Wow! It’s been such a busy weekend, I haven’t had ANY time to cook or blog!! This is a good and a bad thing. Bad because I’ve been missing cooking; good because I’ve been selling houses!! When I graduated from high school, I never thought that I would be in real estate. I had a 10 year plan when I was a senior in high school: go to community college for two years, state college for business administration for two years, get a management job at a restaurant after college, open my own steakhouse by the age of 30. I was still all for my 10 year plan up until about two weeks after I graduated from Mississippi State. That is the point that I realized that I could only get a waitressing job and that I didn’t want to feel like I was wasting my $20000+ degree on a waitressing job. That’s when I went to work with my dad, who owned a construction company at the time. I was a secretary in his office and to me, I was making big bucks. That led to flipping houses which led to getting my real estate license. And now, I’m LOVING my job! Enough about me though! I know ya’ll are wondering about the food! So, this weekend was a busy real estate weekend for me; but it was also my niece Addison’s 10th birthday party! I wanted to make something special but I just didn’t have much time! In between appointments I managed to throw together a Hot Pepper Jack Corn dip that everyone absolutely loves! If I do say so myself! 🙂 This corn dip originated as a Pioneer Woman recipe. You can find her recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/hot-corn-chile-dip.html  but I changed it up a little! I LOVED using fresh corn in this but you can also use canned or frozen corn. I just love the crunch, size, and flavor of fresh! This can be changed any way you like but this is the recipe that seems to work for my family!

Hot Pepper Jack Corn Dip:

5 ears corn; if you use canned it’ll probably be about 3 cans, drained of course;

1/2 lg or 1 small Vidalia onion chopped;

2 cloves garlic;

1 tbsp. diced, pickled, jalapenos OR 2 chopped and de-seeded fresh jalapenos;

1/2 green bell pepper;

1/2 cup mayonnaise, (I like Blue Plate or Hellman’s);

1/2 cup sour cream;

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened;

1 16 oz. block pepper jack cheese, grated;

8 oz cheddar cheese;

1/2 stick butter;

1 tsp. garlic powder;

Salt to taste.

First, shuck and wash the corn, keep in mind that the silk will stick to it. So, you want to pay careful attention to washing it, unless you like your dip with strands of silk in it… people may think it’s hair! Haha, stand the ears up, holding the top with your finger tips, using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob. You’ll have to be careful until you get used to it and if you notice that there’s still some of the kernel left on the cob, once you get done with the big kernels you can scrape the leftover kernels with edge of the blade. Remember, a dull knife is much more dangerous that a sharp knife. With dull knives, you have to use more force to cut so you’re more likely to cut yourself! Sharpen those knives folks!! Now, put the corn in a large mixing bowl and dice the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapeno if you’re using fresh. Add that to the corn along with the mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, half the pepper jack cheese, half the cheddar cheese, garlic powder, and salt. Stir it up until everything is nicely incorporated. You may want to chop the cream cheese into chunks! Cut the butter into small, thin pats and place them in the bottom of baking dish. Pour the corn mixture on top of the butter; top with the other half of the pepper jack cheese and the other half of the cheddar cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. You can serve this with whatever you want but I like Frito scoops or tortilla chips!

corn dip

This can be a little spicy but it’s so delicious! The kids around my house have differing opinions on spicy foods; but, all of them devoured this! Considering it not only has mayonnaise but also vegetables in it, I consider that a success!! When I got done with work and my niece’s birthday party was over, I realized that I had all this fresh fruit that needed to be used so I pulled the stuff out for this next recipe. It’s s going to be kind of long. If you remember, in a previous post, I mentioned that I get a lot of my ideas and recipes from other recipes that I’ve seen. This is one of them. My mom has this obsession with Barry’s Fish House in Florence. Her favorite dessert is the Peanut Butter Chocolate pie there. One day, she was talking about how badly she wanted it so I decided that I would try to mimic it. This obviously isn’t that recipe; BUT, looking for something similar, I found an old recipe for fruit dip that my mamaw had. As I was looking over her recipe, I realized that if I tweaked it a little it would make a great filling for a pie with a fruit compote on top. I started with a graham cracker crust and made my way up! Here’s what I came up with!

Independence Day Pie:

Graham Cracker Crust-

9 oz graham crackers, I used Honey Graham cracker sticks;

1/2 cup pecans, chopped;

1/2 cup brown sugar;

1/2 cup granulated sugar;

1 tsp. cinnamon;

1 stick butter.

