Our friends, the Korbs, up and left us last year for what I affectionately refer to as Corn Land, U.S.A., a.k.a., Omaha, Nebraska. Michelle also refers to this as “the middle coast,” to make herself feel better about living in the Midwest. Were I her, I would do the same. I kid, I kid …
As much as I enjoy making fun of Nebraska, it actually holds a very special spot in my heart. My mom was born and raised in Corn Land and I “vacationed” there quite a bit as a child. We would pack up our 1984 Chevrolet Caprice Classic station wagon, “Big Blue,” and hit the road, stopping at every monument and national park along the way. And oh my, the education! I was well-versed in the history of each battlefield between the Pacific Ocean and Chimney Rock by the time I was six-years-old. Not everyone gets the opportunity to drink a handmade sarsaparilla while gazing over the field where the Battle of Little Big Horn was fought, or see the Crazy Horse Memorial when it was just a nose. Gotta say, Disney World was a little more up my alley in those days.
I do have really fond memories of Nebraska, though, once we finally arrived. Hosing down the trampoline with my cousin Lynn to lay out in the scorching sun, riding the four-wheeler up to the neighboring farm and having the farmer force me to attempt milking the cow, driving my aunt’s car through the cornfield with a newly-minted driver’s permit and being allowed to walk to the corner store all by myself as a nine-year-old because it was a classic, small town, American main street where nothing bad could ever happen. Ahhh, I miss that place.
We miss the Korbs terribly, too, but thankfully they left behind one of my all-time favorite appetizer recipes which originated in their new home, aptly named “Nebraska Crack.” It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s tangy and it’s — you guessed it — as addictive as crack. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
1 can yellow sweet corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. (one small package) crumbled feta
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
¼ cup light olive oil
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Garlic powder, salt & cayenne pepper to taste
Tortilla chips for serving (Tostitos Scoops work best)
Mix oil, vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Dissolve sugar well by stirring. Add black beans, corn, onions and red pepper. Crumbled feta into bowl. Mix all ingredients together. Serve with tortilla chips.
(Note: I made a few modifications. The original recipe calls for a half cup each of olive oil, sugar and vinegar, but I like mine a bit drier -- make it however you like! I also added the green onion and used cayenne instead of black pepper.)