Corn Fritters

Corn Fritters 4

This was my husband’s one request for his birthday party (I know, a bit weird, right?). However, it ended up being easy to make (I made them during the day, and heated them up in the oven when everyone arrived) and served them with chili. They weren’t as fluffy as the photos in the magazine, but almost all were gone, so I guess they were a hit!

Corn Fritters

Source: Fine Cooking No. 100

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt; more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c. fresh corn kernels, coarsely chopped (from about 1 large or 2 small ears of corn) — I used canned corn, drained
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. In another smaller bowl, whisk the milk, sour cream, and eggs.

Add the egg mixture to the flour and cornmeal mixture, stirring with a rubber spatula until combined. Stir in corn.

Corn Fritters 1

Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes, while you heat oil in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat… Oil should be about 1/2 an inch deep.  (If you need to keep the fritters warm, preheat oven to 200°F.)

When oil is hot (it should sizzle when you drop a bit of batter in the oil), use a tablespoon (or mini-ice cream scoop) to drop balls of batter in the oil. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan – Fine Cooking recommends 3-4 fritters at a time, I cooked 5-6 at a time. Stove should be set to medium-low heat so the fritters cook gently. When browned on the bottom (1-2 minutes), flip the fritter over (using a slotted spoon) and cook another 1-2 minutes, again until golden brown.

Corn Fritters 3

Transfer fritters to a wire rack, set over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and allow to keep warm in the oven while cooking others (I didn’t keep them warm while cooking the others, but heated them up later

Transfer the fritters to a wire rack set over a baking sheet, sprinkle generously with salt, and keep warm in the oven. Continue to cook the remaining batter in small batches, adding more oil as needed to maintain the 1/2-inch depth.

Corn Fritters 4

Bailey’s Icing (for Chocolate Cupcakes)

This idea came from Annie’s Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes. However, since we had some little kids over, I needed to make sure there were some cupcakes for them. Sooo… boxed chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing on some, and Bailey’s Icing on others.

This recipe is supposed to be enough for 24 cupcakes… I made 2/3 of the recipe and had lots left over, so I’d recommend downsizing the icing, even for 24 cupcakes.

Baileys 2-1

Bailey’s Icing

Source: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes (p. 214)

Baileys 1-1 Ingredients:

3 sticks unsalted butter
1 lb. (4 c.) confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbs. Bailey’s Irish Cream liquer
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

    With an electric mixer, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth.

    Reduce speed and add confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time. Beat well after each addition, increasing the speed as you go. You’ll beat for about 5 minutes total.

    Add Baileys and vanilla until smooth.

    Keeps for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge (bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth before serving).

     

    Braised Beef Braciole

    This was a surprise for the hubby, a romantic dinner for two after a long week. Even used the good China!

    Bracoile 3-1

    A bracoile is an Italian dish — essentially flank steak rolled up and pan-seared with a tomato sauce. Bracoile can be served over pasta, with a good piece of bread as a sandwich, or even as an appetizer if sliced thin. My bracoile was served as a main dish.

    Before you start this, make sure that your dutch oven is ready to go (mine was rusty and I had to re-season it before using… my fault, I’m a slacker and had been procrastinating on that).  Secondly, be aware, that you probably want at least 2 hours to make this — you have the prep work (minimal), searing the meat, browning the onions, and then cooking for 1 1/2 hours.

    Braised Beef Bracoile Stuffed with Basil and Fresh Mozzarella

    Source: Fine Cooking, Big Buy 2009 (p. 34)

    Ingredients:

    • 1 2-lb flank steak
    • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 1 c. shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
    • 1/3 c. bread crumbs (I used Italian breadcrumbs)
    • 12 large basil leaves, torn into pieces (I used pre-chopped basil I had frozen in water from my summer garden)
    • 1/4 c. olive oil
    • 1/2 c. red wine
    • 1 – 28 oz. can (3 cups) whole tomatoes and their juices, pureed (see note below)
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
    • 1 onion, sliced in slivers
    • Orzo (optional, see note below and step #6)

    Note: I forgot to puree the whole tomatoes, so I just broke them up in the pan after cooking for a little while minutes. Next time, I’ll probably just use crushed tomatoes.

    Directions:

    1. On a large cutting board, slice the steak lengthwise along one side. It’ll look like you are opening up a book. Season all sides with salt and pepper.

    2. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, bread crumbs, and basil. You may want to use a mini-food processor to combine mixture. Place stuffing inside beef and roll it up, lengthwise, jelly-roll style, with the mixture inside. Secure roll with cooking twine or toothpicks.

    3. Heat half the oil in the dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add rolled steak, searing on all sides. Transfer to plate.

    4. Add rest of the olive oil and onions. Season with a bit of salt. Cook until slightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and red wine, cooking until wine reduces (about 2 minutes). Add pureed tomatoes and red pepper flakes; bring to a boil.

    5. Nestle steak in the pan, among the sauce. Add mushrooms. Reduce heat and cover, cooking until meat is tender and can be easily cut with a pearing knife, about and hour and a half. Stir and rotate meat occasionally.

