Corn & Black Bean Salad with Grilled Pork

As we have already discussed, colorful food is pretty much always the best. Nutrition experts say that in order to ensure you’re getting the best range of nutrients, you should try to eat every color of the rainbow in your foods. We Americans really don’t have a lot of dishes we can take credit for that are incredibly colorful and good for you… we pretty much can boast hot dogs and fried chicken, neither of which are exceptionally high on the “eat this because it helps your health” meter. As I mentioned in my Greek Salad recipe, the Greeks are super well-known for being ultra health conscious in their food. However, today we are traveling to Mexico with a very classic Mexican dish known as corn salad. The cool thing about this is that it can be eaten hot, or cooked and then chilled and served cold, so it makes an awesome cookout side dish if you serve it without the meat.

DSC_4002text

There are a lot of elements to this that actually work well on their own, so I’ll separate it out that way. Check the recipe at the bottom if you’re unsure about how to time it so it all comes out at the same time. For the pork, I used boneless pork chops. This is so easy guys, I mean really. All you do is rub both sides of the pork chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cilantro, and ground cayenne. (The cayenne is what adds the heat, so bear that in mind when seasoning. If you don’t really like your food spicy, leave it out altogether.) Then, just put them on a grill over medium heat and grill for about 6-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temp reaches 160 degrees. This recipe serves 4 people, so use 4 pork chops.

DSC_3998

To really make this fresh and delicious, I used fresh corn on the cob for the corn base for the salad. This recipe for grilled corn is so super good, so feel free to steal it from this recipe and just make this bangin’ corn on the cob for your next barbecue! The key is seasoning the corn and then grilling it, instead of just boiling it in a pot of water. The real magic is in a seasoned butter – soften about 3 tablespoons of butter and add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cilantro. (If you’re making the corn on the cob on its own, feel free to sub in whatever herbs you like!) Mix the seasonings into the butter and then slather it on 3 ears of corn. I have found that it’s easier to spread it on one side (as shown in the photo) and then use your hands to rub it around the whole ear.

DSC_3997

Once they are rubbed with the herb butter, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and grill for about 15-20 minutes, over indirect heat, turning occasionally. Once it’s done, take it out of the foil and then cut it off the cob and set aside. The base of the salad gets made on the stove, not on the grill, so get a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat. To the heated pan, add a diced bell pepper and either one diced yellow onion or one diced red onion. (The red onion gives more powerful flavor and more color!) Once these have sweated (about 2 minutes), add in 3 cloves of minced garlic, a drained can of black beans, and 4 diced Roma tomatoes. (If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use a can of diced tomatoes, drained.)

DSC_4000

Stir this together and add two teaspoons of salt and pepper, a teaspoon of dried cilantro, and a half teaspoon of cayenne. (Use more or less depending on your preferred heat level!) Let simmer for about two minutes and then add your reserved corn. Give it a final stir and then plate it, topping each plate with a sliced pork chop. Top with freshly chopped cilantro!

DSC_4009

This is a total crowd pleaser and a great way to shake up dinner in the middle of the week! The whole thing can also be made inside on a griddle or on the stove, so it works for all seasons, but it’s really a great summer dish!

Full Recipe:

Mexican Corn & Black Bean Salad with Grilled Pork

Yield: 4 servings (8 if you are making it as a side and not a main dish.)

Ingredients:

3 ears of fresh corn, husked
3 tablespoons softened butter
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cilantro (to taste)

4 boneless pork chops
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cilantro, and cayenne (to taste)

2 tbsp canola oil
1 bell pepper, diced
1 yellow or red onion, diced
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can black beans, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, pepper, cilantro, and cayenne (to taste)

Process:

1) Heat half of your grill to medium heat.

2) Combine softened butter and spices and spread over ears of corn. Wrap corn in aluminum foil and place over indirect heat on your grill. (Remember to turn every few minutes. Corn should be done after about 15-20 minutes.)

3) Rub pork chops with spices on both sides. Spray heated half of grill with cooking spray and then place pork chops on heated side. (Cook for approximately 6-7 minutes per side, or until internal temp reaches 160 degrees.)

