07 July 2013

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms & Joe's Barbecue Corn

The hubs and I have been working on emptying out the freezer for a while.  He also had quite the hankering for ribs a month ago.  In an ingenious negotiations tactic, I promised him that once we ate through the last of the pot stickerspulled pork and sweet potato fries that I would make a rack of ribs.  I could kick myself for not trying this stratagem sooner.  Ribs are the perfect man-motivator for just about anything under the summer sun.  Before I knew it, he was attacking all leftovers, remnants and rainy day reserves with the same enthusiasm the pups reserves for her hickory-scented rawhide.  Within two weeks, I was carting home a full rack and the fixins for some superb sides.  But not just any ol' sides....some manly grillin' sides.

When we make dinner on the barbecue, I almost always opt for some sort of grilled tomato and zucchini dish since they're my absolute favorite veggies.  But as this meal was intended to reward the hubs for his diligent thawing efforts, I felt it only fitting that serve his ribs with some manly, meaty sides.  Now ribs are something you eat like a man - with your hands.  You pick them up and chow down before licking up any evidence of their saucy presence (kind of how I eat all the time....hmmm....).  So I decided to nix the silverware all together and stick strictly to finger foods, namely grilled corn and stuffed mushrooms.

Now there are a lot of great grilled corn recipes out there, but Joe's Barbecue Corn is our favorite.  As the name implies, this is no original of our own but rather that of a close family friend.  Several years ago, he brought this as a side to a summer barbecue insisting that it was the all-time best corn recipe ever.  When I peeked into his ingredient bag, I had to raise an eyebrow.  I mean, horseradish?  On corned beef, ok...on corn, I don't think so.  But after continued bullying urging by my older brother, I finally consented to give Joe's corn a try.

Turns out Joe was right.  This corn is incredible with a flavor that is totally unexpected.  I had prepared myself for a strong horseradish flavor that would completely clash with the corn.  I was shocked and delighted to find myself munching on the sweetest kernels I'd ever tasted.  When mixed with rich butter, the horseradish loses its signature kick, instead augmenting the natural flavor of the corn.  You can actually taste more of the seasoning salt once the corn is cooked than anything else in the recipe.  My four year-old niece ate two full ears of corn, a perfect example of how truly un-spicy the dish ends up being.  I practically had to wrestle my second ear away from her tiny little clutches.

Now served alongside ribs and corn on the cob, stuffed mushrooms may seem a bit wimpy.  They're small and delicate, requiring a tin foil grilling tray to prevent them from spilling or falling between the grates.  While they may be tender and need a bit of extra care, their flavor is anything but wimpy.  In fact these, mushrooms stole the show during our rib dinner.

Filled with the richness of brie and black truffle oil, the mushrooms stand up beautifully when served on the side of hearty grilled meats with big flavors.  They have a savory, pungent flavor and a great amount of chew.  A garnish of roughly chopped arugula adds the perfect amount of spice and freshness to the overall flavor for a fantastic side.  Pretty enough to be served as a finger food but manly enough to be made on the grill...that's a side.

In the end, it was a huge win for both of us.  I have a clean freezer and the hubs got his ribs.  With compromises like this, it's going to be a long and happy marriage....

(The recipes below are written up for two but can very easily be modified for larger groups - just pull our your multiplication tables and you're good to go.)

Joe's Barbecue Corn
 (2 ears)
  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 tbs horseradish
  • Johnny's Seasoning Salt (Lowry's would work too)
Preheat the grill over medium heat.  In a small bowl, combine the butter and horseradish, mixing together until a smooth paste is formed.  Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the prep surface, shiny side down.  Generously slather one ear of corn with the horseradish mixture until it is well coated, the sprinkle with seasoning salt.  Lay the seasoned corn diagonally across the aluminum foil and roll the sheet around the corn.  Fold and crimp the ends to seal.  Repeat with remaining ears.

Grill the corn for 15-20 minutes, rotating occasionally, until the kernels are tender and juicy.  Unwrap the ears and let cool for a few minutes before serving.  Garnish with additional seasoning salt and pepper, if desired.  

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms w/ Arugula & Black Truffle Oil (serves 2)
  • 10 mushrooms, wiped and stemmed
  • 1 tbs black truffle oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 oz brie, cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 c arugula
Make a tray for the mushrooms by tearing off a sheet of aluminum foil and rolling the edges (see image above).  Place the cleaned mushrooms in a small bowl and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of black truffle oil.  Toss the mushrooms until they are evenly coated, then transfer top-down to the aluminum foil tray. Sprinkle the minced garlic inside each mushroom.

Place on the top rack of your grill and cook for about three minutes (if you don't have a top rack on your grill, place directly over low heat).  Remove the tray from the heat and drop a piece of brie into each mushroom.  Return to the grill for another 2-3 minutes, until the brie is melted.  Remove tray and garnish mushrooms with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of black truffle oil.  

Roughly chop about 1/3 of the arugula, and divide the remaining 2/3 between two plates.  Serve the mushrooms over the arugula beds, garnishing with the chopped arugula.  

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