Savory Corn Cakes and Guacamole

27 Jan
Absent only the margarita

Absent only the margarita

Late, I know. I’ve been beset by a crippling case of torpor this week, though, on account of being between jobs at the moment (ended one last week, start one next week). This resulted in the first stretch of days in oh-so-long that I’ve had completely to myself. Thus, I’ve been rendered in a state of relaxation so severe that it made something like returning a Redbox movie seem suddenly onerous. (Returned the movie, unwatached, 4 days late–$4, no entertainment value.) Excuses, excuses. Anyway, here we are.

Regarding the cakes, I have to start by saying the savory was calling to me last weekend. I scrapped plans I had for sweeter decadence and instead made haste for some corn cakes about which I had been noodling for a spell. Really, I had wanted to wait on these until summer when I could get some real Iowa sweet corn and do them up right. But I wants what I wants, and these were it.

I knew going into these that my wife and I would likely be flying solo with them. The recipe is one to be stocked away for the boy, ready for him to call upon in his own adulthood when a little taste of Mexico is all that will scratch those taste buds’ itch. He may enjoy a future modified version of these–which I fully plan to do–but these had more spice than he likes at this time. Baby.

My absolute favorite part of preparing these was how freely the creative juices flowed. I punted completely on the crossover potential, as you’ll see below. That’s because there’s really no end to it. Different kinds of veggies, various preparation methods, toppings and accoutrements galore—this isn’t the last you’ll see of the corn cake in this space, to be sure. And hell, it’s just now that I’m realizing the opportunity lost in not trying out my own margarita recipe and including that in the spread. That was irresponsible and will not happen again. My son deserves better.

Since it is winter, my ingredients were not as fresh as I’d like them, and the cakes would have been exponentially better had they been. I already mentioned the corn, but really most of the other ingredients, too, can be gathered from the farmer’s market when the weather warms once more. Consider this the mere beta stage of the corn cake, with more freshness, variety (and tequila) to populate future incarnations.

Onward.

Pants: Pants are for the gainfully employed.

Planning: Just had to think ahead to the ingredients I wanted so as not to be totally aimless in the store.

Gathering: Did I say I was going to think ahead? I didn’t, so the gathering was a clinic in grocery store free-floatery. I flitted hither and thither until I found the ingredients that grabbed me, moving on to a few local markets to check for fresh options before settling on frozen. My endeavors were mostly fruitless regarding that specific effort, though I found everything I needed.

Execution: Easy, though a bit lengthy. There was a fair amount of dicing, chopping, and mashing going on, all of which I enjoy heartily (with a cold cocktail and the right music behind me, that is). And that was with using packaged corn. I don’t know that I’d call this slow food, per se, but it certainly isn’t fast.

Results: Great. I may not be totally objective here, as I liked them by far the most. But still. Damn good.

Crossover Potential: Sweet, savory, toppings and sides ad infinitum–go wild.

The cakes recipe:

  • 1 heaping cup whole kernel corn (frozen, organic)
  • ~1/8 cup chopped cilantro (or more to taste, up to 1/4 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (organic)
  • 1/4 cup total of diced red and green bell pepper (organic)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (organic)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal (organic)
  • ~1/4 cup all-purpose flour, added slowly, just enough to hold mixture together (organic)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten (cage-free)
  1. Mix corn cilantro, peppers, and onion in large bowl
  2. Add in the rest of your ingredients, except the flour, and combine
  3. Begin adding flour by the spoonful, mixing as you go, adding only as much as you need so the mixture just holds together (not runny, though not dry like a dough)
  4. Preheat oven to 175 degrees, or engage warmer drawer
  5. Heat some olive oil in a pan; when hot, ladle cakes onto it as small as you would like them–using anything larger than a 1/4 measuring cup results in large cakes that are hard to make crispy
  6. Keep completed cakes in the warmed oven while you prepare the rest–make sure to keep the warming cakes in a single layer; that moistness that is retained by stacking sweeter cakes is not something you want with these
And the guacamole recipe:
  • 2 avocados (organic)
  • 1/4 cup tomato, diced (organic)
  • 1/4 cup total of diced red and green bell pepper (organic)
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • Juice of two squeezed lime wedges (organic)
  1. Mash avocado with a large fork to your desired lumpiness (I like chunks of avocado in the resulting mixture)
  2. Add in rest of your ingredients and mix all together with a rubber spatula

Note: We squeezed lime onto our cakes, and then topped them with salsa, sour cream, and what remained of the diced veggies (in addition to the guacamole.) 

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