Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Risotto

If you're anything like me, you probably haven't roasted a pumpkin before. Up until now, when a recipe called for pumpkin, I'd hit the aisles for pure canned pumpkin. Now, canned pumpkin tends to work well in sweet, baked goods. I always found it didn't turn out the right consistency when it came to savory pumpkin dishes.

That being said, I'll never buy the canned stuff again. You hear that, blogging world? Never again.

While roaming the Newburyport Farmers' Market this week, I spotted a basket full of sugar pumpkins. Now, when you're looking for pumpkins to cook with, you're not buying the ones you carve faces into. You want the smaller varieties like the sugar pumpkin.

You are then going to take that pumpkin home and show it who's boss. You're going to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You're going to cut around the stem, pulling it out. You're going to scoop out the seeds and the stringy stuff. If you like pumpkin seeds, wash them off, dry them, and baked them on a baking sheet after you toss them with some salt and other spices. You are then going to take the most bad ass of your kitchen knives and you're going to cut that baby in half. You are then going to place those halves into a baking dish and you're going to roast them for 1 to 1.5 hours until the flesh is tender. You will then let it cool and scoop the insides out to use in the following dish and whatever else pumpkin you crave.

Pumpkin Risotto
Serves 4

2.5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio Rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth plus 1 cup water
1/2 pumpkin, roasted
1/8 teaspoon of sea or kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
dash ground nutmeg
dash ground cloves
dash ground ginger
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
fresh sage leaves for garnish (optional)

In a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt 2.5 tablespoons butter. Add chopped onion and cook until tender. While the onion is cooking, heat chicken broth and water in a separate saucepan. You want it warm to hot, but not simmering. When onion is tender, add rice and cook until translucent. At this point, add the garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. 

Now, start adding the warm broth to the rice, 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding broth mixture 1/2 a cup at a time until rice is al dente. That's very important, you don't want it to get mushy. Once the desired consistency is reached, add pumpkin, add salt, pepper and other spices. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. 

Spoon into bowls, garnish with a tad more Parmesan cheese and fresh sage leaves. (While the sage is optional, it does add a great level of flavor to the dish).
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumpkins and Cooking for Fall

The pick of the week is pumpkin. A bright, plump sugar pumpkin from Farmer Dave's. I envision that little piece of fall cored, scooped out and baked, then filled with pumpkin risotto. I usually shy away from the full pumpkin, opting instead for the canned. I've read four or five how-to's on how to make the homemade puree, so I figured I'd give it a try. It's just gorgeous, I couldn't resist.

I haven't done all my shopping yet this week. So far we're just down $15 so far this week: a pound and half of potatoes, 2 bunches of carrots, an onion from Heron Pond Farm; a bag of lettuce, pears and a pumpkin from Farmer Dave's; a beautiful loaf of bread from from the Savory Kitchen. It will go into salads all week, a pumpkin risotto, potatoes duchess, maple-glazed carrots and poached pears.

From one kind of pumpkin to another. I was lucky enough to spend my Saturday evening at the Stonewall Kitchen in York, ME. This wonderland of tastiness is only about a half hour from my home on the North Shore of Massachusetts. I've been wanting to check out their gorgeous flag ship store and take a cooking class at their Stonewall School for a while.

Jim Stott and Jonathan King started Stonewall Kitchen in 1991. They began with a small table at a local farmers' market in New Hampshire. They now own 9 stores and their products are sold all over the country.

Their York store is the flagship. It houses a massive retail store, cafe, corporate offices and the Stonewall School. I was curious, so my mom and I signed up for one of their evening classes. It was called "Autumn Favorites" and it turned out to be an awesome relaxing evening.

Now, the Stonewall School isn't your typical hands-on class. Instead, you're treated to a full meal while you watch the food you're chowing down on, get prepared step-by-step. You can sit back, order a glass of wine or beer, and prepare to get an education.

