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JalopenoCornbread_2215

This is the best Jalopeño Cornbread EVER.

Everyone has a favourite corn bread recipe, this one is mine. It came from an 80’s trendy restaurant called Fred’s Not Here in the theatre district in Toronto. I qualify that it was trendy in the 80’s because although it is still around, I haven’t been to it since the 80’s so I’m not certain it’s ‘trendy’ any more. I do know that the particular strip that this and many other restaurants reside on are fighting for their lives from being re-zoned and torn down to be made into condos. Like Toronto needs more condos; apparently we have the most condos under construction in all of North America, more than New York, Chicago and Boston, believe it or not. Even if you don’t believe that, surely you must believe that this is absolutely the best corn bread recipe EVER! It’s got great texture (thank you cheddar cheese), a slight sweetness and heat. What more can you want?

Originally posted on this blog in 2009 here, I found this recipe in the Toronto Star in the section that people wrote in and asked the Star to print a recipe from a specific restaurant. It wasn’t me who wrote in, obviously someone else also thought it was the best cornbread ever, so you needn’t take my word for it. I still have the original printed recipe. But I’ve immortalized it for you here and reposted it below because the original photo sucked. These are better.

Fred’s Not Here Jalapeño Corn Bread

Makes about 26 small corn-shaped corn breads. I have altered the original recipe, so if you’d prefer the actual Fred’s Not Here version, please click to my original post here.

JalopenoCornbread_2211

OK, you caught me, I didn’t have jalopeños, I only had hot Thai Chilies!

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cups finely ground corn meal (not corn flour)
  • 1  1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1  1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1  1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp finely diced jalapeños or hot chili peppers (or more if you really like it hot!)
  • 2 finely sliced green onions
  • 1  1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Sift cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir in the shredded cheese.
  3. Blend eggs, milk and oil in another bowl. Add the finely diced jalapeños and green onion.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients and stir well to combine.
  5. Spray your cast iron corn shaped pan with non-stick spray and pre-heat until smoking.
  6. Spoon batter into smoking hot moulds and bake for 25 minutes or until firm and golden.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh butter.

Notes:

  • In a pinch I’ve used dried chili flakes, it works very well.
  • You can substitute honey for the granulated sugar, but I haven’t tried it.
  • Keep your eye on the baking after the first couple of pans because the pan gets hotter; I had to reduce my baking time by a minute or so by the end.
  • Fill the cavity only to the top, this batter has a lot of leavening and will fill out very nicely.
  • I served it with this Sopa Azteca and it was very successful.
FredsNotHereCornbreadNut

Based on 1 cornbread.

FredsNotHereCornbreadWW

Based on 1 cornbread.

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We survived another Doran weekend; these weekend are full of gluttony, laughter and somewhat excesses but most of all, they are full of friendship, love and stories. And laughter, A lot of laughter. We decided to spend this weekend at the cottage because our dear friends hadn’t been up for quite some time, plus we wanted to share our new found excitment in the renovations with them! September weekend weather can be hit and miss and we had both this time around. Sunny or not, it was damn chilly and we had the heat on more than the windows open. Fall is definitely the the air. And as luck would have it, I forgot my shoes at home, so the majority of the weekend was spent in flip flops and borrowed socks, thank you T!

I always like to serve a little nibbly with cocktails; drinking on an empty stomach can be dangerous so when I came across these flavourful little nibbles, I was all over them. A touch of heat, a touch of sweetness and a lot of texture, these will surprise you with how easy they are to eat!

Spiced Nuts_0930

They are not sticky at all.

Honey-Spiced Almonds

Makes 3 cups (recipe adapted from Epicurious)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups whole almonds, skin on
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp black and white sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300° F (XXX° C). Line a baking sheet with a silpat® sheet or parchment.
  2. Sift the spices and salt together and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the almonds and roast for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the honey and stir well. Sprinkle the spices over the sticky almonds. Add the sesame seeds and stir well to combine.
  5. Turn out the almonds onto the prepared cookie sheet and flatten to one layer of almonds. Bake for approximately 15 minutes (watch so it doesn’t burn), turning at least once in the process.
  6. Cool completely and serve.
Spiced Nuts_0932

The sesame are a nice little touch.

Spiced Nuts_0933

The almonds crisp up very nicely.

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I totally agree.

I totally agree. And by ‘right’ I’m sure Ms. Midler is referring to pointy stiletto’s wouldn’t you say? (Charlie, Kristy, Liz and Lorraine?)

Speaking of shoes, my dear friend Monica was recently at Fallsview Casino and spotted this store that specializes in life-sized chocolate shoes. It’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven!

Chocolate Shoes...could life get any better?

Chocolate Shoes…could life get any better?

And coincidentally, we had Rae and Monica over for dinner and I always like to make something special when we have company so when I saw the recipe on Bam’s kitchen, I knew I HAD to try it. Bam made the entire recipe gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and egg free, but I didn’t have those restrictions so I improvised.

