Chowhound’s Grilled Corn with Cayenne, Lime, and Cotija

I’m a huge fan of appreciating ingredients for what they are. For example, when I’m having corn I like tasting the corn. I’m a believer in simple is best. That said, I also love experimenting with flavors. I love trying things I’ve never tasted before. So when my sister brought this to a recent gathering I was ecstatic. I love corn on the cob grilled in the husk, seasoned with a little pat of butter that melts into the cracks of the kernels and topped with a sprinkling of salt. As it turns out I also like it smeared with a spicy mayo, rolled in Cotija cheese, and brightened with a squeeze of lime.

As found on

As organic as possible:

6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 medium garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (about 4 ounces)
6 ears corn, husks on
1 medium lime, cut into 6 wedges

Stir together the mayonnaise, garlic, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl until well combined. Place the cheese in a shallow dish that is at least as long as the corn.

Heat the grill to medium high (about 350°F to 450°F). Before grilling the corn, carefully peel back the husks of each ear a little more than halfway and remove as much silk as you can without pulling the husks off. Then pull the husks back up.

Place the corn on the grill and close the lid. Every 10 minutes, roll the corn a quarter turn so it cooks evenly. (If your grill tends to have hot spots, move the cobs around so they grill evenly.) Cook until the husks are charred and starting to peel back from the corn, about 35 minutes total. Remove from the grill and set aside until the corn is cool enough to handle.

Without detaching the husks, peel them back completely, turning them inside out so they form a handle. Brush the corn with a thin layer of the mayonnaise mixture, roll the cobs in the crumbled cheese, and serve. Pass the lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the corn.

Seriously Delish’s BBQ Roasted Chickpeas

I love seasoned & lightly salted snacks. Specifically popcorn, potato chips, roasted nuts & seeds, pretzels… actually it’s not specific to anything- just season & salt it. But for a period of time I almost lost that passion. I was on a train in Alaska when my husband brought me a thoughtful and highly seasoned snack pack, because he knows me so well… that I could never eat because just the smell of the unopened package made me sick (like many things on that trip). Of course, when we got home, it all began to make sense because we found out I was pregnant (with who is now my daughter). I’ll admit it took a while to get past my little hangup, but let the good times roll and the seasoned snacks too! It’s nibbles like these that remind me of how good snacking can be. Did I mention they are healthy? Purely Coincidental! (Furthermore they are awesome tossed in a salad!)

As found in Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant:

1 Tbsp Smoked paprika

1 Tbsp Onion powder

1 1/2 tsp light Brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp Garlic salt

1/2 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper

1 1/2 cups canned Chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp extra-virgin Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, onion powder, brown sugar, garlic salt, chili powder, and pepper.

Pat the chickpeas completely dry with a towel and remove any of the skins that become loose. Add the chickpeas to a bowl and toss them with the olive oil and three-quarters of the spice mixture. Mix well to coat the chickpeas and spread them out on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes, toss them with a spatula, and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove the pan from the oven and let the chickpeas cool on the baking sheet.

Taste the chickpeas and season them with the additional spice mix if needed… Roasted chickpeas are best the day they are made- after a few hours they can lose their crunch. However, you can store them in a container with a sheet of plastic wrap lightly covering the top for 2 to 3 days.



The Chef’s Potato Salad

Almost everyone I know grew up eating potato salad. It’s has to be as American (or German) as BBQ’s and potlucks. The recipe for potato salad is as diverse as the individual making it. Grainy mustard? Boiled eggs? Bacon? Red skin, yellow or Idaho? This recipe from the chef is cool, creamy and delicious! If you want a perfect side dish at your next gathering, here it is.

4 lbs Potatoes (your choice!), peeled, boiled (tender but firm) and chopped into spoonful size pieces
1 ½ Medium onions, diced
3 Celery stalks, diced
5 boiled eggs, roughly chopped
2 cups Mayonnaise
½ cup Miracle Whip
2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Pepper

Place potatoes, onions, celery stalks, and eggs in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combing mayo, Miracle Whip (for a little tang!), vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour the mayo dressing on top of the chopped foods and gently toss until all is coated. Place in the refrigerator and allow flavors to combine for at least a few hours and preferably overnight. Taste for seasonings and serve chilled.

Fiesta Pulled Pork

What meat eater doesn’t love pork perfectly seasoned and cooked until fork tender? I don’t know one. This recipe is a spin on a couple recipes combined to perfection. It’s sweet, succulent and just a hint of spicy. It goes great served on flour tortillas with a squeeze of lime, and topped with pineapple salsa. And it’s easily served on soft rolls topped with BBQ sauce. It’s summer time, any time. Let’s fiesta!

