Corn and Scallion Tart

In our house, brinner is something we’ve made a part of our weekly routine. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it, but for those that aren’t, “brinner” is a meal where food that is normally eaten at breakfast time is eaten instead at dinner time. I don’t know why or how, but breakfast food just tastes better to me later in the day. Not only that, regardless of what you want, just about everything is extremely easy and quick to put together. If you haven’t ever tried it before, I really do think you should.

Sausage, bacon and eggs are always on our brinner menu, with some kind of carb to eat with them. The carb varies. Sometimes we just have toast from store bought bread. Sometimes I’ll make a batch of biscuits. Sometimes I make a loaf of bread. We might grab some bagels from Panera. My favorite will always be my one true love (pancakes).

And other times, I like to try something a little bit…different.

Today’s recipe was something different not just for our brinner menu but for my baking repertoire in general, so I thought it would be nice to share with you guys.

I don’t make a lot of tarts. Not really sure why. I love tarts of just about any kind. I bought two tart pans–one circle and one rectangle. I have no excuse to not make them. And still, I just…don’t.

Except for now. I made one. It turned out pretty good.

One of the plus sides of the summer winding down (outside of cooler temperatures) is that fresh corn becomes in season in grocery stores and farmer’s markets. And yes. You can taste the different between corn from a cob and corn from a can. If there isn’t any fresh in your area, I’d try to shoot for frozen corn instead. Now to get into the tart itself.

I’ve told you guys several times before that I love to find ways to sneak cornmeal into anything. There’s 1/4 cup of it in the crust, which gives it a grainy, but pleasant contrast of texture. I added a half teaspoon of black pepper as well to give it an extra bite. The filling is very much like a quiche. Corn and scallions make up most of the solids, while eggs and milk make up the custard that bakes up very fluffy and light on the inside. The fresh taste of of the vegetables and the seasoning inside make this a side dish that I was very satisfied with. It’s filling and still somehow manages to taste light.

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This made an excellent addition to our brinner, but I think it would be a great dish to make for breakfast or lunch as well. On its own I think it’s a side dish but if you wanted to mix in a bit of protein like sausage or bacon to make it a main dish I think it would be great as well.

Linking this up to Fiesta Friday #189. Everyone have a great weekend.

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Corn and Scallion Tart

Recipe Adapted from Bon Appetit

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Ingredients

For Crust

  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (Like Lawry’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, preferably frozen or very cold

For Filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 cups fresh corn (cut from cob or frozen and thawed)
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups diced scallions
  • 1 heaping teaspoon onion powder
  • Seasoned salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.

For Crust: combine all the dry ingredients together in a bowl with a fork. Either use a box grate to grate frozen butter directly into dry ingredients, or cut butter into very small cubes and toss/press into the dry ingredients with a fork until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Drizzle in enough ice water and stir together until dough just holds together. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or up to overnight.

Using a rolling pin, flour a surface like a pastry mat cutting board, or wax paper, then roll the dough out to an 11 inch round. Transfer the round to the springform pan and press the dough into the bottom and sides. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Melt the butter in a skillet, then add the corn and shallot. Saute until the corn has just started to brown and the shallot is translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more before removing from the heat. Stir in the scallions, then set aside. In a small bowl combine the eggs, milk, seasoned salt and pepper and onion powder.

Spread the veggies into the tart shell and use a spatula to press down evenly. Pour the milk mixture over the veggies. Fold the edges of the dough down over the filling, letting some overlap. Place springform pan on a sheet pan, then bake tart in the oven until filling is set and crust is golden brown 60-70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 10-15 minutes before unmolding and serving.

Cornflower Yeast Rolls

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Fear not: I come bearing carbs.

Plenty of carbs. Plenty of pretty carbs, at that.

For some of you that alone is enough to get your attention., amiright?

On the day that I made this particular batch of bread, I was on my own in the house and had a little bit more time than usual, so I decided I would play around a little bit with the dough. I doubled the below recipe and tested out 3 random, different shapes I’d been running through my mind lately to try out. I decided that whichever one turned out the prettiest, I would feature on the blog and tell you guys how to pull off yourselves.

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Well, the results are in. The first option was a Deep Cross Roll; I made individual balls of dough, cut deeply into them with a sharp knife with the intention that they would look like an inverted Hot Cross Bun without the white piped cross. (Fyi, it totally didn’t work, though I swear that it all made sense in my head at the time).

The second idea was for intricately woven cornmeal wreaths. These actually weren’t a complete flop. They did very strongly resemble wreaths, but I noticed that there was inconsistent proofing in the second rise so that some halves of the wreaths were bigger than the other half, which looked…weird and misshapen and not something I could manage to look pretty in a picture. Moving on.

