Corn on the Cob, Roasted or Grilled

My Aunt Buzz had a very specific place and time she would have corn on the cob.

She would be visiting friends at their farm in Maine and, only after they had sat the kettle on the stove to boil would they head out to the field to pick their corn for that meal.

A bit extreme, if you ask me.

I used to stand in line at a rather nice farm stand in one of Boston’s better suburbs to be handed a paper bag of a dozen ears of corn.

It was very good, but, we were younger and a larger household at the time, so, no worries about going through all that corn.

Today, I pick up a tray of four ears, shucked, at my market, and we enjoy that, roasted or grilled, with seasoned butter.

•4 ears of corn
•Aluminum foil
•1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
•1/4 tsp chili powder
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp chives
•1/4 tsp steakhouse seasoning
•1/4 tsp parsley
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/4 tsp paprika

Combine the butter together with the seasonings in a bowl until well blended.

Cut four pieces of aluminum foil.

Arrange an ear of corn on a piece of foil, coat all sides with the seasoned butter, then wrap tightly with the foil.

Repeat with the remaining corn and foil. You should have plenty of butter for four, or perhaps five ears.

Note: this can be done ahead of time, and you can stash the wrapped corn in the fridge until you are ready to deal with it.

When read to cook the corn, heat your oven to 400º or your grill for indirect heat.

Place your wrapped corn in the oven or one the grill and cook for one hour.

You don’t really need to fuss with it, just let it do its own thing.

Remove from the oven or grill, unwrap, and serve as you will.


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Tuna Salad With Curry & Parmesan

First off…

What?!? Tuna salad with both curry and Parmesan cheese?


And, it is the only way I make it anymore; whether for sammiches or, in this case, as part of a pretty darned spiffy main course dinner salad. I did cheat and use a bagged chopped steakhouse wedge salad kit, but tossed the included dressing.

The tuna, after all, has it all.

•2 cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
•1/2 cup good mayonnaise
•1/2 cup chopped Ranch Pickles
•1/2 cup diced red onion
•1/2 cup diced celery
•2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
•2 tbsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp curry powder
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/8 tsp garlic powder

Toss the pickles, onion, celery, Parmesan, and seasonings together in a large bowl.

Add the tuna and the mayonnaise and sity until nicely blended.

For best results, transfer to a glass container, cover tightly, and stash in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to properly blend.

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Sweet Potato Brioche

We love these whenever we visit Bayona in NOLA, and, lucky me, a friend had the cookbook and shared the recipe with me!

I did misread my notes and accidently added six eggs to the dough instead of the called for five but, I did some research and, no harm, no foul! The extra egg just brought the brioche into challah-adjacent territory (not at all a bad thing).

I will note, this recipe is pretty simple, but time consuming.

Plan for two days (or one very long one).

The thing is, most of that time is allowing the dough to rise; one hour to start, then overnight in the fridge, and then a final hour in the muffin tins. Remember, too, that you are the boss of that dough.

Cannot get to it after it has been rising for the called for hour (or six in the fridge)? No worries! The dough will be there waiting for your attention when you are ready to give it.

•2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
•2 tbsp warm (110º) water
•1 tsp plus 2 tbsp sugar
•1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
•5 eggs
•1/4 cup milk
•3-1/2 cups flour
•1 tsp salt
•1/2 lb cold butter

•1 beaten egg

Peel a sweet potato and cut into chunks.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, stir in one tablespoon of salt and the sweet potatoes.

Boil for 20 minutes, until tender, then drain and set aside to cool.

Add the sweet potato to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for about on minute, until smooth.

Measure out one cup of the sweet potato mash for the brioche.

Note: if you like, freeze any remaining sweet potato in one cup batches; then you will have saved a step the next time you make this recipe.

Place the yeast and one teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl or beaker.

Stir in the warm water, then set aside to rest for ten minutes or so, until the yeast is nice and foamy.

Return the cup of sweet potato to the mixing bowl along with the eggs and the foamy yeast mixture.

Beat for one minute.

Add the flour, the other two tablespoons of sugar, and the teaspoon of salt.

