Happy Father’s Day! I sent my husband golfing with his buddies and baby girl is sleeping – so here I am! Okay, you know I talk about plating – what goes with what is a big deal to me and I think the ability to pair well can be learned. With the flank steak tacos from last weekend, I found myself stumped for sides – I had some learnin’ to do.
The tacos themselves covered several food groups – protein, veggies, grains. Rice seemed redundant with the tortillas, and with all the veggies piled high grilled asparagus, while visually pleasing, didn’t seem necessary. My family usually skips corn at Thanksgiving but I remembered back to a charity Thanksgiving dinner we’d serve at the high school I used to work at. My coworker and I were in charge of 9 twenty pound turkeys and organizing the sides the parents would bring in. Every year there was a corn pudding that everyone swooned over; sort of a veggie but with enough eggs and dairy to create a sweet, salty pudding slash cornbread.
This could fit the bill perfectly. It would create a variety of temperature, texture and flavor to round out the meal. I found a recipe by Ina Garten on the food network website and changed it slightly to make it “Mexican”. I was nervous to serve it having never made it (and honestly, not even being able to picture the end result). As my friends dug in I got a few “what IS this?”, followed by many “I want MORE”. It definitely tastes like cornbread but really cheesy and much more tender. As I love to cook Mexican-style food I am glad to have this in my repertoire. Oh lastly, I served America’s Test Kitchen Tres Leches Cake for dessert. While we all enjoyed it I had a stomach bug the next two days and for some reason my body attributed it to that cake. I can’t even think about it without my stomach lurching. Remember Tres Leches if you’d like a traditional Mexican cake to serve for dessert!
Mexican Corn Pudding
Adapted from Ina Garten
1/2 c. butter
5 c. frozen or fresh corn
1 onion, diced
5 large eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. half and half
1/2 c. cornmeal
1 c. ricotta cheese
1 can chipotle peppers
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
3/4 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divided
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray the inside of a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
2. Melt butter in your largest skillet over medium high heat and saute corn and onion until fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer corn mixture to a bowl to cool slightly.
4. Whisk eggs, milk, and half and half in a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in cornmeal, and then the ricotta cheese.
5. Add the peppers, sugar, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add corn and 3/4 c. of the grated cheddar and mix to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Can be made ahead up to this point – refrigerate, covered, and top with grated cheese before baking.
6. Top with remaining cheddar and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the top is golden and mixture is set. Serve warm.