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

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Vietnamese-Rice-Noodles-SaladIt’s been crazy hot here on my part of the world. I’m trying to stay away from the stove as much as possible. I’m sure you all can relate.

I’ve been trying to come up with substantial dishes that can be served cool or room temperature that don’t require to much heating up of the kitchen. This especially applies to Shabbat, where I’m tasked with creating and serving multiple dishes for a crowd.

This Vietnamese Rice Noodle dish is a perfect example of a meal-in-a-salad that comes together quickly and is great both warm or cold. It’s also very adaptable. You can swap out some of the veggies and change the protein to whatever you prefer. For this dish, I used turkey. I knew that my guests would be looking for some kind of meat dish and I had the turkey ready to go.

I started by cooking up the rice noodles. I used the thin rice vermicelli, which I can pour boiling water over to cook. Super easy to do. After soaking for around ten minutes, I drained the noodles.

I then cooked up the turkey with some garlic, ginger, shallots and chopped shiitake mushrooms. I love the flavors that comes off of the meat. Once cooked, I added some tamari and lime lime juice to the meat directly.

I chopped up my veggies and made the dressing. I was ready to go.

I mixed the veggies with the noodles and layered the ground turkey over it and then poured on the dressing. Everyone was happy with the salad.

I also make a vegetarian version of this salad. When I do, I swap out the turkey and use chopped tofu or the soy beef-style crumbles. They work well. When I crumble the tofu, I tend to use an extra firm version and add some extra garlic, ginger and soy sauce for extra flavor.

Hope you enjoy!

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: gluten free, salad

Ingredients
  • 1 package vermicelli rice stick noodles
  • 1 tbsp. rice bran oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tsp. tamari
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. mint, chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • ½ daikon, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, chopped or julienned
  • 1 seedless cucumber, julienned or chopped
  • 1 cubed avocado
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
For the dressing:
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar or honey
  • 2 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ tbsp. rice bran oil
  • 1 tbsp. chopped peanuts (optional)

Instructions
  1. Cook the noodles by placing them in a large bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let sit a few minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat up the oil in a large pan and saute the ginger, garlic and shallot.
  3. Add in the ground turkey and chopped shiitake mushrooms and cook until done.
  4. Squeeze the juice of a ½ lime and 2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce over the turkey and mix.
  5. Prep all of the veggies and set aside.
  6. Mix up the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  7. Mix the rice noodles with the veggies and then layer with the ground turkey mixture. Stir in the whisked dressing.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Vietnamese-Rice-Noodles-Salad

Roasted Chicken Wrapped in Ramps

Our fridge died this past week. It happened to give its final burst of cold air on a 90+ degree day. My kind of luck, right? So with that fridge, out went lots of food.

Somehow, the fridge and food mess happened at the right time. Things like these rarely do. It just worked out that we were able to find and buy a new fridge pretty quickly, thanks to the fine people at the Sears outlet. Just six or so hours after the fridge was delivered, I also had a brand new Fresh Direct order delivered to my door. It’s those little big things that happen, that can make your week look a little less bleak.

This was the first time I ordered through Fresh Direct, the fabulous online grocery delivery service. I am thrilled they have begun to deliver to my neighborhood. I was very impressed with their selection and prices.

So it happened, that I found myself looking at the most beautiful bunch of fresh and local ramps. Have you tried ramps? Ramps are a variety of wild leeks. They have a short season – usually found in my area in the Spring time. They are wildly popular. It seems that as soon as you see them at the farmer’s market, you must grab them fast, or they will be gone before you know it. So this season, every time I have seen them, I have been sure to grab them so that I don’t miss out.

I really love the way ramps look when cooked whole. I find them both pretty and tasty. Their dark green leaves add so much to the look of a dish. They taste fantastic too!

For a recent Shabbat dinner, I chose to wrap some chicken drumsticks in the ramps and glaze them with a sauce, then roast them in the oven. I loved the way these looked, both raw and cooked. They tasted even better.

I began my liberally sprinkling the chicken with salt and fresh ground pepper. I trimmed and washed the ramps and then wrapped them whole around each drumstick. I then brushed each chicken leg with the sauce I prepared and poured the rest of the glaze over the chicken. I then baked the chicken at 375 for about an hour. Everyone enjoyed this chicken. It was served up with some fresh roasted asparagus and roasted sunchokes.

