Organic Sweet Corn Pudding

February 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

When I am figuring out a menu, I always try to find flavors and colors that balance each other out.  For example, when I serve something heavy as a main course, I like to offset it with either an extremely light side or a very sweet accompaniment.  With this simple corn pudding, the bright color and intensely sweet taste is a great accent to a boldly flavored main course, such as a rack of lamb or a Mexican feast.  The shot of golden color is like a ray of sunshine on your plate.

There are also two ways I would serve this as a side: either bake it off in a large baking dish and then serve family style or make individual portions in little ramekins so that everyone gets his or her own little portion.  For a casual dinner, I would go with the former; but for a little bit more formal feel, I would serve individual portions.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups organic sweet corn kernels (either cut off a cob or you can sometimes find organic sweet corn kernels in the freezer section)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan or quattro formaggio cheese, separated into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup portions
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium buttered skillet, saute the onions until they become clear, then add the corn.  If you are using frozen corn, you can put the frozen kernels right in without defrosting. Saute the onions and corn for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. While the corn is cooling, combine eggs, milk, cream, salt, and pepper in a bowl and beat together with a fork.  Stir in the 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
  4. When the corn is cooled, put it into a medium baking dish or individual ramekins, filling either about 2/3 deep (so that you have enough room to pour in the custard mixture).  Pour in the custard mixture and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the pudding is golden brown on top.  Serve.

Serves 6.

I would love to know if you tried making this and what you served it with!

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Holiday Breakfast: Panettone French Toast

December 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

I am a huge French Toast fan and am always looking for ways to spruce up the classic.  I am always pondering ways to give the classic a twist – whether it be by using a new kind of bread or croissants.  Given that we are in the middle of the winter holiday season, Italian Panettone seems to be the natural choice to stand in for the trusty French bread.

Panettone are a traditional Italian sweet bread that is made for Christmas and New Year (Italians out there, correct me if I get any of this wrong).  It traditionally takes on a round cake or cupola shape and weighs about one and a half pounds.  I dream of the day I find myself in Milan around Christmas time so I could enjoy a fresh baked Panettone in its natural habitat.

But even here in the states, Panettone are easily acquired if you know where to look.  You can seek out an Italian family member or friend to ship you the original (I am still working on this option myself), pick one up at your local Italian deli (I am fortunate to have this option) or grocery store (some have them handy in time for the holidays), or you can order them online.

I used my usual classic French toast recipe for the egg mixture — whenever trying new recipes I like to switch up one major ingredient at a time so that I know which substitution yields which result.  My husband was the guinea pig this time and I he was certainly not complaining.  The Panettone is so fluffy and soft that it absorbs the egg mixture perfectly.

The final result is one of the fluffiest French toast textures I have ever tasted – the delicate texture is a perfect accompaniment to the raisins in the Panettone and the fruit topping gives it that little something extra.  There is almost a bread pudding type of quality to the middle sections of each slice.  In fact, I might try this as a bread pudding next time.  Will share when I do…

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did — let me know how yours turns out!

Ingredients:

French Toast

  • 1/2 of a Pannetone cake, sliced into evenly cut slices
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Topping

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (or raw sugar)
  • powdered sugar

Directions:

French Toast

Topping

To serve

Gratin of Spinach

December 16, 2010 § 1 Comment

I usually open the Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 by Julia Child just to get inspiration for a special dinner that I am going to prepare – in this case Christmas dinner.  However, such parousal always turns into a desire to make something RIGHT NOW from her many recipes.  As luck would have it, the time was getting dangerously close to dinner.

Most of the things in the book are very technical and time consuming (at least for the non-professionals, like myself), but I just had to share this Gratin of Spinach recipe that I adapted from Julia’s Spinach Quiche recipe (found on page 153 of Vol. 1).

I have to first note that a gratin is simply a quiche without the pastry shell.  And if you have ever made a quiche, you know that the pastry (assuming you are making your own from scratch) is the more time consuming portion of the whole process.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter an enamel or ceramic oven-safe baking dish.

Prepare the spinach mixture:

Prepare the egg mixture:

Pour the entire mixture into the baking dish.  Place into the upper third of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the gratin has “puffed” and browned.  You will know its finished when you can stick a knife into the middle of the gratin and have it come out clean.

This dish makes a truly special brunch or lunch.  The texture is incredibly fluffy and the spinach is the perfect accompaniment to its smoothness.  If you like to live on the dangerous side of things, you can serve this for dinner.

A note on the Julia Child cookbook mentioned above:
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child is available in a smaller one volume or a two volume set.  Either is a fantastic investment.  This is one of the few cookbook staples that I cannot live without.

Wild Mushrooms and Cream Pasta

December 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is something about the cold winter nights that makes me want to warm up with something creamy and woodsy.  Mushrooms and cream pasta are perfect for a cozy dinner in without too much prep time.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Once combined, the final dish will look like this:

It was so good that it deserved a close up! 🙂

Bon apetit!

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