Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Festive Favorites 2012

Holiday shopping season is upon us once again, and I love to share gift ideas for the food lovers in your life. As always, these are just some ideas about personal favorites – no one has asked me to promote any products.

I love nothing more than a cookbook as a gift.  After all the excitement of the holiday season has calmed down, nothing is better than curling up on the couch with a book full of new and exciting inspiration.  This year, I am hoping Santa brings me Nathalie Dupree’s essential Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.  Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides will keep up the Southern kitchen inspiration. And I’d love to take some time to peruse Ann Willan’s Cookbook Library for a taste of the history of the cookbook.  Everyone loves a Barefoot Contessa book, and Ina Garten’s new Foolproof is no exception.  If you are ready to get your family off to a healthy new year, try Michelle Dudash’s Clean Eating for Busy Families.  And Cheryl Sternman Rule’s beautiful Ripe will inspire you with fruits and vegetables in whole new and exciting ways.

Le Creuset products are a perennial favorite, and this year you can give a gift that benefits No Kid Hungry with these special little mini cocotte sets.  This bright red Lodge 3-quart apple pot would look festive on any stovetop.  Sur La Table offers a wide selection of food and cooking themed ornaments for the tree.  Fifties chic Kobenstyle cookware is back and as cool as ever, particularly this handy baker.  I sprinkle a dash of Maldon Sea Salt on most everything and these little pocket-sized tins make a perfect stocking stuffer for any gourmand.  And for the party guest on the move, this classic canvas wine tote is a great gift.

If you and your family share some favorite recipes, there are so many fun ways to make them into a permanent kitchen fixture. Scan grandma’s handwritten recipe and have it engraved on wooden cutting board.  Or have it transferred to a porcelain platter.  Or have that famous recipe made into an art piece to hang on the wall. You can even add a favorite recipe to your holiday cards.

Homemade food gifts are always on my list, and packaging is part of the fun.  For me, its jars of produce I’ve put up over the summer, and I can’t wait to package them in these adorable muslin bags stamped with mason jars.  If baking is your thing, make your favorite muffins or quick breads in these sweet little Christmas paper baking pans.  Or bake your favorite cupcakes in these festive red striped baking cups. Package them up in personalized goodie bags.

But maybe the best gift of all is giving on behalf of someone you love to someone in need. There are so many great organizations to give to that will create special cards you can wrap up for your recipient or have it sent directly to them. Heifer International is really cheeky. Give a friend a goat, or a hive of bees, that will help a community sustain itself. They have a gift catalog and make great cards for giving. And for all those peanut butter sandwiches you make during the year, make a gift of Plumpy Nut, a therapeutic nut paste feeding thousands of hungry children through UNICEF. And as food banks are under more strain than ever, Give-A-Meal through Feeding America to a family in need in honor of a family you love.  And remember your local food bank with monetary donations or canned goods.

For some more ideas about my favorite fun kitchen finds, book and movies – check out The Spoon’s Store, powered by Amazon. Just click on the box on the right hand side of the page

Fun Finds for Summer 2012 – Southern Edition

It’s time again for this Summer’s Fun Finds. These are just some ideas about personal favorites – no one has asked me to promote any products. And this year, I’m focusing on the Southern products, food and books.

Everyone deserves a little pampering in summer.  So why not take a long soak and scrub that skin ready for a golden glow with Bourbon Bubbler Body Scrub from Farmhouse Fresh.  Then smooth on a little Honeysuckle Custard to keep things smooth.  And relax with a Southern Belle candle from Frisky Bumblebee, scented with peaches and magnolia blossom. And now that you’re ready for summer parties, show off that glow with a monogrammed acrylic necklace in a summer bright colors from Moon and Lola.

Save some time in the kitchen during the hot and steamy months with some simple Southern shortcuts.  All your vegetables, salads and grilled meats will benefit from T.Lish’s Sweet Garlic Vinaigrette. And when it’s too hot to cook, a sandwich always fits the bill.  Try a new twist with delicious Pecan Butter, from the Pecans Project, which supports youth in Birmingham learning important job skills.  Spread on some Blackberry Jam from Blackberry Farm and you’ve got a real treat.   And when guests pop by, serve up some of Aunt Lizzie’s Cheese Straws with a pitcher of cold peach iced tea.  And if you’re a griller, you know how useful rosemary is, so why not make it beautiful too with a Rosemary Bonsai tree from Brussel’s Bonzai.  Recreate some real Memphis barbecue with sauces from Central Barbecue, or have some of my favorite Interstate Barbecue sent by FedEx. Then you can cool down with some High Road Craft Southern ice cream. And carry all that cool food in the ultimate Southern seersucker lunch bag, monogrammed, of course.

