Corn and Rice Stuffed Peppers

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Let this be known as the summer that I went corn crazy.

I have always loved fresh corn off the cob, but the corn here in the midwest tastes so much fresher and sweeter than my corn from Texas that I can’t help but make dinner after dinner with corn. Originally, these stuffed peppers came out of necessity when I was cleaning out the fridge and pantry before we moved here, and they turned out to be better than I even expected and have been repeated multiple times.

These area  great vegetarian main dish for dinner, and serve as great leftovers for lunch the next day. And they keep my cravings for corn temporarily at bay. So this dish is a winner all around.

CORN AND RICE STUFFED PEPPERS

INGREDIENTS

4-5 poblano peppers
Salt and pepper
1 cup dried brown rice
1 tablespoon butter
4 green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 ears of corn
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup and 3 tablespoons grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place poblano peppers on grill and cook until blackened and charred, about 4-5 minutes per side. Place poblanos immediately into a ziploc bag and seal. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Remove peppers and peel skin off. Make a cut into on side of the pepper length wise. Remove seeds and membranes. Set aside.

Preheat broiler.

Cook rice according to instructions. Heat butter in a large skillet. Sauté green onions and garlic over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in rice and corn. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into peppers. Place in baking pan.

Stir bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and brush with olive oil. Put into oven for 5 minutes (watch carefully so it does not burn).

Recipe from Cinnamon Freud.

Corn and Jalapeno Pizza

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Pizza, both in regular form and quesadilla form, have become a staple around here for dinner. N (the bf) is pizza-obsessed, and would be content eating cheese or pepperoni pizza two to three times a week.

Now I thought I was an avowed pizza-lover, but I am not coming close to him. Although he has insulted my pizza sauce (the sauce my mother makes mind you!), I try to work in pizza every-so-often for dinner to keep his pizza cravings met. Where we get in to trouble is his traditionalist vs. my funky toppings view. This pizza recipe is where N and I meet in the middle. It is not your typical pizza with tomato sauce and cheese, but it’s nothing crazy like blue cheese or pineapple.

This pizza is perfect to make during the summer with fresh sweet corn, but frozen corn can work as well. It’s a good mix of cool and sweet from the corn and cheese and spicy from the jalapeños and pepper flakes. Grill it up or bake it in the oven, just make sure you make it!

CORN AND JALAPENO PIZZA
From Cinnamon Freud (dough recipe from my mom)

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 package)
1 cup warm water
Pinch of sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt

For the pizza:
Cornmeal
2 cobs of corn, corn sliced off the cob
4 green onions, sliced
1 jalapeño, minced
4 to 6 ounces mozzarella, sliced or shredded
Red pepper flakes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

For the Dough:

In a bowl combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes, until yeast begins to foam. Combine yeast mixture, flour, olive oil, and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is elastic.

Coat bowl with oil. Place dough in bowl. Covers and keep in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

For the Pizza:

Preheat one as high as it will go (around 450-500 degrees). Warm pizza stone, if using. Roll out dough to size of pan. Sprinkle pan with cornmeal and transfer dough to pan.

Spread olive oil on crust with brush. Top pizza with corn, green onions, jalapeño, and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until pizza crust is browned and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes (Depending on temperature of oven). Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top. Slice and serve.

 

Corn Cakes with Tomato Goat Cheese Salsa

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Corn bread + pancakes = Corn cakes

This is the kind of math that I can fully get behind. The regression and factor analysis I have to do in school- no, thank you. Unless we are regressing deliciousness on chocolate, I just am not interested.

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Kristy’s blog Gastronomical Sovereignty (love the name!). After browsing through her recipes, I saw lots of dishes that I wanted to make, but unfortunately my budget this month was a little tight due to some extra splurging.  So I searched for something delicious that could be made with ingredients I had on hand, and I came across these corn cakes. They are easy to put together, and I bet you too already got all the ingredients (or close substitutions) at hand.

These corn cakes are full of sweet corn flavor, and the acidic salsa on top adds a great contrast. There are so many possible variations you could make with these corn cakes. You can go completely savory like this recipe, or try out a southwestern version with beans. I think these corn cakes would also be great topped simply with maple syrup or even a sweet blueberry sauce.

Dessert corn cakes? I must do some serious mathematical calculation about this delicious idea. I will get back to you.

Also this recipe is a great way to incorporate the healthy Pompeian grapeseed oil– it won’t interfere with any of that great corn flavor!

