Corny Corn Corn: My Best Corn Cake & Corn Salad Recipes

Corny Corn Corn: My Best Corn Cake & Corn Salad Recipes

Corny Corn Corn!  It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. Try corn two ways with my corn salad and best corncake recipe.

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This is the time of year that you want simple, fresh suppers that are leisurely served on the veranda or back deck.

Picture a pitcher of frosty strawberry lemonade, a vase filled with flowers plucked from your garden, and a basket of cornbread swimming in honey butter.

The scene is set!

…and so is the supper.

This one features corn on the cob.

First, I grill it and blend it with sweet baby tomatoes, cucumbers, and green onions. Then it’s tossed with a lemon balsamic vinaigrette. Shaved Parmesan cheese tops off this simple summer salad.

The second dish begins with salmon (I had some leftover) that turns into delicious salmon cakes. Corn kernels in the cakes, cornbread crumbs both for binding and for dredging and corn-spike tartar sauce take these cakes way, way over the top!

This easy summer supper is so good that even if your veranda is invaded by mosquitos or the flowers in your garden have wilted, or you feel the need to spike your lemonade, summertime will shine through!

Enjoy!

Grilled Corn Salad With Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Breakfast Skillet with Glazed Eggs

Ingredients

This simple salad comes together in minutes and is a perfect outdoor supper side dish.

For salad:

6 fresh ears of corn

1 English cucumbers, cut into ½-inch chunks

1 bunch green onions, diced, about ½ cup

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

For vinaigrette:

1 bunch basil leaves, about 1 cup

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

Juice of 1 lemon, about ¼ cup

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved, about ½ cup

Serves:   A crowd

Time:  20 minutes

Remove the husks from the corn and grill over medium heat, turning often, until the kernels are golden brown. Cool to room temperature. Cut the kernels from the cobs into a bowl. Add the cucumber, green onions, and cherry tomatoes.

Place the basil leaves into a blender or the bowl of a food processor. Add the mustard, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle some of the dressing over the corn salad. Toss to just coat the veggies. You want just a bit of dressing; you don’t want it to be soggy. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Salmon and Corn Cakes With Fresh Corn Tartar Sauce

Ingredients

Adding fresh corn to the cakes and dredging in fresh cornbread crumbs adds a true Southern twist to this everyday staple. And then….. we put corn in the sauce. Now that’s FUN!

For salmon cakes

2 cups cooked salmon, flaked

2 garlic scapes, chopped, about 2 tablespoons (you can substitute with 2 garlic cloves, minced)

¼ medium red onion, peeled and finely diced, about 2 tablespoons

½ yellow bell pepper, finely diced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

½ cup cooked corn kernels (you can use grilled corn)

2 cups fresh cornbread crumbs, divided 

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Olive oil for sautéing

For creamed corn tartar sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons

3 tablespoons, cooked corn kernels, chopped

2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Yield:   18 bite size cakes and about 6 large cakes

Time:  45 minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Place the salmon into a bowl. Add the garlic, 2 tablespoons diced red onion, yellow pepper, 2 tablespoons each of dill and parsley. Add the corn kernels and ½ cup of the cornbread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together ¼ cup mayonnaise, egg, and mustard. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl and toss everything together. 

Place the remaining corn breadcrumbs into a shallow plate. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out balls of the salmon mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. For bite-size cakes, use a 1-inch scoop. For main course cakes, use a 3-inch scoop. Flatten the balls into patties. Dredge each on in the corn breadcrumbs and return to the baking sheet. Place the cakes into the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.

For the tartar sauce, stir together ½ cup mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, chopped corn kernels, 2 tablespoons red onion and 1 tablespoon dill. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. You want enough oil in the skillet to just coat the bottom of the pan. Remove the cakes from the freezer and carefully place into the hot oil. Cook until the bottom of the cake is golden brown. Use a spatula to turn the cakes and cook until golden on the other side. The amount of time will differ depending on the size of the cake. It will only be a few minutes for bite-size cakes and about 5 to 7 minutes total for larger cakes. 

Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of the sauce. Garnish with fresh dill.

Make-Ahead Tip:

You can make these ahead and freeze them until you are ready. Bring them to room temperature before you cook them.

Overboard Tip:

This recipe calls for leftover salmon. However, you can bake salmon in just a few minutes in the oven and then cool to room temperature. I sprinkle the salmon with lemon juice and olive oils and then coat in a rub of 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon each of chili powder, onion powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper and bake at 400°for 20 minutes for every 1-inch of thickness.

Watermelon Caprese

Watermelon Caprese

An arranged salad is the perfect dish to bring to a summer potluck. One of my favorite arranged salads is the caprese. You know the one, slices of vine ripe tomatoes layered with wedges of fresh mozzarella and sprinkled with fresh-picked basil leaves. A sprinkle of salt and pepper, and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and the salad is complete.

