Sweet Corn Cakes with Tarragon and Cheese

Last week at the farmer's market I bought the last of the season's sweet corn. It was a bittersweet day, sweet corn season is one of my absolute favorites. But what to do with these last precious ears of corn? I decided that instead of grilling them up and throwing into my weekly meal prep that I would try something different and bake with them. I had seen this recipe for sweet corn cakes in the Ottolenghi cookbook Nopi a while back and thought they sounded so yummy, but would really want to use fresh, in season sweet corn to try it out. Well, this was my last chance so I dove right in. 

I only bought a couple ears of corn so had to make half the recipe, but that works out okay for me since I'm the only one at home. I did end up altering the spices and flavoring a little bit based on my preferences and what I had at home. I have no doubt the recipe as written is amazing, but my little changes worked well for me and I thought the end product turned out amazing! The smell of these little cakes baking was absolutely wonderful, cheesy, buttery and herb-y! A fitting end to the sweet corn season for another year.  

Since I made these to eat for breakfast instead of as a side to a meal I decided to use a little less onion and garlic. And while I did alter some of the spices I think that the tarragon is a must! A unique but wonderful flavor. Sadly I didn't have any feta which would have been amazing, but did have some local raclette style cheese from the farmer's market that I knew would be delicious so used that instead. Thanks to Hickory Knoll Farm for the wonderful cheese; it was perfect! Cheesy, sweet, savory and incredibly tender. The texture is very moist and almost souffle-like. For something a little different than the traditional corn muffin, give these little corn cakes a try and be ready to be amazed! This is really truly "corn bread". 

 
 

Sweet Corn Cakes with Tarragon and Cheese
Adapted from Nopi by Yotam Ottolenghi
Ingredients

  • 2 ears corn
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 1/2 small clove garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) melted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • Raclette, feta or another favorite cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease the 6 muffin tins very well with butter and line with squares of baking parchment, buttering the parchment as well. 

Lay the corn cobs flat on a cutting board and use a large sharp knife to shave off the kernels – you should have about 250 grams total (I used 2 large ears and I had quite a bit more than 250 grams, I only ended up using about 3/4 of the kernels). 

Discard the cob and transfer the kernels to a food processor, along with the onion and garlic. Pulse for 3–4 seconds, until the mixture is roughly processed but has not turned to a wet purée

Add the fennel seeds, cumin, coriander, sumac, tarragon, baking powder, butter and egg yolk, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a very good grind of black pepper. Blitz a few more times, to combine – some of the corn kernels will still be whole – then transfer to a medium bowl. Fold the flour in by hand and set aside

Place the egg white in a separate small bowl and whisk to form firm peaks. Fold a third of the whites gently into the corn mixture. Once it has incorporated, continue with the next third and then the next

Once fully incorporated, divide the mixture between the muffin tin and insert a chunk of cheese into the center of each. Push it halfway down the corn mixture – the cakes will puff up around the cheese when they cook

Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the cakes have risen and are golden and fluffy. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before lifting them out of the tray

Gratin of Zucchini, Rice and Corn with Cheese

I was browsing through my Instagram feed earlier last week when I came across a photo for a zucchini rice casserole that for whatever reason just called to me. I went online to find the recipe and was happy to see that it was a very simple and a very healthy recipe. So when I went to the farmer's market on Saturday I picked up two large zucchini so I could whip this dish up over the weekend. I am a huge zucchini fan and usually end up just slicing it up into rounds or spears and grilling it. I liked that this dish gave me something else that I could do with zucchini if I am feeling ambitious. Not that it's a difficult dish by any means, but it's slightly more involved than slicing and grilling!

Of course, I couldn't leave the recipe alone so I decided to add my own twist and add in some freshly picked sweet corn that I also picked up at the farmer's market. I think zucchini + corn is one of the best late summer combos so I couldn't pass it up. I think it was a brilliant addition to the gratin! The tender zucchini mixed with the juicy and sweet corn is fantastic along with some salty parmesan and a couple little pats of butter. Fresh, healthy and delicious, this is a great late-summer winner!