    Bracoile 1-1

    6. Since I forgot to puree the tomatoes, my sauce was much more liquidy than the thick tomato sauce that was supposed to go with this recipe. In the last few minutes of cooking, I added orzo pasta to the sauce as my accompaniment.

    7. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

    Bracoile 2-1

    Barefoot Contessa’s Company Pot Roast

    The original Barefoot Contessa recipe was meant to serve 8, with a 4-5 lb. beef chuck roast. Since I made this for just me and the hubby, I tried to half the recipe, which is reflected below.

    The meat was wonderfully tender, the fall-apart kind that I never seem to be able to get. The sauce was slightly sweet and a wonderful compliment to the beef. I think in the future, I’ll probably puree the sauce part way through cooking, so that I can add some potatoes to the pot.

    Barefoot Contessa’s Company Pot Roast

    Source: Ina Garten, published in Back to Basics and on the Food Network

    Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

    • 1 (2-3-lb) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • All-purpose flour, for dredging and 2 Tbs. for finishing the sauce
    • 4 Tbs. olive oil
    • 1 c. chopped carrots (2 carrots)
    • 1 c.  chopped yellow onions (1 onion)
    • 1 c. chopped celery (2 stalks)
    • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    • 1 c. good red wine, such as Burgundy
    • 1 Tbs. brandy
    • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
    • 1/2 c. chicken stock, preferably homemade
    • 1/2 chicken bouillon cube (cut it with a very sharp knife!)
    • 2 branches fresh thyme
    • 1 branches fresh rosemary
    • 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 325 F and heat a Dutch oven on the stove, medium heat.

    Dry beef and season generously with salt and pepper. Dredge the roast in flour, so that the entire roast is completely covered.

    When Dutch oven is hot, add 2 Tbs. olive oil and heat. Add roast and sear on all sides (including the ends) until browned, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate.

    Add 2 more Tbs. of olive oil to the Dutch oven and heat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, 1/2 Tbs. salt, and 1 tsp. of pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes. Add the wine and brandy and bring to a boil. Then add tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

    Tie the thyme and rosemary branches together with kitchen twine. Add to the pot.

    Put beef back into pot and bring to a boil.

    Move Dutch oven, covered, to the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

    Lower temperature to 250 and cook for another hour and a half, until meat is tender and a meat thermometer reads 160.

    Transfer roast to a cutting board.

    Remove herb bundle. Careful not to scrap the bottom of the Dutch oven, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until smooth.

    On the stove, heat sauce on medium-low heat. Add the butter and 2 Tbs. flour, stirring until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.

    Cut string from roast; slice roast and serve with sauce on top.

    Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

    Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

    I have never liked Martha Stewart, but I was given a copy of her Cupcakes book. I’ve been gradually testing out some of the simpler recipes, that didn’t require quite as many ingredients or as many hours on the icings.  🙂

    This one was pretty easy to make, particularly with a few adjustments. I’m making it for two different occasions, figuring that I could probably freeze any leftovers, as you would with a larger cheesecake purchased from a BJs or other store. Enjoy!

    Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

    Source: adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes (pg 99), also found online here

    Makes 24 cupcakes

    Ingredients:

    • 1  c. ground graham crackers (about 8 sheets)
    • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 1/2 c. plus 5 Tbs. sugar
    • 1 container (6 oz.) fresh raspberries or 4 oz. frozen raspberries
    • 2 lbs. of cream cheese, at room temperature
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

    Preheat & Prepare: Preheat the oven to 325. Prepare the muffin tins with paper liners.

    Make the Graham Cracker Crust: Combine graham crackers, butteNov 09 Rasp Cheesecake Cupcakes 002-1r and 3 Tbs. sugar in a small bowl. Mixture may seem dry, but that’s ok! Put about 1 tablespoon of mixture into each muffin cup and press flat. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool.

    Nov 09 Rasp Cheesecake Cupcakes 004-1Make the Raspberry Sauce: In a mini food processor or with an immersion mixer, puree raspberries until smooth, about 30 seconds. If using frozen raspberries, the mixture will be very thick – you probably won’t be able to get much juice out of it if you’re straining it. If using fresh raspberries, strain mixture with a sieve, keeping the liquid and discarding the solid parts.

    Stir in 2 Tbs. sugar and set aside.

    Make the Cheesecake: With a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar; beat to combine. Add salt and vanilla; beat to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, while keeping the mixer on.

    Pour a little over 1/8 a cup of the cream cheese filling in each of the prepared muffin tins. The mixture should fill the muffin cups about 3/4 of the way. Add half a teaspoon of the raspberry sauce (I used almost a full teaspoon of the frozen raspberries). Make a swirl with a toothpick.

    Nov 09 Rasp Cheesecake Cupcakes 010-1

    Cook: at 325 until the filling has set, about 30 minutes. Let cool.

    Refrigerate the cooled cupcakes for at least 4 hours, or up to 5 days in an airtight container.

    Nov 09 Rasp Cheesecake Cupcakes 011-1