Monthly Archives: September 2009

Corn Cakes with Blueberries

Corn Cakes with Blueberries

Corn Cakes with Blueberries

I love corn season.  That first ear of corn on the cob always makes it feel like summer has really arrived.  It is a celebrated event in our house.  However, by the end of September, corn on the cob has been done and you start looking for other things to do with the fresh corn.  Especially when the weather starts to feel much more like fall than summer and you start wanting warmer, homey dishes.  Enter the corn cake.  A simple preparation involving fresh corn, a little flour, and an egg.  Mixed together and fried up, it transforms corn from a summer treat to a great, anytime dish.

Cooking the Corn Cakes

Cooking the Corn Cakes

Make it savory with a little bacon, onion, and grated cheese and top it with salsa.  Alternatively, make it sweet (like we did) with blueberries that you picked in July and froze and top with maple syrup.  Eat them for breakfast, dinner, or brunch.  Any way you make, this recipe gives summer corn new life.

Corn Cakes with Blueberries

Ingredients

4-5 ears of sweet corn, shucked

1 large egg

1/3 – 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Vegetable oil for frying

Maple syrup

To Make

Fill a large pot with a couple of inches of water and bring to a boil.  Drop the corn in and cook 3-5 minutes, until just tender.  Drain and run the ears under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Trim the kernels off the cobs into a large mixing bowl.

To the corn kernels add the egg (lightly beaten) and stir in the flour until the batter starts to come together.  You want the batter to just hold together.  The amount of flour you need will depend a lot on the amount of moisture in your corn.  Fold in the blueberries.  If you are using frozen berries, do not thaw them first.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add heaping spoonfuls of the batter to the pan, pressing lightly with the back of the spoon to flatten.  Cook until golden brown on one side, about 3-4 minutes.  Flip and cook until golden on the other side, another 3-4 minutes.

To Serve

Top the cakes with warm maple syrup.  Serves 4 as a side or 2-3 as a main dish (or breakfast).

If you want to make more savory cakes, cook a few strips of bacon until crispy, reserving the rendered fat.  Chop the bacon and a small onion and add to the corn batter.  Drop in a nice handful of grated cheese and cook, as above, in the rendered bacon fat.  Top with fresh salsa.

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Filed under Breakfast, Fruit, Recipes, Vegetarian

Karniyarik (Stuffed Eggplant)

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant

Karniyarik is a Turkish recipe.  When I saw it in the May, 2009 issue of Saveur, I knew that it was a “must make” as soon as eggplants were in season.  After frittering away the last few weeks of eggplants making things like Baba Ganoush, roasted eggplant, and the aforementioned Gnocchi with Eggplant and Arugula, I knew that the time for this recipe had come. 

Unfortunately, we did not get any ground lamb in this month’s meat CSA so we decided to substitute ground beef.  It was still delicious, though I suspect the ground lamb would have been even better.  The finished dish is pretty showy and would make a great dish for company.  Even better, most of it can be done ahead so that the actual pre-dinner party prep time is short. 

I stuck mostly to the recipe.  The only major changes were substituting ground beef for lamb and roasting, rather than frying, the eggplants.  The original recipe called for Japanese eggplants that were fried in some oil to soften.  I used the classic purple eggplant and roasted it in the oven.  It worked beautifly and Marc didn’t have to wash out a saute pan filled with oil.  I also cut back on the butter and used a sweet red pepper rather than a more bitter green one.  The coolest thing about this recipe is that everything we put in it was locally grown / produced.  I love when I can find recipes that utilize all the wonderful seasonal foods we have on hand.  I would definitely make this one again.  Next time, we might smoke the eggplants to add even more flavor.

Karniyarik (Stuffed Eggplant)

Slightly modified from Saveur, May 2009

Ingredients

2 lbs of eggplant (two, 1 lb purple eggplants would make a nice dish for four people)

2 tbls butter

1 lb ground beef or ground lamb

1 tbls tomato paste

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped

2 medium tomatoes, core and seeds removed, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsely

1/4 cup chopped mint leaves

salt and pepper to taste

To make

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the tops off the eggplants and poke holes in them.  Roast the eggplants on a cookie sheet, turning occasionally, until tender.  About 1 hour.  Remove from oven and set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the ground meat and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces, until it is browned, about 8 minutes.  Add the tomato paste, cinnamon, garlic, onions, and peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and golden brown, about 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook until they are soft, about 6 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and mint and season with salt and pepper.  Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

Heat over to 475 degrees.  Halve each eggplant lengthwise.  In each piece, cut a lengthwise, 1/4 inch deep incision in the eggplant, being careful not to cut all the way through.  Spread the eggplant open and lightly season each pocket with salt and pepper.  Spoon about 1/4 of the meat mixture into each pocket, pressing it in lightly and mounding it as needed.  Arrange the stuffed eggplants in a baking dish and bake until hot, about 5 minutes.

To serve

Serve warm.  Serves four as a main dish.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Dinner, Meat, Recipes, Vegetables

Gnocchi with Eggplant and Arugula

Gnocchi with Eggplant and Arugula

Gnocchi with Eggplant and Arugula

When we conceived of this recipe, we initially intended to toss the gnocchi with tomatoes and basil and douse the whole thing in a goat cheese sauce.  Unfortunately, when we got our CSA veggie box today, there were no tomatoes to be had.  Alas, the recent spate of cold weather has kept the tomatoes from ripening.  We did, however get the most funky little vegetable I have ever seen… Brazilian eggplant. 

Cutest little eggplants ever

Cutest little eggplants ever

You can cook and eat these little guys just like regular eggplant.  They are more fun though because even the largest one was smaller than an egg, and who doesn’t love tiny vegetables?

Given what we had available, we decided to modify our original plan to include the eggplants.  Of course, we kept the goat cheese sauce.  I think this recipe would work well pretty much any vegetable including tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, spinach, etc. 

Gnocchi with Eggplant and Arugula

Ingredients

1 package gnocchi (we used Trader Joe’s brand)

1 tbls olive oil

1 bunch Brazilian eggplants or 1 small traditional eggplant

1 small bunch of arugula, washed and ends trimmed

salt and pepper

Basil leaves and parmesan cheese for garnish, if desired

For the sauce

2 tbls butter

2 tbls flour

1 1/2 cups milk

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

3 ounces fresh goat cheese, roughly chopped

salt and pepper

To cook

Set a large pot of lightly salted water to boil.  In the meantime, chop the eggplant into bite-sized pieces.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the eggplant and saute until tender.  Add the arugula and saute briefly until wilted.  Season the veggies with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.  Once water is boiling, add gnocchi and cook according to package directions.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Once it is melted, add the flour, whisking to combine.  Cook the butter and flour for a few minutes to get the raw flour taste out.  Add the garlic cloves and slowly stream in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture is thickened.  Take off the heat and add the goat cheese, whisking until the sauce is smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If needed, use a bit of the pasta water to thin the sauce.

To serve

Toss the cooked gnocchi with the sauce and veggies, top with torn fresh basil and some grated parmesan cheese (if desired).  Serves 3-4.

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Filed under Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian