What should I bring to Thanksgiving, part 5: Cheesy corn casserole from you-know-who

Paula Deen's corn casserole has become a dish that I make every year. Only every once in a while do I get to bring green bean casserole, too. Photo by Addie Broyles.
Paula Deen’s corn casserole has become a dish that I make every year. Only every once in a while do I get to bring green bean casserole, too. Photo by Addie Broyles.

About three years ago, I started making Paula Deen’s corn casserole for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. All the other side dishes are claimed by others, but this one used to be the specialty of my cousin’s cousin, who lived with them for a while.

When she moved back to Southern California and took her ridiculously delicious casserole with her, I had to step in and keep it going. You might have strong feelings about Paula Deen, but you’ll also have them about this casserole if you try it. If you just can’t bear the attempt, here’s a corn casserole with bell peppers and chorizo that we ran in the paper earlier this year.
Cheesy Corn Casserole
1 (15 1/4-oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 3/4-oz.) can cream-style corn
1 (8-oz.) package corn muffin mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.
— Recipe from Paula Deen, via FoodNetwork.com

What should I bring to Thanksgiving, part 3: Roasted winter vegetable salad

Roasted Winter Vegetables and Arugula Salad with Mustard Dressing from “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well” by Amy Chaplin. Photo by Johnny Miller.
Roasted Winter Vegetables and Arugula Salad with Mustard Dressing from “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well” by Amy Chaplin. Photo by Johnny Miller.

This salad seems to delight everybody who eats it and can easily be adapted to include whatever vegetables you happen to have in your kitchen. In other words, it’s an excellent dish to pull together if you haven’t had much time to think about what to bring for Thanksgiving dinner.

Roasted Winter Vegetables and Arugula Salad with Mustard Dressing

1 medium sweet potato, halved lengthwise and cut in 1/4-inch slices
1 medium parsnip, halved lengthwise and cut in 1/4-inch slices
2 medium carrots, cut in 1/4-inch diagonal slices
1 medium golden beet, halved and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
6 cups baby arugula leaves

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss sliced sweet potato, parsnip, carrots and beet with olive oil, salt and a pinch of black pepper. Divide between trays, spreading vegetables out in a single layer, and roast for 20 minutes. Stir, rotate trays, and roast for another 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are browning. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Combine all dressing ingredients (mustard through 1/4 cup olive oil) in a jar and shake to combine; set aside.

To make the salad: Place chickpeas, toasted walnuts, roasted vegetables and arugula in a large salad bowl, and toss to combine. Drizzle dressing over the salad and toss again. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

— From “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well” by Amy Chaplin (Roost, $40)

What should I bring to Thanksgiving, part 2: Sweet potato and black pepper biscuits

Sweet potato and black pepper biscuits. Photo by Addie Broyles
Sweet potato and black pepper biscuits. Photo by Addie Broyles

I made these sweet and peppery sweet potato biscuits last week, and they were awesome. Great for nibbling or making little sandwiches. You can substitute any pureed pumpkin or winter squash for the sweet potato.

Sweet Potato and Black Pepper Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. white sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup butter
1 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes
4-5 Tbsp. heavy cream, plus more for brushing biscuits, if desired

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-sized crumbs. Stir sweet potatoes and 4 Tbsp. cream into flour mixture with a fork, adding more cream as needed to moisten crumbs and form a rough, slightly sticky dough.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead dough, turning over about five times, until it comes together. Roll out dough into a 10-inch circle, about 3/4-inch thick. Cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter dipped in flour. Arrange rounds on a large baking sheet. Gather scraps and roll out again. Cut out more biscuits and repeat.

Brush tops of rounds with heavy cream, if desired, for a slightly shiny glaze, and top with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer biscuits to a rack to cool to warm, about 5 minutes.

— Adapted from a recipe on AllRecipes.com

Happy National Iced Tea Day, Austin!

Everything has its own national day now, so why not that most revered of beverages, that summer stalwart, the noble iced tea?

