Cilantro Jalapeño Corn Cakes

Maybe you can tell I like Southwest/Mexican food- Mexican Shrimp Ceviche, Mexican Corn and Poblano Chowder, Texas Caviar, Spanish Turkey Meatball Stew or even Peanut Butter Stuffed Jalapeños.  Pretty much, if it has cilantro I am guaranteed to love it.  My husband knows that after a bad day for me, chips and salsa are the best Band-Aid.  The good kind of salsa, fresh loaded with cilantro with warm thin salted corn tortilla chips.   So admittedly, I am a sucker when I see dishes with cilantro or Mexican/Latin flavor profiles.  Enter these irresistible southwest spiced corn cakes.

DSC_0331

We were smoking a few chickens and needed a side, both of us agreed that a corn cake would be perfect side for the summer cookout.  And absolutely, lets add cilantro.

DSC_0347

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ears or 2 cups fresh corn kernels, separated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • ½ small red onion
  • ½ cup low fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fresh lime juice

DSC_0321

Instructions

1. Mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Using a food processor, combine only 1 cup corn, egg, onion, jalapeño pepper, garlic, cilantro, buttermilk, and butter and pulse until finely chopped but not smooth.

3. Fold the pulsed corn mixture into the flour mixing bowl and mix in the remaining cup of corn kernels and lime juice.

4. Heat a heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat. Spray with pan spray or use a touch of olive oil and scoop ½ cup cakes into the pan.  Brown on first side and flip to other, each should take about 3 minutes.

This will make about 8 small pancakes.

DSC_0370

Garnish with a simple avocado salad, fresh tomatoes and sour cream, smoked pork or chicken, even a seafood ceviche.  Try making them with a ¼ cup measure and use as a canapé.

DSC_0316

If you happen to have leftovers, they freeze great- just wrap them tightly to avoid freezer burn.  Reheat the thawed cakes in an oven set at 350, for 10-15 minutes.

DSC_0319

These are perfect for the end of summer, into fall get together.  Even reheating on a tailgate grill on a piece of aluminum foil, anyone ready for football?

Advertisements

Mexican Shrimp Ceviche- Big Kickin’ Flavor!

Hot, sticky Florida days begs for cold, refreshing, light dishes- and of course packed with flavor.  I saw a family a few weeks ago with a gigantic cup of ceviche when we were out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and found myself staring with envy.  Why didn’t I order that!!  I knew it would not be long before it made it onto our table at home!  I cannot resist cilantro and lime, they are possibly my favorite flavor combination.

DSC_0172

I love ceviche with tostones, fried plantains, but my favorite is with sweet potato crisps, the sweetness of the potato is a perfect complement to the spiciness of the ceviche.  The recipe I used is from the “King of Mexican Food”, Rick Bayless, and is very spicy, but evened out by the creamy avocado chunks.

DSC_0149

 Shrimp Ceviche Verde

Ceviche Verde de Camarón

About 3 1/2 cups, serving 4 to 6 as an appetizer; from Season 8  Mexico – One Plate at a Time

Ingredients

  • 1 pound very fresh uncooked, medium-to-small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 ounces fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro (mostly leaves)
  • Salt
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and very finely chopped
  • 1/2 habanero chile, stemmed seeded and very finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from skin and cut into small cubes

DSC_0151

Directions

Cut the shrimp into small pieces—slightly smaller than 1/2 inch—and scoop into a serving bowl.  In a blender, combine the lime juice, tomatillos, cilantro and 3/4 teaspoon salt.  Blend until slushy looking, but not completely smooth.  Stir into the shrimp and refrigerate 30 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in the two chiles, chives and avocado.  Taste and season with more salt if you think necessary.

DSC_0195

The marinate time is critical in ceviche, especially with shrimp.  The citrus will cook the raw seafood, but it can also overcook if left to long, leaving you with rubbery, tough shrimp.  I waited an hour before I served it, and was pleased that the shrimp was still tender.  If you find yourself worried about overcooking the shrimp, at least strain the marinate, reserving the juice until you are ready to serve.  But try to get it on the table as soon as you can.

DSC_0162

The kick in this ceviche is powerful, yet smooth.  If you are not a fan of spice, cut the chilies by ½ and be sure to add right before serving.  Try serving sweet potato chips, tostones or tortilla chips to along with the ceviche. And of course make sure there are margaritas or cervezas.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Stuffed Jalapenos- Ole!

Jalapenos and peanut butter….jalapenos and peanut butter.  Something I could not get out of my head since about 2 years ago when a friend requested I bring some to a meeting we would both be attending.  The friend claims to be from Mexico, and claims that jalepenos and peanut butter are a delicacy when you hit the roads south of the border. Jalapenos and peanut butter….  2 years later, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo…I had to try them. 

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Stuffed Jalapenos

Sir Wes has a nice little jalapeno pepper plant growing in the backyard, which I helped myself to.  After washing them I carefully split them length wise, not cutting the top part.  I swirled my paring knife around a bit and then I gently tapped out the seeds. 

Dessert from the backyard!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup confectioner sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 small jalapenos, seed and inner flesh removed
  • White and dark chocolate coins

Method

Blend the peanut butter, sugar and salt together until smooth.  Carefully fill each jalapeno and wipe any excess peanut butter.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler as directed by the package instructions.  Gently dip the filled jalapeno into the melted chocolate and place on parchment paper until the chocolate coating is set.  Refrigerate up to a week.

Sweet and Spicy!

The jury is still out on jalapenos and peanut butter, but all have agreed they are not for the meek! 

Who is willing??

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Ole!!