Back to the culinary adventures! On the plane ride home on Friday night, I kept thinking about three things: 1) how much fun I had in LA, 2) how much I missed Pittsburgh and my favorite people, and 3) how excited I was to get back into the kitchen. Honest.
I realize that thoughts of unpacking, catching up on sleep, or even buying a ticket to return to LA once feeling the Pittsburgh weather are much more normal than those of dreaming up new recipes. But being on vacation and trying new foods gets my inferno-like brain really working overtime with things to try once I am back in my own space. I actually scribbled a few down on a plane napkin for fear of forgetting them later... look for those in the weeks to come :)
Though the weather has cooled down significantly (and my air conditioner has caught up), I tried to come with recipes that don't require the use of an oven (but can be stove-top) when planning this week's meals and subsequent grocery list.
At first it seemed nearly impossible, but I'm slowly coming around to the idea of quick fix or simple dinners by using a smaller heat source or none at all. Not every dinner has to involve a hot casserole dish coming out of the oven. There was the cool and crisp side salad. And the quesadillas. Even the very Provencal salad. Today, I'll add another great recipe to the no-oven archives: corn cakes with goat cheese.
Corn cakes. Just saying it makes me want to head south where that twang is oh so popular. Pronounced something like cone caykes? (I promise that as soon as Matt reads this, he'll be saying it out loud in an accent. $10 bet, I swear.)
So colorful, so fresh, and so easy! Vegetables, protein, dairy... a pretty complete dish for merely a side. And sweet with a little crunch on the outside from the cooking and tangy from the goat cheese. A great flavor combo, if you ask me.
And while I initially thought cohesion could be a problem with these, the egg and cornmeal act as glue and hold everything together nicely. This was another quick dish using little heat and didn't turn the apartment into the Sahara (thank goodness!). Oh, and I don't know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy playing with my food -- so the instruction of scooping out 1/4 cupfuls and patting them down with a spatula in oil was just sheer joy for me.
Corn Cakes with Goat Cheese
(adapted just so from Everyday Food)
-makes 8-9, serves 4
A few notes: I had a little goat cheese left from the first skillet experiment (the perfect amount, to boot) so the necessary ingredients for this were minimal, but cheddar, jack, or even gruyere cheese would be great, too. Also, I used red onion in place of green onion because I already had it for another recipe, and I'm a huge fan of multi-tasking ingredients.
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups raw corn (from 3 ears of corn)
1 small zucchini, diced small
Ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped red onion
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium. Add corn and zucchini and season with salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool, tossing occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add onions, eggs, and cornmeal to corn mixture and stir to combine. Wipe skillet clean and heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium. In batches of 3 or 4, cook 1/4 cupfuls of the corn mixture (patting with a spatula to form a nice round shape) until set on bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip carefully and cook until cakes are cooked through, another 2 minutes.
Transfer to a plate or dish lined with paper towels to drain slightly. Plate corn cakes and sprinkle with goat cheese and serve with ham, grilled chicken, or another protein of your choice. Enjoy!