Summer means farmers market fresh fruit and vegetables to me, so a cookbook like The New Southern Garden Cookbook comes in handy. Or travel around the South and around the world with The World in a Skillet: A Food Lover’s Tour of the New American South or the New Southern Latino Table.  And if you are ready to fire up the grill, you’ll really want Jennifer Chandler’s Simply Grilling.  Or explore the possibilities with Barbecue Nation.  And don’t forget dessert with Nancie McDermott’s seminal Southern Pies.

Bourbon and Cane Syrup Glazed Carrots

Glazed carrots are a classic French preparation.  But I don’t always think about that.  Not that it’s difficult, but frankly, I tend to use carrots as an afterthought, raw as a snack, chopped with celery and onions, or simply roasted.  But rarely as a stand-alone star.  Which is a shame, because beautiful, richly colored carrots are a taste treat.  Add a bourbon spiked, cane syrup sweet glaze and the humble carrot becomes a stellar addition to your plate.

I see these rainbow colored trimmed carrots more frequently, and they certainly up the wow factor, but regular orange trimmed carrots work beautifully.  You can also peel plain carrots and cut them on the bias into evenly sized chunks.  Whichever you use, make sure they are roughly the same size so they cook evenly.

Cane Syrup and Bourbon Glazed Carrots

12 ounces trimmed carrots

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon cane syrup (or maple syrup)

1 Tablespoon bourbon

½ cup water

Salt

Choose a medium sized skillet, and cut a round of parchment paper to fit inside as a cover. Cut a small hole of slit in the center of the parchment to vent steam.

Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the carrots and gently stir to coat.  Add the cane syrup and bourbon and stir again.  Pour in the water, bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cover the carrots with the parchment round, pressing it down around the edges of the pan.  Cook until the carrots are tender, removing the paper once to stir the carrots, then replacing it. This should take 15 minutes or so, depending on the size of your carrots.

When the carrots are tender, remove the paper and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is evaporated leaving a shiny glaze on the carrots.  Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Serves 4

New from The Runaway Spoon

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I’ve just launched a new monthly e-mail newsletter, full of fresh, new ideas, tips, links and recipes.  Each month will have a special focus, and for June it’s all about canning, pickling and preserving. 

To sign up to receive the new monthly Runaway Spoon newletter, just add your e-mail address to the Subcribe to E-Mail newsletter box to the right  of this page. 

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Festive Favorites 2010

The holidays are here, and that means lots of eating, and lots of shopping.  I am not a big wander-around-the-mall type, or a fight-your-way-through-the-sales fan, but I do love picking out gifts for the special people in my life.  And I am told that I am pretty good at it, too.  A little sofa surfing is my ideal form of holiday shopping, so I thought I’d share some of my festive favorites.  For no other reason than the spirit of holiday sharing.

If anyone on your list is a cook or food lover (and that includes you), the must-have gift is a subscription to Canal House Cooking.  This seasonal series of mini-cookbooks is full of amazing recipes and spectacular photography.  No food aficionado should be without them.  The cookbook gift for the season may well be James Beard’s American Cookery, a re-packaged and illustrated edition of the classic.  I’d love to receive the marvelous Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (hint, hint), Tessa Kiros’s books are magnificent, the kind any food lover will want to curl up with and pore over.  Falling Cloudberries is a good start, but they are all well worth a look. The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook is a must-have for any lover of Southern cooking, and it benefits a great organization preserving the heritage of Southern cooking. The I Hate to Cook Book is a recent re-issue 50th anniversary edition.  I don’t imagine you’ll actually cook from it, but it is one of the funniest reads I’ve enjoyed in a long time.  Spoiler alert: folks on my list are getting a copy.  And check out The Spoon’s Store powered by Amazon on the right side of the page for my favorite kitchen gadgets, cookbooks and foodie movies and books.

A fun, happy little gift for any kitchen dweller, these themed sticky notes are sure to please.  The Foodie magnetic poetry kit would make any fridge more delicious.  Funky, fun and personalized colorful tempered glass cutting boards are a useful and personal gift.  And anything from Felix Doolittle is amazing, but the new personalized recipe cards are a real treat. Useful and practical, but also a great gift, personalized Polar Bear Coolers are great for men (and women, I have two).

Fun and functional and perfect to have around this holiday season are simple napkins on a roll – but in real cotton or linen fabric.  They are good looking and practical, can be washed several times and then biodegrade.  If you love giving gifts from your own kitchen, I am sure you love to present them in fun and pretty packaging.  With these PaniMold wooden baking molds, bake your gift and wrap it all in one stylish package. Decorate your packages with personalized ribbon and gift stickers from Namemakers.  Or top off your packages with personalized photo gift tags from Cardstore. Love patterned baking cups, but not how they fade when you actually cook with them? Then try Sutton Gourmet Baking Papers that retain their bright colors. 

But if you don’t’ feel like making your own food gifts, let someone else do it for you.  Custom blended Granola from MixMyGranola for your health conscious friends, or Chocomize custom designed chocolate bars for the indulgent. And these sites all offer gift certificates, so your friends could choose their own custom treat.  The gift I gave last year that produced the happiest response was custom blended tea from Blends for FriendsOlive and Sinclair make beautifully packaged, stone ground artisan chocolates that any chocoholic will truly appreciate. And get healthy with hand ground whole grain flours from Funder Farm.  Their baking mixes, like Chocolate Chip Bars and Blueberry Cobbler, are great, and make a lovely and welcome gift.

And yes, I do buy gifts that are not food-related, believe it or not.  A handbag or accessory from 1154 Lill Studio is a great gift, even more fun to give one of their design-a-bag kits.  Cath Kidston’s decidedly British, flowery accessories make great gifts, and the cases for all of today’s technology and gadgets will brighten any workload.  Savannah Bee Company’s Royal Jelly Body Butter is a super-rich treat that comes beautifully packaged.

But maybe the best gift of all is giving on behalf of someone you love to someone in need.  There are so many great organizations to give to that will create special cards you can wrap up for your recipient or have it sent directly to them.  These cool water bottles are useful and 100% of the proceeds benefit water.org, which provides clean water around the world.  And Heifer International is really cheeky.  Give a friend a goat, or a hive of bees, that will help a community sustain itself.  They have a gift catalog and make great cards for giving. And for all those peanut butter sandwiches you make during the year, make a gift of Plumpy Nut, a therapeutic nut paste feeding thousands of hungry children through UNICEF. And as we continue to read that 1 in 4 children in the United States are food insecure, Share Our Strength is working to combat that appalling statistic.  And don’t forget your local food bank.

Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought I’d round up some Runaway recipes to help you plan your celebration, whether you are hosting the feast at home, or taking a dish along to family or friends. Just click on the highlighted titles for the recipe.

If you need some nibbles while everyone is waiting for the main event, don’t go overboard – there’s plenty of food to come. But a plate of Blue Cheese and Fig Savories or a bowl of Thanksgiving Popcorn or some dishes of Lemon-Garlic Cashews scattered around go great with a pre-dinner drink without being too much. And a plate of Glazed Kielbasa is always appreciated. Pimento Cheese served with crackers is a great little snack, and it is always good to have some in the fridge if you have hungry guests in the house through the weekend.

Turkey is the main event, but the supporting players really make the meal. In my house, it’s all about sweet potatoes on the side, and I always make Sweet Potato Casserole with Cider, Orange and Maple. But if mashed potatoes are more your style, why not jazz them up as Champ: Irish Mashed Potatoes with Spring Onion. And it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving here without some Classic Corn Pudding with Cheddar and Chives. Now, I admit this is a dish I usually make in the summer with squash from the farmer’s market, but this Summer Squash Casserole makes a creamy, tasty addition to a Thanksgiving table too. Succotash Salad is another summer standard that translates beautifully to the holiday board, and it’s a new take on a uniquely American dish. Peas with Pancetta,Mint and Crème Fraiche add a nice dash of green to the table, or try Bacon Glazed Parsnips for a wintry roasted vegetable. And the kids’ table is sure to love Cinnamon Apple Salad (and the adults will dig in too!). Butternut and Sage Lasagna is a great main course option for vegetarians, or an impressive side.

