Corn cheese is served alongside grilled beef, kimchi and lettuce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Corn cheese is served alongside grilled beef, kimchi and lettuce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Planning barbecue with all the bells and whistles

Expect kimchi, lots of side dishes, piles of rice, marinated meat for the flame and cold fruit for dessert

Last week I helped to clean the classroom, I turned in my keys, and just like that, the school year is done.

For the next few months, I will return to my previous life as a stay-at-home mom, and I have grand plans for my son’s first true summer break. He’s old enough now to help me with the garden, to hike longer trails, and I plan to push his limits and make this season a time for adventure.

It should also be a time to push my own limits, to challenge myself with difficult tasks instead of allowing myself to slide into a comfortable but lazy routine — I have just three months of freedom before the early mornings and busy schedule returns, and I would kick myself until Christmas if I ended up wasting them.

We don’t do a lot of entertaining at our home (or really any entertaining, if I’m being honest), and I want to change that this summer by throwing a few parties and play dates to maintain the new friendships my family made this year. I love standard barbecue fare, but it would also be fun to put in a little extra work to serve something different to impress my guests and make my parties memorable.

This won’t come as a shock to my regular readers, but I’m thinking of a Korean barbecue menu with all the bells and whistles, which means I need to start prepping now.

I’ll have several kinds of kimchi, lots of side dishes, piles of rice, marinated meat for the flame, and cold fruit for dessert.

I’ll also serve a side that, while not at all traditional, has become an extremely popular and common indulgence to enjoy alongside grilled beef and chicken: corn cheese. This sweet and cheesy dish pairs wonderfully with salty kimchi and savory meat when wrapped in lettuce and eaten in one bite.

Corn Cheese

Ingredients:

1 can corn

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup mayonnaise

½ red bell pepper

¼ cup white onion

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup shredded mozzarella

Salt to taste

Chopped green onion for garnish

Directions:

Finely chop your onion and red pepper and place into a bowl. Sprinkle a little salt on top and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the salted vegetables into a cheesecloth pouch and wring out as much liquid as possible.

Strain the corn and use the same cheesecloth pouch to squeeze out excess liquid. This step is important to prevent a soupy finished dish.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over high heat, then sauté the corn, vegetables, and garlic until the onions are sweet and translucent.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Allow to cool slightly before stirring in the mayonnaise, sugar, and half the cheese.

Taste and season with salt.

Place the mixture in a heat safe shallow dish (a shallow casserole dish or cast iron skillet work well) and cover the surface with the rest of the cheese.

Just before serving, put the dish under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Garnish with chopped green onion before serving piping hot.

***Note — I used string cheese because it was what I had on hand, but string cheese doesn’t melt as nicely as fresh shredded mozzarella, so I would not use string cheese for this dish again. ***

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