Knead for five minutes, until you have a smooth but really sticky dough.

Cut the cold butter into small pieces and then, about a third at a time, beat into the dough.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise at room temperature for about and hour or so – until the dough has doubled in size.

Cannot get back to the dough in 60 minutes? No worries! Again, you are the boss! The dough will be more than fine until you can get back to it.

When you do get back to the dough, peel back the cover, close your hands into fists, and punch the dough down, gently, to release any air pockets and reduce the volume of the dough.

Recover the bowl and stash the dough in the fridge for at least six hours or overnight.

Yeh. I told you it was a kinda fussy recipe, but, brioche will not be rushed.

Six hours later, the next day, whatever, remove the dough from the fridge and heat your oven to 400º.

Apply cooking spray to two, twelve space muffin tins.

Lightly punch the dough down once more, then, ssing two teaspoons, scoop the dough into each prepared  place. You will have plenty for 24 brioche.

Loosely cover the pans with a clean kitchen towel, then set aside to rise until the dough has doubled – another hour or so.

When ready to bake, lightly whip the egg fro the glaze, then brush over the surface of your brioche and prick the surface with a toothpick in a couple of places.

Pop it into the hot oven for ten minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325º and bake for another ten minutes for individual rolls, until golden brown.

Two dozen pretty terrific little brioche to enjoy with that Maple Syrup Butter and share with friends and family.

Or, I guess you could freeze the excess, and have a treat whenever you like.

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Maple Syrup and Orange Butter

It is hard to describe just how very nice this is; and, it came about kinda by accident!

I was making a batch of Sweet Potato Brioche, and according to the chef and restaurant, Bayona in NOLA, who is the founder of the recipe, they should be served with maple syrup butter, made with unsalted butter, maple syrup, Kosher salt, and a dab o’ vanilla.

Except, somehow, I was out of vanille (!!!), so pure orange extract was the stand in.

And, you know what?

I think it was a wee, tiny bit better than with the vanilla!

•1 stick unsalted butter, softened
•6 tbsp maple syrup
•1 tsp orange extract
•1/2 tsp kosher salt

Beat the maple syrup, orange extract, and salt into the softened butter until well and truly blended.

That is it.

Transfer to a container, cover, and stash in the fridge until needed.

Do remember to bring the butter out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to serve it so that it can be easily spread.

Most excellent on the brioche, but also a nice addition to your daily toast, English muffin, or even pancakes.

Oh, and the brioche?

Check back tomorrow for the details.

The recipe itself is pretty straightforward and basic, but there is an overnight (or, at least six hour) rise time in the middle of the process, so I would plan two days to do the whole thing.

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Best! Air Fryer Garlic Bread Slices

I was poking around the bakery at Whole Foods, and decided to try one of their French baguettes. When I got home, I did my usual thing with French bread, cut a bit of the heel of, topped the slice with butter and a bit of salt, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This bread comes close to the loaves from Rocket Baby in Wisconsin, which supplies our fave French restaurant, and is the standard for French bread amongst our friends. Once I enjoyed it with just salt and butter, I got to thinking about adding garlic and, mebbe a bit of air fryer action.

Perfection; and wicked easy, too!

•French bread, sliced
•2 tbsp unsalted butter
•1 tbsp minced garlic
•1/4 tsp salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper

Note: I used coarse Birch Smoked Salt, but feel free to use your own fave.

Let the butter soften in a bowl, then add the garlic, salt, black and Aleppo peppers and stir to mix well. Feel free to do this ahead of time if you like.

When ready to cook your bread, heat your air fryer to 425º and line the tray with parchment paper.

Note: every air fryer is different. Mine needs a short preheat period, and others do not. It also seems to air fry best between 400º and 425º. My tray also slides in, and so I can pop it in the fryer with the food. If your air fryer has a basket container, do not add the parchment before you add the bread slices; the convection will pull up the parchment to the top of the basket.

Slice your bread and arrange in a single layer on the parchment lined tray or basket.

Note: the garlic butter was more than enough for eight slices, which was ample for just the two of use for dinner. If you are serving a crowd, you will need to work in stages, and keep the finished slices warm in the oven.

