Corn & Cheese Fritters with Pear Salsa

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Passover Appetizers with Temp Tee Cream Cheese

Did you know that Passover is coming? We’re all getting just a bit crazy now that Purim is over. We’re in that one-month crunch to prepare for a week of fun. Houses are getting cleaned up and the stores are getting stocked with matzah – so much matzah! Menus are being planned. Do you know what you are serving up at your Passover seder?

I’ve been making my own Passover the past few years. Each year I get a bit more laid back and things get a bit more easy. Our meals are simple, and we can do without pizza or pasta for a week.

One thing I can’t do without is cream cheese. On Passover, it is always Temp Tee. Growing up, Passover cream cheese was the one thing we could rely on. It was guaranteed to be available and certified kosher for passover in my Midwest city. We may not have been able to get kosher-for-Passover frozen waffles, but we could always get the cream cheese. That pink container was brought out to our breakfast table every morning. My sisters and I would sit around the table munching on crumbly matzah spread generously with cream cheese. So much nostalgia there.

I was recently approached to share some creative recipes that feature the beloved cream cheese. I kept going back to that crunch of the matzah against the Temp Tee cream cheese. I had to do more than that. I decided to share with you two appetizer recipes. Appetizers are my favorite part of the meal.

I came up with some crunchy and spicy baked jalapeño poppers as well as a baked caramelized onion dip. Both of these dishes are great for eating around the family table or when entertaining guests. They are wonderful for Passover and year-round. They are also easy to make. My kind of recipe!

        Click here for the Jalapeño Poppers!                     Click here for the Caramelized Onion Dip!

*This blog post is sponsored by the fine folks at Temp Tee, but all opinions and recipes in this post are my own.

Garlic Scapes and White Bean Hummus with Pita Chips

I had some scapes leftover from the pesto I made the other day. As I ate the pesto with the pasta and white beans, I thought about how this flavor combo would make a good hummus. I had some leftover pita sitting in the freezer from a few weeks ago that was begging to be turned in to some pita chips. I figured it would be a good after-school snack for the kids when they got home from school.

I was right – it turned out to be perfect.


Garlic Scapes and White Bean Hummus
Ingredients:

5-6 garlic scapes
1 can white beans
1-2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. thyme
ground pepper
1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Place everything in a food processor and go to town! It’s that easy! Seriously!

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Pita Chips
Ingredients:

Pita (I used around 10)
1/2 cup olive oil (approx.  – depends on amount of pita)
1 tsp. sea salt
fresh ground pepper
assorted herbs (half of mine were zaatar, half had a garlic/thyme mixture)

Preaheat oven to 400.

Cut pita in to wedges.

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the spices of your choosing.

Brush the pita triangles with the oil mixture. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet

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Bake for around 7-8 minutes or so.

Cool pita chips for a few minutes and serve. Enjoy!

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