June 2020 Challenge - Corn

861
537
Joined May 28, 2015
A reminder that this is a broad canvas and that any corn product used will count. That includes corn starch, polenta, popcorn, cornflakes etc.
 
191
35
Joined Aug 20, 2010
Stuffed peppers in tomato sauce, corn polenta with sour cream

stuffedpeppers.jpg

My first entry this month takes us into the lands of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and utilises field corn in the form of cornmeal. My country, Slovakia, was part of that empire until 1918, when the first Czechoslovak Republic was formed. This naturally means that for centuries many, many dishes travelled freely from one corner of the monarchy to another. Thus, schnitzels spread all over the place from Vienna, sauerkraut and pork stew spread all over the place from Szeged, a town in southern Hungary, and so on. Stuffed peppers in tomato sauce is another of those timeless Austro-Hungarian classics which can be found anywhere from Prague to Bucharest and all the way down to Beograd or so. There are two greatest historical culinary powers which have influenced the cooking traditions of Central Europe - France and Ottoman Empire, and this one most probably came with the Ottomans, since the same general concept also exist in Turkey and the dish is very much Anatolian/Middle Eastern in its fundamental architecture. Of course, my Austro-Hungarian interpretation differs from the usual Turkish recipe in that the cooking fat is lard, as is traditional in this part of Europe, and the spices are toned down, although I did keep a hint of clove and cinnamon, so that we know where the dish originates. Neither are unheard of here historically, especially in tomato sauces, but of course the amounts are minimal.

The stuffing is simple: raw minced beef and rice (soak for 5 minutes in hot water, drain), some onion and garlic sautéed in lard, chopped parsley and dill, salt and black pepper, plus more lard if the meat seems to lean and the stuffing too dry. The peppers are stuffed with this and then put in a greased deep oven tray and roasted in a medium oven.
The sauce: I took 1,5 kg of good tomatoes (local, they are beginning to be in season around here), cut them into large pieces. Then I melted some lard in a large pan, added about 7 allspice berries, some black peppercorns, a clove, and some chopped garlic, sautéed all that together for a while. Then the tomatoes with some sweet paprika and 1/4 tsp cinnamon or so. When they're soft, purée them and pass through a sieve. Add the sauce to the peppers and finish cooking in the oven.

The polenta is with sour cream added at the end instead of the Italian way consisting on butter and parmesan, plus I garnished it with some beech-smoked bacon to plant it firmly in the Carpathian Mountains. Because of the polenta and the herbs in the stuffing, it's more from the Romanian part of that mountain range that its Slovak part, as Slovaks tend to make it without herbs and eat it with sliced steamed dumpling (sort of like the Chinese bao). But I prefer polenta here.

Delicious and incredibly filling, so now I'm stuffed too. :)
 
2,026
678
Joined Jan 8, 2010
I'll be there soon....
Just needed to finish my green beans.
A 750 gr bag is quite a lot for a single person.....
 
4,399
827
Joined Nov 5, 2007
I'll start off by relating another story regarding the different backgrounds my wife and I have, she being born and raised in a big city, Phoenix, me from rural southwest Michigan. We often go to Orange County, California to celebrate Christmas with her family and my sister. We stay at this place in Lake Forest that offers a hot breakfast as part of the deal. The usual overcooked, dry rubbery scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, cook your own waffle irons, in truth it isn't as bad as you might think. But the eggs need a LOT of hot sauce.

One year we go down to eat, and instead of a meat with the eggs there are these golden brown fish stick type things. I grab one, take a bite, pile a stack on my plate, grab some butter and pancake syrup and start chowing down. Karen and her family ask about what it is I am eating, happy as a puppy with two tails, and I just say 'try it'. They do, but can't figure out what it is.

It was plain old, down home fried cornmeal mush, not what I was expecting to find in So Cal.

The Players

Of course to make cornmeal mush, you need cornmeal.

GEDC1614.JPG

Usually it is made with yellow cornmeal, but white is what I had. And a supporting cast to make a complete breakfast.

20200605_085515.jpg

I was thinking of making something related, scrapple. It involves cornmeal, as well as scraps of pork. I may still make some scrapple, if I get the ambition to track down a whole, raw pig's head. But for now, I figured a slice or two of Spam would have to fill in.

The Process

First off, get 3 quarts of water to boiling. Whisk a cup of cornmeal with a cup of milk and a teaspoon or so of salt.

