Detroit corn cakes

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This weekend we had friends over to watch game three of the World Series and eat chili.  It was a pretty exciting game and we were on our feet numerous times, cheering for our team or making our way to the kitchen for seconds.

Making chili is the Mister’s department, but I do have a go-to recipe for fried corn cakes.  A few years ago, when I was living in Michigan, I clipped it out of a copy of the Detroit Free Press, and they’ve been a hit at every chili night I’ve been to since.

Green onions, corn, sea salt, cornmeal, flour, sugar, milk, egg, butter, jalapeno

Green onions, corn, sea salt, cornmeal, flour, sugar, milk, egg, butter, jalapeno

Adapted from a recipe by Chef Shawn Loving, first published in The Detroit Free Press

  • 1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar or less to taste
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/8 vegetable oil
  • 1 cup fresh cut corn
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
  • Oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine corn meal, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, stirring with a fork to combine.  In a smaller bowl, lightly beat the egg and milk, then pour into the larger bowl of dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Next, add corn, green onions, chopped jalapeno, butter, and oil.  Stir yet again, until vegetables are well mixed in the batter.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Use a large spoon to scoop out batter–about 1/8 cup per scoop–and drop in oil.  Use flat side of spoon to flatten batter into a 4-inch round cake.  A large skillet can accommodate about three corn cakes per batch.  After about 90 seconds, small bubbles will appear in the top of batter.  Flip with a spatula and fry other side for an additional 90 seconds, then remove from heat.  Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.  Makes about 30 corn cakes.

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A few tips:

I halved the original recipe to work for four people. Double the recipe for a larger party.

The original recipe didn’t include the jalapenos, so they could easily be removed or substituted for a different pepper.  I like just a hint of spice in my corn cakes or corn bread.

Try letting the corn cakes cook for two full minutes on each side or until they get a little crispy.  Delicious.

These are best hot, so if you aren’t serving right away, toss them onto a sheet pan and pop them in the oven for a few minutes to rewarm.

These also go well with pulled pork or other kinds of barbeque.

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Tomato Galette

Leek, green onion, cherry tomatoes, corn, dough, egg, parmesan

Leek, green onion, cherry tomatoes, corn, dough, egg, parmesan

There was a point in learning to cook when I went from a frustrated picky eater trying to make food that tasted the way I wanted, to wanting to make simple, beautiful food to share with friends and family.   From the first time I saw them, galettes took my breath away, seeming somehow chic and rustic at the same time.

As autumn makes its way in, I’m tempted to make savory galettes with caramelized onions and squash, or sweet ones with apples and figs.  And yet, the farmers market is still bright with cherry tomatoes and ears of corn, and I couldn’t help but think of the summery galette Deb recently posted on Smitten Kitchen.  I’d practically drooled onto my computer screen when I first saw it, and this weekend I filled my market basket sun golds and sweet corn, knowing what would be making an appearance on our table for lunch.

Sauteed vegetables cooling

Sauteed vegetables cooling

Deb’s recipes are highly reliable, so if you don’t have a go-to dough, try hers.  We keep an everyday sourdough in our fridge most of the time.  It’s a little wetter than her recipe, but I’m used to working with it, so I felt comfortable deviating from her recipe a bit.  Apart from using a different dough and substituting one of the vegetables, I followed her recipe exactly and produced a wonderful, summery galette.

Galette assembled

Galette assembled

A few tips:

Mince a little fresh rosemary and add it to the flour when you are making the dough.  Rosemary is such a great aromatic to add to breads and cakes, and really makes a sourdough pop.

If possible, make your dough a couple of days ahead.  Dough that is at least 24 hours old develops amazing flavors and helps give it that golden yellow color.  This is likely the secret to the amazing crust at your favorite pizza place.

I’m not opposed to zucchini, but I don’t love it either, so I was happy to substitute chopped leeks here.  Their buttery flavor was perfect with the tomatoes, corn, and green onions.  I’m sure it would easy enough to substitute in your favorite summer vegetable, just make sure it’s something that doesn’t release too much liquid.

Out of the oven and ready for lunch

Out of the oven and ready for lunch

Summer tomatoes with baked polenta

Polenta is an amazing vehicle for so many vegetables.  In the summer, I like to roast cherry tomatoes, corn, and mushrooms in the oven and serve over baked polenta.

Sungold cherry tomatoes from the farmer's market

Sungold cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market

The Mister used to go through the labor intensive process of making polenta on the stovetop, but then we found Joy the Baker‘s amazing baked polenta recipe and haven’t looked back.  Its so amazingly simple and there is no need to stand by your oven stirring until your arms ache.  I start with her recipe,  substituting chicken stock for flavor and goat cheese instead of butter.  I also like to add a few red pepper flakes and a little fresh chopped rosemary.  Leave in the oven 10-20 minutes longer if you like your polenta a little firmer.  Another nice touch is to finish it under the broiler.

Cherry tomatoes, corn, garlic, onion, mushroom, pepper and sea salt

Cherry tomatoes, corn, garlic, onion, mushroom, pepper and sea salt

There is no set recipe for the vegetables; I usually wing it.  For this version, slice the cherry tomatoes in half and toss with chopped mushrooms, onions, red pepper, and corn cut off the cob.  Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil and stir well.  Then pop in the oven along with the polenta, taking the pan out to give them a stir once or twice.  Allow the polenta and vegetables to cool for about 15 minutes.  Top with fresh chopped herbs–basil or lemon balm are great–and if you like sprinkle with grated parmesan, sea salt and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Seasoned and ready for the oven

Seasoned and ready for the oven

Let them rest for about 15 minutes after coming out of the oven

Let them rest for about 15 minutes after coming out of the oven

Garnish with fresh herbs

Garnish with fresh herbs

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