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The third time really is the charm. My last idea was to take a technique similar to the one I’d done with the Pane di Pasqua I made for Easter, then do a little extra tucking and braiding to manipulate the individual bread rolls to resemble a kind of flower. It worked. Very well. I was a little concerned that they would go the way of their predecessors and resembled big indiscernible blobs of bread after baking, but t’was not the case.  These rolls proofed beautifully on the second rise and once they hit the hot oven, puffed up even more so that by the time they’re all finished they really DO look like complicated flowers of dough. The truth is, the technique is almost stupid easy so you get bragging rights on these without the extra drama that goes with complex baking projects.

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I tweaked the original concept for the recipe to what I think, are much better results. In the first place I kept with the new practice I’ve started of adding a single cup of whole wheat flour to my bread doughs in general. Guys, you really wouldn’t believe the difference this makes. As someone who prefers whole wheat bread, I certainly appreciate the addition of the whole wheat flour. Yet, even those who usually prefer white bread I think will STILL appreciate the subtle nutty flavor that it gives to the dough. What you get when you combine that nuttiness with the flavor of the cornmeal is something that has to be tried to be fully appreciated. The bread’s texture is soft and pillowy with just the right amount of chew.

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Don’t be intimidated by the shaping part of the dough. I know it may look fancy and complicated, but it isn’t. If you can wind two pieces of ribbon together, (loosely at that) then trust me: you can make these rolls. Seriously. Also don’t be worried if directly after you finish shaping them, they don’t look quite discernible as flowers. The second proofing and the baking in the oven will do the bulk of that work for you.

So, do these look similar to the actual blue cornflower flower? No. But I’m still going ahead and calling these Cornflower Yeast Rolls in a nod to that cornmeal flavor in the dough combined with the shape that I gave to them. KooKoo kachoo.

Taking myself and these rolls to this week’s Fiesta Friday #129, co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love & Luck.

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Cornflower Yeast Rolls

Recipe Adapted from FoodNetwork.com

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tsp, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs, well-beaten, plus one egg, divided.
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 to 5 cups all purpose white flour, as needed

Directions

Combine the milk, cornmeal, butter or margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt in medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon and allowing to cook until the mixture if slightly thickened. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Soften active dry yeast in warm water (110 degrees F). Sprinkle the 1 tsp of sugar on top and allow to sit for 10 minutes or until yeast is frothy.

Combine cornmeal mixture, yeast, and 2 well-beaten eggs together in the bowl of a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment to combine together.

Then, using the dough hook attachment, add the cup of whole wheat  first, mixing to combine completely.  Add enough of the all purpose white flour to make a soft dough. It should be a smooth,pliable dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl, but also not too dry.

Place the dough in another greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap, then a damp kitchen towel. Place in a warm place for about an hour.

When dough has doubled in size, remove from bowl and divide in half. Dive the halves in half.

Pinch off two dough balls about the size of ping pong balls and roll/shape them into logs. Pinch the top ends of both logs together, then braid them together.(This is going to take some patience. Have a small cup of water handy just in case your dough loses its moistness–it’s easier to roll out when it stays moist.Dip your fingers in the cup of water and rub a little bit of the water over the dough balls before you roll them out. Also, don’t worry about it if the ropes shrink a little bit after you roll them out; it’s not that big of a deal.)

Once the logs are braided, take the bottom end and roll it up (like a spring or a wheel), pinching the bottom end into the top one and tucking it under. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing the finished ‘flowers’ on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cover the finished flowers with plastic wrap, then a damp kitchen towel. Let rise in warm place or until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Take the remaining egg and beat it in a small bowl with about a tablespoon of water. Brush the beaten egg over the proofed rolls and sprinkled with cornmeal.

 Bake rolls for 12 to 15 minutes.

Summer Pasta Salad

Summer Pasta Salad1

What do hot, hot, HOT summer days make you think of? For me, it’s a number of things.

Growing up and eating MASSIVE amounts of watermelon with my grandpa.

Being on summer vacation from school and getting to wake up whenever the heck I want. (I’m an ‘adult’ with a regular ‘job’ now, so this doesn’t happen anymore.)

The song “Summer Nights” from Grease.

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The sound of the ice cream truck music playing in my grandmother’s neighborhood.

Spike Lee’s movie, “Do the Right Thing”.

The handful of summer camps/programs that my Mom signed me up for…neither of which I ever liked.

Cedar Point trips.

Beautiful, cool(er) sunsets.