On the blog where I got the recipe she used brown rice in this gratin as opposed to the white rice which is what the original recipe that she used called for. I went with the brown rice as well and parboiled it for 8 minutes as she said. I found that in the finished dish the rice was not quite tender so I would recommend upping the length of the parboil to 10-12 minutes, or alternatively, baking the casserole longer overall. I ended up baking it for 35 minutes and there was still quite a bit of liquid left over when I dug in. This extra liquid did not detract from the delicious flavors, but if you are looking for a finished product with less moisture I would bake it longer and/or add less liquid prior to baking.

 
 

Gratin of Zucchini, Rice and Corn with Cheese
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds zucchini or other summer squash
  • 2 ears corn
  • 1/2 cup short grain brown rice 
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • about 2 1/2 cups warm zucchini juices
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Shred the zucchini in a food processor or with a box grater, toss with a heaping teaspoon of salt and drain in a colander. Reserving the juices. Meanwhile drop the rice into boiling salted water, bring rapidly back to a boil for 10-12 minutes; drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400'.

Cut the kernels off of the ears of corn. In a large oven-proof frying pan melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the corn, salt and pepper and cook over medium high heat until starting to brown. Remove corn from pan and set aside. 

Return the frying pan to heat. Add the 2 tablespoon olive oil and cook the onions with a little salt for 15-20 minutes, or longer, until tender and translucent and starting to brown. Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and the garlic. Let sit without stirring for a few minutes to start browning some of the zucchini. Then, toss for about 5 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender. Add the corn back to the pan. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for a minute and remove from the heat. 

Gradually stir in the 2-2 1/2 cups warm liquid (zucchini juices). Put the pan over moderately high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat again, stir in the blanched rice, 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter. Taste carefully for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. 

Transfer frying pan to oven. Bake until the gratin is bubbling, top is browned and appears most of the liquid has absorbed, approximately 35-40 minutes, sprinkling with additional parmesan in the last 5 minutes if desired.

Smokey Tomato and Charred Corn Soup

The day started out chilly and damp yesterday. The perfect kind of day to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee. Because I was cold all morning, a big bowl of warm soup sounded like the perfect lunch. Happily I had some frozen homemade marinara sauce in the freezer, the quickest and easiest way to throw together a delicious tomato soup. I thawed some of it out, added some water and let it bubble away on the stove until nice and hot. For some additional flavor I added in a scoop of basil pesto for freshness and a couple of dashes of smoked paprika for a little smokey flavor. I topped it all off with some grilled and charred sweet corn, thinly sliced green onion, and some nice, sharp aged cheddar cheese. It was the perfect lunch to warm up to on this chilly June Saturday. 

I love using leftover marinara as a base for a quick tomato soup. All of the work has really already been done, all you need to do is heat it up and add some add whatever additional flavors you want, if any. Basil is always a good option, but really any herb will work. If you are wanting something a little creamier, you can always add a little bit of cream, sour cream or yogurt and if you need something a little heartier you can also add in some white beans or quinoa, or even rice or noodles. 

Then toppings, I always like a flavorful cheese like sharp cheddar, parmesan, smoked provolone, but you can use whatever you have on hand. This was the first time I have tried adding corn to a tomato soup and I highly recommend it. The crunchy and sweet corn kernels just burst in your mouth, full of flavor. Thin sliced onions, crispy croutons or chopped sweet pepper would also be wonderful additions. 

Smokey Tomato and Charred Corn Soup 

From Jana

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pre-made marinara sauce, homemade or store bought
  • Approximately 1 cup water or stock
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup grilled corn kernels
  • Thinly sliced green onion
  • Grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt, to taste

Directions

Combine the marinara, water or stock and smoked paprika in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 5-10 minutes to let it all heat up and help the flavors to really meld. You may want to add more or less water depending on how thick your marinara is and how thick or thin you like your tomato soup. 

Once the soup is nice and hot, transfer to a bowl and taste for seasoning. Top soup with grilled corn, green onion and cheddar cheese.