Sandbread (or cornbread for the beach crowd)

This recipe not only tastes great but looks great when served with lobster or steamed clams.  If you don’t have blue corn meal (to make the “sand” effect), using all yellow cornmeal works fine–it just looks like traditional cornbread, which we also use this recipe to make.  This recipe is taken from the one printed in the original Silver Palate Cookbook, omitting the bacon.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 T unsalted butter (for greasing the pan)

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup blue cornmeal

1/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt (or a little more if using kosher salt)

1 cup buttermilk (or dried buttermilk powder added with dry ingredients and 1 cup water

1 egg beaten

6 T. unsalted butter, melted

PREPARATION:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Grease a baking pan that is 7×11 or 9×9 and is either glass or light metal.

3.  Melt the 6 T. of butter in a microwavable bowl covered to prevent greasy explosions.

4.  Mix the cornmeals, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (and buttermilk powder, if using) together until thoroughly combined.

5.  Add the melted butter, beaten egg and the buttermilk (or water).

6.  Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

7.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth a little.

8.  Bake in the center of the oven for 15 -20 minutes (depending on your oven) until the top is slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

9.  Cut into squares to serve.

Fritters – Corn or Otherwise

IMG_5757These corn fritters are lighter than most because they rely on beaten egg whites and are pan-fried in a minimal amount of oil, rather than deep fried.  They come together remarkably fast and cook very quickly. The recipe can be adjusted to use with any quick cooking vegetable, fruit or protein.  Specifically, small diced apples, small pieces of banana, or chopped shrimp will work. Anything that doesn’t cook quickly should be pre-cooked because they do not spend long on the stove top.

Fruit and corn fritters can be served with maple syrup on the side and corn or shrimp can be served with any kind of sauce or salsa that appeals from hot to sweet.

While this recipe serves two generously, it can easily be doubled or tripled for a group.  It is adapted from a recipe published  years ago in Martha Stewart Living magazine

INGREDIENTS:

2 ears of corn (about 2 cups)

3 eggs separated (you will use all the whites but only one yolk)

1 1/2 T. flour

1 t. cornstarch

1/2 t. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

vegetable or olive oil for pan frying

PREPARATION:

1.  Husk the corn and cut the kernels from the cob using a sharp knife.  Place the kernels into a bowl and, using the back of the knife, extract any extra liquid from the corn, letting it drip into the kernels.

2.  Add the egg yolk, flour, corn starch and pepper to the corn kernels and mix thoroughly.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat the three egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.

4.  Sprinkle the salt over the corn mixture then add the beaten whites and fold into the corn mixture gently until it is fully combined.

5.  Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium high heat and add 1-2 T. of oil.

6.  Using a soup spoon or similarly sized implement, drop spoonfuls of the fritter batter onto the hot griddle.  After a few minutes gently lift the corner of one fritter to see if the bottom is browned.  If so, using a spatula, quickly flip the fritter (note:  there will probably be some splattering, so try to flip the fritter as low to the pan as you can.)

7.  When both sides have fully browned, remove to a plate and serve with the syrup/topping of your choice.

Braised Pork Belly

We use this recipe in ramen, but you could use it anywhere a rich and flavorful slice of pork would raise up a dish.

INGREDIENTS:

1 to 1 1/2 lb. slab of pork belly, rolled with skin side facing out and tied in two places

4 scallions, or just use the greens from ramen if making

1 small onion (red or yellow), cut into eighths

2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, cut in half

2 1/2-inch slices of fresh ginger (or 4 pieces of dried ginger from Penzey’s)

6-8 whole black peppercorns

1/4 cup mirin

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup low- or no-sodium chicken broth

Additional water as needed to come about halfway up the pork (this will depend on the size of the pot used).

PREPARATION:

1.  The pork belly can be cooked either in the oven (at 275 degrees F) or in a heavy lidded pot on the stovetop over low heat.

2.  Place the scallions, onion, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, mirin, soy sauce and chicken broth in a heavy pot with a lid, add the rolled pork belly to the center of the pot and heat on the stovetop over medium high heat until just boiling.  Either transfer pot to the oven or reduce heat on the stovetop to low and cook for 2 to 3 hours until the fat has rendered and the meat is very, very tender. (Begin checking at about the 1 1/2 hour mark.)

3.  Remove to a cutting board and cover with foil.  Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes (and up to half an hour) before slicing.

4.  Strain the vegetables and seasonings out of the liquid and spoon as much fat off the top as possible.  Place the pot over high heat and reduce until the liquid becomes to a medium bodied sauce.

4.  Serve as the centerpiece of ramen with just a drizzle of the sauce, or over rice with stir fried vegetables or any other way you feel with as much of the sauce as you like (but taste first as the sauce can be salty).