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CORN CAKES WITH TOMATO GOAT CHEESE SALSA
Adapted from Gastronomical Sovereignty

INGREDIENTS

For the Corn Cakes:
2 cups corn kernels
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup masa harina
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1- 1 1/4 cup milk
Pompein Grapeseed oil, for coating the pan

For the Tomato Goat Cheese Salsa:
1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup pepperocini, sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled.
Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS

For the Corn Cakes:

In a bowl combine corn, flour, masa harina, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix until combined. Whisk in eggs and milk. When adding the milk, add slowly while mixing until desired consistency is reached. The batter should be like a thick pancake batter.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over high heat. Grease the pan with oil (or nonstick spray). Place tablespoon-fuls of batter in the pan, being careful not to over crowd. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter. You can keep the corn cakes warm in a 250°F oven.

For the Tomato Goat Cheese Salsa:

In a bowl, combine tomatoes, pepperocini, red onion, and goat cheese. Season with salt to taste. Serve warm corn cakes with salsa on top.

Makes approximately 30-34 small corn cakes.



Corn, Green Bean, and Blueberry Salad

This is summer in a bowl.  All of the sweet produce of summer is cooked together and lightly dressed.  It’s fresh, light, and lovely.

I love salads like this where you throw vegetables and fruit together (not necessarily always with lettuce, don’t limit yourself!), but this summer salad is taken to the next level with the toasted hazelnuts.  Don’t forgo the hazelnuts.  I was planning on leaving them out, but by pure chance- or fate- I had some hazelnuts already sitting in the fridge left from my hazelnut macarons (yummm, those are coming soon).  The crunchiness and nuttiness really adds a whole new nuance to this salad.  And if you are feeling a little indulgent, some warm goat cheese stirred in would also be delicious.

Now get a move on- summer is almost over and you haven’t made this yet!

CORN, GREEN BEAN, AND BLUEBERRY SALAD
Adapted from The Chew
INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 ears of corn, shucked
2 cups green beans, cut into thirds
1 spring onion, chopped
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crumbled goat cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, corn, and green beans.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until corn begins to develop some color.  Add leeks and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Turn off heat and carefully stir in blueberries, honey, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  Top with toasted hazelnuts and crumbled goat cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 3-5 as a side dish.

Southwestern Barley Salad

Can you believe it’s August already?  I know everyone always says that about every month (insert some profound statement about the passage of time and human existence here), but for I promise it’s really true this time! I really can’t believe August is here.  August is going to be a huge month of change for me.  A few posts ago I mentioned that I have worked my last day at a urology practice. Why?  Because in about two weeks I am making my first big move of my adult life and starting a new chapter in my life.This fall semester I will start a PhD counseling psychology program in Lubbock, Texas.  For the next five to seven years it will be my new home as I learn how to be a psychologist, as both a researcher and therapist.  I won’t lie: I’m a little nervous.  Pretty nervous.  Actually, really nervous.  A combination of nervous and excited (depending on when you ask me I lean one way or the other).  It’ll be my first time I actually really and truly live away from my parents and my only home, and I am starting my career.  All this sounds a lot more adult than I feel.

All this change has led to lots of reflection about my life and what I want it to be.  All these life musings have also led me to think about my identity as a cook/kitchen frequenter and my blog.  What kind of food blog am I, and what is my “POV” on food?  Even in the past two years and fumbling around the kitchen and past year(!) of posting on this blog, I have already changed and learned so much.  After some thought, here is my sum up of my food world: healthy, affordable, seasonal (most of the time), and fun.  I like making things completely from scratch and easy, no fuss dishes.  I love trying new foods and revisiting classics.

Starting this new PhD program will probably mean posting will become a little more intermittent, but cooking and blogging have become some a big part of my life that I can’t imagine not doing it.  I plan on making myself keep it all up, but I may not be able to experiment as much as I have been able to these past months.   After all, I am about to become a home cook and a grad student with little time, even less money, and will always be on the go.

Okay, enough rambling: on to this southwestern barley salad.  This is very indicative of my type of food.  With this dish I tried barley for the first time and fell in love.  Barley, a cheap but filling grain that adds a chewy and nutty flavor, is combined with fresh summer produce and tossed in a light vinaigrette.  As I eat mostly meatless now, this is a perfect dinner for me, but  it would also be fantasic as a side with something from your barbeque for you carnivores.  Also, I am not the world’s biggest fan of tomatoes or avocados (I know, for shame), but I love this.

