Monday, August 31, 2015

green chile corn pudding.

I'm in a bit of a food blog rut.  Or maybe it's just that I need a vacation.  I'm not sure which it is to be honest.  It's not that I haven't been cooking, I have been, a lot, but sometimes I don't see the point of photographing everything and finding new ways to say how utterly amazing a dish is.  Sometimes I make something incredibly satisfying but it's too dark out to get a picture or the pictures are bad or I just don't know what to say beyond "THIS IS REALLY GOOD" and I ask myself if it's even worth blogging about it.  I look at other food blogs that feel like actually works of art and I wonder how the hell these people have time to produce such stunning images and write detailed accounts of a life that sounds far more perfect then mine.

Having a blog is exhausting.  You give so much of yourself and you wonder what it is that you are getting back in return.   When I started this I never had a clear end goal.  It was just supposed to be a creative outlet.   A place to document everything.  But if it no longer brings joy is it worth it? Yesterday I gave up an 30 minutes of sitting outside in the sun drinking a beer to go inside to photograph food.  I'm not sure if that's a good use of my time.

Tyler and I leave on Friday evening for a Pacific Northwest roadtrip and I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am.  I think a change of scenery, exploring some new cities, walking around with no formal destination, and trying new restaurants will be restorative.  It will hopefully reignite my passion for cooking (vacations and trying new things tend to do that).

But until I jet off across the US, let's talk about corn pudding.  Specifically this Tex-Mex version or corn pudding which is like the summer version of mac and cheese.  Mac and cheese, as much as I love it, is not something I enjoy eating on 90 degree August days.  But corn nestled in a cornmeal custard base with chopped poblanos and just enough cheese to make it feel indulgent?  That I can get behind.  The leftovers are utterly amazing for breakfast the next day - especially if you put an egg (and some avocado) on it.  

Green Chile Corn Pudding
Recipe adapted (barely) from the Homesick Texan

3 Hatch, Anaheim, or Poblano chiles
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 ears of corn, kernels removed or 2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half and half

Roast the Hatch, Anaheim, or Poblano chiles under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tight and let the chiles steam for 20 minutes. After the chiles have steamed, remove from the bag and rub off the skin. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and dice.

When the chiles are ready, preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large ovenproof skillet, preferably a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, on low heat melt the butter. (If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, lightly grease a 9-inch square-baking dish for the pudding, and melt the butter in a saucepan.) Once the butter has melted, turn off the heat and swirl the butter around the base of the skillet and the sides to lightly grease it.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the diced chiles, corn, garlic, cilantro, salt, cumin, cayenne, melted butter, and 1/2 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in the cornmeal and baking powder. Whisk together the eggs and half and half, and then pour them over the corn. Stir until everything is well combined.

Pour the corn mixture back into the skillet (or a baking dish if using that instead) and sprinkle evenly over the top the rest of the cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the custard is set. (The color may be a little lighter in the center, but that’s okay.) Allow the pudding to rest int the skillet for 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro before serving. 

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