The flavours are subtle cajun and although you can add as much heat as you wish, I used fresh jalopeño chilies with the veins and seeds cut out to reduce the heat. The grilled pineapple adds a wonderful sweetness and the grilled jalopeño cornbread is a lovely base for the dish adding subtle smokiness from the grilling. I used an old favourite recipe for the cornbread, Fred’s Not Here Jalopeño Cornbread it packs a lot of flavour and the recipe can be halved easily — I didn’t do that because I wanted the extra. Also, for the night of the dinner party, I served 10cm (4 in) round cakes, but the muffin size is a much better proportion (hence my presentation in this post). Thank you Bam for the inspiration.

Cajun Grilled Shrimp with Grilled Pineapple and Mango Salsa on Grilled Jalopeño Cornbread

Serves 4

The flavours were complex but also worked very well together.

The fresh flavours worked very well together.

Fred’s Not Here Jalopeño Cornbread

Makes 12 regular muffin-sized cornbreads or four 10cm cakes plus 6 regular muffin-sized cornbreads

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 medium ground corn meal
  • 1 1/4 all purpose flour (I’m going to try using quinoa flour next time)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 red and 1/2 green finely diced jalopeños (if you like things spicy, add cayenne to your taste).
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Spray non-stick cooking spray generously into each muffin cavity.
  2. Sift cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. Blend eggs, milk and oil in another bowl.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  5. Fold in the shredded cheese, jalopeño and onion.
  6. Spoon to fill muffin cavity and bake for 25 minutes or until firm and golden.

Grilled Pineapple and Mango Salsa

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of salsa

Ingredients:

  • 3 thick slices of pineapple
  • 1 good size Mango
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red and 1/2 green finely diced jalopeños
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Dry off the pineapple and grill the pineapple until you get some good grill marks (takes about 10-15 minutes per side). Set aside to cool
  2. Dice the mango into 1 cm or 1/4 inch dice. Add the finely chopped red and green jalopeños, scallion, lime zest and lime juice. When the pineapple has cooled, dice it in a similar size to the pineapple, mix into the mango.
  3. Add the chopped cilantro just prior to serving. Serve cold.

Cajun Grilled Shrimp

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of cumin
  • dash of corriandre
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 16 large shrimps

Directions:

  1. Clean shrimp and remove the shell, leaving the tail intact.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the shrimp, marinate for about 1-4 hours (marinating too long will cause the acid of the lime juice to ‘cook’ the shrimp).
  3. Heat the grill to smoking hot! Grill the shrimp until no longer opaque. Keep warm.

Assembly:

  1. Cut the crown off the cornbread muffins so that both top and bottom are flat. Brush both sides lightly with softened butter.
  2. Grill corn bread muffins on both sides so good grill marks are achieved and it heats the cornbread through. Place one cornbread round on the centre of each plate. Add the chopped cilantro to the salsa and pile it on top of the cornbread, don’t worry if some fall to the side, it actually looks better that way.
  3. Mound the shrimp on top of the salsa and garnish with a little coriander leaf.

Notes:

  • Cornbread may be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.
  • Freeze left over cornbread for another occasion.
  • The salsa is fantastic on burgers, so save some for another time.
  • The cornbread tops can be saved in the freezer for another recipe, like stuffing!
This one had too much coriander garnish

This one had too much coriander garnish and not enough salsa on the plate

Actual Photo from the dinner party; bad lightling and perhaps a glass or two of wine made it blurry. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Actual Photo from the dinner party; bad lighting and perhaps a glass or two of wine made it blurry. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

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Firstly, I would like to add a disclaimer that Kristy from Eat, Play, Love Our Family Food Adventures is not paying me to blog about her recipes (unless she wants to, of course ;-)). It’s just that there are some recipes that click for me, and her choices are often those kinds of recipes. Recently she and the kids made a Piri Piri Shrimp, in a post called Heating Things Up that really caught my interest for a few reasons: garlic and lemon juice, heat and shrimp! Of course, JT and I are still on the low carb, sugar, fat diet for another day or so I’ve had to modify the recipe (not that it wasn’t unhealthy to begin with, it just did not fit the chemical profile we are restricted to). So Kristy, I hope you don’t mind, but I did change it up a touch, hopefully not altering the recipe’s taste. Thanks again for a another flavourful dinner (and incredible lunch the next day!).

Roasting the hot peppers doesn’t really take ALL the heat out of them.