The bread basket is often the forgotten guest at the dinner table, but don’t just fill it with frozen rolls. A big batch of classic Buttermilk Biscuits is never a bad idea, but step it up a little with Pumpkin Sage Biscuits or some Toasted Corn and Bacon Muffins. A couple of loaves of Muddy Bread are useful throughout the weekend, with the main meal, toasted for breakfast or for sandwiches.

Now some people just sit patiently through all this other rigmarole just to get to the dessert – so don’t disappoint. Pie is a traditional Thanksgiving treat and a great bring-along if you are eating at another home. Traditional Southern Pecan Pie is a classic, or try another Southern tradition with simple, creamy Buttermilk Pie. Pumpkin Cream Tart is a true seasonal dessert, and a departure from a plain pumpkin pie. Or try a Buttermilk Cake with Caramel Glaze on a pretty stand. And a Traditional Pound Cake never goes amiss.

A big plate of cookies and bars passed around after a huge meal at the table can be a perfect Thanksgiving idea, offering small bites of sweet, without the extra service and clean-up of a full dessert. They are easy to pass or just put out if the crowd moves outside or in front of the TV for football. Maple Spice Crinkles or Clove Cookies have the warm, spiciness of fall; add some Hearty Pumpkin Cookies for a chewy treat. Apple Pie Bars are American as, well, Thanksgiving and a favorite family treat

My traditional post trick or treating Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce are also an amazing vehicle for leftover turkey and add an interesting twist to the weekend, as would Green Chicken Chilaquiles.  And Maple Mustard Chicken Salad, made with turkey of course, is great to have around.

So those are my ideas for Thanksgiving. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below – I’ll answer the best I can!

Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream

I am a little bit of a kitchen gadget geek. Particularly when it comes to gadgets that claim to make things easier. I love my strawberry slicer, my cherry pitter and my onion chopper, but when it comes to the cabinet-space sucking larger gadgets, I tend to think twice. But a few years ago, I finally caved in a bought a simple ice cream maker – just an electric base with a bowl that goes in the freezer, ready for your next batch. And man I am glad I did, particularly in summer, when ice cream is the perfect dessert, and homemade, tailored to your personal taste, is both a special treat and an impressive dish to serve friends. Freezing takes about 30 minutes, and the possibilities are endless for loads of tasty fun. I have never looked back.

This lemon meringue pie version I created for my mom. Lemon meringue pie is her favorite dessert, and I have never quite gotten the pie right. But this version is idiot proof. Crumbled graham crackers, purchased meringue cookies and jarred lemon curd create all the rich, custardy flavor with the tang of lemon in a couldn’t- be-simpler ice cream base.

Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream
When I first created this, I easily found meringue cookies about 1 -inch in diameter at the market, Now I generally find smaller ones, so I crumble up a few more. Do what feels right for you. 

1 cup whole milk

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 cups heavy cream

Zest and juice of one medium lemon

1 (12 ounce) jar lemon curd

6- 7 graham cracker sheets

12 small meringue cookies (or 6 large)

In a bowl, whisk together the milk and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. I use a hand mixer for about 2 minutes to get everything well blended. Whisk in the cream, lemon zest and juice. Pour the cream base into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Meanwhile, break the graham sheets into very small pieces by placing them in a ziptop bag and crushing with your fingers. Some crumbs are fine, but the pieces need to be bite sized. Place the meringue cookies into another bag and pop each one with your fingers to break it up into shards. They will pop apart easily so don’t get carried away.

About half-way through the recommended freezing time for the ice cream, spoon in the lemon curd, a little at a time, so it blends into the ice cream. As the freezing time comes to an end, drop in the graham pieces until mixed in, then the meringue pieces. When everything is mixed in and the ice cream is frozen, scoop it into freezer containers and freeze for several hours or overnight.

Makes roughly 2 pints
 

 

Fun Summer Finds

So now that summer has well and truly begun, I thought  I would share with you some of my favorite finds for the perfect summer – in and out of the kitchen.  These are just some ideas about personal favorites – no one has asked me to promote any products.

