“In My Kitchen” December 2018 (and Smoky Black Bean and Corn Spread)

Welcome into my kitchen for December’s IMK.  “In My Kitchen” is hosted by Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings.  It’s a great way to sneak peeks into kitchens around the world.  Here’s what was going on in our kitchen during November and what’s to come in December.


A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, the in-laws visited.   They brought homegrown citrus from their south Texas backyard:  Meyer lemons and grapefruits.

While my MiL was here, we picked the very last of the peppers from the garden before they froze.   We used the bounty to make one last batch of jalapeno jelly.

Loved the natural color this has.

Mom knows my love of  Junior League cookbooks so when she was in Tucson last spring, she picked up one for my birthday.

It’s another great one.  I like how it includes the history of Tucson interspersed throughout along with extra mini-recipes like “Quick Frozen Margaritas” and “Dill Popovers.”  As with a lot of JL cookbooks, there are pre-planned menus like “Sunset Cocktail Soiree,” “Holiday Dinner Party,” and “Brunch for Fore.”  I have a few recipes tagged like “Lentil and Sausage Soup,” “Spicy Tomato Soup,” and “New Mexican Quiche.”   During the recent Thanksgiving gathering, I made “Smoked Black Bean and Corn Spread” which was a hit.

Smoked Black Bean and Corn Spread

From Wild Thyme and Other Temptations (with a few additions and instruction clarification)

This is a great make ahead dish.


  • 8-10 slices thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (15 oz.) can black beans
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1/2 t. cumin*
  • 2 c. cooked whole-kernel corn
  • 1/4 c. sliced pickled jalapenos*
  • 15 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded


  1. Fry the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove the bacon to drain and pour off all but 2-4 tablespoons of the drippings; set bacon aside. Add the onion to the skillet and saute until golden brown. Add the garlic and saute until tender. Add the bacon and 1 can of the beans. Rinse the bean can with 1/4 c. of the water and add to the skillet.
  2. Puree the remaining beans with the remaining 1/4 c. water in a blender or food processor. Add to the skillet with the vinegar, pepper and cumin. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Spread the mixture on a heatproof serving dish. Spread the corn over the top and sprinkle with the cheese. Heat in oven until cheese melts (about 15 minutes). Serve with tortilla chips.

*Our additions.

Yield: 16

Prep Time: 30 mins.

Cook time: 15 mins.

Total time: 45 mins.

Mom and Sis basically whipped this recipe up for me as I made dinner one night.   They included the cumin and I included the jalapenos before baking.   It was a family affair!   I recommend this dip for your holiday buffet or seasonal gathering.  It can be thrown together ahead of time, refrigerated and then popped into the oven before serving.

Another great birthday present was this pottery floral frog from my sister.  

It’s made to fit on top of the vase.

She said it was a do-it-yourself gift but she actually put this arrangement together for me.   This piece came from a local Iowa potter (from an art fair they visit every year).   Mom was the deciding factor in where this arrangement went in the house.  She first put it on a “beamed” shelf we have.   Then she proceeded to move it around the house until she found the perfect place.   My sister declared it was a little like “Elf on the Shelf” for a while.  🙂

Finally, this is our new favorite cheese.  I just randomly picked it up at the cheese counter.  Ski Queen is a semi-soft cheese with delicious caramel overtones.  It would be great melted over warm apple pie.

In fact, it might be outrageously delicious if you sprinkled shreds of it onto this Insanely Good Apple pie instead of the caramel.

Obviously, I’m linking up with December’s IMK.  For all my IMK posts, click here.

I am also linking up to Foodies Read for December (for the brief cookbook review).

During December, I always like to do holiday posts and usually have a theme working.   A lot of my December posts this year include recipes that I actually made during the holiday season 2017.  (Trying to be frugal with my precious holiday time.)   This year there really isn’t a theme but you can look forward to the upcoming festive posts:

  • Some quick and easy comfort food (courtesy of Ruth Reichl and IHCC)
  • Homemade dog biscuits for your favorite pooch
  • Anise-Cocoa Nib Biscotti
  • A holiday cake (another IHCC post)
  • A DIY gift of a cutting board conditioner
  • Christmas Simmering Spices
  • A classic Christmas recipe (again for IHCC)
  • And, finally, a Holiday Hero

As you can see, there’s no real theme this year, just a hodge-podge of homemade goodies and gifts.

Enjoy the season!

If you need to find your holiday spirit this year, please join Food ‘n Flix in December.  Love Actually is the feature this month.   Watch this goofy and sentimental movie, whip up a holiday dish and join the fun.  For more information, click here.)

And, this post is turning into a bit of a hodge-podge as well today.   There’s a giveaway on Amazon (hosted by the author) for A Handbook for Beautiful People by Jennifer Spruit.   I reviewed the book here.  Treat herself for a possible early holiday present and enter the giveaway.

22 comments to “In My Kitchen” December 2018 (and Smoky Black Bean and Corn Spread)

  • mae

    The dip looks like a much more wonderful and home-made version of the Trader Joe corn and bean salsa/Cowboy Caviar. So delicious looking!

    I love the flower-arranging device — pretty colors!

    best…mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  • The dip looks so good! And I love pottery floral frog from your sister. Really cool.

  • Black bean and corn spread? Smoked? I’m sold! That looks terrific. As does everything else in your kitchen this month. Thanks for the peek!

  • Ha ha — your comment about the frog being an elf on the shelf is very funny. I only had the very vaguest of ideas what the Junior League is (as we don’t have it here) so I spent some time down the Google rabbit hole. The spread/dip looks delicious. Would it be wrong of me to tell you that I have every one of those ingredients in my pantry or freezer and I’ll be making it for dinner? ; )

  • hi debra

    how lovely to have home grown citrus. your dip looks very tasty indeed. i love local, regional cookbooks too. (I guess that’s what yours is?) have a wonderful festive season. and thanks for joining in IMK this year. cheers sherry

    • Thanks, Sherry. Junior League is a service oriented organization in the US, UK, and Mexico. (I just looked it up.) My sister told me over the holidays that I have so many of these types of cookbooks that I should write a book about them. I think I will definitely write a post about them (someday).

  • Pam

    Wish I could dig into that dip right now! Yum!!! I love Tucson and love Junior League cookbooks so have to get this one. And to have your own citrus trees like your in-laws that’s the best. Nice flower arrangement too, definitely unique.

  • I’ve never heard of Junior League cookbooks but that this is from Tucson made me feel nostalgic for home. I grew up in Phoenix but spent lots of time in Tucson with my grandparents. It’s such an interesting part of the world. Merry Christmas!

  • Liz

    What a lot of interesting things in your kitchen, I also love Junior League cookbooks and that dip looks like a winner. I’m pinning it for a New Year’s Day buffet although I may leave out the bacon for the vegetarians. Love the frog, wonderful idea to put it on top of a vase. And I am going to check out your cookbook club. I use to belong to a virtual one but it ended. I really enjoyed and miss it. Happy holidays, I’ll be looking out for your dog biscuit recipe. The pups need Christmas as well.

  • Thanks for another peak into your kitchen. I love the frog vase! The black bean dip also looks fabulous. We could make a meal out of this.

  • Happy Birthday Debra, it sounds as if it were perfect.

  • Debra, the flower frog vase topper looks like a bouquet in itself — what a pretty way to manage your posies! (Belated birthday wishes, xo.) Nice to know a local artist was supported, too. I just watched Love Actually last night — such an upbeat, feel-good movie. If only I’d had a plateful of your black bean dip… 🙂 Loved your family affair recipe revisions and all the creative things you have going on, too. Merry Christmas!