Friday, January 14, 2011

Lowbrow Brilliant

We had a couple of people over before Christmas to celebrate the birthday of a friend. For noms, I put together a do-it-yourself taco bar with several types of homemade salsas and cremas and a centerpiece of roasted pork shoulder using Dave Lieberman's technique and a rub of Penzey's Bicentennial seasoning. But before the tacos hit the table, I served up a baked corn dip that disappeared like wildfire. My friend Sue Ellen would call it "lowbrow brilliant." ("Sue Ellen" and "lowbrow" don't even belong in the same sentence, but there it is.)

Prepared with canned corn, mayonnaise, and sour cream, the dish was definitely lowbrow. The blogger who supplied the recipe usually eats it cold, but the look is so unappetizing (no photo - use your imagination: corn, glops of white stuff, and shreds of yellow cheese) I can't imagine even giving it a taste in its uncooked state. However, heated in the oven until the cheese melts and forms a creamy amalgamation with the other ingredients, it's quite delicious.

Corn Dip adapted from One Savory Life

2 11oz cans corn, or three cups of frozen corn kernels
2/3 cup mayo
1 1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup finely minced fresh cilantro
3 cups shredded medium-sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or 2 dashes hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together, place in a 4-cup oven safe dish and bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serve hot with flour tortillas or crisp corn tortilla chips.
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So what to do with a bunch of sundry party leftovers? (Corn dip, shredded pork, two types of crema  - one with green chiles and garlic and one with chipotle - bacon, and leftover spaghetti from another night.) Why, make a casserole!


Leftovers Casserole

2 cups cooked pasta
1 cup Corn Dip (see recipe above)
1 cup sour cream
cilantro, green chiles, scallions, seasonings to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheese
2 slices bacon, crumbled
2 tablespoons bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350F. Place pasta in a microwave-safe container, cover with plastic wrap, and nuke for a minute or so to soften.

In a separate bowl mix leftover dip and sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper, plus chopped scallion, chopped cilantro, cumin, chipotle, green chiles, etc.

Pour sour cream mixture over spaghetti and toss to blend. Place in a 8" square baking dish. Top with shredded cheese, bacon, and bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and dish is heated through.