Nothing says summer quite like ice cream, so I highly recommend a simple ice cream maker.  I have this Cuisinart version and think it’s perfect, and not terribly expensive. It’s a lot of fun to invent your own flavors, especially with kids, but if you need a little help, try David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop book.  David’s a hoot and he really knows his stuff.  Now that you’ve mastered the ice cream, you’ll want to share it with your friends.  And we all like pretty packaging, right? Sweet Bliss sells great containers you can decorate yourself – and in quantities that make sense.  I love these!  But if baking is more your thing, Bake It  Pretty has amazing decorative cupcake papers and lots more fun items to jazz up your summer celebrations. And to really add personality to the food gifts you share with friends, check out Felix Doolittle’s beautiful Chef’s Medallions and Baker’s Labels, amazing personalized stickers with foodie themes.

Summer also means picnics and outdoor eating, and as I may be all about easy, but I want to be good to the earth too.  These Bambu plates are made from sustainable bamboo, are organic and disposable and look good to boot.  They also make serving pieces and cutlery.  You can get cups, plates and cutlery from Preserve that are made from recycled material and are recyclable.  They come in fun colors as well.  I use them all the time.  And to tote all those picnic supplies, or cut a dashing figure at the farmer’s market, pick up a snazzy oilcloth bag from Beth’s Market Bags.  I carry the large white bag with red graphic apples, and it’s easy to wipe up any spilled milk or leaking berries.

So maybe you are interested in all things food, but don’t want to spend too much time in the hot kitchen.   Some cookbooks are great reads, like Martha Foose’s Screen Doors and Sweet Tea.  You’ll love reading it, but it’s likely to get you in the kitchen as well.  But for just a good read, Julia Stuart’s The Matchmaker of Perigord is full of food and characters and is just delightful.  It’s not as light and charming but The Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris intersperses a haunting tale with the importance of food.  But if you are looking for summer projects, you’ll learn more from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cookery than you can imagine. Or gather your epicurean friends around for a game of Foodie Fight trivia. And if you just want escape the heat and have a good laugh, watch the British series Chef with Lenny Henry.

Summer isn’t all about food.  I do actually leave the kitchen occasionally.  And when I do, I love to wear these jazzy SwitchFlops with interchangeable straps. And since slaving over a hot stove doesn’t give me a tan, a little bit of Stila one-step bronzer helps create a summer fresh look.  When I do get outside, I add a little Dermologica Solar Defense Booster to my moisturizer for protection.  If travel is on your agenda, this Vera Bradley transparent pouch is TSA approved for your carry-on, and cuter than a Ziploc!  And I would love to be spotted by the pool with one of these adorable canvas totes from Iomoi.  And keep all your travel notes, memories and keepsakes in one of these practical Moleskine city notebooks.

Caprese Tart

A few years ago, in the hot, hot summer, we had a big storm that knocked out power for over two weeks.  They say it was a wind storm, but we all called it Hurricane Elvis.  As it was summer, many people were away on vacation, had vacations planned, or just left town during the power outage.  But I was a busy little event planner and had a wedding and a private event to plan and execute, so no leaving town for me.  I lived in my hot, hot house with no lights and no air conditioning for the duration.  My parents had two giant trees fall on their house, then breezily left for a planned trip overseas with the parting words “we expect the trees to be gone when we get back.”  So despite the catastrophe, I was a busy little bee.

As it happened, this was the first year I had planted a garden in my newly constructed raised beds.  I had carefully tended my tomato plants, and wouldn’t you know they all produced a bumper crop of gorgeous red tomatoes right during the storm. Now, I can only eat so many raw sliced tomatoes and I had way more than I could ever finish.  Everyone I knew had left town, so there was no one to share them with.  Under other circumstances, I would have made vats and vats of sauce and soup and frozen my bounty for the long winter.  My gas stove worked, but of course I had no refrigeration and it was just too darn hot to slave over the burners.  So the tomatoes wilted on the vine.  After that, I decided planting tomatoes just wasn’t worth it.

But this year, I have re-entered the wannabe gardener world.  My lettuce is magnificent, my radishes a triumph, and I am awaiting the zucchini.  And I have planted tomatoes.  I watch them carefully – one variety plant has already got some little green babies on it, the other plants are flowering.  So barring any natural disasters, I hope to have another grand crop.  But it is not here yet.  So in the meantime, I am using the ripe, red cherry variety for my tomato fix.  I find they are pretty tasty throughout the year, and pretty darn cute too.

Caprese Tart

I use a rectangular tart tin, but a round tin will work just as well. It may take more or less tomatoes.