 

SOUTHWESTERN BARLEY SALAD
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS
For the Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime zest
Pinch of salt
For the Salad:
2 1/2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup dried pearled barley
2 tablespoon butter, divided

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 ears of corn
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 small avocados, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilantro, chopped
DIRECTIONS
For the Vinaigrette:
In a large serving bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey, and lime zest.  Whisk together.  Season with salt to taste if needed and set aside.
For the Salad:
In a large saucepan combine water, bouillion, and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and add pearled barley.  Cook according to package instructions (30-45 minutes typically).  Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon butter.  Add onion and a pinch of salt.  Cook until onion is tender, 7-9 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Add corn and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add cherry tomatoes, smoked paprika and cumin.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until tomatoes are slightly broken down.  Season with salt and pepper.
Whisk vinaigrette.  Transfer salad into bowl with vinaigrette.  Add avocado and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish.

 

Corn Cakes with Goat Cheese


Usually sometime over the weekend I make a master plan for my dinners for the upcoming week.  This way I can shop ahead of time, and I can easily cook after coming home from work.  When planning, I tend to focus on the main dish, and the side dishes often get ignored.  Then while cooking I am left scrounging for a side dish that works with the main dish, uses ingredients I have on hand, and tastes delicious.  Not always easy. Because of this, I have had some odd combinations of food for dinner, such substituting pineapple for rice or eating a cupcake in place of a vegetable.  

Now I love my odd combination of dishes for dinner because I know it’s only during these young years that my digestion system can handle by crazy combinations  without a need for alkaseltzer afterward, but I also love a well planned side dish.  When I remember to plan ahead, I get to eat a great side dish like these corn cakes.  These corn cakes are easy to make, and most of the prep work can be done ahead of time. Then, you can make you main dish and heat these up at the end.  It is easy to time everything to be hot and ready to eat at the same time.

CORN CAKES WITH GOAT CHEESE

Adapted from Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS

1 ear corn kernels
1 summer squash, diced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Herbed goat cheese

DIRECTIONS

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook corn and squash with a little olive oil for 4-6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a small bowl, combine corn, squash, egg, cornmeal, and mayonnaise.  Form in patties.

Heat large skillet over medium heat.  Coat pan with a little olive oil.  Cook patties for 4 minutes.  Flip, and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Top with crumbed goat cheese.

Balsamic Black Bean Salsa

Did you know salsa is the number one condiment in America?  Because people like to say SAL-SA. (Seinfeld…watch it!)

I have begun to love using balsamic vinegar in both sweet and savory dishes, but I had never thought about adding it to Mexican food.  One weekend I had some seafood enchiladas with balsamic salsa roja out at a restaurant.  That salsa was tangy and delicious- I wanted to see if I could recreate a balsamic salsa at home.

I used what I had on hand, so this can easily adapt to whatever is in your pantry.  I also added some fresh corn because I am determined to each as much fresh corn before the short season is over.  I ate this over chicken for dinner since I had some leftover, but I bet it would also work on tacos, tortilla chips, or taquitos.

BALSAMIC BLACK BEAN SALSA
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup picante sauce
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup fresh corn
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Ciantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Cook for 4-7 minutes.  Garnish with cilantro. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to overnight to let the flavors meld together.  Serve warm or chilled.

Mini Mexican Lasagna

…yes more wontons. I have made mini lasagnas, apricot & brie stacks, wonton soup, and ravioli. And guess what- I still got more wonton wrappers left.

But if I didn’t have an endless supply of wontons, I never would have made these mini Mexican lasagnas- there is the silver lining! They are a combination of a taco and lasagna- but so much cuter.  Because these have to be eaten with a knife and fork, you get to decide the ratio of each filling you want in each bite.  They are crunchy, sweet, salsa-y and delicious.  Additional toppings to add in could be guacamole, black beans, salsa verde, sour cream, and cheese.

MINI MEXIAN LASAGNA
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

12 wonton wrappers
6 ounces chicken breast
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons picante sauce
Red onion, sliced
Sweet corn
Refried beans
Cilantro
DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut chicken breast into bite sized pieces.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add chicken.  Season with cumin, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 5-7 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add onions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in picante sauce and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.  Mix in corn.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Spray 6 cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray.  Press a wonton in the bottom of each cup.  Spread some refried beans on the bottom of each, reserving half.  Top with chicken and onion mixture, reserving half.  Carefully press another wonton on top of the filling.  Top with refried beans and chicken and onion mixture.  Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.

Bake 10-12 minutes, until edges of wontons start to brown.  Remove from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes.  Remove each mini lasagna and enjoy.

Makes 6 mini lasagnas.