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.

Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Sause

August 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I had the pleasure of having my sister cook for me last week.  She made the most amazing coconut shrimp with a pineapple dipping sauce.  She offered to share her recipe on The Week in Food, so here it goes:

Ingredients

Coconut Shrimp:

1 cup flour

¾ tspn Salt

1 tspn Cayenne Pepper

5 egg whites, lightly beaten

2 ½ sweetened, shredded coconut (dry)

2 lbs. large Shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied

2 cups Canola Oil – for frying

Dipping Sauce:

1 cup canned pineapple

3 Scallions

¼ cup fruit preserves (like apricot, etc.)

¼ cup Cilantro leaves

2 Tbsn Lime Juice

½ Jalapeno, finely chopped

Salt to taste

Directions

Combine the flour, salt, and Cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg whites

On a baking sheet, spread out the shredded coconut

Line the three sets of ingredients in the above order from left to right

Begin dipping the shrimp in each – first into the dry flour mixture, then into the egg whites, and finally into the coconut, pressing the coconut firmly into the shrimp

Chill the shrimp for at least an hour

In a large saucepan, heat the oil until moderately hot, but not smoking

Carefully place the shrimp into the oil in batches, and remove using mesh strainer once they are golden and slightly crispy – about 2 minutes per batch

Place on paper towels to drain excess oil

To keep warm, place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit

To make the dipping sauce, combine the ingredients in a food processor and transfer to a saucepan and heat (this allows the jalapeno to cook throughout the sauce so that one single bite is not too spicy)

Cool and serve alongside the shrimp.

Yelena’s Banana Bread Thursday!

March 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

This recipe comes from my sister, Yelena, who makes the most amazing banana bread! Its nutty and sweet and just heavenly! This makes a great tea-time accompaniment and is sinfully yummy for breakfast with coffee.

Yelena’s Banana Bread:

As a sweet mid-week treat, I have found banana bread to be quite delectable. It lasts throughout the weekend, and is great to snack on or as dessert. This recipe is definitely a crowd pleaser!

To begin, you will need three bowls – small, medium, and large. For the baking part, you’ll need a small (8”x4”) bread pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the dry ingredients in the large bowl and set aside:

1 ½ cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

You will also need:

4-5 semi-brown bananas

2 eggs

1/3 melted (and slightly cooled) butter

1 tsp vanilla

½ – 1 cup chocolate chips

½ – 1 cup chopped walnuts

In the medium bowl, mash up the bananas until they are a thick, soupy consistency; set aside.

In the small bowl, beat the eggs. Add the butter and vanilla.

Once well mixed, add these contents of the small bowl to the bananas in the medium bowl. Mix well.

If desired, add chocolate chips and chopped walnuts – both create great texture in the final product! Mix well.

Finally, combine the wet ingredients (banana and egg mixture) with the dry ingredients in the large bowl.

Pour the final mixture into the greased bread pan. Place in the oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, testing with a fork in the final minutes for readiness.

Once ready, let cool, and enjoy!

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