This is one of my FAVORITE parts of cooking! Take something hard: a can of soup, a glass, a tenderizing hammer, a steak sauce bottle ( I couldn’t find anything else), put the graham crackers in a well sealed bag with no air, and beat the mess out of ’em! Crush those babies up, get all that aggression out, just smush ’em to pieces!! Sigh don’t you feel better? Less agitated? Like, all the stress from the work week has just slid out of your body and into oblivion? I know I sure do! 🙂 Put the crackers, pecans, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix it well. Melt that butter in the microwave and pour it in the bowl with cracker mixture.

graham crackers

Now, put the crackers into the bottom of a pie dish… This will make either one thick crust or two really thin ones. I made one thick one and made a little extra filling; because I had some extra fresh pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries. But that’s a story for later! Once the crust is pushed into the bottom of the dish or dishes, bake them at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes… I know… that’s really specific, but nobody likes a gummy and burnt graham cracker crust! Pull it out and let it cool completely before you put this delicious, velvety, filling in there!

crust baked

Strawberry filling:

12 oz cream cheese, softened;

1/4 cup sour cream;

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream;

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk;

2 cups confectioner’s sugar;

2 tbsp. Strawberry instant Jell-O mix.

Whip cream cheese, sour cream, whipping cream, and sweetened condensed milk together. Add confectioners sugar and Jell-O and  mix until the mixture will stand at a stiff peak. This means that if you pull the mixer or a spoon out of it, the mixture will stand up in a point. I know these measurements seem weird; don’t hold yourself to these! I used double of everything; but, I also had a lot left over. I didn’t mind because it makes a great fruit dip, as I said earlier, it is a variation of my Mamaw’s Fruit Dip recipe. But you may not want that leftover, so I tried to cut it in half for ya’ll. Also, I’ve made this without using the Strawberry instant Jell-O mix and it’s just as good! I just used blueberries with the strawberries as the topping so I wanted to add a little kick of strawberry flavor to the filling! You can leave it out if you want! Try it both ways and let me know which one ya’ll like better!!

cream filling 1

While the crust is cooling, put this mixture in the freezer or refrigerator and start on the compote. Traditionally, a compote is just fruit cooked in sugar. It’s very similar to a jam or jelly, just not as sweet and it doesn’t take as long to cook. The reason I decided to call this Independence Day Pie is because without the Strawberry Jell-O in the filling, it’s white, the strawberries are red, and the blueberries are blue. It just looked Independence Day-ey to me… Yes, I know day-ey is not a word… I tend to make up my own words! 🙂

Strawberry/Blueberry Compote:

1 cup or 8 medium sized strawberries, washed;

1 cup blueberries, washed;

1 lime;

1/2 cup sugar.

Slice the strawberries and add them and the blueberries to a small to medium sized sauce pan with the sugar. Take the lime and roll it on the counter for a minute, then slice it in half, and squeeze all the juice out of it; really dig in there getting all the juices out of the lime. I turn each half inside out, scraping the sides. It’s okay if you get the pulp in the mixture. The reason you roll the lime is because it breaks open some of the different segments of the lime before you cut it; sort of like pre-juicing it! Now that it’s all in the pan, mix it together, smash some of those blueberries, and put over medium heat. You have to keep an eye on this so it doesn’t burn!! Bring it to a boil for about 5 minutes; then remove from heat and let cool completely.

fruit cooking  fruit boiling

Now that everything is mixed and cooled, it’s time for us to assemble the whole thing! Pour the Strawberry filling into the graham cracker crust.

pie before

Top with the compote.

pie after slice of pie

Now, you can go ahead and cut into it but I like to refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to an hour! This just makes everything gel and honestly, I think it tastes better! But, that’s just me! So, I’ve been telling you all about this filling and how it can be used for a fruit dip too. My nephews love fruit, so I just quartered the rest of my strawberries, chopped up some fresh pineapple, added the blueberries, and let them go to town! This would also be good with apples and grapes but if you use a fruit like apples that bruise after cutting, make sure to add a dash of lime or lemon juice so they won’t bruise! Dip into the mixture and enjoy!

fruit

I hope ya’ll enjoyed this post! Even if it was a long one! Let me know how ya’ll like it and don’t forget to sign up for emails to alert you about my new posts! Thanks ya’ll!