Piri Piri Shrimp My Way

Serves 3 (dinner and 1 lunch, each 100 g protein)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Serrano chiles
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low sodium vegetable stock (I used vegetable stock as it is slightly sweeter than chicken stock, because I replaced the wine vinegar with white vinegar)
  • hand full of roughly chopped parsley
  • hand full of roughly chopped cilantro
  • 300 g (10.5 oz) uncooked, deveined, and peeled shrimp
  • lemon wedges (oops, I forgot)

I forgot the lemon wedges.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven on high broil. Cut the chile peppers in half (don’t bother removing the seeds and stems, they come off easily after roasting). Place the chiles on a lightly sprayed (with fat free cooking spray) baking sheet and roast until blackened, Kristy says about 10 minutes (I didn’t time it).
  2. Trim the stems and remove the seeds (the seeds are the really hot bits)
  3. In your immersion blender container, combine the chiles, garlic, paprika, lemon juice, vinegar, vegetable stock, parsley and cilantro and purée the ingredients until smooth.
  4. Pour 1/4 of the marinade over the shrimp, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 20 minutes, or up to 24 hours (see note).
  5. Heat a large cast iron grill pan on the BBQ (had to involve JT in the cooking, you know how it is). Spray lightly with fat free cooking spray and when hot enough, cook shrimp until done (pink both sides).
  6. Serve over greens with a few sweet red peppers drizzled with a bit more of the sauce (but reserve the remainder of the sauce because I have a GREAT IDEA for it for Saturday!)

Notes:

  • Citrus can cook seafood quite easily (ceviche is based on this) so if you do leave the shrimp marinading for more than a few hours, check it to see if it’s cooking (starting to turn pink). Otherwise you may end up with rubbery shrimp.
  • The Piri Piri sauce was INCREDIBLE — perfect for my taste, JT said it was OK, but perhaps he was just uninspired because the shrimp was served on greens (I live on greens so it was second nature to me) next time, I’ll serve his on Quinoa or Whole Wheat Couscous.
  • Roasting the peppers did not minimize the heat, so beware. I adore it and JT found it tolerable, but it could be too hot for some.
  • You may wish to add a teaspoon of agave nectar (or some red pepper coulis) to help subdue the heat, I did for JTs dressing but not for mine.
  • The sauce is definitely better the next day so you may wish to make it up in advance and let it sit. I used this sauce in a dish I prepared last Saturday for Cinco de Mayo.

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My friend Angela (Titanic dinner party) sent me this link. Her boys (the lovely stewards of the same party) said it reminded them of a play dough toy they once had. It is pretty gross so be warned if you’re squeamish! I’m not sure what disturbs me more, the video or the comments!

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo a wonderful holiday sadly not celebrated to any degree in Canada, in fact, it’s only been a few years that I have even heard of it, believe it or not. Being one who loves to celebrate, I thought, why not this lovely holiday? And it could and should be celebrated with celebration food, of course. Still watching my carbs, sugars, fats and such, I had to come up with a recipe that would work in this regime I am following.

Celebrate with Ceviche

Serves 1 (or multiply by the number of people you wish to serve)

A little Ceviche never hurt anyone!

Ingredients:

  • 100 g Shrimp, deveined, cleaned, tails removed
  • 1 tbsp mint, chiffonad finely
  • 1 tbsp green onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup celery, cubed
  • 1/4 cup apple, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, cubed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Piri Piri Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp red pepper coulis (or you can use honey or agave, but I am limiting my sugars)
  • 1 tbsp toasted shredded coconut (unsweetened, desiccated), plus a pinch for garnish
  • Arugula greens

Directions:

  1. About 3-4 hours before serving, chop the shrimp up into relatively even bits (this is so that they ‘cook’ in the citric acid evenly).
  2. Combine the mint, green onion, cilantro and celery together and mix well. Add about 2 tbsp of this mixture to the shrimp. Toss.
  3. Combine the lime juice and Piri Piri Sauce and red pepper coulis and mix well. Pour over the shrimp mixture and coat evenly. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until shrimp is opaque. You may wish to stir this from time to time.
  4. When the shrimp is totally cooked, add the remaining mint, green onion, cilantro and celery combo. Toss in the apple, toasted coconut and stir well.
  5. Garnish with the pinch of toasted coconut and extra hot sauce. Enjoy!

Tangy, sweet, crunchy, soft; it’s everything I dreamed of.

Piri Piri Sauce

(Inspired by Kristy at Eat, Play Love Our Family Food Adventure)

  • 1-2 Serrano chiles
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low sodium vegetable stock (I used vegetable stock as it is slightly sweeter than chicken stock, because I replaced the wine vinegar with white vinegar)
  • hand full of roughly chopped parsley
  • hand full of roughly chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven on high broil. Cut the chile peppers in half (don’t bother removing the seeds and stems, they come off easily after roasting). Place the chiles on a lightly sprayed (with fat free cooking spray) baking sheet and roast until blackened, Kristy says about 10 minutes (I didn’t time it).
  2. Trim the stems and remove the seeds (the seeds are the really hot bits)
  3. In your immersion blender container, combine the chiles, garlic, paprika, lemon juice, vinegar, vegetable stock, parsley and cilantro and purée the ingredients until smooth.
  4. Store in the refrigerator, you won’t regret making an extra large batch!

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