Spicy Sweet Corn Fritters

September 28, 2011

I made these delicious spicy sweet corn fritters as a side dish to go along with my Chorizo & Cheese Empanadas. They were a perfect side, but I tell ya, I liked them so much I can see myself tucking in to a big plate of these fritters with maybe a nice salad on the side. They are very easy to prepare. I will mention that they are a bit difficult to shape into a patty. Keep in mind when you are preparing them that it will be a loose patty, but just handle it very gingerly, dip it into the panko and it will firm up once you get it into the pan and frying in the olive oil. The source for this recipe is a great blog, Gen Y Foodie. It indicated that the Sriracha sauce is optional. I suppose that is true if your taste buds are a bit sensitive and don’t like any food with a kick to it, but I assure you, it is not optional in my spicy loving house. For those of you who may not have run across this fabulous concoction before, Sriracha Sauce is a Thai hot sauce made of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic and sugar. It is sometimes also known as “Rooster Sauce” due to the picture of a rooster on the bottle.

Sriracha Sauce

It is gaining popularity in the US and Bon Appetit featured it as one of its “ingredients of the year” for 2010, so hopefully you’ll be able to find it in your local grocery store and give it a test drive. I suppose if you can’t locate a bottle you could use a mexican hot sauce, like Cholula or Valentina. Give these fritters a try the next time you want to spice up your meal!

Spicy Sweet Corn Fritters

yield:8-12 fritters

recipe slightly adapted from Gen Y Foodie

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, diced and divided
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp fresh cilantro, washed, chopped and divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • sriracha sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Cut kernels from fresh raw corn

Mix corn kernels, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and black pepper in a mixing bowl

Mix in beaten egg and flour, mix thoroughly

Take 2 tbsp of corn mix and shape into fritter

Dust lightly with Panko

In cast iron skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat

Cook corn fritters in skillet 3 minutes on each side

Between batches, wipe skillet with a paper towel and add 1 tbsp new olive oil

After cooking all fritters, transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Mix chopped avocado, 2 tbsp cilantro, 1/2 jalapeno and juice of 1/2 lime

Serve fritters hot topped with avocado mixture and sriracha sauce.


Spicy Chorizo & Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Cream

September 22, 2011

Let me just start off by saying “Dios Mio” these empanadas were fan-freakin-tastic! I am totally serious! I had never attempted to make empanadas before, but was definitely interested in them. They are essentially latino meat pies. I LOVE meat pies, no matter what country they spring from, be they Cornish pastys, bridies, peirogis, pot pies or calzones. All awesome and all grab my undivided attention the second they make their appearance! So it is no surprize that when I saw the recipe for Chorizo Empanadas over at Handle the Heat, I could not resist. I had always assumed that these delicious little pastries originated in Mexico/Central/South America. However, apparently empanadas trace their origins to Spain and Portugal. From there they were carried to Latin America and the Philippines by the Spanish and Portuguese colonists. Once introduced, each country added their own special regional flavours to the dish. Baked or fried, they are, ladies and gentlemen, the perfect comfort food. They are a bit time-consuming to prepare, however you can make the dough and filling up to two days ahead of time and leave the actual assembly of the empanadas for the day you plan to serve them. Then, while they are baking, you can just whip up the avocado cream sauce. Easy peasy!

These particular empanadas are baked. The crust is just a buttery perfection, the filling spicy and cheesy and loaded with good, old spuds! (Another big favourite of mine – no matter how they’re prepared.) They were unbelievably yummy right out of the oven and were also just as good – if not better – reheated a couple of days later. Though to be honest, I don’t know how they made it that long around here because they really were stunning. And if they weren’t good enough on their own (and they were) the avocado cream will put you right over the moon! Your really have to make this dish!

Oh and the other simply wonderful thing about this recipe is that I had quite a bit of that mouth-watering filling left over. You might think, “Hmmm. Well I’ll just cut the amounts in half.” No! Don’t do it!!! Make every bit of the filling as the recipe calls for, because it tastes great and you will be able to feast on it in other dishes you’ll prepare later that week. For instance, we made a Spicy Chorizo & Cheese Frittata:

Spicy Chorizo Frittata

As well as a very adventurous Cilantro Pesto Pizza topped with the Spicy Chorizo & Cheese filling.

Spicy Cilantro & Chorizo Pizza

I really must say, that pizza was really delightful. And yes….spuds do go great on a pizza! Who’d of thunk it? So don’t delay, get to making some empanadas today!

Spicy Chorizo & Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Cream

recipe very slightly adapted (I merely added some cheese) from Handle the Heat

yields: 20 empanadas

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • pinch paprika

Filling:

  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo, casings removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 2-3 medium Yukon gold potatoes (or other waxy potatoes), peeled, finely diced, and boiled
  • 1 cup mexican blend shredded cheese

Avocado cream:

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 avocados
  • kosher salt

Directions:

For the dough:
Heat water and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter has melted. Let cool slightly. Mix flour, salt, and paprika in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour melted butter mixture into flour mixture and mix with your hands until you get a wet, oily dough. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
For the filling:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chorizo, breaking apart into small pieces, then add onion. Saute until chorizo is cooked through. Turn off heat, add diced and boiled potatoes, and let cool completely.
To assemble:
While the filling is cooling, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment. Tear off pieces of dough to roll about 20 golf-sized balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough balls on a lightly floured surface into 5″ circles. Place 2-3 tablespoons of cooled filling into the center of each dough circle. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the filling. Fold dough over filling and cheese to make a half-moon shape and press edges firmly to seal. Crimp with the back of a fork. Place empanadas on baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
For avocado cream:
While the empanadas cool, place sour cream, half and half, lemon juice, and jalapeno in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Peel, pit, and dice the avocado and add to blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt. If not serving immediately, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, pressing plastic onto the surface of avocado cream to prevent browning.
Enjoy!

