Summertime frequently features friends gathering for cookouts. There are a number of different ways to put together a menu for such a gathering. Some people use tried and true recipes. I pour over the cookbooks, including the Barefoot Contessa series, to find a new recipe. Kim Ratcliff browses People magazine for the latest recipes. That’s right, People.
Recently the Ratcliff’s invited a few people over to celebrate their friend, Andrea, visiting from Chicago. While the boys went outside to grill, Kim pulled out a page from a recent copy of People to make a grilled corn recipe that caught her eye.
See below for the full recipe. One tip when hosting a party. Don’t leave the appetizers, including blocks of tasty cheese, within reach of a dog. The family pet, Kau, made away with a block of cheese before anyone noticed. I am glad it wasn’t a slumber party because I suspect the dog’s stomach wasn’t very happy later.
On to the recipe! The first step was to grill the corn with the husks on for about 20 minutes. Once the corn was close to being finished, the husks were pulled off and the corn was grilled for a minute or so to give it grill marks.
The warm corn was then brushed with mayonnaise. We used Best Foods mayo straight from the jar.
After the corn was covered with mayo, I rolled it in a flat pan of Cotija cheese. I wasn’t sure what Cotija cheese was so I looked it up. Cotija is a Hispanic-style cheese named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. This hard, crumbly Mexican cheese is made mainly from cow’s milk. When the cheese is made, it is white, fresh and salty thus bearing immense resemblance to feta cheese.
After it was rolled in the cheese, I sprinkled Cayenne pepper on it.
Once it was all dressed up, the corn was put in a hot Viking range for 10 minutes so the cheese could melt (350 degrees). While the oven worked its magic on the corn, the women-folk retired to the parlor to chat over more cocktails. The conversation flowed between the five of us, featuring a number of dating stories by Andrea and I. We won’t be writing about those here!
While I laughed that Kim had pulled a recipe from People magazine, the corn was really tasty. The Cayenne pepper gave it a nice kick and it was a great compliment to the salad and grilled beef and chicken. I will be making this in the future!
No summer cookout is complete without a fresh desert. The grand finale featured a delightful berry mix over angel food cake with a dollop of whip cream as well as Mindy’s homemade brownies. The delicious food was only topped by the conversation and laughs.
Floyd Cardoz’s Grilled Corn with Cheese and Cayenne
6 ears fresh corn
8 oz. grated cotija cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
1. Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. With the husks still on, grill the corn for 20 minutes, covered, turning the ears once while cooking. Carefully remove and discard the husks, and return the corn to the hot grill. Grill until browned all over, about 1 minute on each side.
2. Sprinkle cheese on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush each ear of corn with mayonnaise, and roll in cheese to coat completely. Sprinkle with cayenne; serve with lime wedges.
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Adapted from “Flavorwalla: Big Flavor. Bold Spices. A New Way to Cook the Foods you Love” by Floyd Cardoz (Artisan, 2016)
Why Travel, Cooking and DIY? A creative type, I have always loved painting and decorating as a hobby. Upcycling is a real passion. My mom was a Home Ec teacher when we were growing up. I learned a lot from her and because I love hosting get-togethers, I had to step up my game in the kitchen as well. And lastly, my love of travel comes from my Grandma Schmitt.
An Illinois native, I worked in the White House Communications Agency early in my career (President Reagan), prior to returning to Illinois State University to finish my undergraduate and Master's. After a couple of post-graduate internships (minor league baseball and Big Ten Conference), I then worked in college athletics full-time for more than 22 years -- first at the University of South Carolina for 15 years and then at Santa Clara University for the last seven years. We moved to Tampa, Florida in Dec., 2016 after spending 8.5 years in Northern California.