The menu included Autumn Rarebit over freshly-baked Pumpernickel Bread (heavenly), Baked Beans with an Apple-Rum Crust, Beef Tenderloin with Grand Marnier Sauce, Potatoes Duchess, and an Autumn Spice Cake, served with dulce de leche sauce and ginger ice cream. Hungry yet? You should be, it was amazing.

It's an interactive evening as well. Our instructor Linda Driver took us step-by-step through the dishes, asking for questions and comments throughout. She pointed out little tips and tricks of what to look for as yeast reacted for the bread, to the right amount of crust on the tenderloin. It was a super-relaxing evening, full of a lot of great food and laughs. You get sent home with all the recipes you just watched be created, so you can create them at home. It was a beautiful evening, I'm definitely going back! They just released their Fall/Winter schedule and it looks amazing!

Outside the Stonewall Kitchen in York, ME

Leftover Bits

A few leftover bits from this week. I sadly didn't advance in Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog. Thank you to everyone who voted for Lighter and Local. I plan on still doing what would have been Challenge 2 this week, but on my own - Massaman Eggplant Curry. There are still amazing (and many local) bloggers still in the challenge. So continue to check out their awesome creations and keep voting!

I was absolutely THRILLED to have Lighter and Local featured on website Local in Season this week. My Italian Roasted Tomato and Eggplant soup was shared with their community. Local in Season is an amazing New England website dedicated to better, in-season and local food. Check them out, they're amazing.

I've also been pondering a challenge for all the food bloggers out there for charity. A few years back, several congressmen (including MA Rep. Jim McGovern) challenged themselves to live a week on the equivalent of food stamps. It works out to be about $4.50 a day, or $31 dollars a week. Check out the details here. I think it would be fabulous for local food bloggers out there to take the challenge themselves, blog about it, and hopefully raise awareness and even some money for a local food bank or hunger organization. If you're interesting in maybe helping me organize such a thing or take part. Please email me at Pin It

Friday, September 24, 2010

Honey Whole Wheat Apple n' Cheddar Muffins

I have created a monster. Not the muffin itself, but the effect it has on me. I just sat here and ate three slathered in butter. My heart says, "Go ahead, they're whole wheat, it's healthy." My brain, however, knows better.

I love a good muffin. They're really the forgotten breakfast staple. Bagels are more hearty, a delicate croissant is prettier and more lux. The muffin, however, it can go in about one hundred different directions once you start. I have some beautiful Honeycrisp apples from Applecrest Farm Orchards. Some will go to Local in Season's Honeycrisp Chicken, the others went into this muffin.

While we're on the subject of Local in Season, give them a look. They're featuring my Italian Roasted Tomato and Eggplant soup today. They're mission is local food for all. They, like me, believe that the end result of local food is better food.

I digress. So the inspiration of this recipe are those gorgeous Honeycrisp Apples. They're among my favorite of the season. I was originally going to go for sweet with these, maybe with some spice and a coffeecake topping. One of my favorite combinations, however, is a slice of warm whole wheat bread, a slice of apple, a slice of extra-sharp Cabot cheddar, drizzled with some honey. This muffin takes all of that and wraps it up into a lovely little muffin.

Honey Whole Wheat Apple n' Cheddar Muffins
makes 12-15 muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour (I weigh, it's 8.5 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup honey
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1 large Honeycrisp (or any kind) of apple, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup freshly shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In one bowl combine whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk to combine. In another bowl, lightly beat the two eggs, and add canola oil, honey, buttermilk and milk and whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until the mixture resembles a thicker batter. Fold in apple and cheddar.

Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter or cooking spray. Fill each cup 3/4 of the way full. Pop into the oven for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly, and tops are golden. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, pop those muffins out and serve warm with lots of butter and maybe a drizzle of honey. Pin It

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Keep it Simple: Baked Cherry Tomato Pasta

Sometimes simple is best. It's my mantra in the kitchen. It's why I search out local produce and products. It's why we grow vegetables every summer in our garden. I should put a disclaimer here that I pick the plants, and my husband tends to them; I have a black thumb. Fresh and in-season produce can live up to just a little dressing up for a fantastic meal.