GEDC1615.JPG

Once the water is boiling, slowly pour in the cornmeal mixture, whisking constantly. Let it cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until it is a nice, thick consistency.

GEDC1616.JPG

Once the desired state of doneness is achieved, pour it into a dish, let it sit out and cool to room temp before covering and stashing in the fridge for at least overnight.

GEDC1618.JPG

When ready to fry it up, get a griddle or cast iron pan on the stove, medium heat. Melt some butter and fry up a couple squares.

20200605_090635.jpg

Getting worried here, the mush started falling apart. I thought it has cooked long enough and had been properly chilled to set into solid slices, but I guess I was wrong. But I carried on.

20200605_090818.jpg

I love this little 5" skillet, perfect for frying up a pair of eggs.

The Product

Okay, so the eggs are done, Spam is browned a bit, on to the plate.

20200605_091557.jpg

The mush is NOT what I had in mind. What little bits of crispy brown there are were perfect, but overall disappointing. Not exaclty a challenge winning dish.

But wait, there's more!

mjb.
 
4,399
827
Joined Nov 5, 2007
Okay, so I scurry off and lick my wounds, wondering about the mush failure. I was thinking that maybe the griddle was not hot enough, I was worried about burning the butter. So I try a couple more pieces the next day. I turn up the heat on the griddle, and instead of butter try out a new toy that arrived in the mail that day.

20200607_085526.jpg

Definitely on the way to a better end result.

20200607_085842.jpg

Nice, brown crispy skin and a smooth, soft interior. But still not quite right.

So, another attempt, a different approach.

20200609_033708.jpg

I cut the squares of mush, dust them in cornstarch, and deep fry.

20200609_034237.jpg

Okay, now we're talking!

20200609_035107.jpg

The edges are perfect, the top side not quite the same. Still the best batch yet, third time's a charm, I guess.

If I were proficient with image manipulation software like PhotoShop, I would have stuck one of these tasty, crunchy little gems into the picture of the final plating and claimed I did it right the first time. Oh well, the perils of being honest.

These got a big dab of butter and a bath of maple syrup, and I consumed them quickly.

Good stuff!

mjb.
 
2,958
815
Joined Jul 13, 2012
I made a corn, black bean and Rotel tomatoes salsa the other day. We had it with pork chops and a fried mashed potato cake - yum!!


Fast forward to tonight - leftover Pork Sloppy Joe on a potato roll with this salsa and some pickled jalapenos - oh yeah!!


I also made some mini corn muffins today. I didn't have any milk so I used heavy cream cut with apple juice and added vanilla extract. Served with macerated strawberries and black berry coolis and some whipped cream as well.
 
861
537
Joined May 28, 2015
I may still make some scrapple, if I get the ambition to track down a whole, raw pig's head. But for now, I figured a slice or two of Spam would have to fill in.
This made me giggle!

The edges are perfect, the top side not quite the same. Still the best batch yet, third time's a charm, I guess.
The final results looks lovely and light and crispy. 10 out of 10 for perseverance! I'd probably have given up at first attempt.
 
861
537
Joined May 28, 2015
Fast forward to tonight - leftover Pork Sloppy Joe on a potato roll with this salsa and some pickled jalapenos - oh yeah!!
Your salsa is very attractive - and very attractive indeed with pickled jalapeños added. I always think that the sweetness of corn needs something sharp/acidic (and preferably spicy) to counterbalance it.

I also made some mini corn muffins today.
They make a pretty dessert and nicely balanced with the berries.
 
2,668
512
Joined Jan 4, 2011
Orecchiette w/ Roasted Corn Pesto* & Prosciutto** Crisps

This is an Italian dish. I made it for a Mexican family. Therein I made some simple swaps. I used cotija cheese* for parmesan and Serrano-ham** for the prosciutto. I also added lime zest and juice.


1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg 8.jpg 9.jpg 10.jpg

I roasted the corn in the pan adding the juice and zest of 1/2 a lime. 2/3 of the corn went into the pesto w/ the other half lime juice. I wanted fresh corn but it's not so available near me. The ham was sizzled until crisp in the medium-hot pan. It may look exactly like prosciutto ... but the cheapest turned out $6/lb more than the most-expensive prosciutto de Parma. In the end ... I couldn't tell the difference. The pesto is general basic standard pesto. I actually used pine-nuts this time instead of pecans. That won't ever happen again. I halved the tomatoes and ran them through the grease to save that great flavor. The pasta was cooked 80% and added to the ingredients w/ enough pasta water to loosen everything up in the pan to finish cooking. I have lately fallen in love w/ bronze die-cut pasta. The dish was dressed at the table w/ a drizzle of oil, grated cheese and lime zest; the crisp was also added. This dish was served w/ a cold red sangria. ... There were NO left-overs.