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Now how about food? I know that for me, I have “Summer Memories”, and then apart from that, I have “Summer Food Memories.”

Watermelon. Eating watermelon wedge after watermelon wedge until I start burping- that’s how I know when to stop.

Ice cream. One of the only things that I like about extreme summer heat is that it gives me an excuse to eat ice cream. It’s not like I ever NEED an excuse. I definitely eat ice cream in the dead of winter as well, but…still.

Popsicles. Not the watery kind in the plastic wrappers; REAL popsicles with chunks of fruit that are so thick and creamy, you can chew them.

Barbecue. Nothing replaces  the flavor that a charcoal grill can inject into a piece of meat. Nothing.

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Finally, there’s pasta salad.

Pasta salad has gotta be one of the most quintessential summer foods there is. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like pasta salad.

I don’t know if I even WANT to know anyone who doesn’t like pasta salad.

I’ve tried lots of different kinds of pasta salads in the past that experimented with different flavors, including this VERY delicious Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad. However, this recipe sticks to the ‘basics’ of pasta salad, resulting in a dish that is pretty much guaranteed to please everybody.

I’ve included all of the ingredients that I personally prefer in my pasta salad, but should you try this out, feel free to add or swap out stuff that you or your family prefers, like cheese, olives, or meat.

I think it’ll make for a pretty cool summer memory 😉

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Summer Pasta Salad


Recipe Adapted from Southern Living

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Ingredients

  • 8 oz. Penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 green , yellow or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped and undrained
  • 1 cup yellow canned corn, drained
  • 3 mini salad cucumbers, thinly sliced

Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced

 

Directions

Combine all of the salad dressing ingredients together in a glass measuring cup with a whisk.. Taste and adjust for seasoning if need be.

In a large bowl, toss all of the salad ingredients together, then drizzle in your desired amount of the dressing.

Refrigerate pasta salad for at least an hour to allow flavors to meld, but preferably overnight. Serve chilled.

Market Fresh Cornbread

MS Cornbread1

Up until now, there are only two cornbread recipes that I’ve ever used. Just two.

The first default choice is my grandmother’s recipe, which is one I’ve shared on the blog before. We use it for the ‘bread’ part of every family dinner that we have, and also use it for the base of our special family dressing that we make every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Keeping it true to our Southern roots, it’s non-sweet, mainly cornmeal based and rather crumbly in texture. There is a very simple explanation for this: it’s friggin marvelous.

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The second recipe that I’ve used and actually been pretty satisfied with, is one I found on Allrecipes.com. It’s a ‘Northerner’ recipe that’s rather sweet with a more even ratio of flour to cornmeal. As a result, the crumb is more finer than my grandma’s. It’s pretty tasty I’ll admit, and when I’m trying to aim for a cornbread that caters to my more “Northern” tastebuds, I’ll throw it together on the quick.

And just in case you were wondering…no. I don’t do Jiffy Mix. It’s nothing personal, I don’t even think Jiffy Mix tastes that bad. But…no.

MS Cornbread4

I’m stuck up when it comes to my cornbread guys. The truth is, most of the time it’s a hit-or-miss game. And I can think of very few other things that are  more depressing to me than cornbread that is a big fat ‘miss’.

I really didn’t think I’d ever be saying this, but with my recent Christmas gift of Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s newest cookbook “Marcus Off Duty,” I think I’ve found a third cornbread recipe that I’m actually going to be willing to keep on my super exclusive roster. The almost immediate appeal to me was finding out that this is the recipe for the cornbread that is served at Marcus’ Harlem restaurant Red Rooster- a place that is on my Food Bucket List to attend before I buy the farm.

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Word of warning for my Southern friends: this is not exactly what we think of when it comes to ‘cornbread’. In the first place, it’s extremely moist, almost to the point where it melts in your mouth. Secondly, us folks used to Dixie cornbread- and likely some Yankees too- will at best give a double take at the inclusion of ginger, cardamom, chile powder and paprika in a cornbread recipe. At worst, we’ll start a riot.  But just hear me out- I was skeptical too. But it works. It really does. The spices aren’t overpowering at all, and they somehow work REALLY well with the inclusion of the sharp cheddar cheese.

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Oh yeah- and did I mention there’s fresh corn baked into the batter? Cause there is. And it was a really good idea. It gives a special ‘chew’ to the bread that is absent in most other recipes that can result in a bland one-note texture. None of that here, I can assure you.

I think my favorite part of cornbread is the crust that forms on the top and sides while baking. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’re doing the ‘cornbread’ thing wrong and you should rethink your entire life. This loaf’s crust baked up perfectly.

