Saturday, May 31, 2014

Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day!

Here at the Jersey Shore, Memorial Day weekend is the official start of summer.

And I am psyched to break out some new summer recipes with you guys.

This one came from my friend Pauline, who got it from her mother-in-law.  I'm not sure where she got it from, so I apologize in advance for not properly crediting the source.  But I had this at their house last summer, and had to get the recipe.  It is super easy, has simple ingredients, and is really refreshing.

In fact, this salad is so delicious that The Mini actually reversed her ban on tomatoes.  Yup - cut up tomatoes were a food I tried early and often, but to no avail until I gave her a bowl of this salad.  I think it's the garlic and basil, which obviously makes everything delicious. (Although now she will even eat tomatoes plain, go figure.)

I can't complain too much though, because she has actually been a great eater for the most part.  I am just crossing my fingers that toddler-hood doesn't ruin that!  I know most kids get more fickle with age, and I was pretty much the poster child of picky.  Family folklore tells me that when I was a baby, I actually ate (and enjoyed!) a wide variety of foods.  My only memory, however, is subsisting on chicken nuggets, yogurt, and mac & cheese for about the next 12 years of my life.


I cringe just thinking about it.  I really don't know how that happened because my parents both love food.... but let's hope we don't repeat that.  Although I'm sure my mom is somewhere chuckling & saying, "Ohh, just wait.  She's only 1 1/2!"

So until then I guess I'll just be happy that we can all enjoy this summer treat together :)

Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad

  • 12-oz. bag frozen corn (about 3 cups, or the kernels removed from about 6 cobs)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C. fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 T. white vinegar
  • kosher salt & ground pepper, to taste

Season tomatoes with some kosher salt, stir, and set aside in a colander to draw the juices out.  (This is an optional step, it just takes some of the liquid out of your finished salad).

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add minced garlic, and saute about 1 minute - do not brown.  Add corn kernels (still frozen is fine) and saute about 4 minutes, until just cooked through.

Remove pan from heat and add half of the sliced basil.  Season mixture with salt & pepper & transfer to a bowl.  Stir to combine.  Allow to cool slightly, stirring occasionally.  Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, and remaining basil.  Adjust salt & pepper to taste.  Cover & chill 3-8 hours, or can be served immediately.

Family Recipe - Origin Unknown

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Heath Bar Brownies

By now you might be like "Another brownie recipe?"

I dunno.  I like brownies, I guess.

And pants with elastic waists.

(In case you didn't know, brownies and stretchy pants go together like Thelma and Louise.)

I made this recipe when Mr. Vittles' parents and grandmother came over for a visit this past weekend, and my mother-in-law also made brownies.  Hers were not only deliciously dense and fudgy, they were healthy! I'll share them with you someday.

Alas, these are not healthy.  But you knew that already.  Your first clue was probably the part about Heath.  Anything with toffee in it cannot possibly be healthy, right?

So the Mini has been going through this phase (like many 18-month-olds, I'm sure) where she says "no" when she actually means yes.  Our 'conversations' go something like this:

"Mini, do you want to eat breakfast now?"


And then she takes off running into the kitchen, climbs into her 'eating' seat, and bounces with sheer excitement and anticipation of whatever food is about to be placed on her tray.

She probably gets that from me.  I definitely do a mental dance every time I think of my next meal. (Sadly, The Pancake Shimmy is not nearly as adorable when you're 31 as it is when you're 1.)

As for the confusion between No and Yes - I think she gets that from her daddy.

Mr. Vittles told me he could "take or leave Heath bar," but ended up eating more than half of these brownies singlehandedly.  Go figure.

Heath Bar Brownies

  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 T.) cut in chunks, plus more for greasing foil 
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 C. sugar 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 2 t. vanilla extract 
  • 1 C. all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 C. Heath bits, divided (or other brand of English toffee bits) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick or buttered foil, and set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat butter and chocolate at 30-second intervals, stirring after each until mixture is completely melted (1 1/2 to 2 minutes total).

Stir in sugar, and beat for 100 strokes.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  Add flour and stir gently, just until no streaks remain.

Spread half of batter in prepared pan, then evenly top with 1/2 C. of toffee bits. Pour & spread remaining batter over top, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 C. toffee bits.

Bake brownies until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool, then cut into 16 pieces.

Recipe Adapted from Kim Jameson, as it appeared in Country Living Magazine


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