"... We work in kitchens. ... It ain'te rocket surgery.".
 
2,958
815
Joined Jul 13, 2012
We've had a hankerin' for Seafood Salad so I made some. 1/2lb. of Argentinian Shrimp, 1/2lb. of Bay Scallops, 3oz. of Organic Surimi, fresh mayonnaise, Jalapeno and celery, roast red peppers and toasted fresh corn. I made the mayonnaise then pan seared the shrimp and scallops then chilled while I got the veg ingredients together. After assembly it went into toasted New England rolls and served with salad and libation of choice - a real taste of Summer.

 
Last edited:
7,626
781
Joined Apr 3, 2008
Hushpuppies are a deep fried corn meal batter usually with onion in them. One story goes that the old Southern cook would fry a batch and through a few out the window to the noisy dogs saying "hush up puppies".

A good Hushpuppy is a thing of beauty like crispy fried Okra . . . oh yeah.
You stole my heart with that, a thing of beauty indeed. Gosh sometimes I hate living in NYC, they have an affinity for all the globe’s foods here.... except southern food. I told my husband I was going to make fried fish and hushpuppies last week and he looked at me like I’m cray cray.

I also remember a time when we had a backyard BBQ and I made NC style pulled pork, baked beans, and slaw and people were just sooooo confused. What the heck?
Anyway I love corn almost as much as I love potatoes so I’ll think of something.
 
861
537
Joined May 28, 2015
Orecchiette w/ Roasted Corn Pesto* & Prosciutto** Crisps

This is an Italian dish. I made it for a Mexican family. Therein I made some simple swaps. I used cotija cheese* for parmesan and Serrano-ham** for the prosciutto. I also added lime zest and juice.


View attachment 67951 View attachment 67952 View attachment 67953 View attachment 67954 View attachment 67955 View attachment 67956 View attachment 67957 View attachment 67958 View attachment 67959 View attachment 67960

I roasted the corn in the pan adding the juice and zest of 1/2 a lime. 2/3 of the corn went into the pesto w/ the other half lime juice. I wanted fresh corn but it's not so available near me. The ham was sizzled until crisp in the medium-hot pan. It may look exactly like prosciutto ... but the cheapest turned out $6/lb more than the most-expensive prosciutto de Parma. In the end ... I couldn't tell the difference. The pesto is general basic standard pesto. I actually used pine-nuts this time instead of pecans. That won't ever happen again. I halved the tomatoes and ran them through the grease to save that great flavor. The pasta was cooked 80% and added to the ingredients w/ enough pasta water to loosen everything up in the pan to finish cooking. I have lately fallen in love w/ bronze die-cut pasta. The dish was dressed at the table w/ a drizzle of oil, grated cheese and lime zest; the crisp was also added. This dish was served w/ a cold red sangria. ... There were NO left-overs.




"... We work in kitchens. ... It ain'te rocket surgery.".
Great step by step photos here. And you know, I've never come across an Italian corn recipe let alone a Mexican twist on it. Its a very 'original' recipe in my book.

Pesto is usually made with pine nuts - are you saying you prefer pecans in general for pesto or for this particular recipe?
 
861
537
Joined May 28, 2015
We've had a hankerin' for Seafood Salad so I made some. 1/2lb. of Argentinian Shrimp, 1/2lb. of Bay Scallops, 3oz. of Organic Surimi, fresh mayonnaise, Jalapeno and celery, roast red peppers and toasted fresh corn. I made the mayonnaise then pan seared the shrimp and scallops then chilled while I got the veg ingredients together. After assembly it went into toasted New England rolls and served with salad and libation of choice - a real taste of Summer.

What a pretty photo - a lovely summery salad!
 
2,668
512
Joined Jan 4, 2011
The simple answer, morning glory morning glory , is $$$. I prefer pecans all the time. ... $7 for the small container of pine nuts in the pic vs. $3 for a 1lb. bag of chopped pecans. I don't think you really taste the mild flavor of the pine nuts, even though I toasted them (I didn't get a pic or include that in the steps because I just forgot), because of the big flavors of the pesto ingredients. I actually think you can taste pecans. ... YMMV though.




"... We work in kitchens. ... It ain'te rocket surgery.".
 
Top Bottom