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.

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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.

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

Seitan and Kimchi Quesadillas

I may be a little obsessed with kimchi these days. Well, kimchi and sriracha. I seem to be adding them to everything. Sometimes both at the same time. Just loving the flavors that they create when added to a dish.

Another thing I am loving these days is this Korean/Mexican food craze that seems to be happening at various restaurants and food trucks. Everything on the menu looks amazing.

seitankimchi

The quesadillas I just made were inspired by some of those menus that keep popping up.




Seitan and Kimchi Quesadilla (serves 3-4 as an entree)

Ingredients:

2 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 onion, onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. ginger, chopped
8 oz. seitan, sliced
1 cup vegan kimchi
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sriracha
2 tsp. hoisin sauce
1.5 cups shredded cheese – I recommend Daiya Cheddar or substitute with a Dairy Mexican blend
6 Tortillas (2 per quesadilla)
Additional 2-3 tsp. canola oil for frying the quesadilla

Directions:

Heat up the canola and sesame oil in a large pan.

Saute the chopped onions, garlic and ginger for about 3-4 minutes.

Add in the sliced seitan and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add in the kimchi and cook another two minutes.

Add in the soy sauce, sriracha and hoisin sauce and stir around so that everything is incorporated.

After a minute or two, remove from heat and set mixture aside.

Heat up the additional 2-3 teaspoons of oil in a fry pan.

Place your tortilla in the pan and layer some of the Daiya or shredded cheese then kimchi/seitan mixture then more cheese. Top with another tortilla and press down.

Let the bottom brown a bit and then flip over and brown on the other side. Each side takes just 2-3 minutes. When done, transfer to cutting board and slice in to wedges.

If you have some available, I highly recommend serving these quesadilla wedges along side some gochujang (Korean chili paste) as a dip.

Enjoy!

seitan-kimchi-quesadillas

Fresh Green Garbanzo Beans

I love finding new treats in my local grocery stores. We went to HMart this weekend for a post-Passover stock-up of all things Asian. It’s one of our favorite stores, and when we have time, we love to wander the aisles. We love discovering new food territory for our tastebuds. My husband was browsing the produce area when he quickly ran to get me. He excitedly handed me this lovely plastic package and asked if I could do anything with it. The package held some beautiful, fresh green garbanzo beans. I quickly became excited with all of the possibilities.

greengarbanzospackage

Green garbanzo beans are freshly picked and harvested, unlike the traditional canned or dried yellow/tan chickpeas you can find at the store. These green chickpeas are much sweeter than the traditional variety.

greengarbanzos1What to do first? I rinsed off a bunch and plucked a few green chickpeas out of their shells and popped them in my mouth. Yum. They had a nice nuttiness and tasted very similar to fresh English peas.

I decided to sauté them in their shells and eat them like edamame. Spicing them with some sea salt, cumin and a bit of red pepper flakes. It definitely brought out the chickpea’s natural flavors and made it perfect for snacking. These were very addictive and would be perfect for serving with cocktails before a  meal.

I have a couple cups of the garbanzo beans left and looking forward to playing with them further.


Fresh Garbanzo Beans (Green Chickpeas)

Ingredients:

2 cups Fresh green garbanzo beans in their pods
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. cumin
additional sea salt – to taste

Directions:

Heat up a large saute pan with olive oil.

Throw in the garbanzo beans and the spices and stir a bit. Let the beans char a bit.

Cook for a few minutes, stirring to incorporate the spices.

Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish to cool

Sprinkle with a bit more sea salt.

Squeeze the bean pod in to your mouth and eat like you would edamame, discarding the shells.

Enjoy!

beans

Passover Breakfast Muffins

Our Passover morning changed one year for the better. I can’t pin point exactly what year it was, but it was the year that my mom’s close friend Phyllis started to bring us muffins. Until that year, we were stuck with matzoh for breakfast  – or those eggy popovers. That magical year though, Phyllis brought us an amazing assortment of muffins. They tasted so good that we questioned whether or not they were actually kosher for passover.

openmuffin

Over the past few years that I have been making Passover in my own home, those muffins have been a staple. My kids depend on them. We have experimented with different add-ins, but the base has stayed the same. They mix up pretty quickly and everyone is happy.



