COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN! SWEET CORNCAKES

 

IMG_4041

It’s that time of the year again! Fall is upon us and we begin our marathon of holidays and entertaining—for me that begins with Halloween. Ever since my children were very young we made a huge deal of every occasion, and now that they are full grown adults that hasn’t changed on bit.

Each year I would prepare stuffed pepper and tomatoes, take the children trick-or-treating with their cousins, and then our two families would have dinner together. Afterward, the dads would take the children back out to trick-or-treat in the dark.

The dinner became a tradition, and as the children grew to adulthood it seemed more people began to join our ‘ritual’. Lucky for us, we have our niece and nephew who now bring their children to our gathering – I’ve been told it’s the highlight of their Halloween! And my daughter and her co-teacher bring their dogs, dressed in costume, to beg for candy.

Our group of eight has now gone to sixteen. A simple meal of stuffed peppers doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. Last year I came up with this recipe for sweet corncakes and they were a hit! So, since I’ll be making them again, I thought I’d share the recipe once more for anyone who might have missed it.

Sweet Corncakes

 

 2 cups corn (preferably fresh off the cob, or thawed frozen)

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1½ cups panko breadcrumbs + another 2 cups for coating cakes

¼ cup dried chives

1 tablespoon cilantro (substitute parsley if you don’t care for cilantro)

1 tablespoon Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

In a food processor, pulse the corn into a puree. Do not over process. There should be some texture to the mixture. Transfer to a medium sized bowl. Add the cheese, breadcrumbs, chives, cilantro, Greek yogurt, honey, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. To make the patties, form into balls a little larger than golf balls and flatten. Place the remaining panko breadcrumbs in a plate and coat each cake.

*Place in an airtight container and freeze, separating each layer with wax or parchment paper. Spray oil spray on grill or brush oil on the grill grates. Grill until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.

*I recommend freezing before grilling. This will ensure that the patties will not fall apart during the cooking process.

FRESH CORN SALAD

IMG_4698

Last year, I posted a recipe for grilled corn salad, and it became one of my favorite side dishes to make for my backyard parties last summer. This recipe is exactly the same, but for one step. I didn’t grill the corn. Call it laziness or my unwillingness to stand outside in cold weather, but I wasn’t about to turn on the grill. So I boiled the corn instead, and the result was delicious. The combination of the lime juice and the fresh corn was refreshing. The grilled corn was flavored differently because of the char on the kernels, and was equally tasty but in a different way. The choice is always yours. And of course, you can try it both ways to see which you prefer. I love them both. The one thing I know for sure is that I am so happy to be cooking summer food and enjoying the warm weather at last!

FRESH CORN SALAD

12 ears of corn, husked

3 limes, juice and zest

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons chives

½ cup sliced scallions

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup fresh basil, chiffonade

12- 14 mini kumato tomatoes, halved

Place the corn in boiling water for no longer than two minutes. Cool and remove kernels from the cob. In a bowl, add corn, scallions and tomatoes. Drizzle in the olive oil and add the zest and lime juice. Mix well. Add salt and pepper. Add chives and basil, mixing gently.

This is the crowd size portion, and can be made a day ahead. Smaller portions make a nice side dish for every day dinners.

COUNTDOWN TO THANKSGIVING – SWEET GRILLED CORNCAKES

IMG_4041With Thanksgiving only nine days away, preparation and organization is key. Especially when, like many of us, we are trying to juggle more than we can be done in any given day, unless of course you require no sleep whatsoever. For this reason, I try to prepare some foods that can be made ahead and frozen without compromising the flavor.

Two weeks ago, I made tiroptia – triangle cheese pies – to serve as an appetizer, and I froze them. I often do this and have them on hand when unexpected company comes, or we decide to have an impromptu gathering.

Today, I made corncakes, which I plan on serving as a side dish. I happened to come across the Food Network TV show, Giada at home, and she made corncakes with smoked mozzarella. The method was quick and easy, and I decided to make them one evening when I had a crowd over for dinner.

Everyone loved them, and they especially enjoyed the smell and taste from the smoky flavor of the mozzarella. I, on the other hand, thought they were just okay. Don’t get me wrong – Giada can do no wrong in my eyes. She’s my celebrity chef idol, but I wasn’t sold on the smoked cheese.

I like my corncakes on the sweet side, so I decided to try my hand at my own recipe, tailored to my tastes. For Thanksgiving, I’m serving both Giada’s smoked corncakes and my sweet corncakes. I’ve already prepared and frozen the patties, and I’ll grill them the morning of Thanksgiving and heat them in the oven warmer before serving them. Freezing is recommended regardless of when you plan to serve them. It helps to keep the patty from falling apart when grilled.

 

Sweet Corncakes

 

2 cups corn (preferably fresh off the cob, or thawed frozen)

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1½ cups panko breadcrumbs

¼ cup dried chives

1 tablespoon cilantro

1 tablespoon Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

In a food processor, pulse the corn into a puree. Do not over process. There should be some texture to the mixture. Transfer to a medium sized bowl. Add the cheese, breadcrumbs, chives, cilantro, Greek yogurt, honey, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. To make the patties, form into balls a little larger than golf balls. Flatten to form the patties. Place in an airtight container and freeze. Spray oil spray on grill or brush oil on the grill grates. Grill until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.