Air fry for five to seven minutes, until the slices are as toasty as you like. Again, all air fryers are different, so you may need to adjust your time and temperature.

Really good, perfectly toasted garlic bread slices, and with not much effort. I repeated this during the week until we finished most of the baguette.

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Air Fried Calamari Salad

One of our favorite munchies when we are out and about for dinner (or lunch, lunch works too!) is a nice platter of freshly fried calamari. One of fave lunch spots serves theirs with slightly crisped slices of peperoncini and halved grape tomatoes.


So when one of my fave convenience frozen seafood brands had a “Buy One, Get One FREE!” deal, I stocked up the new, improved garage freezer.

So, the thing is, we have a lot of friends who cannot eat the breading because of the gluten, and others who won’t because, calamari, I I chose to save this box for just the two of us and serve it as calamari salad with a chopped salad kit and my own Creamy Garlic Dressing drizzled over all.

•1 box frozen breaded calamari
•Sliced peperoncini
•Grape tomatoes, halved
•Steakhouse seasoning (optional)
•Sliced lemon
•1 chopped salad kit
Creamy Garlic Dressing

Note 1: this was more than enough as a main course dinner salad for the two of us. Could’ve been a nice appetizer salad for four.

Note 2: every air fryer is different, so go by the cooking times and temps and settings that work the best with your machine. My air fryer seems to run best at 400º. I also, for something like this, use my machine’s “Air Roast” setting, which adds a bit of broiler action to the process.

Heat your air fryer (my machine needs to be preheated, some do not) to 400º.

Line the air fryer pan with parchment paper, then arrange the frozen calamari (no need to thaw) in a single layer in the pan.

Scatter the sliced peperoncini and grape tomatoes over the top,, then, if you like, season with your fave steakhouse seasoning.

Pop into the hot air fryer and cook for five minutes or so.

Depending on your machine, give the try a shake or, as with mine, rotate the tray and return to the air fryer for another five minutes or so, until the calamari is done to your liking.

Remove from the air fryer and squeeze the lemon slices over the whole tray.

Toss the salad kit in a large bowl, then serve topped with the calamari mixture and some of that Creamy Garlic Dressing.

Note: not a fan of garlic? No worries! Since you’ve started with a salad kit, simply use whatever dressing was included in the bag, or, you could always the classic American option and use ranch dressing.

It is all good.

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Jalapeño Ranch Pickles

We are having Turkey Taco Thursday around about here, so it was time to toss a batch of Ranch Jalapeño Pickles.

Good thing they are dead simple to toss together before tossing ’em in the fridge.

I got the idea from a recipe hack where you empty a packet of ranch dressing mix into a bottle of pickles – doesn’t matter which type, but I am partial to Famous Dave’s Spicy Sweet slices – and then I thought to take the jalapeño leap.

Things is, Rich likes the pickles.

The jalapeños? Not so much; so I keep ’em in separate jars now.

•1 jar pickled jalapeño slices
•1 packet ranch dressing mix*

*Note: I really like the mixes from this local (to us) company that makes pizza dough mixes and dip and dressing packets. I can only find them at one local market, but you can order on line here.

Strain the liquid from a jar of pickled jalapeño slices into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Whisk the packet of ranch dressing mix into the liquid, then add the jalapeños, close the jar, and shake to cover well.

Stash in the fridge for an hour or so to allow the flavors to meld before using.

Pretty darned stellar on tacos and such, but don’t stop there!

Think of tossing some on top of a bowl of zippy soup or curry…

I am even *thinking* about stuffing a sliced jalapeño inside a pitted date with a bit of blue cheese, then wrapping the whole shebang with bacon and air frying it.


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Parfait! The Return of a Classic

Back in the day, Swiss Chicken Casserole was a mainstay dinner at my Aunt Buzz’s house; and it was always welcomed. Well except for my dad, who did not eat chicken.

Aunt Buzz would use poached chicken breasts, but I’ve been known to use leftover Popeye’s turkey (a fave way to use up leftovers, especially with Cranberry Relish on the side).

