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Results tagged “corn”

Moist and Cakey Cornbread with Fresh Corn

cornbread.jpgI often swap (swipe?) recipes with (from?) my dear friend Beth Hensperger, who has written almost as many recipes as I have over the years.  OK, we're neck and neck. But the main reason I bring up the Babe of Baking is cornbread.  Both of us were raised on a not-very-authentic version of the Southern classic that used canned corn as the moistening agent. This cheap and cheerful ingredient was always in my family's kitchen cupboard, and it never occurred to me to turn my nose up at it.  (I was certainly raised to eat with was put in front of me, anyway, with the exception of liver and onions.) The canned corn infused my Mom's cornbread with straight-off-the-stalk goodness.  So, here it is the end of the corn season, and I overbought (as usual) at the market.  Faced with a mountain of corn, it struck me that I could puree some kernels with sour cream to approximate the canned corn, and go from there.  Here's what happened... 


Continue reading Moist and Cakey Cornbread with Fresh Corn.

 

Maque-Choux (Cajun Corn Relish)

Yield: 8 servings

Introduction

This Cajun side dish has so much going for it, I hardly know where to begin. First of all, it adds a welcome splash of color to the Thanksgiving menu, which frankly, can be somewhat bland-looking. Also, its spiciness compliments, not overwhelms, the other dishes. Next, it can be made well-ahead and reheated. Finally, it has bacon in it, which adds an old-fashioned flavor that my guests love in these bacon-challenged times. (When I make Creamed Maque-Choux, I leave the bacon out.) In fact, this simple dish has been the sleeper hit at many of my Thanksgiving spreads.

Even if you can get fresh corn in November, I don't recommend it for this dish. It would probably be a super-sweet hybrid, and will be too sugary. Thawed frozen corn kernels are processed from a less-sweet variety, and much better.

While "choux" means "cabbage" in French, there is no literal translation of "maque-choux" in either French or Cajun patois. The word (and the basis for the recipe) probably comes from the native Indians who lived in the Bayou. In other words, it is the Cajun version of succotash, the corn and bean dish that the Northeastern Indians taught the Pilgrims.

Ingredients

  • 6 strips thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 cups thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes (such as Holland or Israeli), seeded and chopped
  • Salt

Make-Ahead

The maque-choux can be prepared up to 1 day ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated.
 

Directions

1. Place the bacon in a 12-inch skillet. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain. When the bacon is cool, chop coarsely and set aside.

2. Pour out all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery to the pan, and cook until the onion is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the corn, garlic, and Cajun Seasoning, and cook, stirring frequently, until the corn is heated through, about 5 minutes. (The maque-choux can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat gently in the skillet over low heat, stirring often.)

3. Stir in the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped bacon and season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.
 

Creamed Maque-Choux

Delete the bacon and substitute 3 tablespoons unsalted butter for the bacon drippings. When the maque-choux is finished, reduce the heat to low. In a small bowl, whisk 2 large eggs with 1 teaspoon cornstarch until the cornstarch dissolves. Whisk in 1 cup heavy cream. Slowly stir the mixture into the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, just until thickened, about 30 seconds. Do not allow to boil, or the eggs will curdle. Immediately transfer to a warm serving dish and serve hot.
 

Cajun Seasoning

Mix 2 tablespoons paprika (preferably Spanish or Hungarian sweet paprika), 1 tablespoon each dried thyme and basil, 1 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Save leftovers in a covered jar and use to season chicken, pork, fish, or even popcorn.
 

 

Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Corn Salad

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Introduction

You won't have a wide window of opportunity to make this salad--only a few weeks in summer when both corn and tomatoes are at their peak. The corn must be sweet and fresh, as it won't be cooked, and the tomatoes must be juicy and flavorful. If you can find them, use an assortment of heirloom tomatoes, which are available in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Otherwise, good old ripe beefsteak tomatoes will do just fine.

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe large tomatoes, preferably heirloom (buy a few more tomatoes if they are small)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from 4 to 5 ears of corn (see Note)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Make Ahead

The salad is best served within 2 hours of making.
 

Directions

1. Using a serrated knife, cut each tomato in half lengthwise. Using your finger, poke out the seed pockets, Cut the tomatoes into 3/4-inch cubes. Toss the tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes. (This step extracts the excess juices from the tomatoes so they don't dilute the vinaigrette.)

2. Place the balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Add the tomatoes, corn, and basil and toss. Season with the salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or cover and let stand for up to 2 hours.

NOTE: To remove the kernels from an ear of corn, husk the corn and pull off the silk. Cut off the pointed end of the cob and stand the cob on the cut end. Using a sharp knife, cut down the cob where it meets the kernels.
 

 

Corn, Tomato, and Black Bean Salad with Feta-Lime Vinaigrette

Yield: 8 servings

Introduction

This is a big, hearty salad--if you serve it alongside a hearty smoked meat, such as beef brisket, you won't need anything else. It's also great for a light lunch.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons pure ground ancho chile
  • l/2 teaspoon salt
  • l/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups cooked black beans or 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups corn kernels, cut from grilled corn or thawed frozen corn kernels (see Note)
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes, seeded, cut into cubes
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • l/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil
  • 4 ounces imported feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

Directions

1. To make the vinaigrette, whisk the lime juice, ground chile, and salt in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil.

2. In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro. Add the dressing and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least l hour before serving. Just before serving, sprinkle with the cheese.

NOTE: Nothing could be easier than grilling corn. Many cooks fret too much over this simple chore by peeling back the leaves, removing the silks, replacing the husk, tying them in place with string, and then soaking in water. Just throw the unhusked corn on a grill over hot coals (use High heat on a gas grill). That's it. Cook the corn, turning occasionally, until the silks are burned black and the husks are charred on all sides, l5 to 20 minutes. That charring adds a nice smoky flavor, too. Cool the corn slightly before removing the husks and silks-- but you may want to protect your hands with a kitchen towel or gloves.
 

 
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