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Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Khan" Cakes (aka Corn Cakes)

In preparation for the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, some friends and I decided to have a Star Trek sleepover this weekend.  In case you were wondering, the answer is No, you can never be too old for a sleepover.  In honor of the occasion, we donned our finest Vulcan ears and indulged in some Star Trek-themed eatin's.

My cousin whipped up some delicious "Khan" Cakes for the occasion and since I'm still rolling with a spring veggie theme, I asked if she'd mind if I shared the recipe with you all and I grabbed some off-the-cuff photos.

For those who are not dedicated Trekkies, but fans of Earth-grown corn, I think you'll enjoy these just the same.  The sweet taste of the grilled corn goes really well with the fresh basil.  Not a combo I've tried before but now I'm hooked.

"Khan" Cakes
(aka Corn Cakes)

3 ears fresh grilled corn
1 (6 oz) pkg buttermilk cornbread mix
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Husk your ears of corn and wrap them each in aluminum foil with a dab of butter.  Cook them on a grill over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes for even cooking.

Remove from grill and unwrap from foil.  Let them sit for a minute to cool while you prepare the batter.

In a medium size bowl, combine the cornbread mix and water until smooth.  Fold in the fresh basil, then set aside.

With a knife, cut away the kernels from the ears of corn and add to the batter mix.

Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter for each corn cake onto a hot, lightly greased griddle.  You want to set your griddle on medium-high for this.

Cook the corn cakes for 3-4 minute per side, or until the top bubbles up and the edges look cooked.

Remove when both sides are golden brown.  Ready to eat!


If you don't have a grill, you can boil the corn, but I would recommend grilling if you can.

Boiling corn will actually leach some of the flavor from the veggie and you don't want to miss out on the sweet grilled taste of the corn.  A better alternative would be to microwave the corn instead.  Just wrap the corn in some waxed paper and cook on high for about 2-3 minutes.

Want to send a shout out to Dana and Mike for being excellent Federation hosts and to Jen for coming up with the recipe to share!  Eat Long and Prosper, my friends.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Honey Walnut Tarragon Carrots


So continuing with a spring side dish theme, here is another quick-n-easy veggie throw-together that is tasty and looks so fancy people will think you spent hours.

Honey Walnut Tarragon Carrots

2 cups chunky chopped raw carrots
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Put the carrot chunks in a medium-size saucepan and fill with water until carrots are covered. Or until no carrots are sitting on the bottom of the pan because they're going to float when you add water.

Bring water to a boil and cook carrots until they are just fork tender. Still get a bit of resistence but fork pierces them.

Drain carrots and return to saucepan.  Add in butter, honey, and tarragon until carrots are well-coated.

Fold in walnuts and serve.


By chopped carrot chunks I mean like this.  About 1 x .5" big.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Creamy Peas with New Potatoes

Spring has finally officially sprung in NC which means it's time to start enjoying fresh veggies from the garden...or farmers market if you can't have a veggie garden due to evil G-D deer. Ah, that would be Garden-Destroying. 

When I was sitting and looking out the window at the new greenery, listening to the birds, and enjoying the cool light breeze, I had a flashback to passages I used to read in the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" series where she described the excitement of early spring and looking forward to enjoying fresh peas and new potatoes from the garden, a real treat after a long winter of canned and jarred goods.  All of the sudden, I got a hankering for the same.

I love peas and this is a nice light easy to toss together side dish that's perfect this time of year.  The whipped cream cheese gives the sauce a nice super light, airy consistency.

Creamy Peas with New Potatoes

8 oz new potatoes (about 15 2" potatoes)
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas, shelled
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp fresh chives, minced

Scrub the potatoes and then cut them in half.  Cook them in boiling salted water until fork tender.  Once done, drain and set aside.

In a separate small pot, cook fresh or frozen peas in boiling salted water until they are tender.  Drain thoroughly and set aside.

In a small sauce pot (or newly rinsed and cleaned pea pot), whisk together whipped cream cheese and milk over low heat until blended.  Add in salt and pepper, then fold in chives.

Put together cooked potatoes and peas, then pour sauce on top and mix until veggies are well coated.

Serve while warm and enjoy.


I used Philadephia brand whipped cream cheese which is very, very whipped and light.  If you go with a store brand, make sure it's cream cheese and not a cream cheese spread.

Just a note, the sauce will set up a little when it starts to cool, but it doesn't get (or shouldn't get) clumpy.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Check It Out: Cake Wrecks

If you've never seen this blog and you enjoy sarcasm and baking mishaps, then you need to give it a look-see. Cake Wrecks: when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong" is a hoot-n-a-half and the perfect remedy for a down day. So from me to you, please enjoy a little brain candy.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A No Post Post

Had to pop out of town unexpectedly which also meant that I wasn't anywhere near my kitchen this weekend so no post tonight, but will have a fun Check It Out for you on Wednesday, I promise.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cornmeal Sage Thumbprint Cookies with Blackberry Jam

You know me, I love a good savory-sweet combo and found a new favorite with these cookies.  Sage and cornmeal go hand-in-hand nicely and sage pairs up well with blackberry or apricot so thought why not bring all these players together for a baking good time.  Cornmeal and sage may sound like an odd combo for a cookie, but trust me, they work almost too well together (read: highly addictive).

