Thursday, February 28, 2013

ham, butter beans and cornbread bake

There's a fantastic song by The Carolina Chocolate Drops called "Cornbread and Butter Beans." It's a great little diddy about being happy with the simple things in life... good food, good company, the satisfaction of a day's work and making love.

The song came up on one of my itunes playlists the other day and it made me smile and bop like it always does. It also made me want ham and beans, with sweet cornbread to sop it up. The problem was I had not filled the crockpot with Ham & Beans that morning. For shame! But the craving was fierce, so I decided to cheat and make a quick version, and while I was at it, add the cornbread to the dish to make it all-inclusive. The weather has been cold and wet lately, and I want ALL THE CASSEROLES.

Ham, Butter Beans and Cornbread Bake

-1 lb. ham, cubed
-1 cup chicken stock
-2 cans butter beans, drained and rinsed

cornbread topping
-1 1/4 cups whole wheat white flour
-3/4 cup corn meal
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 cup buttermilk
-1 can cream corn
-1 egg
-salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400ºF. 

Brown the ham cubes in a sauce pan. Add the chicken stock and let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Mix the cornbread ingredients together until well-blended. Set aside.

Add the beans to the ham and chicken stock and let simmer about 5 minutes. Pour the Mixture into a large buttered casserole dish (or 2 smaller dishes). Pour the cornbread mixture on top in an even layer. Bake for about 30 minutes until the cornbread is cooked through. Serve warm.

Do you have a favorite food-related song? Tell me what it is in the comments!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

kimchee pickled quail eggs

This is almost a non-recipe. I had a bunch of quail eggs... I bought way too many for my crab cake quail egg balls. I hard boiled the lot of them, figuring I would hatch a plan for them soon (see what I did there?!). 

Enter the anti-valentine's day dinner I mentioned last week... how perfect would pickled eggs be for that? So perfect. I lack pickling experience and time, so I had a thought... use something that's already pickled and have the eggs mooch off that liquid. Kimchee is omnipresent in my fridge, and I thought the flavors would be interesting with eggs. 

I am so glad I did this. These little sour spicy eggs were a surprise hit at the party! The hardest part is peeling the tiny shells... after that it barely even counts as work. I supplemented the kimchee's juices with some rice wine vinegar, and added cayenne pepper because I had a milder kimchee. Besides being everyone's favorite new party snack, you can make these into a healthy meat-free bento lunch by serving some of the eggs & kimchee with brown rice and raw cabbage... kind of a deconstructed salad. 

Kimchee Pickled Quail Eggs 
-24 quail eggs, hard boiled
-1.5 cups kimchee
-about 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
-cayenne pepper to taste 
Chop the kimchee pretty finely. Layer 1/4 of it in the bottom of a tight-sealing jar or container. add 8 of the eggs and cover those with more kimchee, followed by vinegar and a sprinkle of cayenne. continue layering like this until you've used all the ingredients. Seal the container or jar, turn upside down a couple times and put in the fridge. Let marinated at least for 1 day, up to 3 weeks. Serve!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

baked blue cheese fig balls

Every year my friend Kelly has an awesome Anti-Valentine's Day party. The idea is that everyone brings foods that are not usually associated with romance... dishes that are sour, bitter, stinky, etc. Check out her post about the year she made us kill our own dinner, and the post with a list of anti-valentine's day menu suggestions.

I have been wanting to make baked olive balls for some time, replacing blue cheese for the usual cheddar that I see in most recipes. Blue cheese is perfect for the party's theme with it's piquant moldy veins. I decided to add some sweetness by using figs instead of olives... cloying, gritty figs and funky, pungent blue cheese are beautiful together... a perfectly demented match.

Baked Blue Cheese Fig Balls 
-1 cup flour
-6 Tablespoons butter, melted
-5 oz. pkg. crumbled blue cheese
-2 Tablespoons of shredded cheese such as cheddar or jack
-1/2 cup pecans, chopped
-9 dried figs, quartered (36 pieces)
Honey Drizzle
-1/2 cup honey
-2 Tablespoons fig-infused vinegar or other sweet vinegar
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Combine the flour, melted butter, cheeses and pecans in a bowl. Mix well. The mixture will be crumbly, but should hold together when pressed. Scoop about 1 Tablespoon worth of the dough and flatten into your palm. Put a fig piece in the middle and form the dough around it, rolling into a ball. Repeat with rest of dough and figs. 
Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and golden. Meanwhile, make the Honey drizzle by simply combining the 3 ingredients in a small bowl and whisking. Serve balls warm with Honey Drizzle.

Related posts from the archives:
Black Sesame Salmon Balls
Blue Cheese Pecan Bread
Bruise Salad
Lamb Meatballs with Figs
Fig Pistachio Goat Cheese Spread

Thursday, February 07, 2013

crab cake scotch quail eggs

I am not really sure how this happened. At some point I pieced this ball idea together in my head and had a perfectly logical rationalization for it. The reasoning has completely left me, but I was still convinced that crab scotch eggs needed to happen. 
Happily, these were quite good! The flaky, briny crab meat and the rich (and adorable!) quail eggs made fast friends, accented with a light buttery crust and some lemon zing. These would be an impressive and fun appetizer at a spring dinner or cocktail party. 

Crab Cake Scotch Quail Eggs 
-12 quail eggs
-1 lb. crab meat
-1.5 cups saltine cracker crumbs, divided
-1 Tablespoon butter, melted
-1 cup mayonnaise, divided
-1 lemon
-1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 Tablespoon spicy mustard
-1 teaspoon hot sauce
-2 teaspoon Old Bay
-1 egg
-1 handful of parsley, chopped
-salt and pepper
-1 clove garlic, minced
-lemon wedges and parsley for serving 
Put the quail eggs in a sauce pan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil then remove pan from heat and let sit for 4 minutes. Drain the hot water and add cold water and let the eggs cool about 10 minutes. Peel the eggs, very carefully, then rinse them and dab dry. 
Make the dipping sauce: Combine 1/2 cup of mayo with the zest and juice of half a lemon, half of the parsley and the minced garlic. set aside. 
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. 
Mix the crab meat with half of the cracker crumbs (3/4 cup), 1/2 cup of mayo, juice of half a lemon, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, hots sauce, old bay, egg and salt and pepper. Let mixture sit about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the breading by combining the rest of the cracker crumbs with the melted butter in a separate bowl. Grab about 2 Tablespoons worth of the mixture and form into a thin patty. Place a peeled quail egg in the center and gently wrap the crab mixture around it to form a ball, squeezing gently so any excess liquid drips out. Once all the eggs are enrobed in crabby goodness, gently roll the balls in the cracker/butter mixture and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with the dipping sauce, parsley and lemon wedges.

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