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.

fritter-batter

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.

fritters-and-sauce

Breakfast Tostadas

I’d love to be that kind of person who uses the term “brunch” regularly. I really want it to be part of my vocabulary.  You know those people where brunch becomes a verb AND a noun in their life?

My reality is that brunch rarely happens in my life. Ever since I became a parent, I have given my mornings away to my children. I’m not complaining. I love what motherhood has given to me. I just miss my lazy Sunday mornings.  Breakfast is my favorite meal and I would love for it to be leisurely – like a brunch should be.

A few years ago, I went back home to Minneapolis, a rare trip without children – to celebrate my sister’s 30th birthday. The weekend of celebrations was amazing and ended with Sunday morning brunch at a fantastic place called Hell’s Kitchen. This breakfast tostada that I’m sharing with you today is inspired by the brunch I had there.  This breakfast is perfect hangover food, but also goes great with a mimosa or a bloody mary, or even a cup of coffee. Not that mothers should be condoning alcohol consumption or hangovers, right? Mothers do deserve some fun once in a while.

These breakfast tostadas would be perfect for a Mother’s Day breakfast. Most of the components can be prepared in advance and then you can save the egg prep for Sunday morning.  I love layered dishes like this one.

To check out the fabulous breakfast tostada recipe and many others, head on over to JewHungry!
Breakfast TostadaBlog

Spinach and Tofu Enchiladas Verde

Several years ago, I ate a fantastic vegetarian burrito at Benny’s Burritos in the West Village of Manhattan. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to make something inspired by that dish. The combination of the spinach and tofu with fun spices and cheese, had a fantastic mouth feel that had me craving for something similar. I decided to turn that craving into reality with this enchilada recipe. This was a huge hit, and I wish I had doubled the recipe!

Spinach-and-Tofu-Verde

 

 

Spinach and Tofu Enchiladas Verde

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 package of tofu, drained and cubed and dried
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. chili powder
6 oz. bag baby spinach
8 whole wheat tortillas
2 cups salsa verde
2 cups Mexican blend cheese – shredded

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Heat up the oil in a large pan.

Pat dry the drained and cubed tofu. Add the tofu to the pan. Fry the tofu for 3-5 minutes. Flip over the tofu and cook another 3 minutes.

Add in the chopped onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until soft.

Once soft, add in the baby spinach and spices and turn off the heat. Let the warmth of the other ingredients wilt the spinach.

Pour 1 cup of the salsa verde in to the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

Place a few tablespoons of the spinach and tofu mixture in to a tortilla along with a sprinkle of the cheese. Roll up the tortilla and place in the pan, seam side down.

Spinach and Tofu Enchiladas

Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.

Pour the rest of the salsa verde over the rolled-up enchiladas. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the enchiladas.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Spinach and Tofu Enchiladas Verde
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 package of tofu, drained and cubed and dried
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 6 oz. bag baby spinach
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups salsa verde
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese – shredded

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat up the oil in a large pan.
  3. Pat dry the drained and cubed tofu. Add the tofu to the pan. Fry the tofu for 3-5 minutes. Flip over the tofu and cook another 3 minutes.
  4. Add in the chopped onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until soft.
  5. Once soft, add in the baby spinach and spices and turn off the heat. Let the warmth of the other ingredients wilt the spinach.
  6. Pour 1 cup of the salsa verde in to the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
  7. Place a few tablespoons of the spinach and tofu mixture in to a tortilla along with a sprinkle of the cheese. Roll up the tortilla and place in the pan, seam side down.
  8. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
  9. Pour the rest of the salsa verde over the rolled-up enchiladas. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the enchiladas.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

 

SpinachEnchiladas

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

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It’s been pretty cold and windy here on the East Coast. I’ve been looking for some hot and tasty dishes to warm me up.

We just celebrated Purim the other day and I wanted to have a fun and festive meal to honor the holiday. I wanted to have a fun vegetarian menu that everyone would enjoy.

I came up with vegetarian tortilla soup, make-your-own burritos with an assortment of mix-ins, fish tacos, a giant green salad and a spanish rice. I love of all of the flavors that go along with this menu.

I’ve never made a tortilla soup before. Many of my friends make it, but it’s often made with chicken or other things I don’t eat. I wanted to make this dish my own.

It turns out that I love tortilla soup. Who knew? I also wish I had made double so I could have leftovers. Lesson learned.



Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
Ingredients:

1 tbsp. Mazola corn oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. salt
3 tsp. ground black pepper
2 14 oz. cans of fire roasted tomatoes mixed
1 4oz. can green chiles, diced (or less if you can’t handle the heat)
5 cups vegetable broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. corn oil
corn tortillas
cilantro, chopped
avocado, sliced
cheese, optional

Directions:

Heat up the oil in a large soup pot.  Add in the chopped onion and garlic. Cook a couple of minutes.

Add in the diced peppers and the spices and cook for another 2 minutes.

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Add in the canned tomatoes and chiles as well as the soup broth.

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Add in the zucchini, corn and black beans.

Let the mixture come to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Cook for about 45 minutes or so.

With an immersion blender, puree some of the soup. It should still be a little bit chunky.

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At this point, you can serve the soup right away, or you can put it away for later. I like when it sits for a half a day in the fridge to let the flavors develop more.

In preparation for serving, cut your corn tortillas in to strips.

Pan fry the tortillas in a small amount of corn oil for a couple of minutes on each side. You just want them to crisp up a little.

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Serve your soup with some sliced avocado, lime wedges, chopped cilantro and the tortilla strips.

Enjoy!

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