Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

Last week my family and I went to a Mexican restaurant here in town. For most people in our area, this is not uncommon (let's be real, most people have Bueno almost once a week); for me, though, well let's just say I'm not a big fan of Mexican food. It makes my tummy feel funny.

So imagine my surprise when we ordered a dish that I LOVED. I mean, downright wanted to stop eating and take it home just so I knew I could have it the next day. I didn't, of course, because I wanted to eat it then, too. My mom and I looked at the menu online because I needed to decide what I wanted before we got there (I'm notorious for taking wayyyy too long to decide at the restaurant) and we saw on the appetizer list something intriguing: sweet corn tamale cakes. Hmm. I like corn, but I don't like tamales. But it was topped with avocado so of course I said, "Sign me up!"

After dinner, I declared that I would recreate the dish at home. I had to. I needed to have a recipe like this in my life. I would say I came pretty close...of course I didn't get everything right, I knew I wouldn't. But that just gives me an excuse to go back, right? Perfect!

Enjoy the recipe! If I had to do it over again, I would probably double the recipe. This cake wasn't dense necessarily, it just didn't rise like the cakes at the restaurant. I considered baking it in muffin tins, but was hesitant about the baking time. Let me know if you try it!

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Sweet Corn Tamale Cake with Creamy Avocado Topping
Adapted from Knead for Speed's recipe

Corn Cake
  • 1 can (14-15ish oz) sweet corn, drained--YES, sweet corn. Nothing else. Hence the sweet corn cake.
  • 1/2 cup masa harina (you can find it at Wal-Mart in the Hispanic food section!)
  • 3 tablespoons yellow corn meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • a little over 1/4 cup honey--I just let it overflow for a second. I like sweet things, okay?
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
Creamy Avocado Topping
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 tablespoons whipped cream cheese--get it out of the fridge when you start making the cake. You'll want it to be a little bit soft.
  • a little bit of honey
  • one Roma tomato
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray.

Using a blender or food processor, blend the sweet corn until it's smooth but still a little bit chunky. Set aside for later.

In a small bowl, combine the masa harina, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Save for later.

Beat the butter until fluffy using an electric mixer. Make sure you're using a bowl big enough for all the ingredients, but not so big that you feel like you're just chasing the butter around the bowl. I'm speaking from experience, here. Add the honey, corn mixture, water and milk to the butter. Mix to combine. Then add your masa harina mixture to the honey/corn/butter/etc mixture and mix to combine.

Pour your batter into your baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

While it's baking, you can whip up the avocado topping. Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit, and cut the avocado into medium-sized squares. Place in a small bowl. For the cream cheese, I used whipped for two reasons: one, I felt like it would coat the avocado better and two, I'm on Weight Watchers and still really wanted cream cheese so this was my solution. Measure out the whipped cream cheese and add it to the avocados. Drizzle a little honey in, to taste. Using a rubber spatula, stir all ingredients together until the avocados are coated and it looks like the honey's been incorporated. Cover and put in the fridge until you serve the corn cake. Dice up the tomato and set aside.

When you're ready to serve, cut the cake in squares (Knead for Speed even recommends using a cookie scoop! I think I should have done that) and top with avocado topping and diced tomato. Drizzle a little more honey on if you wish, and enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What not to wear

Thanks for your comments regarding the arbor! I think I've come to a decision....I'm going to go with the fabric-draped arbor! Not sure if I'll use color fabric or not, but I just think it will be the right touch of whimsy. Or something like that.

I thought that deciding upon the arbor would open the gates to decision-making across the wrong I was. I still have so, so many decisions to make. So. Many. Decisions. But I have been making some progress! The biggest accomplishment is purchasing bridesmaids dresses. They're CUTE, let me tell ya. Now all we have to decide is what the boys are wearing, what shoes I'm going to wear, what kind of veil I'm wearing, how to decorate the mantle in the lodge, what's going on the aisle for the ceremony, what our programs will look like.....okay, so we've still got a way to go.

But the awesome news is...WE'RE GETTING OUR ENGAGEMENT PICTURES TAKEN SOON! I'm. so. excited. We're getting them taken at Camp, where we met. Now the most pressing decision for me is....what the junk do I wear? Seriously. I love fashion and styling, but I'm so lost. Do we "theme" the shoot? If so, I'm not really up for wearing our Camp gear; Chacos and Nike shorts aren't exactly the most "bride-like" attire. We're probably going to bring a quilt to the shoot (I know, kind of engagement-cliche but I like it) and Fiance's going to bring his ukulele, but other than that I really have no ideas.We've thought about doing a picnic-y type thing, with me baking some treats and what not, but I didn't know if that was too much. So, again, I'm asking for your help! I do have an idea on one outfit but still need help. I've been making some style boards on Polyvore but am still open to suggestions! I'm lookin' to this gal for style inspiration, too. Because she's adorable. And I love her.

Also, do you think I should get my make-up done for this? Seriously. It's a pretty well-known fact that I'm, well, less than skilled with makeup. Also known as if I leave the house with anything more than mascara and blush it's a good day. I've been debating this for a while and didn't know if that was too much.

So help a sista out. Let me know what I should wear! I know that you're not completely familiar with my closest (thank goodness) but generics work well, too! Looking forward to your opinions. I know I've got some super-stylish friends out there.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Help, prease?

In my hunt for all things wedding, I've noticed that I gravitate towards decorations that could be considered "whimsical." The problem, however, is that they also could be considered "childish" or "trashy." There's a very, very fine line between these adjectives. And I feel like I'm gravitating towards the "trashy."


A source of major concern is the arbor. Do I want to decorate with real flowers? Do I want to decorate with streamers? Pom pom streamers? Honeycomb balls hung on streamers? Chiffon draped over the arbor? The answer is yes. To all of them.

Honestly, I think my main concern is this: I don't want people to think that I'm taking my marriage lightly. Believe me, I understand that marriage is a blessing, but I also acknowledge that it takes work. Lots of work. Fiance and I are under no illusions that marriage will always be hunky dory; it takes time to adapt to living with another person, and even 50 years down the line it will still be difficult.

But does that mean I can't have loads of tissue paper and streamers everywhere? I honestly don't know. As a couple, fiance and I aren't exactly the most serious people. And by that, I mean we're goofy. All de timez lolz (Too much? Yeah, I figured.). So at the reception, I know we can get away with having some fun little decorations around. But is it pushing it to have them at the ceremony?

Basically, I need your help. Do we go pseudo-traditional and have flowers on the arbor? Or do we go with the whimsical-ness of streamers and pom poms? Or do we combine a little of both, with chiffon-like fabric and some other decorations? I'm letting (read: begging) y'all help decide!

So here's what the arbor looks like (it's from behind but you get the idea). It's kind of pixelated, but it can be found here:

And here are the options (click on the links for bigger pictures!):
This was my original idea for the arbor. Simple and sweet. I still love it. If you need picture inspiration, check her photos out. I LOVE them.

These are some garlands made of dyed coffee filters. I love this. In different colors, I think it would be beautiful!

Ohhh my dear, I love this, too. In shades of light pink and turquoise? Yes, please.

Oh doilies. My weakness. So pretty. Can you picture garlands of these? I can.

So I know these are on a car, but can I still think it would be super cute on an arbor!
...and then there's these. This one's the perfect color, and this one's just plain gorgeous.

So what do you think? Which one do you think would look the best with my whimsical wedding? Looking forward to hearing your opinions!