Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thai-Style Corn Pancakes

Corn Pancakes, Thai Style

Every time I pick up my copy of How to Eat Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, I think "I should cook from this more often." When we moved into our new house a few weeks ago, I randomly grabbed it from the apartment to bring over, and for awhile it was the only cookbook here. I have about a million recipes marked with little post-it notes and this was one of them. I randomly opened the book to this page last week and decided to make them as soon as possible, which happened to be today for lunch.

They were a fantastic light lunch and would be great paired with a fresh, green salad. The Thai influence from the soy sauce and chilies was fairly subtle and I found serving them with a drizzle of soy sauce on top brought the flavors out. Bittman also recommends serving them with a fresh tomato or tomatillo salsa, cilantro pesto, or even maple syrup (although I'm not sure if that is a combination that I would like). They came together quickly and I definitely plan on making them again.

Corn Pancakes, Thai Style

Thai-Style Corn Pancakes
Adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian"

2 eggs, separated,
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped scallions (I didn't have any on hand so I used yellow onion)
1 tsp minced fresh chile, cayenne, or hot red pepper flakes to taste (I used 1 jalapeƱo)
2 cups corn, fresh from the cob or thawed frozen
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 tbsp butter or oil (I used peanut oil)

Corn Pancakes, Thai Style

In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, salt, black pepper (about 1/2 tsp), scallions, chile, corn, soy sauce, and flour.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the corn mixture.

Corn Pancakes, Thai Style

Heat the butter or oil on a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon dollops of the batter on the skillet and cook until nicely browned on one side. (I cooked 3 at a time, the first batch took 4 minutes to brown and the rest were done much quicker). Flip and brown the other side. Serve immediately.

Makes 10-12 small pancakes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bouchons Au Thon

A Homemade Life

It was just a few weeks ago that I posted about the (never home)maker's Foodie Book Club. I am so excited that this month's selection was A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette that I couldn't help but get an early start with a sneak peek mini-review. Plus, I've been wanted to try this recipe for awhile and I couldn't wait any longer!

I first read this book last summer and I loved it so much that when my copy was ruined after accidentally landing in a muddy puddle, I immediately went out and bought another. Each chapter is a short vignette of Molly's life, followed by a related recipe. She shares stories of her family and friends, living in Paris, and eventually meeting her husband through her blog. Her recipes are fantastic, and if possible, her storytelling is even better.

The story that accompanies this recipe is about college and studying abroad. Molly starts by saying "I am one of those people for whom college was just okay. I liked my classes and my professors and the peopel I met there, but I never felt completely at home. I always imagined college as a place where I would tumble, not unlike Alice falling down the rabbit hole, into some sort of lovely, wacky, self-contained world." I couldn't relate more. College was great, but it wasn't quite how I'd pictured it and by senior year, as everyone else was feeling nostalgic, I could. not. wait. to get out of there.

Molly's unmet expectations inspired her to spend a semester in Paris. Her host mother sold and tested silicone baking equipment and this was one of the many recipes she prepared in her silicone molds. Molly describes them as having "a texture somewhere between the filling of a quiche and a freshly made country pate." To me, they are kind of a cross between a tuna-version of the meatloaf cupcakes I made earlier this year and a cheese souffle. They were so delicious I ended up eating four of them.

I am planning on posting another mini-review and recipe at the end of the month along with the rest of the book club, but for now, enjoy these!

Bouchons Au Thon
(I hate photographing on these yellow plates, but they are all I have. I am hoping to have a lovely cream set after the wedding this summer that will hopefully look a lot nicer!)

Bouchons Au Thon
From Molly Wizenburg's A Homemade Life

One 6oz canned tuna (either solid white or chunk light)
1 cup shredded Gruyere
1/3 cup creme fraiche*
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp chapped parsley
1/4 tsp salt

*I must admit, I used to be scared for creme fraiche. I wasn't sure exactly what it was or where to find it, so I avoided it altogether. Then I found out it is incredibly easy to make. The day before you want to use it, combine 1 cup of heavy creme and 1 tbsp buttermilk (I put it in a jam jar). Let it sit out at room temperature for twenty-four hours, then refrigerate and use within ten days.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease 8 cups of a muffin tin.