I cook in the daytime. I work nights so often lunch is the largest meal in our house. This week, I had a bowl of cherry tomatoes from our garden. It was overflowing. I needed a simple, quick and fairly healthy meal. I didn't have a ton of time (like most of you, time is at a premium) so I found this among my saved recipes folder. I halved this recipe and it turned out great. Below is the full recipe.

Baked Cherry Tomato Pasta
only slightly adapted from Savoring the Seasons who discovered it on the The Wednesday Chef
Serves 4-6

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup fresh (none of that prepacked stuff) breadcrumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 pound dried pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup mix of fresh basil, oregano and parsley (you could just use fresh basil)
more Parmesan cheese for grating over the top

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Take a glass baking dish and pour 1/4 cup olive oil in it, to coat. Place cherry tomatoes, cut side up, into pan. I usually don't take pictures of my prep but aren't they just cute?

In a bowl, combine fresh breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.

Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over the top of the tomatoes. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes until tops of tomatoes and mixture is golden.

About 10 minutes into the tomatoes baking, prepare pasta according to directions. The goal here is to have the tomatoes come out of the oven at the same time your pasta is done. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and set aside in a bowl. Take the tomatoes out of the oven, mix in your fresh herbs, then toss with the pasta.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy the super fresh flavors!

**Just a friendly reminder that I am participating in Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog 2010. It's a competition full of amazing food bloggers who are full of talent. Please take a moment and check out my entry and vote for Lighter and Local to be one of the 400 that advance to the next round. You can check out my entry... here. ** Pin It

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The politics of "Buying Local"

It's been a whirlwind of late summer weekends away, and sadly, each one has caused me to miss my local market. I was back with a vengeance today. Each stand filled with some of the first rounds of apples to be had this season. I didn't need a ton, because the patch is still giving us lots of zucchini, tomatoes and eggplants. I got beautiful Honeycrisp apples, green beans and red potatoes, all for about $8. My Sunday morning meditation of the market, I missed it. My heart, honestly, feels better now, or maybe that's just the cider donuts talking.

This leads me to a topic swirling around in my brain now for a couple of weeks. It's the relatively new criticism of being a "localvore". Don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone, at their core, really has an issue with supporting local farms and artisans; they have an issue with the fanfare that, as of late, has surrounded the local food movement.

Stephan Budiansky of the blog, The Liberal Curmudgeon, offered up a column for the New York Times in the past month that has gotten the attention of local eaters around the country. To be fair, he begins his whole theory with the admission that he knows and enjoys the pleasure of locally grown food and all the benefits it offers.  After this admission he offers up, "But the local food movement now threatens to devolve into another one of those self-indulgent — and self-defeating — do-gooder dogmas."

Here's a shocker. I think he's right in that statement.

Too often eating locally gets paired with words and phrases such as "green", "eco-friendly", "carbon-footprint", and "sustainable". Budiansky argues in his article that the energy saved by local buying is relatively small. About that, he's most likely right in the grand scheme of things. You will get no argument whatsoever from me that eating locally is, at its roots, good for the environment in some ways, energy-saving just isn't one of them. I like to know where my food comes from. However, the mere mention of the terms I mentioned above and you invite controversy and a bit of snobbish idealism.

Let me explain. Chat with someone who doesn't believe in the concept of global warming. Invite them to instead think of the term, "climate change", and you'll get a completely different conversation. Simplify it down further. Talk with that same person about simple solutions. There are very few people out there who will argue with you about the virtues of so-called "green" practices like wasting less, making use of more, and cutting down on chemicals not found in nature. Very few people out there argue that doing little things for the environment, harms the environment; and in fact, most would agree those little things can help.

It's the catch phrase of "global warming" that raises the hairs on some people's necks. It's not the scientific idea that our world is changing or even the everyday practices people have taken up to prevent further damage - it's the term and the politics that go along with it that create ire.

The local food movement has to be careful not to devolve into catch phrases. Like local food itself, simpler is better.

