Grilled Corn and White Bean Hummus

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GUYS. Grilled. Corn. Hummus. It’s summer and in classic basic b. fashion, I’m eating all the grilled corn I can because that’s who I am and I am totally okay with that.

I have to be honest, I was late to the hummus game. Like, I only started liking it–for real–in the last few years. I’d eat it if it was there, using it as a dip for a pita chip or crudite but, I always sort of felt like it was a shrug-worthy food. Then I had a few versions at Lebanese restaurants–silky smooth and so addictive scooped up with warm pita–that my mind was instantly changed. Store bought versions still mostly underwhelmed me (though there is a local version, chunkier and thicker than most, that I really love) and it took me FOREVER to make my own. The thing is, I kind of didn’t intend to make my own. I actually made Casper a chickpea-carrot puree that was basically hummus and found myself eating it out of the blender. DUH! Lightbulb-moment, guys.

But, now I have hummus in my life and this version is currently my fave because of the subtle sweetness and faint smokiness from the grilled corn. I used white beans just because that’s what I was feeling, but it’s excellent with chickpeas, too. This hummus is great with some pita but, I also really love it with cool cucumber slices for some crisp freshness. PS, it makes a great at-home happy hour snack beside a chilled glass of something to sip (#rosealltheway).

[recipe]

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Grilled Corn and White Bean Hummus

Adapted from Real Simple

Even though my favorite store-bought version is a little on the chunky side, I like my homemade iteration to be super silky, smooth, and almost pourable in consistency. To get this particular texture, I think a high-powered blender and a bit of lukewarm water take this hummus to the next level. It can be made in a food processor with great results, as well. And, of course, blend it with or without the addition of water to you specific tastes.

2 ears of fresh corn

1-2 tablespoons canola or olive oil

1, 15-ounce, can white beans–drained and rinsed

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons tahini

salt to taste

lukewarm water–if needed

chives, olive oil, flaky sea salt, and paprika for garnish (optional)

Preheat your grill or a grill pan. Remove the husks and silk from the corn, rub each ear lightly with canola or olive oil. Grill the corn, on all sides, until you have a few charred spots all over–this should only take a few minutes per side. Remove and place on a plate to cool a bit. Cut the kernels off the ears of corn and set aside 1 heaping cup for the hummus. Reserve the rest as a garnish.

In a blender or food processor add the drained white beans, garlic clove, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, and the 1 cup of corn. Pulse until smooth and blended–taste and season with salt to your liking. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, to thin to desired consistency–I like it to be just pourable. Place the hummus into a bowl and garnish with the reserved corn, snipped chives, some flaky sea salt, a sprinkle of paprika, and olive oil. Serve with pita or vegetables. [/recipe]

Ham and Chive Mini Biscuit Muffins

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Guys, tomorrow we are taking Casper on his first plane trip and I am just a leeeetle bit nervous (aka, a LOT nervous). Mostly about the germs and the diseases I’m convinced are lurking everywhere and since everything Casper can get his paws on goes into his mouth, I’m just freaking out a bit. On the inside. On the outside I only look mildly freaked out. I may or may not be the weirdo in seat 20b shrouding myself and my baby with a muslin blanket while Sean tries to not roll his eyes too hard. Thankfully, the flight is a short one (1.5 hours) and we’ll be landing in Reno to a happy reception of friends and family. Casper is meeting my BFF and her family for the first time! I’m so excited! She and her sister, also my good friend, have daughters a few months older than Casper, so it’s going to be a baby party! I can’t wait to see how they all interact. I’m sure it will be hilarious.

Anyway, crazy-mom-talk aside, let’s talk about carb-babies.

It’s a biscuit in a mini muffin. Revolutionary, nope. Delicious, yup.These guys are the dressed-up version of a drop biscuit, no patting out dough, flouring surfaces, or cutting, just scooping and baking, but a little cleaned up. Even though they’re small, these two-bite babes are packed with a ton of flavor–salty & savory ham, onion-y chives, and cheese (of course!) folded into tender and buttery biscuit dough. The recipe makes about 3 dozen minis, which is a lot, but they are perfect for freezing and just take a quick 15 second whirl in the microwave to reheat. They’re great as a carb-y, cheesy side for soup, chili, or stew, but would be crazy-adorbs topped with teeny little quail eggs.