For my thumbprint fill I decided to go with a homemade blackberry jam I picked up at the Farmers Market, but you could just as easily use an apricot marmalade or maybe even try a cherry compote.

Cornmeal Sage Thumbprint Cookies with Blackberry Jam

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 cups flour
2 tsp rubbed sage (dried, crumbled) or 2 tbsp fresh minced sage
1/2 cup fruit jam (approximately)

With a mixer, blend together butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla until fluffy and light.

Add cornmeal to the bowl and combine until well mixed.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and add in flour and sage.  With a wooden spoon, or other sturdy implement, stir everything until it just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a rolling mat and knead until smooth.  Once you get the dough together, let it rest for a few minutes.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  You want to leave some space between dough balls, but no need to leave a lot because the cookies don't spread while they bake.

Using a spoon, or your (washed and cleaned) thumb, press a little dent in the middle of each cookie and then fill the dent with the jam of your choice.

Bake for 13-14 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned on the bottom.

Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a cooling rack.  You want to be careful to let them cool a few minutes before popping them in your mouth only because the jam is going to be VERY hot when you pull it out of the oven.

These cookies make the perfect date for a cup of coffee (or tea).

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Good and Good for You: Sage

In theory, spring has sprung...and I only say in theory because I live in North Carolina and the season/weather kind of changes from day to day.  But in any case, it's the time of year to start planting gardens and to look forward to enjoying fresh herbs and veggies.

When I bought my house I planted a couple of sage-lings in the herb garden and every year since then they've thrived and grown into semi-large bushes with that produce more sage than I know what to do with.  And that got me to thinking, what can I do with sage?  I've used it when cooking pork dishes before but since a little bit of sage goes a long way, I thought I'd investigate other options.


As with many herbs, sage started out as a medicinal herb.  In fact, the word "sage" comes from the Latin salvus meaning "to save."  The oils and tannins in sage made it both an antiseptic and astringent. 

Brewed as a tea, it can help sooth a sore throat and calm the nerves.  You can also brew it and cool it to use as a gargle that can help with canker sores (mouth sores or ulcers).

Sage is both an appetite stimulant and digestive aid.  Which makes sense considering it's anti-inflammatory properies.  It's been recommended in some instances for those who suffer from inflammatory conditions like asthma or rheumatoid arthitis.  It is also supposed to be good for relieving abdominal cramps and reducing hot flashes in menopausal women.

Sage is listed among the top ten herb and spice sources of antioxidants which help neutralize cell-damaging free radicals.  In case you were wondering about the other nine, they include allspice, basil, cinnamon, cloves, lemon balm, majoram, oregano, peppermint and thyme.  Some herbalists believe that sage is a memory enhancer and it is also believed that a sage rinse will return some color to white or gray hair.  These may be some of the reasons why the ancients believed sage was tied to immortality.

The ancient Greeks used to use sage as a way to preserve meat.  In Medieval times, sage was used primarily as a culinary herb and was used in sauces and stuffings with fatty meats like pork, duck, and goose.  Something in its chemical helps break down the fats and make them easier to digest.

In Italy, sage is sometimes lightly fried with olive oil and served with ham or veal.  I like to use fresh sage in saltimbocca.  In Germany and Belgium, sage is added to eel and other oily fish dishes and in the Middle East it is generoulsly added to salads.

Sage is available almost year-round and can be used fresh, rubbed (crumbled), and ground.  Sage has a strong flavor so you don't want to go overboard when using it.  Fresh sage can be wrapped in a papertowel and stored in the fridge for up to four days.  Rubbed or ground will keep in a tightly closed container in a cool dark place for up to six months.

So my sage advice?  Try it out, it's a great herb and a healthy addition to any meal. :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

March Meatloaf Madness #3

We now return to our regularly scheduled posting.  For your consideration and experimentation, may I present the last of our top three March Meatloaf Madness recipes.

Since I'd put together the other two recipes, Guinea Pig Mom helped out by making up this one for us for us.  The Parental review?  Very moist, very tasty, and disappears to quickly.  (I believe that Guinea Pig Dad may have had a big hand in making that happen.)

Chuck’s Old School Meat Loaf
Spin off of Betty Crocker’s 1969 recipe
1-1/2 lbs Sweetbay Supermarket “meatloaf mix” (includes 1 lb beef, 1/4 lb veal and 1/4 lb pork ground together)
3 slices whole wheat bread, cubed
1 cup milk
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup minced onion
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp sage
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup BBQ sauce, for coating
Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
Spread in an ungreased loaf pan.
Spread your favorite barbecue sauce over meatloaf before baking.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours.


Since we don't have a Sweetbay Supermarket or find any meatloaf mix blend available, Mom bought the ground beef, ground veal, and ground pork and mixed them together herself.

Mom chose Jack Daniel's Hickory Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce for her sauce of choice.

Did I mention there were little to no leftovers?  In the K2 family, that equates to an enthusiastic two forks up.

Shout out of super thanks to the Parentals for helping out with this post!  You're the best, Mom. :)