Friday, May 17, 2013

Vegetarian Mexican Corn Cakes

Continuing with our celebration of healthy and fresh Mexican food, here is a vegetarian dish of corn cakes.  Light and fluffy, these go great with Avocado and Papaya Salad for a meatless dinner.  For some additional spice and flavor, add a half of chopped jalapeno!

1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 tbl butter
1/2 cup of flour
4 tablespoons of cornmeal
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of cumin
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups of corn (if frozen, thaw)
1/2 cup of pepper jack cheese
sour cream and salsa for topping

1.  Melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and pepper (and jalapeno for spice!) and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.

2.  Mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and cumin in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until blended.

3.  Add the onion/pepper, corn and cheese to the large bowl.  Stir to blend.

4.  Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Spray with cooking spray.  Drop 1/4 cup of the mix on the frying pan and cook until crisp (about 3 - 4 minutes).

5.  Flip and cook the cake on the other side.  Serve hot and top with sour cream and salsa!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Avocado and Papaya Salad

A great compliment to a spicy Mexican dish is a sweet, juicy side salad to balance out the heat.  This avocado and papaya salad is healthy and super easy to make.  As an alternative, dice the ingredients for a twist on dip/topping for chips. 

2 avocados, ripe
1/2 papaya
1 lime
sea salt

1.  Cut two ripe avocados in half (ripe avocados are dark skinned and are tender when pressed).  Remove the pit.  Slice the inner flesh into strips. 

2.  Cut a ripe papaya in half (I usually buy mine 3 days in advance to ripen in the kitchen.  They are ripe when the skin starts to turn yellow). 

3.  Remove the papaya seeds from one half.  Remove skin with a peeler or knife.  Slice lthe short side into strips.

4.  Arrange avocados and papaya slices on a plate.  Sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt.

5.  Cut a lime in half.  Squeeze lime sections over the avocados and papaya.  Serve with spicy food!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Caramel and Coconut Flan

Cinco de Mayo has past, but that doesn't mean the celebration has to end!  My next few blog posts will be dedicated to simple, fresh Mexican food that you can make all month long celebrating the flavors of summer. 

So many times I go to eat at Mexican restaurants and fill up on chips, sauces, and cheese and by the end of the meal I am so full that dessert is not an option.  So my first post will be dedicated to what I always miss -- dessert. 

My suggestion for a Mexican dessrt is flan.  Rich and creamy, it's a wonderful way to end a meal.  This recipe (adopted from Bon Appetite) brings together rich caramel and flavorful cococut for a decadent flan.  And, as an added bonus, it can be made the night before having guests over for dinner! 

1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup whipping cream
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup purchased caramel ice cream topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Separate eggs so you have 6 egg yolks (easiest way is to crack the egg, put the yolk in your hand, and the let the whites drip through your fingers).

2.  Combine coconut milk, whipping cream, sugar, caramel topping, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl.  

3.  Add egg yolks to the bowl and whisk together until smooth.

4.  Place six ramekin cups in a 9x11 baking dish.  Pour liquid in to the ramekin cups.  Pour hot water in the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  

5.  Place in the oven and cook for about one hour until the tops are golden brown and the flan is firm and set in the center.

6.  Remove from water bath.  Place in the refrigerator to cool for 3 hours.  Cover with foil overnight.  Serve the next day!