 

You really can’t go wrong with this chicken dish. Enjoy!

ramp-wrapped-chicken

Roasted Chicken Wrapped in Ramps
 
Author:
Recipe type: Poultry, Main Course

Ingredients
  • 1 package chicken pieces (I used drumsticks)
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bunch of wraps (1 ramp per chicken piece)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. ginger paste

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Wash and dry your chicken pieces.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Wrap each piece of chicken in a ramp and place in baking dish.
  5. In a small bowl, mix up the maple syrups, Dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic, and ginger.
  6. Brush the glaze mixture on to chicken. Pour any remaining mixture over the chicken.
  7. Sprinkle additional salt and pepper oven the chicken.
  8. Bake in the oven at 375 for about an hour. Check the chicken for doneness.
  9. Enjoy!

 

Lemon Oregano Baked Salmon

My husband went to the farmer’s market, where I had given him specific instructions along with a shopping list. Of course, once he got there, he improvised. He got what was on the list, and also what appealed to him. Which is totally fine. Happy to have a variety of fruits and veggies on hand – as long as we eat them.

Oregano
The list included some fresh thyme. I love fresh herbs, and until my garden is ready, I have to make do with store-bought.

As I unpacked the grocery bags though, I didn’t see any thyme. In place of the thyme was some fresh Oregano. I don’t cook with oregano too often. I decided to make the best of it and come up with some recipes that would work with the oregano.

I had planned on salmon for dinner anyways. This Lemon Oregano Salmon just makes sense. It’s very flavorful, was easy to make and everyone was happy.

 

Lemon Oregano Baked Salmon
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 2½ Lemons
  • 6 Sprigs Fresh Oregano
  • 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. Salmon Filet
  • 1.5 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Instructions
  1. Slice on of the lemons in rounds and lay in a 9×13 baking pan.
  2. Lay three of the oregano sprigs over the lemon slices. Sprinkle half of the garlic over the oregano and lemon.
  3. Wash and dry the salmon and place the salmon over the lemon and oregano.
  4. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper.
  5. Squeeze the juice of of one lemon over the salmon. Pour over the olive oil.
  6. Chop up the remaining leaves of oregano and sprinkle over the salmon, along with the garlic.
  7. Cover the salmon and let marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to broil.
  9. Broil the salmon for around 15 minutes. Fish should be done by then.
  10. Serve over rice with a salad on the side.
  11. Enjoy!

SalmoninMarinade

 

 

CookedLemonOreganoSalmon

 

Lemon-Oregano-Salmon

Corned Beef Hash Egg Rolls

My mom came to town for the weekend. A shabbat with family is always wonderful.

In my family, a visit = food. When I go back to the midwest, I bring smoked fish and bagels. When they come to me, I also get special care packages. In this case, my mom graciously brought some packages of smoked meat from Chicago’s famed Romanian Kosher butcher. That place has some of the most amazing meats. I don’t eat that stuff anymore, but the husband is thrilled to pieces when there is meat in the house. Especially really good smoked meats. What a treat!
The husband and my mom grazed over various deli sandwiches over the weekend, but we still had some leftover corned beef.
I thought back to my days as a waitress. One of the most popular dishes in the morning, was corned beef hash with eggs. There was this amazing meaty/salty smell that came off of the platters. I was thinking of just making that for dinner with some eggs for the husband, but I wanted to change it up a bit.
I had some egg roll wrappers sitting in the fridge. We’ve had pastrami egg rolls before, and those were a hit. I wondered how corned beef hash would work in an egg roll. It turns out that it tastes awesome. Not just because they are fried. They are even good when baked. The combination of the flavors along with the crunch of the egg rolls are perfect.



Corned Beef Hash Egg Rolls
Ingredients:

1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 medium potatoes parboiled, cooled and cubed
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pound of fatty corned beef (the deli kind), cubed/chopped
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tsp. paprika
egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

Heat up the 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a large pan. Add in your chopped onion and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the chopped potatoes and cook for another five minutes until you start to see some browning on the onions and potatoes.

Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker

Add in the peppers and the garlic and cook another minute.

Now it’s time to add the meat and the spices. Let everything cook for a few minutes. Set aside to cool a little.

Corned Beef Hash Egg Rolls

Set up your assembly station: your bowl of filling, a board to roll up the egg rolls and a brush with some water to seal the egg rolls.

Place an egg roll wrapper on a flat surface. Have it facing you in a diamond shape.

Lay some filling across the middle and fold the bottom in.

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Next, fold the sides in and finish rolling up.

Seal the egg rolls with some water brushed on lightly.

Fry the egg rolls in about a 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Fry a few minutes on each side until crisp.

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Serve the egg rolls with a dipping sauce. Some Thousand Island dressing or a spicy mayo work well.

Enjoy!

Corned Beef Hash Egg Rolls
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