1 sheet puff pastry, room temperature

45 round cherry tomatoes

1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese

2 bunches (about 1 ounce each) fresh basil

2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons pine nuts

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the tomatoes and pat them dry.  Using a small, sharp paring knife, gently cut out the core of each tomato, scraping the inside lightly to remove seeds.  I find a sturdy ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon helps with this job.  Be carefully not to cut through the flesh or squash the tomato.  You want to create a little cavity for the mozzarella to fit in.  Place each tomato cut side down on a few layers of paper towels to drain for 20 – 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to fit into a removable bottom 10 inch round or an 11 by 7 inch rectangular tin. Gently fit the pastry into the tin, using a small ball of pastry to press the dough into the corners and sides. Poke all over with the tines of fork

In a food processor (I like the mini one for this), pulse one bunch of basil leaves a few times until roughly chopped.  Add the parmesan and pine nuts and pulse a few more times to chop the nuts.  Add the ricotta and egg, a grind of pepper and a pinch of salt and process to a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.  Using a small offset spatula (or the back of a big spoon), spread the filling in an even layer over the bottom of the pastry.  Set aside.

Cut the mozzarella into small cubes to fit in the tomato cavities.  Lightly press on cube of mozzarella into each tomato. If some seeds or juice squish out of the tomatoes, carefully wipe it away.  Place the filled tomatoes in rows in the prepared tart, pressing lightly into the filling. Sprinkle pepper and salt lightly over the tomatoes.

Very gently brush the top of the tart with extra virgin olive oil and place in the oven.  While the tart is baking, cut about 6 of the remaining basil leaves into a chiffonade (Stack the leaves up, roll them like a cigar, then cut very thin ribbons with a sharp knife or scissors).  When the tart has been in the oven 15 minutes, remove it and sprinkle the basil over the top.  Return to the oven and cook a further 15 – 20 minutes until the tomatoes are shriveled and the mozzarella is melted.

Leave to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.  Sprinkle additional basil chiffonade on top if desired.

Serves 6 – 8

Fluffy Corn Cakes with Bacon and Maple Syrup

Breakfast for Dinner.  Who doesn’t love the thought?  I particularly like a good breakfast for dinner, because I am NOT a morning person, and generally way too lazy to cook a good, hearty, classic breakfast first thing.  I have developed a repertoire of night-before recipes for when the need to cook a morning breakfast arises, but morning is not my best time in the kitchen. So early morning waffles, pancakes, hollandaise sauce for eggs benedict are out. In the morning.  But for dinner, it’s a whole different matter.  You could spend all day working on breakfast. Use every tool in the kitchen.  Pull out waffle irons and griddles. I have several friends who make “breakfast for dinner night” a big occasion for their kids, and they all love it.

So I propose these fluffy, pillow-y corn cakes for your next breakfast for dinner experience.  Of course, you are more than welcome to make these for breakfast in the morning.  In fact, the batter will keep overnight if you whisk it well before frying.  And these would make a real treat for a Sunday brunch.  Add the salty bacon and a drizzle of sweet syrup, and I don’t care what time of day it is, these will make you happy.

Fluffy Corn Cakes with Bacon and Maple Syrup

Crispy bacon and maple are syrup are my favorite way to serve these, but they are also good with butter melting over the top, or with a dollop of sour cream.

2 large eggs

1½ cups buttermilk

Salt and pepper

1 (16-ounce) can cream-style corn

3/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 ½ cups self-rising flour

2 Tablespoons yellow corn meal

Canola oil for frying

1 pound thick-sliced bacon, cooked

Maple syrup

Lay out a baking sheet covered in two layers of paper towels and set close to the stove.

In a large skillet, preferably non-stick, heat ¼ inch of canola oil.

While the oil is heating, combine the eggs, buttermilk, salt and pepper and corn and mix together well. Mix together the flour and cornmeal and add to the wet ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.

Test that the oil is hot enough – drop in a little batt, and if it sizzles wildly, you are ready to go.  Drop ¼ cup of batter at a time into the hot oil.  I use a measuring scoop and slowly pour into the oil, swirling into a nice round shape.  Fry 2- 3 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.  Depending on the size of the skillet, you can do about three at a time.  Remove the cooked cakes to the paper lined baking sheet to drain.

Serve immediately with crispy bacon and maple syrup.

Makes about 18 corn cakes