• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

    If you have anything you'd like me to consider (recipes to develop, shortcuts for recipes, great ingredients, or even blog formatting), shoot me an email and let me know!

    em570039@mycia.net

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    Check out my food journeys at An Appetite for Adventure!
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Cornbread

A super-cold weekend made me want to make a big pot of chili. And since I couldn’t just make chili (I’m a classic over-achiever and can’t resist surprising Matt with something extra), I made this very easy cornbread. No mixer required, and only 8 ingredients needed. It has a very light flavor (a little sweet, with a good texture) that makes it the perfect accompaniment to chili.

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Spiced Corn Soup with Sauteed Mushrooms

At the risk of sounding like a typical New Year’s Resolution maker, I am trying to eat healthier in 2010. Those of you who know me know I try to eat healthy at least most of the time (which makes it much easier and better when I go on a butter eating rampage). At any rate, as I often talk about, it’s easiest to make healthy food that’s delicious by working with it, rather than against it. It’s hard to make something healthy that inherently has a lot of cream or cheese or anything else in it – you’ll miss all that stuff too much if you eliminate it completely.

Corn is full of delicious starches, and in this pureed soup, it turns into a creamy, incredibly tasty soup. Combined with spicy peppers and savory sauteed mushrooms, it is unbelievably good (and also unbelievably healthy).

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Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole with Poblanos, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Corn, and Red Onions

This dish doesn’t sound like much. I say that because when Matt said this afternoon “Let’s make something simple for dinner” and I suggested this dish, he didn’t exactly jump up and down. It sounds basic, and maybe even dull. But what pushes something like this over the top (and always does) is really good ingredients and really good flavor. This seemingly simple casserole was bursting with flavor: poblano and bell peppers, sweet corn, moist chicken, and really good cheddar cheese. If you want to take something to the next level, insert flavor whenever possible in a dish like this, even if it means and extra step: roast the corn and the peppers, season the chicken with herbs and spices, or cook the rice in broth instead of water (which makes for an incredibly flavorful base). The end result was as satisfying as it was quick – and could easily be altered with all sorts of different ingredients to suit your taste.

Roasted Portobello Sandwiches with Corn-Tomato Puree and Cilantro

After making some of my mom’s salsa, I decided to try to use it in some new ways. I generally eat it plain – not even as a garnish. Generally, tortilla chips, cucumbers, and so on are merely delivery vehicles for the salsa. So I figured I’d shake it up a bit. I hollowed out the center of a meaty portobello mushroom and filled it with a smooth mixture of corn and salsa. It was delicious: I loved the way the starches from corn formed an almost creamy spread. It felt decadent while still tasting fresh and healthy.

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Chanterelle Mushroom and Leek Soup with Roasted Corn

Even though it hasn’t quite gotten chilly yet, I was craving soup and thought it would be the perfect way to use my remaining chanterelles. Is it possible to be in love with a mushroom? I think so, but in my case…it’s multiple mushrooms (I’m an equal opportunity fungus lover). The point being, this pureed soup was earthy with a silky texture sans cream that is absolutely craveable. Stirred in some roasted corn for an end of summer touch and ate it with toasty baguette croutons. And even though it wasn’t too cold out, I still enjoyed the cooler breeze as I ate my soup – real soup weather is almost upon us!

Corn Dosas with Curried Black Beans and Corn and Cilantro Sauce

Being a bit of a blogging rookie, I was bit nervous to join the Daring Cooks. But at the end of the day…I look forward to cooking dinner all day long and I’m always up for a challenge – just the stuff a Daring Cook is made of!

I love Indian food. So I was delighted when the September Daring Cook’s Challenge (my first challenge!) was announced as dosas, which I love. I also loved that Debyi, the host for this month’s challenge chose a recipe that’s vegan and gluten free! I have a friend who is a vegan and the key to making delicious treats she loves is making things that are naturally vegan – like these dosas!

However, since I make Indian food a lot…I thought maybe I could try something different. Using some of my favorite spices common to Indian food, I changed the remaining ingredients slightly to make a Central American – Indian fusion dosa. Sound ridiculous? I swear it’s so good. The corn flour made a deliciously tender and flavorful dosa. The filling has the same texture and some of the great, spicy flavors of the original chickpea filling. And the creamy and fresh cilantro sauce cools it all down.

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Fresh Polenta

I found the idea of the fresh polenta from Ideas in Food so mouthwateringly inviting that I just had to make it for myself. As I was buying corn at the market, Matt said “Oooh, corn on the cob…” and I had to restrain myself from telling him that this was going to be just a little bit different. Luckily, when he put it in his mouth, any preconceived notions flew right out the window.

The only suggestion I would make is that it can take the corn quite a while to stew down to the right texture. I got it there by slowly stewing over low heat, but a quick run in the food processor, blender, or with a immersion blender would speed the process a long if you’re in a hurry without sacrificing flavor.

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