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All of that being said, I do intend to stick with just these three cornbread recipes for both the near and distant future. Life shouldn’t be TOO complicated. Some things need to be kept simple and stream-lined.  Am I right or am I right?

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Market Fresh Cornbread

Recipe Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson

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Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. chile powder
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cu grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels, including the pulp scraped from the cobs (cut from about 1 large or 2 small ears of corn)

 Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. and generously butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

2. Put the butter, ginger, cardamom, chile powder, paprika, and sugar into a small pot over medium heat and cook until the butter is melted and the spices are fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and spicy butter together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the cheddar and corn, then fold in the scallions if using.

4. Scrap the batter into the loaf pan. Set the pan on a baking sheet, slide it into the oven and bake until a skewer stuck in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Turn the loaf upside down onto a rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Then lift off the pan.

Baked Corn Casserole

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Let’s talk side dishes, shall we?

They’re mainly meant to be the wind beneath the wings of the main course. They usually don’t take very much effort to put together. They’re usually some kind of vegetable or starch. They’re also meant to be the back-up just in case the main dish doesn’t quite fill you up all the way.

Side dishes in my family are kind of a big deal. Whether it’s for a holiday or special occasion, or just an ordinary dinner, we always take them pretty seriously, even to the point where they can be just as popular and in high demand as the main dish.  Plain, store-bought steamed veggies that have just been heated up in a microwave? Uh, no. That’s not gonna fly ’round these parts. I’m gonna need for you to step up your game.

Baked Corn1My grandparents have their own vegetable garden and for as long as I can remember, we’ve been eating their produce for side dishes. My grandma’s greens are unsurpassed in the entire history of cooking. Period. I could seriously eat a bowl of her cabbage greens and cornbread every.single.day.of.my.life. No joke. Ditto with her green beans. Because of her, I had no problem eating my vegetables growing up. Smothered cabbage with bacon is another family favorite of ours- mine taste good, but I’m also willing to admit that Ashley’s taste slightly better (I said SLIGHTLY Ash, don’t get a big head).  No one else really digs them, but I’m crazy about oven roasted brussel sprouts too. I also make a mean pot of barbecue baked beans for our cookouts. Don’t worry. Come Memorial Day, you guys will be getting that recipe.

Then there’s baked corn. We’ve been eating this as a staple side dish in my family for a pretty long time now. One of my mom’s co-workers introduced it to her and from the first, we were huge fans. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this dish yourselves- and if you’re not, then you’re certainly gonna be. Because it’s not only really good, it’s also incredibly easy and quick to make. Most of the ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, and you can put them together in a real ‘Jiffy’.

*Rimshot*

I know. That was a really lame joke. Just try to bear with me here.

Baked Corn4So for those of you that have never had it before, Baked Corn is like a cross between a very moist cornbread, and a tender corn souffle. If you’ve ever had spoon bread, this is very close to that, only a little more spongy in texture. As I said before, it’s really very good. In addition, unlike when when cooking a souffle, you don’t have to worry about things like ice baths, or the casserole rising or falling once out of the oven. It’s almost embarrassing how simple this recipe really is. So have no fear beginner cook-letes. You’d be really hard pressed to mess it up.

I’m giving a very basic, straight-forward version of this recipe, but after you try it for the first time and decide you love it (and you will), I’d recommend any number of ways to take it to the next level, even elevating it beyond a mere ”side-dish’. For instance, I could definitely see adding crumbled, pre-cooked sausage, ham or bacon along with a slew of diced onions and peppers to make this a ‘main casserole dish’. The original recipe also includes cheese- we’re not huge cheese fans in my family, so I never include it, but if you are then feel free to throw it on top of yours in the last 15 or so minutes of baking.

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This is a really great dish not only for side dishes at dinner, but for a dish to pass at potlucks or picnics. It also tastes just as good cold as it does hot. I’ve never done it before, but I could easily see the casserole divided into muffin tins for individual portions as well- just be sure to lessen the baking time by about 15-20 minutes depending upon your oven.

Finally, for those looking to slightly ‘lighten’ this recipe up, that’s quite simple to do as well. The sour cream can be replaced with a plain Greek yogurt (I say Greek yogurt because it has a thicker consistency than regular that more closely mimics the sour cream.  Butter could be substituted for melted coconut oil, or even melted Earth Balance spread. I’m not going to promise you that it will taste the same as the original though. (because let’s face it, nothing competes with Butter. It’s a rule of nature, and who am I to argue with that?)

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Baked Corn Casserole

Recipe Adapted from Paula Deen

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, melted butter,  onion powder,  garlic powder and paprika.

3. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown.

4.  Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.