Saturday, June 8, 2013

Corn Cakes

In theory, Q and I have two date nights a week.  One for just the two of us and one for us with one of the girls.  Our personal date nights most often consist of us going shopping for groceries or getting other things done that we haven't managed over the past week.  However, sometimes we even get dinner and one of the places we like to go is to the Cheesecake Factory.  Q usually gets the same thing, and I alternate between the Chicken Madeira (at least until I can successfully reproduce it - a work in progress and getting closer all the time) and trying new things on the menu.  Something I got recently was the Stuffed Chicken Tortillas, which comes with sides of black beans and a corn cake.  I decided that I needed to find a corn cake recipe, but I didn't really do anything about it.  Since the bear cub has had her tonsil and adenoidectomy, she has been really upset that she couldn't have any corn tortilla chips and so I thought making this might address her craving and still meet the 'only soft foods' requirement.  It also didn't hurt that the Greenling local boxes have fresh corn in them right now.

A Google search resulted in a knock off recipe here.  I changed the frozen corn for fresh (cooked in the pressure cooker) and used 2 cups of corn instead of 1 1/2 cups, but otherwise, I pretty much stuck to the recipe.  It resulted in a version that looked just like what I got at Cheesecake Factory, but was both a little grainy, a little sweet, and a little greasy.  The bear cub and Darth Baby both really liked it.

Since I had put 6 ears of corn (and a couple of smaller branch offs) in the pressure cooker, I had about four cups of corn, and I decided to see what this recipe would taste like if I took out the dairy.  I like to take the dairy out of my girls diet whenever I can, but I also don't have a lot of fake versions of dairy or other non-vegetarian items around, so instead of a fake butter, I used olive oil and instead of milk, I used a coconut/almond milk mixture.  I also used lessened the amounts.  My version doesn't look as appetizing, but even Q admitted that the texture and the flavor was better, though if I make it again, I don't think I'll use olive oil, but another oil choice because you can smell the olive oil in the finished product.

Here is the recipe I used for the second version:
1/3 oil or butter
1/3 masa harina
1/3 milk of choice
1/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups corn kernels (I just throw the ears in the pressure cooker with ~1/2 cup water and steam for 6-7 min.)

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix oil, masa harina, and milk well in a medium bowl.  Add corn meal, sugar, and baking powder and beat until smooth.

Drain the corn and chop in food processor.  Don't over process.  This is what mine looked like when I was done.

Add the corn to the batter and mix some more.  Spread into a container, cover with foil, and add to a water bath.  I put the containers you see above and some ramekins into a 9 x 13 pan and filled the outer pan with hot water about 1 1/2 inches of water.  Place into the oven for 60 minutes.  This isn't too long even for the small ramekins I used.

Remove from oven and uncover.  Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.  The Cheesecake factory then shapes into patties and pan fries them before serving these, but I didn't bother.  I'm thinking that next time I try these I might mix the batter in the food processor and add a chipotle in adobo sauce to the mix.

The nerdlet didn't eat more than 3 tablespoons, but her sisters have been more than willing to edge over to her plate and help finish her serving off.

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