Saturday, November 22, 2014

Back in the USSR - A Quintessential Southern Corn Casserole

Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the West behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
That Georgia's always on m-m-my mind

Oh, show me round the snow-peaked mountains way down south
Take me to you daddy's farm
Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out
Come and keep your comrade warm

I'm back in the USSR
Hey, you don't know how lucky you are, boys
Back in the USSR
Oh, let me tell you honey

Crazy cold!  Twenty-two degrees it was in Staten Island, New York and 43 degrees here in Central Florida.  This house, built in 1925, is not known for it's cold-fighting capabilities.  Neither am I, anymore - 23 years living in Florida, your body adapts, and I am much more resistant to heat than cold.  All I really want to do is crawl back under the covers with these guys, and let the warmth soak into these old bones.

I had a strange dream the other night - we were sightseeing in Russia, a country that, despite both maternal and paternal roots, I have never hankered to see.  Might have something to do with stories about pogroms, and desk-diving at school during the Cold War.  My dream ignored the passage of time, the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and placed us firmly and unapologetically in the USSR.  Besides that strange turn of events, we ran into two old friends from my misspent youth - one, Sara Feldman, is a friend from high school who introduced me to the music of Sonny and Cher, and the other is a friend from college, Steve Feldman, a fellow psychology major and good buddy who once drove all the way down to Howard Beach to help me scrape those old-fashioned foot-stickies from the bottom of the tub in my first apartment.  Sara studied Russian and visited there when it first opened up to US tourists, but as far as I know, Steve has never set foot on that part of the European continent.  They are not related, by the way.  That was just my dream doing loopy things.  However, they both live in upstate New York (defined as anything north of the Bronx-Westchester border) and are no doubt feeling a bit chill this morning.  The dream ended with us sneaking past our Communist stalkers (nameless, faceless government spies).   Of course after that imaginary road-trip-from-hell, I awoke with one of my my trademark headaches.

Speaking of headaches, have I mentioned that I do not own a winter coat?

Because the day was so unseasonably chilly, I found myself inspired to look for cold recipes - gelatin molds, to be precise.  I printed out the Eggnog Molded Salad and the Layered Cranberry Mousse Mold.  I just need a good reason to whip them up and pour them into my vintage Tupperware gelatin molds.  Sadly, no good reason came to mind.

So let me focus on the good stuff.  I picked up the ingredients I need to make a dessert for the holiday party at the office.  I found the pre-made crepes so I can experiment with appetizer wraps like smoked salmon and cream cheese, and hummus and tabbouleh.  My wonderful husband stocked the fridge with burnt ends from Jimmy Bear's BBQ, along with fried pickles, pulled pork, and ribs.  And my son prepared, with his own two hands, a corn casserole to bring to a friend's potluck Thanksgiving.  Proud mom!  Kvelling!

  • 1 (8 ounce) box Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn (not drained)
  • cup sour cream
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

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.

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