For this batch, I marinated some boneless, skinless chicken thighs, then air fried them.

•4 cups diced cooked chicken
•1 cup diced celery
•1 cup diced onion
•2 cups bread cubes
•1 cup mayonnaise
•1/2 cup milk
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce, or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp parsley
•1/4 tsp salt
•8 oz. Swiss cheese – cut in thin strips

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: Aunt Buzz would not have approved of my marinated chicken, or the Sherry Peppers and hot sauce addition, but, you do you and include them or not.

Heat your oven to 350º and apply cooking spray to a baking dish.

Whisk the mayonnaise together with the milk, Sherry Peppers, hot sauce, and seasonings in a large bowl, add the chicken, bread cubes (stuffing mix works a treat), onion, celery, and cheese, then toss to combine.

Transfer to your prepared baking dish, then cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the cover than bake for another ten minutes to crisp up a bit.

Note: you can make the casserole the day before, then cover and stash it in the fridge.

If you do this, bring the casserole out to rest on the countertop while the oven is preheating, then increase your covered baking time by ten minutes.

Serve with cranberry sauce.

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New! Improved! Gluten-Free Donair

Think of Donair as a kind of Canadian Maritimes Gyro, usually served with its own distinctive sauce.

I’ve been making them for a while, but then I got the idea to use my own Garlic Dressing and Sauce, and then, I came across a recipe from Food Network Canada that did not include any bread crumbs and thought…

“Hey, I can work with this!”

And so, I did…

Garlic Dressing and Sauce:
•1/2 cup sour cream
•1/3 cup mayonnaise
•2 cloves minced garlic
•1 tbsp white vinegar
•2 tsp water,
•2 tsp lemon juice
•2 tsp sugar
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp kosher salt
•2 tbsp milk

•1 lb lean ground beef
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp onion powder
•1 tsp oregano
•1/2 tsp paprika
•1/4 tsp cayenne
•1/2 tsp kosher salt

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Combine the garlic dressing and sauce ingredients together (an immersion blender works a treat) and transfer to a covered container – I like to use a squeeze bottle – and stash in the fridge until you need it. I find that I need it rather a lot.

Note: you can mix the Donair together with your hands, but I prefer the texture I get when I combine all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Heat your oven to 350º and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Combine the Donair ingredients together – truly a few pulses in the processor, and you are good, totally my preferred method.

Shape the Donair into a log on the foil lined baking pan and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing as thinly as possible.

To serve, pan fry the individual slices until lightly browned.

I have served this on a Pizza, topped with Arugula Salad, as tacos, as a Donair Burger with sliced onion, shredded lettuce, and loads of the Garlic Dressing, and, now I am thinking of treating it as a for a topping for a Greek salad. Friends order the Gyro salad at a local Greek diner and I think a Donair version would be just the thing.

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Smoked Trout Spread

We were out with friends at a restaurant on a Saturday evening, and they had a special appetizer of smoked trout spread topped with dill and salmon caviar served with crisped pita slices.

It was wonderful, we actually ordered a second jar to share.

The same group of friends was coming over for Easter lunch, and I decided to try my hand at making a batch of my own to offer at our feast.

•8 oz smoked trout, skin removed, flaked
•8 oz cream cheese, softened
•1/3 cup sour cream
•1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•1 scallion, finely chopped
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1 tsp paprika
•1 tsp lemon juice
•1/2 tsp prepared horseradish
•1/4 tsp dried dill weed
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/8 tsp Cayenne
•Salmon caviar, for garnish

It actually turned out pretty well, if not as flavorful as the restaurant offering. I used canned smoked trout, and it wasn’t until we were all my table that I have pretty terrific fish monger and smokehouse just down the street by my village center.

Next time I make this, I plan on seeing if they smoke more than my fave salmon.

Or, I shall try using smoked mussels.

Putting it together is dead simple…

Whip the cream cheese together with the sour cream and seasonings, then stir in the trout, reserving the caviar for serving.

Transfer to a tightly covered jar and stash in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to blend together.

To serve, transfer to a container, top with the caviar, and offer crackers.

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