Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Healthier-Than-A-Can Creamed Corn

September 2, 2010

Labor Day weekend signals the close of summer and the last weekend for beach trips and barbecues. Granted, some people grill all through the winter, such as nutty football tailgaters. However, Labor Day weekend is the last great barbecue weekend for the rest of us normal hot-blooded sports fans.

creamed corn

Creamed corn - the good stuff comes in a can!

Unfortunately, Labor Day weekend also heralds the start of the ragweed allergy season. Runny noses, sore throats, dizziness and sinus headaches are signs of the end of summer for me. As a result, I am holed up at home on a diet of mushy liquid-based dishes. One craving in particular was worth sharing. And so, enjoy my healthier-than-a-can version of the midwest staple.

Creamed Corn

created on the fly by Sarah Johnson


  • 2 ears of corn
  • ½ c milk
  • ½ T butter
  • 1 T flour
  • ¼ t salt
  • ½ t white pepper
  • ¼ c parmesan cheese
      1. Remove the silk from the corn, leaving the husks intact and wrapped around the corn.
      2. Soak the corn for at least 10 minutes, then drain before cooking.
      3. Grill or broil the corn for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
      4. Once the corn is cool, cut the kernels from the cob.
      5. Over medium heat, combine the milk and corn.
      6. Bring the milk to a full boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from sticking.
      7. Once boiling, drop the heat to low and add the butter and flour.
      8. Blend all of the ingredients in the pot and add the salt, pepper, and cheese.
      9. Sir until combined. Mixture should be thick but still liquid.

      These instructions call for grilling or broiling the corn which gives a great flavor but also removes the liquid. The reason creamed corn becomes so deliciously thick is due to the water in the milk evaporating. If you use fresh corn, you might need to boil the milk and corn mixture for some time to get the extra moisture out so the dish will thicken properly.

      A delicious finishing touch to creamed corn is to add more carbs! A crispy bread crumb topping is a traditional way to serve the dish. The French call it au gratin. Midwesterners would probably dump the dish if you used that term. Regardless, once the corn is done cooking in the pot, transfer it to a casserole dish so that it is about 1″ thick. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top to cover the corn and broil until the crumbs turn golden brown and crispy. This simple finishing touch also goes great on mac and cheese! Another classic which can be fancied up “au gratin”.


Personally Imported from Virginia

August 18, 2010

There were many things which came together to inspire and create this delicious treat. First Friday is always a reason to come up with an interesting recipe. Summer is a fun time as well because there are so many fresh ingredients at the markets. This month I was able to bypass the market and go directly to the source.


Half peck of peaches from Carter Mountain Charlottesville, Virginia.

I took a short trip to visit friends in Charlottesville, Virginia. I really enjoyed the farmer’s market there but also got to go to Carter’s Mountain for a peach festival. They were demonstrating how to make peach salsa which got my mind going. With the half peck of peaches I brought back to Philly, I made peach chutney, peach gazpacho, and just ate peaches non-stop. The downside? I don’t want another peach for the rest of the summer!

Regardless, on the 5 hour train ride, I used a napkin in lieu of my notebook to materialize all of the peach ideas in my head. Another source of inspiration for this treat was a sprig of rosemary from a neighbor’s garden in Charlottesville. Given these two ingredients, I decided goat cheese would work well to bridge the divide of sweet and savory. With some help from Angelo at Downtown Cheese, I found a perfect young goat cheese which turned into a wonderful whipped consistency. The final component of this dessert is my favorite pie crust by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin adapted to a small bite size pastry cup.

peach pastries

Peach and goat cheese pastries.

Savory Peach Pastry

created on by Sarah Johnson

NOTE: measurements for the filling are approximate and can be adjusted to taste


  • 4 peaches
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ nutmeg
  • 1 t rosemary (sprigs for garnish)
  • ¼ c + 2 T sugar
  • ½ c + 2 T muscat wine
  • ¼ lb goat cheese
  • Pastry

    • 2 c flour
    • 1 ¾ sticks butter chilled
    • ½ t salt
    • ½ t sugar


    1. Peel and dice 2 of the peaches.
    2. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, 2 T sugar, and 2 T wine. Let sit covered in a bowl for at least an hour.
    3. Combine goat cheese, ½ c wine, and ¼ c sugar in a bowl. Mix until smooth and light. Add more sugar or wine as needed.
    4. Stir the peach mixture into the cheese mixture.
    pastry cups

    Pie crust shaped in miniature muffin tins. Recipe from Julia and Jacques.


    1. Slice butter into ½ inch pieces.
    2. Combine flour, butter, salt, and sugar in a cuisinart for a few seconds, or with a pastry blender.
    3. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for about one hour.
    4. Remove the dough and roll out to ¼ inch thickness.
    5. Cut dough into 3" squares. Place each square into a mini-muffin pan.
    6. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes.


    1. Peel remaining two peaches and cut into slices.
    2. Fill each pastry cup with a spoonful of goat cheese mixture.
    3. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of peach.


April 29, 2010

I finally broke down and cooked some of the trendy grain quinoa. After tasting some delicious salads at Fork, I tried my hand at an impromptu version. The greatest part about quinoa? Not the massive amounts of protein, the nutritional value, or versatility as an ingredient – it cooks so quickly! I created the following recipe at 6AM one morning when I had no lunch to bring to work.

quinoa salad

quinoa salad served with steamed asparagus made for a lovely lunch at work

Quinoa Salad

created on the fly by Sarah Johnson


  • 1 c stock
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1/2 c mushrooms
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
  • 2 T almonds (sliced, blanched)
  • 1 T chives (chopped)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • dash salt
  • dash pepper
  • 2 T chevre cheese
  1. Place stock and quinoa in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Once boiling, simmer for 12-15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
  3. Slice mushrooms and sautee until tender.
  4. Combine quinoa, mushrooms, cranberries, and chives in a large bowl.
  5. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add cheese and enjoy!

They are limitless! All of this was cooked based on whatever ingredients I could get my hands on at the dark, sleepy hour of 6AM. My preference would have been pine nuts instead of almonds, but they are generally cost-prohibitive. Any form of dried berry (currants, raisins, dates) would work well in this salad. Red onions would be good, but I have chives growing in my garden so they wind up in everything I make in the Spring/Summer.

The cheese I used was chevre d’or ladle “moulded” cheese which the wonderful people at Downtown Cheese in Reading Terminal pointed me to. It is a medium-age cheese which is soft but solid and slightly pungent at room temperature. I am determined to acquire complete firsthand knowledge of goat cheese. It’s a long but delicious voyage! I cut it into small chunks and stirred it into the salad. A young, crumbly, and fluffy goat cheese or even a blue or feta cheese would work well too.