Since when did food have to be anything else but great-tasting? I buy local because it's fresher, and therefore, tastes better. You don't need a whole bunch of fancy spices to make it taste good. Fresh produce picked that morning or the day before retains its flavor longer. It'll last longer in your produce bin, giving you less of a chance to waste it.

Less waste equals more money in your pocket. A lot of people will argue that eating locally, well, it costs more. Time and time again in this blog I think I've proven you can buy local and not break the bank. Yes, four apples or peaches at a farmers' market might cost more than that bag in the supermarket. That bag, however, will go bad more quickly, or be more than you actually need. That, in turn, creates waste of food which equals waste of money.

A lot of people are crying over the "$4 peach argument". In a great blog in the Atlantic by James McWilliams he outlines the outcry over Michael Pollan of the Wall Street Journal singing the praises of lovely peaches that cost $3.90 each. In that blog, author Jason Sheehan of "Cooking Dirty" talks about in a recession when you can't afford to buy a can of soup, how can you stomach the higher price of certain local, maybe organically-grown foods. One of my favorite personalities and authors, Anthony Bourdain, brings up the same argument in his book, "Medium Raw".

To that, I can only say the following. Shopping locally is just like shopping anywhere else. There are deals to be had. When you eat and cook, in season, know when crops are hot, there will be more supply and the price goes down. It's research. Just like clipping coupons and reading the sales papers, knowing what crops are producing and being harvested will help you save money if you're farm-stand bound. I don't shop exclusively local (kudos to those who can). I still go to the supermarket for a lot of staples. I'm OK with that. It's about doing a little bit, doing whatever you can; even just being willing to entertain the idea and learn about it is a massive win.

Finally, and then I promise I'll step down off the soapbox, I've said it many times before: Local food is just happy. Making an effort to visit local businesses and farms has made me love my community even more. I meet fabulous people at the farmers' market, the farms I go to, the small shops I choose when I can. In a day and age where many people don't even know their neighbors, making a choice to buy local has allowed me to get to know the stories and people behind my little region. It's endearing, rewarding, heck, it just makes you feel good.

Oh and when you get home, it makes for one heck of a meal.  Pin It

Friday, September 17, 2010

Project Food Blog: Ready, Set, Blog

Meet Kim. Kim would like to be the next Project Food Blog Star. You see Kim at left at one of her favorite beaches in all of New England up in Ogunquit, Me. It's her love of New England and all its delicious offerings that's inspiring Kim to take part in this competition.

Project Food Blog is a competition offered up by foodie and blogging website FoodBuzz for which I'm thrilled to be a Featured Publisher.

This is Challenge #1, explain why you have your blog, why you slave away for it, why it inspires you, and why you have what it takes to become the next Food Blog Star.

Lighter and Local is my path to sanity, plain and simple. My days are filled with the craziness that comes with being a local television news producer. My day begins and ends fast furious with the day's news, cooking provides the solace in the middle that allows me to slow down. Cooking should be enjoying, not dreaded at the end of every day.

Yup, that's me in the brown at right on Election Night 2008. It's nights like those that drive me to the kitchen.

You know why? Cooking is creative, it's passion. News is a passion too, but the end result, well, it's just not as tasty as what comes out of my kitchen. I often tell my co-workers that cooking and baking is methodical, it's slow. It make you stop and think about what you're doing, how flavors will come together. That, my friends, is why I started this blog, to share the final results and the journey it takes to get to wonderful and delicious food.

The other reason I began Lighter and Local is to celebrate New England's fabulous raw ingredients. Every season here allows for farm finds, amazing local artisans, and food bloggers that are using them all to come up with exquisite final products. I scour farmers' markets, farms, tiny shops, my own backyard for inspiration as to what happens in my kitchen. I try to celebrate the amazing network of local bloggers in my community every single day. They are what drives me and gives me the next great idea.

I'm also here to remind my readers that local food doesn't have to be connected to catch phrases. It doesn't have to be trendy. Local food can be cheap, fabulous and without pretense. You don't have to solely shop local (though kudos to you if you do). You can mix it in with staples from the normal grocery store and keep the price low. Local food should be happy, taste fabulous, support your local community and economy. That is also what this blog is all about.