4 onions, peeled and quartered
1- 4 lb Pork loin
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
3-4 cups Chicken broth
1 7.5 oz can Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
1 4 oz can Chipotle salsa
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 Limes, halved
1- 2 liter Bottle Root Beer

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. On the bottom of a large oven roaster with lid or Dutch oven, place the quartered onions. Rinse and dry the pork loin. Rub the salt and pepper onto the pork. Place the loin, fatty side up on top of the onions.
Side note: I enjoy the flavor of bone in meat, and often use pork shoulder or pork butt with the bone for my pulled pork. Although there are times (like on vacation at a cabin) when time and convenience trump the mess; which makes this recipe even easier!
Pour 3 cups of the chicken broth on the loin. Open the can of chipotle peppers and pour it across the top of the loin, followed by the chipotle salsa. (If you like it hot, you could easily add another can of chipotle salsa!) Place the garlic in the roasting pan. Squeeze the limes over the pork loin and throw the lime halves in the pot. Pour the root beer on top of the pork, liquid should be about half way up the side of the loin. If more liquid is needed use the remaining cup of broth. Cover the pot (with the lid) and place in the oven for about 6 hours, basting occasionally, until falling apart. Shred apart with two forks, discarding large pieces of fat. Skim the fat off of the top of the liquid and reserve for dipping or wetting the tender and juicy strips of pork. Strain out the onions, garlic and peppers (and lime halves for that matter) to serve along side the meat. Serve with the other toppings of your choice; if your going the BBQ sauce route, Cole slaw on top is also delicious! Of course, I recommend the pineapple salsa and lime juice. If you’re going that direction, you also might want to set out sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and regular salsa… and anything else (corn chips? grilled corn on the cob?) to complete your fiesta!

*One of the inspirational recipes for this pulled pork is The Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork, in which she recommends using (obviously) Dr. Pepper; which is also really good. We like the kind of anise flavor from root beer, but please experiment because food is fun!

Roadside Geneva Smokehouse

Don’t you love it when an unexpected stop becomes a great find? We were on our way home from a weekend trip, and needed some fuel. On the corner of the street was a large fifth-wheel converted into a roadside BBQ diner (not the kind that makes you want to step on the gas and get away, the kind that looks beckoning; like a moth to a flame.) As we walked up two guys were heavily engaged into their pulled pork sandwiches. “How is it?” I asked. “The best pulled pork I’ve ever eaten” one man replied. That’s a good sign!


It turns out that this little roadside treasure has a sister restaurant, Geneva Artisan Bakery & Bistro in West Branch, MI. The chef, Matthew Barnett, of this food truck preps during the week for the weekend crowd at this secondary location. And if it’s a hit, it might become permanent, something I bet the locals would appreciate!


The Geneva Smokehouse has a great menu including artisan meats and homemade breads. I opted for the pulled pork nacho, a specialty item chef Barnett created the week before. The pork was flavorful and tender, accompanied with grilled onions, red and green peppers, queso cheese and fresh cilantro on top of homemade pork rinds. (An Atkins, aka low carb dream, right?) It was decadent and loaded with flavor. It had all of the traditional barbecue essence you look for with an updated fresh herb zing. Owen ordered the pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw. The sandwich was outstanding. The homemade bread really set off the smoky barbecue flavor of the pulled pork. The coleslaw was cool and refreshing. It had a fresh dill twist that was new to me and surprisingly pleasant.


These are the kind of unexpected surprises that make you want to keep taking road trips and trying new places to eat. The Geneva Smokehouse can be found just south of Grayling at exit 251 where 127 meets I75. If you’re traveling through the area and want some good grub, it’s worth the stop. If you enjoy good barbecue and road trips, you should definitely add it to your list.

Simple Southwest Burgers

These burgers are juicy, delicious, and easy to make. What more could you ask for? Well, maybe something cold to drink and something cool, creamy and crunchy on the side… but nothing more in a burger, that’s for sure. And now that it’s officially grilling season, let’s fire up the BBQ and chow down.

Serves 4

1 1/4 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chipotle garlic salsa

Pinch of salt

Approx 1 1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic (or 24 dashes straight from the jar)

Approx 1 tsp Chili powder (or 16 dashes straight from the jar)

Freshly ground black pepper

4 rounded Tbsp Queso Cheese Dip (such as Trader Joe’s Chipotle Queso)

Four buttered and toasted sesame buns

Owen is the ‘grill master’ of our house, and you can see that his measurements differ from mine. But the instructions are simple… You’ll be happy with the results!
Get your grill nice and hot. In a medium bowl mix your burger, chipotle garlic salsa and a hearty pinch of salt. (Being the health nuts we are (yeah,) we use 90/10 ground sirloin, but 80/20 chuck would be delish). Form four patties, and place on a plate. Then wash your hands. Now, it gets tricky… not really, season each patty with three dashes of the granulated garlic, two dashes of chili powder and some freshly ground black pepper. Using one hand gently rub in the seasonings on the surface of the hamburger and flip it over. With the clean hand, repeat the seasoning method on the other side and follow with a rub from your raw meat exposed hand. Next, wash your hands again. Move your plate next to the grill. If your grill happens to be outside, weather permitting, take a deep breath and enjoy the great outdoors. When you’re ready, place the hamburger patties on the grill and let them cook for about four minutes (give or take depending on your preferred doneness), then flip to the other side and top each with a rounded tablespoon of the queso cheese. Allow them to grill for about 4 more minutes, then place the gorgeous cheese dripping patties on your toasted bun and serve with your favorite sides. (Sidenote: I thought this burger was begging for a couple strips of crispy bacon on top, but Owen is not a big fan of bacon… And this was his recipe so I let it ride. But if you are a fan of bacon do yourself a favor and fry some up to put on top of this burger!) Enjoy!