Archive | July 2016

Pastel de Choclo

I have been meaning to make this for months now. Since I first had it in my Chilean cooking class back in December, I have wanted to try making it at home. And then I kept not doing it. But this week I finally got around to it. Pastel de Choclo is basically a Chilean shepherd’s pie, with a sweet corn topping rather than mashed potatoes. And it is freaking delicious.

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Filling
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, chopped
2-3 teaspoons paprika (adjust to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin (adjust to taste)
1 tsp sugar
2 tablespoons rasins
2-3 ounces crumbled feta
olive oil

Saute the onion and garlic for a couple minutes in some olive oil, then add the eggplant, paprika and cumin. Saute, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is soft and cooked, 10 minutes or so. Add the sugar, and then taste and adjust the spices as you see fit. Set aside while you make the topping.

Topping
3 ears of corn, kernels removed and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
2-3 tsp sugar
Chopped fresh basil or dried basil

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the corn, and basil, and sugar and then slowly add in the milk, stirring frequently. Once all the milk is added, cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens (aka corn and milk sorta combine into a mush). It’ll take awhile – at least 10 minutes. Stir consistently so the bottom doesn’t burn.

Assembly
In a medium, greased casserole dish, place the eggplant mixture. The add a layer of feta and raisins. Then spoon the corn mush so it forms an even top layer. Sprinkle the top with sugar, and bake at 400 until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm.

So. Freaking. Good. I was worried since I wasn’t really involved in making it that it wouldn’t taste the way I remember, but it turned out awesome. I upped the spices a little to counteract the sweet corn, but it works so well with the feta. I can’t wait to make this again. My only issue with it was that I ate a little too much of it each time I had it. Oh well, there are worst things than a recipe being too good to keep to smallish portions. Naturally, I served this with Chilean wine – a really solid Sauvignon blanc. Song of the Week: PMJ’s version of Dancing in the Dark. Confession time: I hate Bruce Springsteen. I sporadically try again, but it’s like “nope.” However, Postmodern Jukebox is awesome and so I’m completely obsessed with their 50s version of it this week.

Eggs in Pattypan Squash

Pattypan squash is such a funny vegetable. It’s like a scalloped flying saucer. I’ve wanted to learn how to cook them for a while, but had no idea how to approach it – and honestly, chopping it into pieces seemed like a waste of their cool shape. But then I found this recipe for Eggs Baked in Pattypan Squash and it seemed like a good thing to try.

3 pattypan squash
2 or 3 eggs
1/3 onion, diced
2 smallish or 1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 pinches dried thyme
salt
olive oil

Trim the ends of the pattypan squash. Then take a spoon and hollow out the middle of the squash, leaving at least 1/4 of an inch of flesh/rind all around. Brush with olive oil and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. While the squash are baking, saute the onion in some olive oil. After a few minutes add the garlic and then the thyme. Once the onion is soft, remove from heat. Into the little pattypan squash holes, scoop in some of the onion mixture. