Mexican Corn Dip
It’s the first Monday of the month which means that once again it’s time for the Secret Recipe Club!!!! I was so excited to see that I had been partnered up with Jessie – aka The Vanderbilt Wife. After all, how can you not like a blog that sponsors so many amazing charities! For the longest time I was planning to make her delicious peach cake, which would have been perfect for my pit fruit entry but I couldn’t move past a certain dish with “magically delicious” in the title. I’m a sucker for a good dip, as evident from past secret recipe club posts, and since I was hosting a day of board gaming I just couldn’t pass up her Corn Dip. The only change I made was to up the spice level since everyone attending enjoys things on the hotter side.
Yes – this recipe is magically delicious and magically quick to put together! While most of it was killed the day of serving there was just enough left to serve on top of some chilaquiles the next evening. The corn dip added the perfect crunch along with a bit of heat which was perfect. I also took advantage of some local “early corn” at the market, instead of the canned corn – and while it’s a pain to cut the kernels off I’m a sucker for local produce. I also tossed in a green pepper for color and extra crunch, which worked perfectly with the corn and tomatoes. I served this dip hot and cold, and both ways was a hit!
Speaking of local produce I’ve now harvested three cherry tomatoes, with another 40+ on the horizon, and one jalapeno. At last check there were 10 (!!!) fairy eggplants growing and fingers crossed will be able to pick some this week! The cold snap we had the other day also brought some life back to my arugula so maybe that’ll give up another harvest? So far so good – just have to hope the weather continues to cooperate. Thanks again for stopping by for another awesome SRC!
Twice Baked Potatoes – Samosa Style
This recipe is probably one of the first ones I ever wrote down as a MUST DO and I’m finally getting to it – four years later! The original recipe that I saw oh so long ago featured a standard russet potato, but I knew from the beginning that I wanted to try a sweet potato. While regular potatoes are rather awesome, sweet potatoes are the definition of perfection in my opinion. Previous curry experience gave me the confidence needed to start experimenting which is why this recipe went from a standard baked potato to a glorious twice-baked potato. Twice baking gave all the ingredients time to get acquainted with each other, something I was worried wouldn’t happen in just making a topping and pouring it on top.
The real trick with this dish is cutting up the cauliflower as close to the same size as the peas as possible. Not only does it insure everything fits inside the potato skin, it helps keep an even cooking time. I’m also sending this potato-tastic dish over to /52weeksofcooking for their potato challenge – for while it’s a bit late it’s the perfect dish as it’s all about the potato!
Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins
Apparently Mother Nature forgot to check her calender for it’s snowing in March in the Mid-Atlantic, and that’s just not right (or normal). This is resulting in a very large number of soups in my household, and with that a lot of crusty bread for soaking up every last drop. However one can not survive on crusty bread alone, so I decide to spice things up by adjusting one of my favorite cornbread recipes. The first few times I made this by just topping the muffin dough with the pepper and cheese, but quickly realized that folding them in was the better option – even though it increases the risk of heavy muffins. In my oh-so-scientific experimentation I found that adding folding in the pepper and cheese with the last bit of flour seems to keep the muffins fluffy while still insuring a mostly even distribution of the cheese and peppers.
These muffins are the perfect addition to a nice comforting soup, allowing you to soak up all the goodness – with just the right little kick. For those looking for a real boost serrano peppers can easily be switched in, either seeded or as is. Just be warned that these muffins are rather addicting, so if you serve them to guests be prepared to share the recipe! Or risk having them call you up at dinner time asking for the recipe…
Baguettes and Crostinis
I’ll be honest, I put this 52weeks challenge off until the last possible moment because I knew what I wanted to post, and I knew when I was going to be able to do it. This week the theme is appetizers and since I was planning to host a Downton Abbey Viewing Party I knew I would be making some type of finger food. I debated a number of recipes, trying to find something that either the Upstairs or Downstairs folks of the early 1920s would have enjoyed at a gathering. In the end I decided to make some French Baguettes and transform them in to crostinis for a variety of toppings. Crostinis have been around for a few hundred years, and were one way to use up stale bread. The toppings on the other hand vary depending on location and time period, ranging from the ever popular bruschetta to squash puree to watercress egg salad and everything in between. I decided to keep it simple with a classic roasted tomato bruschetta and an eggplant dip.
While doing my recipe search I also found a few classic soup recipes that called for crostinis, so I have a feeling I know where the leftovers will be going. I also want to do more research about the Downton Abbey time period to find out more about what food they enjoyed then, see if I can combine my love of food with my love of history. I’m not sure where that will go, but will most certainly be posted here!
I am especially privileged this month to get a third (3rd!!!) Secret Recipe Club post in order to help out an orphan from Group D. As soon as I saw the recipe page from Enriching your kid! I knew that finding a recipe was going to be easy…and that settling on one was going to be a pain. Once skipping over the baby recipes I noticed the large number of Indian dishes staring at me, including my favorite Palak Paneer. I then noticed this delicious tofu dish followed by an International Incident recipe for Biryani, which was for the noodle theme that inspired me to join my first blogging link-up group. Needless to say this match-up was meant to be!
After much debating back and forth I decided to go with Baingan Bhartha, which is one of Joe’s favorite go-to Indian dishes. Joe had mentioned wanting to do Indian for lunch today, just more proof that this SRC feature was meant to be. After a quick stop at the garden to get an eggplant and a few tomatoes, I was in business! I did make two changes to the recipes, dropping the fresh coriander since I wasn’t sure how much to use and I also roasted the eggplant in half for 30minutes at 450, instead of grilling it for an hour. I didn’t have the time to get our grill going once we got back from the vet and didn’t think any member of the household would appreciate the oven at such a high heat for an hour. I didn’t notice any textural difference in the dish from how it’s served at our local Indian restaurant, but it’s possible they take the same short cut as well. I plan to give this recipe another go using the grilling technique, once I hunt down some Paneer so that Joe and I can have a true Indian feast!
As a quick aside I have never seen or heard of a chayote but after seeing Shirley’s recipe for Chayote with grated coconut I’m going to be stalking the local Asian market until I find it.