What if we take that wonderful caprese salad and just tweak it a bit… or a lot! I was inspired by watermelon season and the bunches of beets I found at the farmers market. I thought, well why not? Why not add thin slices of watermelon and roasted beets to the salad. And when I did, I created a dish that everyone fell in love with. Not only is it beautiful, but the crisp bite of the watermelon adds a certain tang. The salad gets even better with a crumble of crisp bacon, and drizzle of citrus infused oil and vinegar.

Give this salad a try while the summer breezes are still warm, and the watermelon are ripe and juicy! To motivate you, here a few fun pics of the watermelon and salad dressing prep — doesn’t it make your mouth just water?

Watermelon and Beet Caprese Salad with Peach-Basil Vinaigrette

For salad:

6 medium beets

1 small seedless watermelon

6 to 8 medium vine-ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced into thin rounds

1 bunch fresh basil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

4 slices bacon, cooked, chopped

For vinaigrette

1 medium shallot, peeled and finely diced

1 ripe peach, peeled and finely diced

2 tablespoons, chopped fresh basil

¼ cup vinegar (I used peach infused white balsamic)

½ cup olive oil (I used lime-infused extra virgin olive oil)

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and place them into a baking dish. Bake until the beets just begin to soften, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove the baking dish from the oven and cool the beets to room temperature. Remove the skin from the beets by rubbing with paper towels. Use a mandolin to slice the beets as thin as possible.

Cut the watermelon into ¼-inch slices. Use a round cookie cutter to cut circles in the watermelon about the size of the beets and tomatoes.

Begin layering the salad. Lay a slice of tomato on the platter. Top with a slice of mozzarella, a round of watermelon and finally a sliced beet. Continue layering until the platter is filled. Tuck leaves of basil in and around everything. Sprinkle the salad with some of the salt and pepper. Top with bacon pieces. Chill the salad while you make the vinaigrette.

Place the shallot, peach and basil into a mason jar. Pour in the vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake to combine.

When you are ready to serve, use a spoon to drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking Hacks for Better Luck in Kitchen This Summer

Cooking Hacks for Better Luck in Kitchen This Summer

Some home cooks, and I’ve been there too, feel lucky when dinner is a success. I may be pro, but I make mistakes occasionally – and in the kitchen they’re often the same ones. Over the years, my work in recipe development – testing and retesting a certain dish until I get it exactly right – has helped me identify what the most common cooking mistakes are, and how to fix them.

So get out your salad shooter, and plug in the slow cooker! No need to fear the pitfalls of home cookery now, especially given the fact that more dine in this time of year. The cost of summer camp, and the lack of structure when school lets out, send a lot of us to the kitchen with good intentions. Here are some common mistakes and how to remedy them.

My pasta, a gummy mess? NOPE! NOT ME!!!!

If your pasta sticks together, try this: Drain the pasta from water (reserving some of the cooking liquid), and immediately place it into the pan with your sauce. Toss it around so that the pasta is surrounded by sauce not sticking to other pasta. If the dish is still stuck together, ladle in some salted pasta water and toss again. Here’s a photo of Skillet Beef Bourguiognon from Sunday Best Dishes. The sauce in this is so delicious, you won’t actually care if your pasta sticks together. Like me on Facebook, and I’ll sail the recipe over! Ain’t she a beaut?

 

Look out lettuce! Soggy salads are history now

It’s all in the timing, people. Dress your green salad with just a bit of dressing – no more than a tablespoon at a time – rather than pouring dressing all over. If you want the task of making the salad over and done with, so you can get to the rest of the food prep, I’m down with that. You can still enjoy a delicious salad, hours down the road by doing this: Pour just a bit of salad dressing into the bottom of your salad bowl. Top with your salad ingredients and place the bowl in the fridge. Remove the salad bowl just before serving, and NOW toss the lettuce for an even coat of flavor. Suddenly your greens are crisp, cool and lightly dressed!

No one will complain about your slow cooker again with this tip

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone complain that slow cooker meals are blah…well, I’d have a giant stack of nickels, wouldn’t I? It REALLY doesn’t have to be that way. My slow cooker and I are best friends. It’s true, they need a little more attention than simply dumping raw meat or poultry into the crockpot, and turning it to “LOW”.  Most slow cooker meals will be much tastier if you brown the protein before you place it into the crockpot. Browning seals in the juices, and adds flavor. When transferring a recipe from stove top to slow cooker, remember to reduce the amount of liquid originally called for in the recipe. Oh, and P.S. Crockpots are a wonderful cooking solution on those lazy summer days you tackle a home project, you meant to do over Spring Break.

Kiss my Grits! My gravy and sauces are lumpy…but not for long.

Most sauces use a thickener to create that velvety lusciousness. For gravy, I use a flour slurry (flour and butter); for sauces you whisk in cold butter. In either case, there is substantial risk for lumpiness. The quick fix is to strain your sauce through a colander to catch any lumps or bumps. The other solution is to whisk, whisk, whisk. This provides a smoother sauce, and the added benefit of arm toning. If your sauce is too runny, try adding a spoonful of tomato paste or mustard. These are natural thickeners, and add a whole bunch of flavor!

