June 30, 2013

Karen's Corn Salsa

Everybody has one or two dishes that are your go-to foods to bring somewhere.  If you're headed to a friend's lake house, having some friends over, or going to the neighborhood block party you'll whip it up.  Your friends know you'll bring it, and you hope it's one that people are excited you came and brought rather than a perpetual joke.  Ideally, it's something that takes little effort and can be done in advance so you don't have to time it well. For our next door neighbor it's a massive (store bought) chocolate cake that her son described as "seven pounds of deliciousness" with a mouthful of frosting.  It doesn't get much better than that.

For my mom, it's corn salsa.  She raised us that you never go anywhere empty handed.  Bring food or bring beer but don't show up expecting to eat their food and drink their beer without offering any of your own.  I remember my mom making this up for my brother to go hang out with his friends at the lake so he wouldn't be rude.  And he obviously never refused.  You can whip it up ahead of time, and requires only minimal chopping skills.  You can make it up early in the morning, and just set it in the fridge until you throw it in the cooler on a bed of nice cold beers. Not only does it taste awesome, but you also don't have the guilt of eating nothing but red hots, a bag of chips and french onion dip all day. It's hits that sweet spot of healthy and something you actually want to eat.

You'll Need:

1 can black beans
1 can shoepeg corn
1/2 a red onion
1 pepper (red, orange, or green bell pepper)
2 tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup italian dressing
optional:  hot sauce

Feel free to adjust to your taste.  Swap beans, add more, or cut out the onion.  I just cut the things I'm not particularly fond of (red onion) bigger so I could pick around it.

Now first, for that canned stuff.  My mother insists it's important to use shoepeg corn, as it's softer than your standard yellow corn.  Rinse and put in your serving dish.

Sprinkle with chili powder (1/4 tsp or so).

Rinse the black beans out and set aside to dry while you chop.

Now for all that chopping.  Dice up your pepper, tomatoes, and red onion.  Use as much or little as you want.

Add each item to your serving dish as you go.

Add your beans now that they've set aside for a while.

Chop up cilantro leaves until you get about 1/4 cup, or as much as you like.  I try to avoid using any stem, but I'm a little fussy about such things.  Joe's mom says you're either a cook who pulls out the membranes on the inside of a pepper, or you say screw it and don't bother.  I'm the former.

Now add 1/2 a cup of italian dressing over top.

Mix it all up with a spoon, and you're done!  Enjoy with some corn chips for dipping.

Now go find an excuse to get together with some friends so you can whip up a batch!

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