So why should I be the next Food Blog Star? I have no pride here. I'm a cook, in my greatly-in-need-of-a-renovation kitchen, just trying to figure out what tastes best. I'm still learning, growing, and admitting my mistakes. I'm simply trying to take the simplest and best of raw, fresh and local ingredients and teach myself and others that something fabulous can come out in the final product. I'm committed to helping grow my community of bloggers and reminding all out there that the community is truly the reason we all got into food blogging. Yes, it was to showcase all our hard work behind the stove; but it was also to find the people are share the joy of the perfect cake to the learning experience of a failed stew. This is a journey, not a destination. Pin It

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Italian Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

The days are turning cooler, the nights could be described as downright chilly. September in New England means the juxtaposition of summer and fall. Inside, in my kitchen, sits a huge bowl full of the harvest from this year's garden patch. The patch is still producing, and will do so until that first frost hits. However, outside the back door of the kitchen, it was chilly yesterday morning, forcing me to close all the windows on the inside, looking out.

Fall is my favorite season, although I'm sad to say goodbye to the summer months. This soup bridges the gap between summer and fall quite nicely. It will use up some of the odds and ends you have sitting around and take Fall's first chill off.

This soup was inspired by Martha Stewart's Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup . However, her version steers off towards curry and spice, mine was put together with pure Italian in mind.

Italian Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup (or Eggplant Parmesan Soup)

1 eggplant, cut into halves, half chopped into large chunks, the other chopped into bite-size chunks
3-4 beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped in half
10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 red onion, chopped, divided
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
red pepper flakes, pinch
salt (I used a pretty hefty sea salt, kosher probably would be ok too)
1/4 cup fresh basil and oregano, chopped
1 cup chicken broth

day-old bread (any amount will do, a sub roll, couple of sliced bread, leftover Italian or French bread.)
olive oil
red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese

Set over to 425 degrees. In one large bowl, combine all tomatoes (cherry and otherwise), the large chunks of eggplant, garlic cloves and half of the onion. Add half of the olive oil (1 tablespoon), and salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything in the bowl to coat. Spread out over a baking sheet coated with a bit of olive oil or cooking spray.

In the bowl you just used, dump in the bite-sized pieces of eggplant and the rest of the onion. Add other half of olive oil (another 1 tablespoon), salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread this mixture out onto another coated baking sheet.

Put both baking sheets in the oven, roasting for about 35 minutes, stirring once halfway.

Take the roasted tomato mixture and put into a blender, add fresh basil and oregano and puree. Transfer to a saucepan or dutch oven and add roasted eggplant/onion mixture. Add pinch of red pepper flakes. Thin with 1 cup of chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste. Warm over medium heat.

While the soup is warming on the stove. Take bread, chop into crouton-sized pieces, and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese. Spread out over a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve soup with croutons and a touch more fresh basil and oregano as garnish. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the top and serve.

Serves 3-4. This is a small serving soup. Feel free to double, triple, whatever you need to do to feed your guests. Pin It

Friday, September 10, 2010

Corn and Blueberry Muffin Pies

I love a whoopie pie. They're fun, simple and the options are endless. We've been eating through the rest of our camping stash all week, but I had some leftovers I knew I definitely wanted to use. I had the most fantastic sweet corn from the Dedham Farmers' Market. I wanted to use the leftover kernels for something, most likely cornbread.

However, I didn't want just cornbread. I wanted a bit more. I had blueberries frozen from blueberry picking season and a chunk of cream cheese in the fridge. I figured cornbread goes with cream cheese, right? So why not cream cheese frosting? It's among my favorite of frostings. I especially love it in a whoopie pie (see pumpkin whoopie pies).

Cornbread batter, however, is too runny out of which to shape little cakes. How to solve this conundrum? Why couldn't I make cute, rustic whoopie pies out of muffins instead? Thus the "muffin pie" was born. Couldn't you see these little guys after a big barbecue or maybe the final course at a brunch?