Drain the can of tuna and put it in a medium bowl. Mash it with a fork to break it into dime-sized or smaller pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined.

Bouchons Au Thon

Divide the mixture among the 8 muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for five minutes and then run a knife around the edge of each bouchon to remove it from the pan and serve. They can be served warm or at room temperature, but I prefer warm.

Bouchons Au Thon
(The lovely oven in my new house)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Roasted Rhubarb with White Wine

Rhubarb and White Wine
(I think this was taken before it was cooked, because it looks nothing like that now. I must have been too excited to eat it. Oops.)

My friend Alex had been waiting very impatiently for rhubarb to arrive in the produce section. When she first mentioned her intense need for rhubarb right-that-minute, I thought "Hmm, yes, rhubarb is good, but I can wait." It wasn't until I read Molly's latest post on Orangette that I needed it.

A week or so later, Alex and I walked into the store and she exclaimed "Look!" and then I yelped. I yelped. In public. Over rhubarb. One of the employees turned around to see if something was wrong, but just saw two girls excitedly stuffing produce bags with rhubarb.

There are only four ingredients, but making this recipe, for me at least, was way too complicated. I made it the day after we had started moving and it took 2 trips to the old apartment and one to Target to finally have all the equipment I needed. But that first rhubarb of the spring? So worth it.

Rhubarb and White Wine

Roasted Rhubarb with White Wine
From Orangette, adapted from Canal House Cooking Volume 3

2 lb. rhubarb, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the ingredients in a dutch oven or deep pan. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway. Serve warm or cold. I suggest serving it over vanilla ice cream.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Foodie Book Club: The Nasty Bits


I am taking part in (never home)maker's Foodie Book Club. The selection for the first month was The Nasty Bits By Anthony Bourdain. It is a collection of various essays and articles Bourdain has written. First of all, I'm going to admit I haven't finished the book, mostly because I've found myself unable to get into it. His writing is very raw and in-your-face and while I appreciate his personality and strong opinions, at times I felt like he was saying "THIS IS WHAT I THINK AND IF YOU DON'T AGREE, YOU ARE STUPID." I will also admit that while I am aware of Bourdain's existence, I have never seen his show or read anything by him before. Perhaps if I watched his show, his strong personality would be more endearing.

The two essays I found most interesting happen to be the same two that Ashley of (never home)maker mentioned in her review. "Are you a Crip or a Blood?" discusses the slow food movement, dividing the issue into two gangs: chefs who source their food from far off places without a second thought (the Crips), and the slow-food, Alice Waters-types (the Bloods). If you cannot tell, I am a Blood, 100 percent. I buy as much as my food as I can locally and support restaurants that do so as well. At first he calls himself a Blood, but then immediately states that he will purchase tomatoes from across the world that may have caused one person to develop cancer as long as they taste good, which to me is the absolute antithesis of the Bloods. As a chef, he wants to use the best ingredients he can find, which is understandable and I think there is a place for Crip-type restaurants, but I still prefer the Bloods.

I also really enjoyed his discussion of street food in other countries. In America, fast food is McDonald's or Taco Bell, food made with a million ingredients and chemicals and it is not. good. for. you. (And doesn't really taste good either). However, Bourdain points out that fast food in other countries is simple, flavorful, and made by an actual human right in front of you. I definitely wish that this type of fast food was more common here. I have seen pictures and read about the street food in Japan and China and South America and it makes me incredibly jealous that we are stuck with McNuggets when we want something quickly.

While I did find topics that interested me here and there in this book, overall it is not going on my favorites list. It focuses a lot more on the restaurant world, which is something I appreciate, but is not my main food interest. I love reading about personal relationships with food and home-cooking, which is why I am incredibly excited that next month's pick is Orangette's A Homemade Life. I have already read that book and am looking forward to going through it again because I have the biggest girl-crush on Molly Wizenburg and desperately want to be her best friend. Next month I promise a better review and a recipe to go with it!

If you want to join the Foodie Book Club, you can do so here: