More Football Baking

26 10 2010

It’s getting to be a bit of a thing, this football-watching.  I’ve really taken to baking or cooking up something delicious to share with my friends on Sunday, and it’s really nice to have something fun to look forward to on Sunday night – a nice cap to the weekend that lets you forget about Monday morning for a few more hours.

Gotta love the muffin method!

Two Sundays ago, Melissa was hosting, and she wanted to make a big pot of chili.  She requested that I whip up some cornbread to go along with it, and of course I was game.  But I didn’t want to stop at just plain old cornbread.

Jalapeño and cheddar make everything better!

No, only the best in home-pickled and hand-imported ingredients will do.  That is to say, I found a half-full jar of pickled peppers lurking in the fridge, and the Baby Loaf of Tillamook cheddar needed to be put to good use, because moldy Tillamook is not an option in my house.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisement




Beignets de Chien Chaud au Maïs, or, Corn Dogs High/Low

17 03 2010

Nick’s birthday was a few weeks ago, and as it fell on a Saturday when the horses were running at Vincennes, he wanted to get some people together for hot dogs and beer before heading out to the races.  Since it was a special occasion, I wanted to do a little something extra, and I remembered that I read a post a while back about corn dogs, which I don’t even like, historically, but something about being in France makes me want fried things I don’t normally eat when I’m at home in the States.

Can't you just hear the sizzle?

Anyway, it was Nick’s special day, and he loved the idea.  So corn dogs it was.  I used Alton Brown’s recipe, with a couple of changes.  I left out the jalapeño, and seeing as creamed corn doesn’t exist in France, I substituted regular canned corn, buzzed with the immersion blender.

I bought a huge pack of cheap wooden chopsticks at an Asian restaurant supply store to use as sticks, but since French hot dogs (aka Knacks) are so much thinner than their American counterparts (maybe because they don’t go frying themselves in corn batter?) I used only one stick per dog, instead of the recommended two.

Round 1

I was actually surprised at how well this recipe worked.  I don’t know why.  But let me tell you, it was seriously awesome to pull real live corndogs out of the bubbling oil in the Dutch oven.  And do you know what was even more awesome?

Read the rest of this entry »





Corn Chowdah

12 09 2009

Corn showed up in the CSA panier a couple of weeks ago.  I was excited and wary.  Excited because yay, corn!  Wary because the few ears of cob corn I’ve had in France have been unpalatably starchy.  So before even tasting it I devised a plan.  Corn chowder.  That way I could extract the flavor from the cobs, while the chopped, cooked kernels would have less of a chance to be offensive when combined in a creamy soup with bacon and potatoes.  (How do you make anything taste good?  Bacon and potatoes.)

Corned cream

Fortunately, when I cut the corn kernels from the cob and tasted one, I was rewarded with the crisp crunch of sweet corn.  Hooray!  No animal feed for us tonight!  I reserved the kernels for later and put the halved cobs in a pot with a little cream (okay, a lot of cream), a bay leaf,  and a few sprigs of thyme harvested from my windowbox garden.  I brought it up to a simmer, then covered it and lowered the heat so the cobs and herbs could really infuse the cream with their flavors.

The start of a delicious chowder

As we all know, a good chowder always starts with bacon.  Potatoes are another must-have.  Keeping it simple, I rendered some lardons while dicing potatoes, then threw the potatoes on top of the bacon and tossed to coat the cubes of potato in bacon fat.  I cooked them like that for a few minutes, then added a little white wine and water to cover.  Salt, pepper, and 10 minutes of simmering later, the potatoes were tender and tasty.  Time to strain the corned cream into the pot and add the reserved corn kernels.  Back up to a simmer for another couple of minutes to heat the corn through, and dinner was good to go.

Summery, yet hearty soup

Simple, classic, and great for those first few chilly nights of the changing season.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Oops, I Did It Again

23 09 2008

And by “it,” I mean Philly Cheesesteaks.  There were, however, a couple of improvements this time around.  First, we had fresh peppers – both red and green – to add to the sautéed onions.

Look at all those healthy vegetables!

Second, we decided to dice the “cheese” and stir it into the steak and pepper mixture before piling it onto fresh baguettes.  And third, I made corn fritters to go with the cheesesteaks.  Remember that corn salsa I made for the torta salads?  Well, I stirred it up with some flour, baking powder, eggs, butter, and milk and dropped spoonfuls of the stuff into hot peanut oil.