Needless to say, they're yummy and disappearing fast.

Corn and Blueberry Muffin Pies

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs slightly beaten
2/3 cup blueberries
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (optional)
2.5 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup raw sugar

1/2 stick butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, chilled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioner's sugar
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients through salt in one bowl. In another bowl, combine all ingredients (milk, oil, honey, eggs) through the eggs.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until combined. Stir in corn kernels and blueberries.

Pour batter into a greased muffin pan, filling each tin 3/4 of the way. You should have enough for the standard 12. Sprinkle tops with a little bit of raw sugar.

Bake about 15 minutes until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then take each muffin out to cool on a wire baking rack for another 15.

While they're cooling, make the frosting. Cream butter and cream cheese with a stand mixer or a handheld. Add vanilla and stir. Slowly add confectioner's sugar and pinch of salt while the mixer is set on low. Push mixer speed up to half and whip until it becomes frosting consistency.

Once muffins are cooled, melt the 2.5 tablespoons of butter in one bowl, and put 1/2 cup of raw sugar in another. Dip tops of muffins in the butter and then in the raw sugar to coat. Repeat for all muffins.

Take a bread knife and carefully cut each muffin in half, placing the tops aside. Put a dollop of the cream cheese frosting on each bottom and squish that frosting down with each corresponding top.

Voila, muffin cakes. This recipes makes 12 muffin cakes. Enjoy! Pin It

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gone Campin'! (with a lot of bacon)

If one is going to camp, one must eat well. In our case, we eat extremely well. I whipped up so many lovely things for our trip this weekend I couldn't pick a photo to go along with it. I chose the adorable baby onions and Red Russian garlic from the Dedham Farmers' Market instead. The reason? It's simple, it's beautiful, and it's made my fresh salsa go from simple to simply amazing. If you haven't gotten a chance to stop by Dedham's market, it's a fabulous find. It's open on Wednesdays from 12-6 through October and has some fabulous finds. The baby onions and smokey Red Russian garlic are an unbelievable and delightful find. Forgive me for forgetting the name of the farm, maybe Johanna can remind me. She's the lovely woman who runs to Dedham Farmers' Market.

I digress, however. I love to camp. I love sitting out under the stars, listening to the ball game on the radio, relaxing with the husband. The highlights of our camping experience always are the meals.

On tap this weekend? A lot of bacon-related items. It's the husband's birthday, and the boy loves his bacon. Here's the menu: Bourbon steak tips and Monterrey jack burgers from Tendercrop Farms, three types of sausages from Fowles Market, and a Bacon, Bean and Beef chili (it's from Cooks Illustrated, if you're curious). They'll be paired with Corn, Cheddar, Chive and Bacon Potato Salad (recipe to follow), fresh salsa (thanks Tracey of Blue Egg Baking Co. for the idea) and plenty of yummy regional beer to wash it all down. That doesn't include the home fries, the bacon, the frittatas we'll make over our trusty little grill. Oh, and I made s'mores bars because we're camping at music festival and we can't have the open flames, but I still want s'mores!

Enough of my chit chatter, right? The highlight of my weekend is going to be the Corn, Cheddar, Chive and Bacon Potato Salad. Would you like to try?

Corn, Cheddar, Chive and Bacon Potato Salad

1.5 lbs red potatoes
6-7 slices of center-cut bacon 
1 cup corn (about 3 or so small ears)
1/4 cup chopped parsley and chives (total) 
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise
1.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Scrub and put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water. Boil and cook until potatoes are fork-tender, but not mushy. Drain out water, put aside, and allow to cool. Fry up strips of bacon until crispy enough to crumble. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to cool, then crumble with your fingers. 

While those potatoes and bacon are cooling, chop up your chives and parsley. Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces once cooled and put into a large bowl. Add crumbled bacon, parsley and chives, and shredded cheddar. Season with salt and pepper. Finally, add mayo and mustard and combine until everything is coated. 

Makes about 6-8 servings.
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