Sunday, August 30, 2009

Creamed Corn and Basil Baked Pudding

While looking through the fridge for something to cook, I noticed there were 4 ears of sweet corn and a great big pile of fresh basil I had bought that needed to be used. So I looked for recipe ideas for corn and basil, and adapted one that I found.

It turned out great, a real summer treat! This would make a great side dish. It is also vegetarian (not vegan though). Make it for your next potluck and you're sure to get rave reviews!

  • 4 ears fresh sweet corn, stripped as for creamed corn (see below)
  • 4 oz. fresh basil, trimmed & chopped
  • 1 med. white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. grated cheese (Swiss, Cheddar...)
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. dried oregano (to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. dried thyme (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg if you do not keep nutmegs in for grating -- but you should!)
  • salt to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 3 Tbsp. flour


Begin by cutting the kernels off the fresh sweet corn. Do not cut all the way down to the nib, just try to get over half the kernel or so as you slice down the cob. Once all the kernels are stripped off, turn the knife over and use the dull edge to scrape/press down on what is left of the corn kernels, squeezing the rest of the kernel and juice out.

Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic and toss it in with the corn kernels.

Remove the stems from the basil and coarsely chop the remaining leaves, you should have 1 to 1-1/2 cups of chopped basil.

Place the oil and butter in a large skillet. Toss in the pepper, oregano, thyme and nutmeg. Heat on high, while stirring, until the oil is hot but not smoking. Now reduce the heat to medium high and toss the onions into the skillet. Continue to heat the onions, tossing occasionally, until they are beginning to become translucent. Now toss in the creamed corn and garlic and continue cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the corn is hot. Turn the heat off and allow to cool.

While the corn mixture cools, in a large bowl combine the milk, eggs and flour and whisk vigorously until the mixture is foamy with no visible lumps. Stir in the grated Swiss or Cheddar cheese. Now stir in the cooled corn and onion mixture. Add the chopped basil, stir, test the flavor and add salt if needed.

Place the mixture in a greased baking dish, sprinkle the grated Parmesan on top, and bake in a 375F oven for 40 minutes or until done.

Allow to cool for 10 or 15 minutes before serving.


You can scoop it out with a serving spoon, or if you prefer you might want to cut it into 9 squares and set those out on plates to serve.

This could also be baked in 6 to 8 individual ramekins. This would make a very nice way to serve it when you are having company for dinner. It would probably need somewhere between 25 to 35 minutes to bake in that case -- check at 25 minutes.

You can use less oil, and skip the butter if you prefer. I just happened to use a white onion but other onions or even leeks or shallots would probably work as well. I would recommend sticking to mild cheeses: mild Swiss, mild or medium Cheddar, pepper jack might be interesting. I think that feta or blue cheese would detract from the basil flavor, but that's just me. If you try one of those and it's fabulous, please let me know!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Coconut Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I have not made that many tube style cakes, so figured this one was worth a try. This recipe was adapted from one I found on


1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
3 c. sugar
6 eggs
3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sweetened flaked coconut
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour the tube (bundt) pan and set it aside.

Have the butter, eggs and cream cheese at room temperature before you begin.

In a large bowl, stir the butter until soft and smooth. Stir in the cream cheese, and stir until well blended. Next stir in the sugar 1 cup at a time, stirring each time until the mixtue becomes light and fluffy. Stir in the 2 tsp. vanilla. Now stir in the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously. The mixture should become lighter and fluffier, with more sugar dissolved, with each additional egg.

After the last egg has been added, stir in the coconut until it is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour this mixture into the butter mixture and fold it in quickly, just enough to incorporate it evenly without over-mixing.

Now spoon the batter, about 1/2 c. at a time, into the prepared tube pan. It should fill the pan about 2/3 full to 3/4 at most. Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Cake is done when a skewer comes out clean. When it is done, remove it from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto the serving platter by placing the platter upside down over the tube pan, then turning both over. The cake should fall out of the pan, ideally... :-) If it does not, then try and rescue any big pieces that may have stuck, so you can place them back onto the cake and hide them (and hold them in place) with the glaze we are going to add.


1/4 c. butter
4 oz. cream cheese
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 4 Tbsp. coconut milk
1/3 c. sweetened flaked coconut

Melt butter in small saucepan. Remove from heat and add cream cheese, stirring until they are mixed and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the powdered sugar 1/4 c. at a time, whisking or stirring so as to remove any lumps. Add vanilla. Put the mixture into the refrigerator to cool while the cake is baking and while it cools.

When the cake is cool, remove the glaze from the refrigerator. Add 1 to 4 Tbsp. of coconut milk, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until the glaze is the right texture to drip down the sides of the tube cake without being runny. Pour the glaze over the tube cake, then sprinkle with the 1/3 c. coconut.

This is one Yummy!! coconut flavored cake!


1 - This cake is very sweet. You can make it less sweet by using unsweetened flaked coconut. You will have the same big coconut flavor while cutting down on the sweetness factor.

2 - Try using brown sugar instead of white sugar, or a blend of half white / half brown sugar, and toasting the coconut to give a different coconut flavor hit altogether.

3 - Coconut and lime go great together. I'm thinking the next time I make this, I'll add the zest of 1 lime to the cake, and make a lime and cream cheese glaze to sprinkle the coconut on.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cherry Almond Cupcakes

As I was rummaging around in the pantry, I ran across a can of sour cherries. As soon as I saw them, I remembered the sliced almonds in the fridge. So it seemed only natural to create something using this classic pairing of flavors.

These cupcakes have a great texture to go along with wonderful flavor. I especially like using sour cherries rather than sweet, as it adds a tangy accent to the sweetness. But I expect sweet cherries would taste great as well. Here's the recipe:


1 can (14 to 16 oz) sour cherries (not pie filling)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3/4 c. sliced almonds
6 Tbsp. milk and/or cherry juice

Preheat oven to 325F.

Drain the cherries, reserving the juice.

Cream together the softened butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Stir the eggs in, one at a time, thoroughly mixing each one. When you are done the mixture should be light and fluffy, with the sugar granules almost totally dissolved. Add the almond extract and mix thoroughly.

Fold in the flour alternately with the liquid.

Now fold in the drained cherries and 1/2 cup of almonds.

Spoon the batter into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake at 325F for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Remove cupcakes from oven, let cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the baking tin onto a rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

While the cupcakes are in the oven, make the glaze:


1/4 c. butter
1-1/4 c. powdered (confectioner's) sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. cherry juice

Melt butter in a dish in the microwave, 30 to 45 seconds should be sufficient. Stir in 1 c. of powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add the almond extract and cherry juice, again stirring until smooth. Now add the remaining powdered sugar 1 Tbsp. at a time until the glaze is the right consistency -- not runny, but thinner than regular icing. Cover and set aside in a cool spot.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, spread each one with glaze. Sprinkle the glazed cupcakes with the remaining 1/4 c. or so of sliced almonds.

Tip 1: Save 2 Tbsp. of the cherry juice for the glaze. Then use what is left for the liquid in the cupcake recipe, adding milk to bring it up to 6 Tbsp. altogether. The cherry juice will give pink cupcakes with a more intense cherry flavor, and a slightly coarser texture than if you use just milk.

Tip 2: This can also be baked as a loaf cake. Put the batter in a 9x5" pan, greased and floured or lined with baker's parchment, and bake for about 1 hour. When it is cooled, drizzle it with the glaze and sprinkle almonds on top.