ALICIA ROSS FOR KITCHEN SCOOP Enlarge
Seasoning blends and mixes abound on the grocery store spice shelves. Now more than ever, there are tremendous numbers of spice companies and celebrity chefs marketing their unique blends. While it may seem confusing, it’s actually good news for the home cook. These blends are perfectly matched and easy to use, most having a sprinkle top built into the container for a shake or two of flavor in a jiffy.
Blends represent regional flavors from all over the world: Tuscany, Provence, the American Southwest, and even sunny Spain. Today’s recipe uses the sultry and savory flavors of the Southwest, with chilies, cumin, and red pepper. I find myself using the Southwest blend of spices in everything from salsas to veggies to seasoning a steak. Once you start to experiment with different spice combinations, you’ll learn which companies and mixes you like best. I prefer those blends that are salt-free so I can add my own amount of salt to each recipe.
Today’s recipe for Quick Veggie Corncakes is spiked with the zesty spices of the Southwest and is a terrific solution to the wintertime drought in fresh veggies, too. These little cakes are perfect alone or served with salsa and sour cream. Serve them with salad, fish, chicken, or even a spicy hamburger. That’s just how flexible they are. Grab a blend or two and start experimenting. Enjoy!
Quick Veggie Corncakes
Start to finish: under 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 5 cakes
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
¼ cup milk
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons to ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt-free Southwest seasoning blend
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt (*see Note)
Salsa and sour cream, optional
In a small skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add vegetables, including frozen corn, and saute until onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Set off heat.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, 3 tablespoons of cornmeal, Southwest seasoning blend, sugar, and salt. Stir in cooked vegetables. If batter is not the consistency of thick pancake batter, stir in up to another full tablespoon of cornmeal.
Heat a nonstick griddle on medium and pour batter onto griddle by 1/3 cupfuls. Cook about 3 minutes on each side, turning only once. Serve hot with salsa and sour cream, if desired.
Note: If your blend is not salt-free, wait to add the additional salt to taste.
Approximate values per serving: 96 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 67 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 148 mg sodium.
Contact Alicia Ross at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to email@example.com. Visit the Kitchen Scoop Web site at www.kitchenscoop.com.