Maybe the best frying action shot I've ever gotten.

When they came out of the oil, they looked like this:

Read the rest of this entry »





Torta Salads

12 09 2008

In a previous life, Nick and I used to frequent a place called Tio’s Tortas.  I affectionately refer to it as “Uncle Sandwich,” which is a blatant and deliberate mistranslation (although I’m not sure “Uncle’s Sandwiches” is any less silly).  At any rate, this place made about 14 different kinds of tortas, or Mexican sandwiches, which were piled high with delicacies such as smoked sausage, refried black beans, and chiles rellenos.  Plus they had a great condiment bar filled with house made condiments.  These included chipotle ketchup, jalapeno mustard, roasted garlic, red onion confit, zucchini pickles, and a variety of mayonnaise-based sauces.  For 4 to 6 dollars you could get a substantial and satisfying meal, and beers were less than 2 bucks!

Anyway, one day we noticed that they had added an option to their torta menu: you could choose to have the ingredients of any torta served over rice or as a salad.  The salad idea took off in our house, where we would grill Hatch chili sausages and serve them over lettuce with leftover black beans, caramelized onions, and whatever else we had lying around (or had managed to sneak home from Tio’s).  Mmmm… sausage salad.

Well, we recently decided to revisit the Tio’s salad, when we were fortunate enough to be in possession of some delicious leftover beef chili verde and refried black beans.  We almost always have a head of lettuce in the crisper and a couple of tomatoes in the fruit basket, but I thought the salads needed something more.  Corn popped into my head and I headed to the store.  Malheureusement, the fresh corn here totally sucks.  It’s starchy and waxy and sticks to your teeth like paste.  So I bought a can.  Sue me.  I also picked up some gorgeous piquillo-looking peppers and some long green ones that I hoped would pack a punch.

I got home and set about putting together a corn salsa for the salads.  I drained the corn and dumped it into a bowl, followed by some diced onion.  I thought one of each pepper would look pretty as well as giving just the right amount of heat.  When I cut into the red pepper, I got a big surprise – no ribs or seeds!

Are they breeding seedless peppers now?

Nonetheless, the corn salsa looked great and tasted just as good.  It would actually stand on its own as a salad, but I had bigger ideas.

Corn Salsa/Salad

Indeed, it was even better sprinkled over a salad loaded with slow-cooked beef, black beans, tomatoes, crème fraîche, and chipotle vinaigrette.

What happens when you turn a torta into a salad?  Good things.

Apologies for doing two salad posts in one week, but I think this is miles away from Tuesday’s refined Mediterranean salad.  Don’t you?

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Happy Cinco de Mayo!

5 05 2008

While this is not a popular holiday in France (in case you didn’t know, it’s a celebration of the Mexican victory over the occupying French troops in 1862), I’d still like to commemorate the occasion by sharing my recipe for Guacamole.  It came together last summer when my fridge was full of leftovers from a recent party I had hosted.  I actually had all these ingredients on hand, but it turns out that they are all really easy to make, and the guac was so tasty that I have gone out of my way on several occasions since to replicate it.

Great Grilled Guacamole

 

2 ripe avocados, diced

5 cloves roasted garlic, mashed or pressed through garlic press

1 ear of corn, shucked and grilled

1 poblano pepper, roasted whole on the grill

Salt to taste

Juice of 1/2 lime

 

1. Combine avocado, salt, lime juice, and garlic in a bowl with a fork.  Mash together until desired texture is achieved.  (I prefer it a little chunky.)

 

2. Cut the kernels off the corn cob and add them to the guacamole.

 

3. Peel the charred outer skin from the pepper (try wetting your fingers if you’re having a hard time).  Remove the core and seeds, cut the pepper into strips, and dice.  Add to the bowl.

 

4. Stir it all together, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and more lime juice, if desired.  Serve immediately.

The sweetness and crunch of the corn combined with the smoky heat of the peppers and the touch of mellow roasted garlic makes for a real treat.  Of course it is great with tortilla chips, but it also makes a delicious topping for fajitas and a flavorful addition to tostadas or other Mexican-inspired salads.

A friend of mine who is a fiend for that smoky “barba-grilled” flavor, suggested I try grilling the avocados as well.  I haven’t yet attempted this, but if anyone tries it, I’d love to hear how it comes out.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep my eyes open for some kind of grilling mechanism that will fit on the ledge outside my kitchen.

Update: For some thoughts on the best way to choose avocados, click here.








%d bloggers like this: