2. In separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients; stir well with fork.

3. Add dry ingredients to oil, eggs & sugar and beat for two minutes to blend.

4. Add remaining ingredients, and beat just till blended.

5. Place 18 paper cupcake liners in regular sized muffin pans.

6. Fill each cup 3/4 with batter. Bake for 20 -22 minutes till done, or till a         toothpick inserted in the center of muffins comes out clean.

Top with sifted powdered sugar

Yield 18 muffins

*** Tip: If you have a food processor, you can put the cored apple cut into wedges along with a cup of carrot chunks into the processor and pulse just till they are shredded. however, do not do this with the walnuts; they need to be larger pieces.