4) In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil and add diced pepper and onion. Let sweat for two minutes, then add the garlic, beans, and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, cilantro, and cayenne, to taste.

5) While salad is simmering, take corn off the grill and cut the corn off the cobs. Once it’s all cut, add into the salad, give it a final stir, and then turn off the heat.

6) Plate the corn salad and put a sliced pork chop on top of each plate. Serve immediately.

Advertisements

*Valentine’s Week* Chocolate Martini / Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! As a finish to my Valentine’s Day themed week, here’s two fabulous sweet, chocolatey drinks that are sure to be a fabulous cap to any romantic evening. (How convenient that Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday so I could finish off with my weekly Friday drink post!)

Of course, if these sound like too much effort, a shared bottle of wine wouldn’t hurt either. 😉

First up is the strong one, for you dessert drink lovers. I really like this blended, but it’s easy to make as a shaken cocktail, also!

Finished Text

If you want to be really fancy with it, rim your glasses with a mix of cocoa powder and powdered sugar. (A teaspoon of each should do.) Mix those up in a shallow dish wide enough for your martini glasses and use a spoon to make a ring of it that’s about the same size as the rims of your glasses. Dip the glasses in a shallow dish of water (only a fraction of an inch in), shake off the excess, and then dip the glasses in the cocoa mixture.

Rimming 1

Turn them right side up and set them aside while you make your drink.

Rimming 2

In a blender, combine 1 scoop of chocolate ice cream, 1/2 cup chocolate milk, 2 ounces RumChata, 2 ounces Creme de Cacao, and 2 ounces Kahlua. (You could also replace the RumChata with Bailey’s, which I think might be a more popular liquor in most households.) Blend for a few minutes or until it’s well combined and there’s no chunks of the ice cream. Pour into 2 martini glasses and serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of the cocoa mix you used to rim the glasses!

DSC_6210

If you’d rather have a shaken drink, replace the ice cream with an additional 1/2 cup of chocolate milk and shake everything together in a cocktail shaker instead.

Next up is the hot chocolate mix!

Finished Text

This is a recipe for a dry mix that can be stored for up to three months and makes about 6-7 servings or so. I typically make a bunch of it starting around Thanksgiving and always keep some on hand throughout the whole winter! If you don’t have any candy canes left over from Christmas you can always leave them out, or buy some generic peppermint candies at the grocery store.

In a food processor, add 1 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, and 2 candy canes (or 10 round peppermint candies) that are crushed into small pieces. Pulse it together until everything is combined and the white chocolate chips and peppermint candy pieces have been ground up finely.

When you’re ready to serve, put 1/3 cup of the mix into a mug and heat 6 ounces of milk in a separate cup. Pour the hot milk overtop of the mix, stir, and serve! Top with whipped cream and a candy cane, if desired. You could also add an ounce or two of Baileys, which I have found tastes fabulous in peppermint drinks. (A peppermint latte with Baileys – heaven!)

Finished 2

Full Recipes:

Blended Chocolate Martini

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder

1 scoop chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup chocolate milk
2 ounces RumChata (or Bailey’s)
2 ounces Creme de Cacao
2 ounces Kahlua

Process:

1) Combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a shallow dish, making a circle with the mixture about the size of the rim of your chosen glasses.

2) Dip the rim of a glass in the water about 1/4 inch, shake off the excess, and then dip it in the cocoa mixture. Repeat with second glass, then set aside.

3) In a blender, add ice cream, chocolate milk, RumChata, Creme de Cacao, and Kahlua. Blend 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Pour into prepared glasses and garnish with whipped cream and leftover cocoa mixture!

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

Yield: About 6-7 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 candy canes (or 10 peppermint candies), crushed

Process:

1) Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

2) Pulse until combined and chocolate chips and candy pieces are finely ground.

3) Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

To serve: put 1/3 cup of the mix into a mug. Heat 6 ounces of milk in a separate container. Pour the hot milk over the mix, stir well, and garnish with whipped cream and a candy cane.