(Photo by Renee Brock/ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
(Photo by Renee Brock/ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

NPR’s The Salt posted a fascinating history of the steeped marvel in honor of today’s National Iced Tea Day, which points out that the beverage was popularized right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Ice was quite the luxury in the 1800s before refrigeration technology came onto the scene, NPR notes, so when Yankee entrepreneurs began shipping ice down to the South, it was quite the game changer.

Also: Iced tea started out a little more Long Island than Mississippi porchfront. From NPR:

“Early recipes had more in common with the booze-laden Long Island iced tea than the stuff Lipton sells. Indeed, Americans were drinking iced tea in the form of alcohol-drenched punches at least as far back as the Colonial era.”

Other drops of knowledge: Non-soused iced tea recipes didn’t appear much in print until 1876, and the drink really caught on at the particularly sultry 1904 World’s Fair. (The beverage of the future!) Prohibition, predictably, also gave iced tea a boost in visibility, NPR says, as did the gradual affordability of the leaves themselves.

No doubt you’re thirsty now. Here are a few of our staff’s favorite spots to grab a tall glass of chilled leaf-water:

  • I guzzle a lot of glasses of iced black tea at Thunderbird Coffee, as well as the cold stuff at Pei Wei Asian Diner. Don’t laugh: mix the iced chai and green teas together. Also a quencher: the hibiscus fizz at Magnolia Cafe, or the straight-up hibiscus at Milto’s. (I’m also partial to the sweet tea pie at Lucy’s Fried Chicken, but that’s neither here nor there.)
  • Assistant online news editor Gabrielle Muñoz is a traditionalist, favoring the Southern-style stuff at Threadgill’s.
  • Editorial writer Alberta Phillips says Eastside Cafe’s hibiscus iced tea, with a twist of mint, can’t be beat.
  • Director of photography Nell Carroll makes her own Arnold Palmers at Central Market’s cafe drink fountain.
  • Social media editor Jackie Stone is a fan of Nile Valley Teas, brewed at many restaurants around town, and also available at local farmers markets.
  • Tech columnist Omar Gallaga swears by the home of the big iced tea travel mug, Bill Miller BBQ.
  • Westlake Picayune/Lake Travis View editor Ed Allen prefers the same tea favored by many Texans on Sunday lunch: Luby’s, which he says always makes him go for a refill.
  • Features editor Sharon Chapman wouldn’t be caught dead without a bottle of Sweet Leaf Half & Half, a local darling available at fine grocers and gas stations near you.
  • Speaking of bottled tea, we also recommend an Austin favorite that’s closer to iced tea’s alcoholic origins: Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka.
  • If you’ve got the time to brew your own in celebration, try this recipe for Zhi’s Sparkling Jasmine Iced Tea, which parenting columnist Nicole Villalpando introduced us to in 2013.

Know of a better place to get your tall, cold glass of relief? Let us know in the comments. Happy sipping, Austin.

Austin History Center event celebrates city’s first cookbook

Things to do Tuesday, April 14 photoAustin’s first cookbook is older than our moontowers.

In tomorrow’s food section, I dig into the story of how Mike Miller, director of the Austin History Center, discovered that the 1891 fundraiser book “Our Home Cookbook” is the third oldest cookbook in Texas and why it was important to bring that book to life by reprinting it.

At 6:30 p.m. tonight (Tuesday), the Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe St., will host an event to celebrate the release of the book, which is a reprint of the 124-year-old “Our Home Cookbook” that also contains biographical information about the women who produced and contributed to it, the women who owned the copy in the history center’s collections and an analysis of what we can learn by reading the recipes.

If you can’t make the event, you can learn about some of these details in my column for tomorrow, and while you’re at it, here’s a sidebar I did about Texas’ largest cookbook collection, held at the Texas Collection at Baylor. Thanks to a 1,000-book donation from a Houston woman named Elizabeth White, Baylor now boasts 4,000 cookbooks that can teach us lots about life in the Lone Star State.