Corn & Cheese Fritters with Pear Salsa

fritters-and-sauce

I love being a part of this fantastic group of food bloggers, the Kosher Connection. Each month, we are challenged to cook up some wonderful and unique foods. Each link-up is fun and new. I love seeing the assortment of goodies that the group comes up with. This month was especially difficult. We were tasked with a Chopped style challenge. Like the popular Food Network show, we were given three ingredients to build our dish around. For the most part, we had free reign, but the dish had to include canned corn, pears and Mike & Ike candies.

I had a very hard time coming up with something for the dish. Creating something that involved all three ingredients was super tough. I had initially planned a tofu dish that included a Korean pear based sauce. My husband nixed the idea in favor of something fried. He urged me to make a fritter. I don’t really like frying things, but with Chanukah coming up next month, I decided that if this worked out, it would be perfect for Chanukah. It’s traditional to have fried foods to recognize the miracle of the oil in the ancient temple.

He suggested some sort of latke, but as I brainstormed a bit, I settled on a fritter. I know, not that far off. But there is a difference. I scribbled a slew of ideas on paper. Once I had the house to myself though, I got to work. I settled on a corn and cheese fritter when I saw a brick of pepper jack cheese sitting in the fridge. I  quickly picked up a carton of buttermilk at Trader Joe’s and worked out a quick fritter recipe.  The fritters did not disappoint!

I mixed up the canned corn with the cheese, some chopped onion, spices, buttermilk, eggs, flour and baking powder.

fritter-batter

I scooped them up and fried them in a couple of inches of hot oil.

fritters-frying

I then drained the fritters on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath.

fritters-draining

Incorporating the Asian pears and the Mike & Ike candies proved more challenging. I wanted a pear chutney to dip the fritters in to. I peeled and chopped up the asian pears and began cooking them down with some ginger and water. I also added the Mike & Ike candies to let them get infused with the candy flavor. When tasting the sauce, it was definitely too sweet. I knew that it needed something savory along with some heat.

asian-pears

I added some chopped jalapeño, onion and vinegar and cooked it a bit more. Once everything was softened, I pureed the mixture with my immersion blender.

While the pear and Mike & Ike salsa isn’t perfect, it’s getting there. I call it a work a progress. To be honest, I will leave the candies out the next time I set out to make this dish. It was definitely fun to try my hand at this though.

The fritters have gone on the short list though and will definitely be made next month for Chanukah. The crunch and light outside and the creamy cheese filling. One word. Amazing! Make them now!

fritters-and-sauce

 

 

Disclaimer: The pear salsa was made as part of the chopped style challenge. I highly recommend you make the fritters. The fritters are amazing.  I’m not quite sold on pear salsa with mike & ike candies. I do recommend a pear salsa without the candy!

 

Corn & Cheese Fritters with Pear Salsa
 
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer, snack, starter

Ingredients
Corn & Cheese Fritters
  • 1 can whole kernel white corn, drained
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1.5 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • oil for frying
Mike & Ike infused Pear Salsa
  • 2 asian pears, peeled and cubed
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • ½ cup Mike & Ike candies (I used two of the fun size boxes) – optional

Instructions
Corn and Cheese Fritters
  1. Mix all of the fritter ingredients, except for the vegetable oil, in a mixing bowl.
  2. Heat up about 2 inches of oil to 350 in a heavy bottomed pan or pot.
  3. Scoop a couple of tablespoons of fritter batter. I used an ice cream scoop. Drop in the hot oil and fry about a minute or two per side. Flip the fritter when browned.
  4. Transfer fritter to a cooling rack placed over paper towels to drain and cool
For the pear salsa
  1. Peel and chop up the pears
  2. Place in a saucepan with the water, ginger and the mike and candies.
  3. Add in the onion, jalapeno, vinegar and spices.
  4. Allow mixture to soften.
  5. Once softened, blend with an immersion blender.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

fritters-and-sauce

Homemade Corn Nuts

I can’t remember how we came upon the topic of corn nuts, but it came up in conversation recently. I think it was the prospect of a field trip to Oh! Nuts, and finding the store closed. I was craving some fresh roasted corn nuts – still piping hot. So good.  I then began to reminisce about the mass produced corn nuts I used to buy at Chi’s Market down the street from my parent’s house. They were probably around 50 cents at the time, and we used to pour them in to our mouths. Crunch-Crunch-Crunch. Listening to people eat them was ever so annoying, but eating them myself – totally worth it! They even came in assorted flavors like ranch and barbecue! I used to love barbecue flavor anything.

