Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

“Remixing” Family Staples

By John Burton Jr of The Food Cravelogist

Growing up in the Carolinas, corn and long–grain rice were staples around my family dinner table. No week was ever complete without an appearance from rice and corn. Rice was plentiful and cheap, and corn was tasty and added texture and color. Equally, corn is one of America’s prized crops.

Ears of corn, the muhindi, represent the number of children in each household for Kwanzaa.

However, as I grew up, so did my palate. I simply wanted to “remix” my familiar family stables. Therefore I decided to combine the two ingredients. This would allow me to pay homage to my relatives and my West African ancestors who cultivated rice. Trolling around the internet and thinking about my taste, I thought, “Who wouldn’t like rice, corn and cheese!”

Corn Risotto
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from 5 to 6 ears)
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1-1/4 cups long-grain white rice
1/4-cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken/vegetable stock to a boil over moderately high heat. Lower the heat to keep the stock at a bare simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the corn and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are thoroughly coated with fat, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and continue stirring until most of the wine has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the simmering stock to the rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring the risotto until the stock is absorbed before adding more; the risotto is done when the rice is just tender and the sauce is creamy, about 22 minutes. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Inspired by: Martha Steward’s Parmesan Carrot Risotto

About John Burton, Jr.
A marketing guy during the day, I am an admitted foodie! My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. However I can easily be cajoled into partaking in a scrumptious meal any time of day: lunch, dinner, brunch, linner (between lunch and dinner) or midnight snack.
As Marketing Consultant of The Burton Group, I provide communications, marketing and public relations solutions a diverse group of companies and organizations. My client list has included: Sak’s Fifth Avenue/Off Fifth, Rainforest Films, Pantene, The Inspiration Network, and Wells Fargo. News outlets such as CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, LA Times, The Howard Stern Show and Jet Magazine are just a few places where my clients have appeared.
A few of my favorite foods include: Chicago-style deep dish pizza, Italian Cream Cake, and almost anything containing cinnamon. Signature dishes are mozzarella macaroni and cheese, kale salad with pepitas, and sweet potato and black bean burritos with a mango salsa.

About Sanura

Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer at Food Writer at


This entry was posted on December 20, 2014 by in 2014, Kujichagulia and tagged , , , , , , , .

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Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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