Original Sin Bars

September 16, 2011

Now we’re talking baby! Original. Sin. Bars. This is my kind of treat. Yummy, crunchy, peanut buttery base topped by some decadent, rich chocolate and then alluringly dusted with flaky sea salt. You will find that these bars are an exquisite sweet and salty bliss. I know that Eve was most tragically, tempted by an apple. Well all I can say is that the Old Serpent behind that infamous enticement must not have given her the choice between an apple or one of these Original Sin Bars. Believe me…there is no contest…and  I say this even though my favourite fruit is the apple. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I definitely appreciate the fruit based desserts. They have the potential to be phenomenal when there is lovely fresh fruit to be had. I’ve certainly posted a good number of those seasonal, fresh fruit recipes here. You see, my husband LOVES the fruit desserts. He would pick a crumble, cobbler or buckle over any chocolaty treat offered up. Me? I’m all about the peanut butter. Of course adding chocolate to the mix certainly doesn’t hurt, but you can often find me and my pup Gimlet in the kitchen eating peanut butter right out of the jar! (Chill out! We aren’t sharing the same spoon….usually…)

I guess what I’m saying is that I fear that the Old Viper might give me quite a run for my money if he were to attempt to enact some terrible snare upon me by provocatively dangling one of these bars before my eyes. Lord, Give me strength! The good news is that you can achieve the divine taste of these bars rather effortlessly, no dire challenge required. In fact, I whipped up some of these scrumptious treats in no time for my dear pal’s birthday celebrations, just a short time ago. He (whose name I will withhold) also loves the good old peanut butter / chocolate combo. And for some reason, when I was sorting through my recipes, thinking of what dessert I might make to mark his day and saw the good ole “sin”  bars, he (and you know who you are…) just popped right to mind…Just kidding!!!…well, sort of….:) Anyhoo….give these bars a try the next time you’re feeling a bit naughty. You won’t regret it!

Original Sin Bars

recipe from Making Life Delicious

yield: 20 squares or so depending on how you cut them

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chunky peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (22 graham crackers ground up finely in food processor)
  • 4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar
  • 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • large pinch of kosher salt
  • Maldon Sea Salt to sprinkle over the top

Directions:

Line a 9 X 13-inch pan with aluminum foil.  Make sure the foil extends about 2 inches up past the two long sides of the pan.  You will use this extra foil later to lift the finished bars out of the pan before cutting.

Melt butter with peanut butter in the microwave, stirring until smooth.  Add the graham cracker crumbs, vanilla and powdered sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined.

Pat the peanut butter mixture into the lined ungreased 9 X 13-inch pan.

Melt the chocolate chips, butter and the pinch of salt in the microwave and stir until smooth.

Spread the melted chocolate mixture over the peanut butter layer.

Sprinkle Maldon Sea Salt over the chocolate layer.

Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes.  Cut with a hot dry knife.


Chocolate Merlot Cupcakes

September 7, 2011

So let me get this straight…I can satisfy both my wine and chocolate cravings with this one little cupcake? Well, probably not satisfy them,  that’s a bit optimistic no? But hey I love the concept of the boozy cupcake and everyone knows chocolate and red wine go oh so well together. And might I point out that the wine is not only in the cupcake, but also in the frosting. Joy!!! If a little is good, a little more would be ever so much better! So I just couldn’t rest until I gave these decadent little rascals a try. Luckily an “Ultra-Friend” of mine (you know who you are :) ) was having a birthday, so he ended up being my guinea pig. The cupcakes were fantastic – moist, rich, spicy and decadent. Not to mention, you really could taste the Merlot!

I made the full recipe for the birthday celebration, so there were a few left over. UF (ultra-friend) reported back to me that the flavour actually improved with time (like most wine does I suppose…) and that they were even better the next day. I’m sure any full-bodied red wine would work well with this recipe, so if your UF prefers Cabernet or Zinfandel you could customize it for them. Hmmm….I think I might have just come up with an idea for some Shiraz Sinners! Stay tuned….

Chocolate Merlot Cupcakes

recipe from Life Tastes Like Food

yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Merlot
  • 2 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 Ounces dark chocolate, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with cupcake baking cups.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the eggs one at a time until everything is incorporated. Add the Merlot.

In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients together and then slowly add to the butter mixture.

Mix in the melted chocolate.

Pour batter into the cups, filling them about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Merlot Frosting

recipe also from Life Tastes Like Food

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups plus 6 Tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 9 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 9 Tablespoons butter
  • 10 Tablespoons Merlot wine

Directions:

Cream butter and slowly add the confectioners sugar. If you add the sugar too quickly, your icing will have a gritty texture.

Add the cocoa powder alternating one tablespoon at a time with the Merlot. Incorporate until the mixture is nice and fluffy.

Make sure cupcakes are completely cooled, and then using a frosting tip and piping bag, pipe frosting onto the cupcakes.


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