My husband suggested that I attempt to make them. I was told that I would have to find the giant white Peruvian corn and soak it. It wouldn’t work with just any corn kernel. Was thrilled to find a bag of these special corn kernels on my first try. Goya offers a kosher-certified Maize Mote Pelado. Found a good sized bag at Food Basics. Score!

These corn nuts are prepared in a similar way to roasted chickpeas. You simply coat them in oil and salt and roast in the oven for around 30 minutes  – stirring for even browning. They have a very big crunch and a somewhat heady, corn taste. They don’t taste like the deep fried store bought stuff, but they are their own taste and pretty good.

Maize Mote Pelado





Homemade Corn Nuts
Ingredients

1 bag of Maize Mote Pelado – Giant White Corn
2 tbsp. Salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Additional spices as desired

Soak the corn in water for around 8-10 hours or so. If you soak any longer, it will start to smell pretty awful.

IMG_1525

Preheat oven to 400.

Drain the corn

In a large bowl, toss the corn in the oil and sprinkle salt over it.

Place the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet.

IMG_1564

Place in oven. Stir the corn around every 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven after around 25-30 minutes or when corn looks toasted. Don’t let them burn.

IMG_1567

Let cool a few minutes and then taste. Add more salt or other spices as necessary.

homemade corn nuts

Enjoy!

Homemade Corn Nuts
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snacks

Ingredients
  • 1 bag of Maize Mote Pelado – Giant White Corn
  • 2 tbsp. Salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • Additional spices as desired

Instructions
  1. Soak the corn in water for around 8-10 hours or so. If you soak any longer, it will start to smell pretty awful.
  2. Preheat oven to 400
  3. Drain the corn.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the corn in the oil and sprinkle salt over it.
  5. Place the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  6. Place in oven. Stir the corn around every 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven after around 25-30 minutes or when corn looks toasted. Don’t let them burn.
  7. Let cool a few minutes and then taste. Add more salt or other spices as necessary.

 

Roasted Corn and Avocado Salad

Summer is beginng to show it’s signs. Warm weather and fresh summer vegetables are starting to show their faces. Yahoo!

Summer produce makes me happy. On my Sunday trek to Trader Joe’s, they had the most lovely ears of corn taunting me. I usually wait until later in the summer, when the white, sweet corn comes out. I gave in to the urges. I grabbed a bunch. The whole family loves corn. The kids love the mess of eating it off the cob. I decided to roast the corn and then turn it in to a salad. Yum!

IMG_1233

Roasted Corn and Avocado Salad
Ingredients:

3 ears of corn, roasted (instructions below)
2 roasted peppers, diced
1/2 medium-sized red onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 plum tomato, diced
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. cumin
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Husk the corn. Make sure to remove all of the silk strands.

Brush corn with a little olive oil, salt and pepper

Wrap ears of corn in foil and roast in oven for about 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, remove the corn from the foil. Use oven mitts!

Hold the ear of corn over your stove flame and sear it a bit.

IMG_1245

Do this with caution. This activity is not intended for kids.

Cut the corn kernels off the cob. Best to do this by holding the ear of corn straight up, while resting the bottom on the cutting board.

IMG_1243

In a bowl, mix up all of the veggies, including the freshly roasted corn.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and spices. Mix in to the salad.

IMG_1250

Enjoy!

Black Bean and Corn Salad

It’s been a hot summer.  The past few shabbats have been getting close to 100 degrees.  This does not make for happy campers in my house. We just want to zone out in front of the air conditioning vent and ignore the world.

Instead, I have things I have to do. I have kids I have to parent. I have guests I have to entertain. I do love both of those tasks. It’s just the stove/oven/blech thing that I despise on hot shabbats.

I have been making a lot of salads lately. Trying to get away with just a crockpot on for shabbat lunch. Seems to be working.  Make a bunch of assorted salads to go with my daughter’s beloved cholent. Everyone is happy.

One of the well-loved salads is a black bean and corn salad. Protein+crunch+veggies. You can’t go wrong!

Black Bean and Corn Salad
Ingredients:

1 can black beans
1 can or white whole kernel corn or 2 cups frozen corn or about 3-4 ears of corn steamed and cooled down
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt
pepper
dash of cumin

This is the easiest recipe I might ever have on my blog.

Chop everything up and mix it all together. You’ve got a fantastic side dish! Enjoy!

1 2