Passover Blueberry Muffins (recipe from our good friend, Phyllis C.)
Recipe makes almost 2 dozen muffins

Ingredients:

2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup cake meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 cups blueberries or other mix-ins (we also love strawberry, raspberry chocolate chip, banana chocolate chip)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 for a standard oven and 375 for a convection oven.

Sift together the dry ingredients in small bowl – the potato starch, cake meal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a mixer, cream the softened butter with the sugar.

Add 2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape the bowl as you go.

Slowly mix the  dry ingredients in to the eggs/sugar mixture. Fold in the  2/3 cup yogurt.

Let stand in fridge for 15 minutes.

Line muffin tins with paper muffin liners.

Place a tablespoon of muffin batter into each cup.

Mix you mix-in in to the remaining batter.  Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full with blueberry batter.

muffinbatter

Bake at 400 degrees in a preheated, conventional oven or 375 in convection oven for 20-25 minutes, or until done.

lotsofmuffins

The Muffins freeze well. Makes 20 to 24 muffins.

muffin

*If you are looking for something gluten free or non-gebrokts for Passover, I highly recommend these muffins over at My Wife the Chef.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

One of the first cakes I ever made, that didn’t come from a box, was a coffee cake. It was snowing in New Jersey and we were stuck indoors. We decided to warm up the house with some baking. Being a non-baker, I had none of the ingredients. I crawled my way through the snow to the store at the foot of our housing development. I picked up whatever was needed and headed home to bake. That cake was awesome! Ten-and-a-half years later, and I still don’t bake too many cakes. I can handle cookies and brownies, but not cakes.

I had some plain yogurt that needed to be used up. I decided to pull out that wrinkled coffee cake recipe and adapt for what I had on hand. While I am not a cake fan, I love coffee cake. The cinnamon-sugar middle and topping…yum! I decided to up that yum factor with some chocolate chips. You can’t go wrong with chocolate!

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Cake Ingredients:
1 stick of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup plain yogurt (can also use sour cream)
2 tbsp. half and half
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips




Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and eggs. Add in the vanilla, half and half and the yogurt.

In a smaller bowl, mix up the dry ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan and dust with flour.  
Spread half of the batter in to the pan. 
Sprinkle half of the topping ingredients over the batter.
Spread the rest of the batter over this.
Add the rest of the topping ingredients.
Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 or until done.
Cool for 30-45 minutes. Slice and serve.
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Enjoy!

Snackin’ Granola

I need to be honest right from the start and let you know that I didn’t intend for this recipe creation to become this granola snack. I really intended this to become granola bars similar to what my kids eat from Trader Joe’s.

I had all of my ingredients laid out and the best intentions. I even promised my older daughter that she would get the first taste. Alas, the bars didn’t hold together too well. I must not have had enough moisture in the granola mixture. So this became some mighty fine snackin’ granola. Similar to what you can find in those big tubs at Costco. My friend graciously refers to this mixture as “Costco Crack.” It really is addicting as a snack. Would also be great as a yogurt topping.

Snackin Granola
Ingredients:

4 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp. chia seeds
3 tbsp. flax seeds
2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350.

In a huge mixing bowl, mix up all of your dry ingredients.

In a small sauce pan, warm up the honey and the peanut butter. Stir together until it is all melty.

When melted, pour the mixture over the granola mixture. Mix it well.

Press in to a rimmed cookie sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Check at 15 to make sure that it isn’t burning.

Let cool for 10 minutes.

Break up in to clusters.

Enjoy!

Roasted Chickpeas

Behold – the humble can of chickpeas. Only 89 cents. So cheap, and what lies beneath is so so rich.

Have munchies on a Saturday night? This can of chickpeas can achieve greatness. So much greatness, you will wish you had three cans of chickpeas to go around.

Back in college, during a visit to my aunt in Maryland, I was introduced to these crunchy, roasted chickpeas. As a snack – it was so good. I assumed that it was a Moroccan treat and I was in on some awesome snack food secret.

To my dismay – everyone’s doing it. Everyone’s eating these crunchy treats. Probably because it’s so cheap and easy to make.

Roasted Chickpeas
Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt
cumin, curry, or other spices (you can play with the flavors on this one)

Preheat the oven to 400.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Place the chickpeas on a sheet pan and roll paper towels over the chickpeas to remove the skins.

Toss chickpeas with olive oil and spices.

Bake for around 30-40 minutes  – until browned. 

Sprinkle with salt when done. Serve.

Enjoy!

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