Spicy Grilled Corn

I have no memory of the first time I ever ate BBQ.  Clearly it wasn’t in The Bronx and it surprises me that what I now count among my favorite things to eat has a beginning steeped in mystery.  Chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, corn, it doesn’t really matter, nothing tastes as good as something hot off the grill.  That perfect combination of fat hitting flame is hard to duplicate in the kitchen.  When the days are longer I often come home from work and BBQ, trying my hardest to re-create what I imagine “real BBQ” might taste like when prepared by those “guys” who love to cook meat (my guy doesn’t even eat red meat.)  After all these years I am still a novice, mainly because we don’t really live in a BBQ culture.  For me BBQ conjures up certain images like large family gatherings, home-cooking, cold beer, and being outdoors, all so appealing.  So each year I try to learn a little more about grilling and once in a while I get it right.

BBQ corn is a staple at our farmers’ markets but because of the Latin influence you normally can have them plain or heavily seasoned, my personal preference.  I have tried marinating the corn in spices before grilling them but the flavor never really penetrated the surface. I have tried shaking on the spices just after I have removed the corn from the grill, but that didn’t work very well either.  Today I read an article that mayo is the “glue” of choice for grilled corn.  I went and bought two ears of corn, pulled back the husks, removed the silk, brushed the corn with a little olive oil and grilled them on high for about 10 minutes.  Then I brushed the grilled corn with a very thin layer of mayo, and rolled them in a combination of spices.  I am proud to say that this is not my mother’s corn.

 

Spicy Grilled Corn

Prepare corn and grill for about 10 minutes, till lightly charred.

In a bowl mix 1/2 tsp smoked paprika with 1/2 tsp chili powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.  Add a pinch of salt.

Brush grilled corn with mayonnaise and roll in spices.  Squeeze lime juice over the top.

Enjoy,

Irene

Lil’s Hamantaschen

One of my favorite memories of growing up in The Bronx is of the leisurely strolls down the Grand Concourse which often included a stop at Krum’s, a large soda parlor at 187th Street.  At the front of the store there was a counter behind which were bins filled with assorted, and what I thought were exotic, nuts.  Among others, there were Brazil nuts, Cashews (my personal favorite), white Pistachios, and red Pistachios which were what we always bought.  The red dye would rub off on your fingers and that was part of the fun, plus we were innocent of the danger of red dye.  In the center of the store there was a large display table that changed every season.  Cellophane gift baskets that contained combinations of dried fruits, nuts and crackers towered over the smaller items.  I always liked the Spring display the best, when chocolate Easter Bunnies dominated the table and all the confections were some shade of pastel and filled with marshmallows or soft creams.  At the back of the shop was the Soda Fountain where you could have any kind of drink, ice cream or Sundae, to which my father would treat me on occasion, always on a Sunday.

Purim is just around the corner and though this holiday doesn’t resonate with me I can’t break with certain traditions.  I try to hear the Megillah reading in the morning, at work, recited with decorum and not much fanfare.  What else?  I send my children gift baskets, Mishloach Manot.  In spite of the fact that they are not all fans of Hamantashen, I always include them along with whatever other treats I either bake or buy.  Hopefully these ” baskets” (that arrive in FedEx boxes instead of cellophane and ribbons) will create happy memories for them, like the ones that I carry,  and who knows, some day they may even develop a taste for Hamantaschen.  Chag Purim Sameach.

Here is one more tradition that I can’t change, it is my mother-in-law’s recipe for Hamantaschen and I use it every year.  Some people find the dough too soft to work with, but I think it’s perfect just the way it is.

Lil’s Hamantaschen
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tsp. baking powder
2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup orange juice

Mix dry ingredients in bowl.  Combine eggs and oil and mix well.  Slowly add orange juice to eggs and then mix liquid into dry ingredients.  Mix together till dough is soft and pliable.  If dough is too soft, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Filling
6 oz. dried apricots
6 oz. dried pitted prunes
1 1/2 cups raisins
3-4 Tb sugar
1/2 Tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup water or orange juice

In a small heavy bottomed pot combine all ingredients over low heat and cook until fruit is soft, about 20 minutes.  Add water if needed.  Process mixture in a food processor for about one minute until it looks like jam.

Roll dough out on floured board till about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out small circles and place a teaspoon of filling in the center.  Pinch sides together to form a triangle.  Brush with beaten egg and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy,
Irene