[recipe]

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Ham and Chive Mini Biscuit Muffins

Adapted from this recipe

Makes about 36 mini biscuits

I used cake flour for these biscuits to mimic the much coveted White Lily Flour, which I can’t find out west. I have also used all-purpose flour for these with fine results. I would reduce the amount to 2 cups if using all-purpose.

2 1/4 cups cake flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 scant teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/4 cup finely diced ham

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

3 tablespoons finely minced chives

1 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line 1 1/2 mini muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Add in the cold butter and toss to coat the cubes. Using either a pastry blender, or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until you get coarse crumbs–some sandy bits and some pieces of butter still in small chunks (about pea sized). Add in the ham, cheese, and chives and fold gently to combine. Finally, fold in the milk until just combined being careful to not over mix the dough. Using a mini cookie scoop, or a tablespoon, scoop the dough into the mini muffin cups and bake in the center of the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until puffed and just golden. [/recipe]

Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola

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Guys. I made this recipe for Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola and realized a few things about myself.

1. I have a really difficult time photographing sausages. I mean, it’s just not the easiest thing to take a pretty picture of.

2. I have the maturity of a tween. I had a tough time not writing “hard” and “sausage” in the same sentence up there. And, there, I did it anyway. There’s also a bit in the recipe below about pricking the sausages and I just can’t even…I’m so sorry. Now you know, I’m secretly twelve.

Anyway, innuendo and (lack of) maturity aside, this dinner was one of my favorites as of late! I mean, it’s SO EASY. I really love and appreciate that these days. Few dishes, few ingredients, little hands-on time, and tons of flavor. WIN. Also, I’ve been super intrigued/terrified of all the cooked grape dishes I’ve seen around the internets. I’m super picky about my grapes, I like them firm (heh). I like a taught grape, okay? The thing is, when you roast them, there’s no worry about having grapes in their prime. They can be going south and it’s all good. I first delved into the cooked-grape-territory a few weekends ago with this number from Smitten Kitchen. So amazingly good as part of a cheese spread. After I learned how amazing a warm grape could be, I totally bookmarked this recipe from Molly of Dunk and Crumble’s book Sheet Pan Suppers. It’s a cookbook I will certainly be referring to often. It’s such a clever concept and I am totally in love with this recipe. I mean it’s so simple, savory, sweet, spicy, and delicious. Perfect for weeknight dinners, a little different, a little fancy, and great for pretending to be a mature-adult-person who doesn’t crack-up at sausage jokes and stuff.

[recipe]

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Roasted Sausages with Red Grapes, Polenta, & Gorgonzola

Serves 4

From the book Sheet Pan Suppers

Olive oil cooking spray

1, 18 ounce, tube prepared polenta

1 small red onion cut into 1/4-inch thick half moons

2 cups, stemmed, red seedless grapes

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 links hot Italian sausages (or mild if you prefer)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for serving

Preheat the oven to 425ºF with one rack about 4 inches from the broiler and the other in the center. Mist a sheet pan with cooking spray, or lightly brush some olive oil over the entire surface (this is what I did).

Remove the polenta from it’s packaging and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds. Place in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan.

Toss the red onion and grapes with the olive oil and salt in a medium bowl. Scatter over the polenta and arrange the sausages evenly around the grapes and onions. Prick each sausage once or twice with a fork. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves.

Bake until the sausages are cooked though and the grapes start to wrinkle, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and heat the broiler. Scatter 2 tablespoons of the gorgonzola over the sausages. Broil to melt the cheese and brown the sausages. About 3 minutes.

Serve the sausages over the polenta with the grapes and onions. Sprinkle with the additional gorgonzola to serve, if you like.

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