Some days just call out for party food. Minus the party.
I'm having one of those weeks.
I don't know if it is the heat or the sharp realization that my wedding is now less than three months away and I'm still casually checking off things on the list. Well, casually, until I started to panic a tiny bit. I so don't want to be 'that' bride. In fact, this was a week where I've questioned, yes, out loud, for the umpteenth time, why on earth we didn't just elope in Italy? Sigh.
We're so beyond that point now. BUT... I suppose this entitles me to a minor breakdown once in awhile. You know the one way venom spewing kind where you kind of feel like you are having an out of body experience and wonder to yourself (internally of course) how you could be annoyed at this man who has done absolutely nothing wrong. But it doesn't matter, because he just happened to be on the receiving end when the stars aligned and the timing was just right. He's so good to me.
Note to any family or friends reading this, it's okay, I'm really okay now. No intervention needed.
Anyway, I'm just a little stressed. Anxious. Whatever you want to call it. And hot.
It is time for a little fun. I am done with the temporary insanity bridezilla thing.
Looking at all of the gorgeous pictures in my enormous collection of cookbooks always relaxes me. So I picked up a lovely Martha book and told myself that Martha would never be acting like me and it was time to pull it together and make something nice and fun and summery. Sort of an apology and a party all in one happy dish.
I found this recipe in Martha Stewart's "Dinner at Home" and made very few changes. It is fantastic. It made us both very happy. Next time I make this, I will make party size version by downsizing the corn cakes. Truly perfect party food. Fun, colorful and really really good. Kind of like summer comfort food.
I don't know if this is southern or mexican or southwestern or what, but I do know it is fabulous. Plus it worked. Little miss sunshine is back... for the moment.
Mexican Corn Cakes
1 and 1/2 cups masa harina or cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup feta cheese
2 cups free corn (2 large ears worth)
3/4 to 1 cup warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 ripe avocado, halved, sliced
Tender Shredded Pork (recipe to follow)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 ripe tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
Mix together masa harina, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in cheese and corn. Keep stirring and add in the water, 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture begins to hold together.
Heat oil in large skillet (cast iron if you have it) until hot but not smoking. Form corn patties using 1/3 cup mixture. They should be about 1/2 inch thick. Repeat forming 8 patties total.
Fry in two batches, turning once, until golden brown, 4 or 5 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels. Top with avocado, shredded pork, 1 tablespoon sour cream and tomato wedges. Garnish with cilantro if you'd like. I ended up topping this with green onion.
Tender Shredded Pork
1 pound pork tenderloin
4 cups chicken stock
2 small onions, finely chopped
1/2 jalepeno chile (I left this out)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 dried bay leaf
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Add pork, stock, half the onions, jalapeno, cilantro, cumin, bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium saucepan. Boil. Reduce to simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pork reaches 138 degrees. This takes about 10 to 15 minutes. (Note, mine took longer and still was too pink when I removed it, so I chopped it all up and added it back to the simmering liquid for another two minutes. Perfection.)
Heat broiler. Remove pork from liquid and cut into 2 to 3 inch long pieces. Transfer to baking sheet. Shred and add in remaining onion and mix in butter and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Broil pork until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve warm.
Seriously good. The pork was juicy and full of warm flavor. Not greasy. The corn cakes were actually light. I was afraid they'd be heavy, but they were light, a little crispy on the outside and bursting with freshness with the corn and feta tucked away inside. Bright and lush accents with the sour cream, avocado and tomatoes. A great dish.
I know I shouldn't use food as comfort, but after this weeks temporary craziness, my little party for two worked and that's all that matters!