Gosh darn it – I burnt my stew. Not to worry, Jorj is here!

Things happen. There is a good chance you can salvage that stew or meat sauce. Do not stir! Stirring will transfer all of those burnt bits on the bottom into every bit of the stew. Instead: Ladle the stew into a new pot, starting with the top. As you get to the bottom of the pan, taste to make sure that there are no burnt flavors before you transfer to the new pan. You won’t be able to salvage the whole pot, but chances are excellent you’ll get enough for dinner.

I may have overcooked the meat, but there’s still hope

I know. I know. Dry, overcooked beef or pork tastes like shoe leather. The good news is, you can totally salvage the meal. Thinly slice the meat, and place into a shallow baking dish. Drown the meat in broth. Cover with aluminum foil and place into the oven, on low, or in a warming drawer. Now rename the dish! Instead of roast beef you are serving beef aus jus!

Pep Talk!

I have full faith in you. Between now and Labor Day, your troops are going to flock to the dinner table on your slightest command. With the right tips and tools at your disposal, I know you to be just the sort who sets a fine table. You’ll receive rave reviews and high marks on your cooking. No one is sending YOU to summer school, LOL.   

Behold, the Picnic Trio, A.K.A., All You Need to Eat This Summer

Behold, the Picnic Trio, A.K.A., All You Need to Eat This Summer

From my book: SUNDAY BEST DISHES

For those of us who live on the East coast, summer has arrived! I love the heady smell of magnolias and gardenias when I’m out for a walk. Every morning in my kitchen is a new day for pulling farmers market finds out of the crisper, and whipping something up that goes straight back into the fridge, so I can have it chilled later on. This particular morning – Friday the 13th – I found it hard not to nibble on the freshly made trio, just as soon as the potatoes cooled down enough to spear with my mayo stained fork!

With Memorial Day here at the end of this month, I’m revisiting my best Sunday Best Dishes for outdoor BBQs and potlucks. I had forgotten how much fantastic food each of these recipes yield. I almost didn’t make one (of the 3) because I was running out of room in my refrigerator! Not to worry, though. I simply ate the watermelon and freed up the space. God, I love summer!

Here are my foolproof recipes, sure to make your next al fresco dining experience extra sunny and bright – you can pack these up in paper cartons, like these pictured above (available just about anywhere, including the dollar store), or simply serve it in your favorite bowl – the more colorful, the better!

Purple Potato Salad

I have a confession to make. When I made this favorite summer salad this week, I didn’t have purple potatoes. I was also onion deprived, and forced to use a white one. On top of THAT, I had yellow mustard and no Dijon. But guess what? The salad was still delicious, and is already gone…gobbled up.

2 pounds baby purple potatoes

1 pound baby red potatoes

2 large celery stalks, trimmed and diced, about ½ cup

¼ red onion, diced, about ⅓ cup

4 large radishes, trimmed and diced, about ⅓ cup

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 cup good quality mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

            Bring a pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and cool slightly. Cut the potatoes into ½-inch pieces and place into a bowl. Add the celery, onion, radishes and dill. Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour the sauce into the bowl and toss to coat all of the veggies. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

 

Toasted Corn and Poblano Slaw

OMG – nothing on Earth need stop you from making this. This recipe produces enough salad to fill a truck bed, and is so full of complex tangy, zesty, spicy flavor, it’s a go to every summer. No worries if you don’t have a food processor. You can safely shred the veggies with your hands, or Ninja knife skills. It’s fine to substitute frozen corn kernels for fresh off the ear, too.

½ head red cabbage

½ head Nappa cabbage

2 large carrots

1 large poblano pepper, seeded, and deveined

¼ red onion, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 ears of corn

1 cup good quality mayonnaise

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sour cream

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

 

Use a food processor to shred the cabbages, pepper and red onion. Place all of the vegetables into a large bowl. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cut the kernels from the corn and place into the pan. Cook until the kernels are just golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the corn into the bowl with the veggies. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, sour cream, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

 

Pasta Primavera Salad

This Sunday Best Dish is unbelievably healthy, and works just as well with red wine vinegar if that’s all you’ve got. I had to know if this was true, so I tested it both ways!

1 pound baby pasta shells

2 pounds fresh broccoli florets, about 4 cups

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1 cup

Juice of 1 large lemon, about ¼ cup

¼ cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

½ cup olive oil

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pour the pasta into a large bowl. Steam the broccoli florets until crisp-tender. Roughly chop and add to the bowl.  Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and add to the bowl. Pour the cheese into the bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, white wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Happy Memorial Day, friends! Here’s to you and the awesome picnics on your horizon

Okay, all – time to pack it in, and I mean literally. I’m gearing up to put this holy trinity of summer salads into cartons, and head for the beach. Let me know why you’re a big dill this holiday weekend…sorry, always love a good pun!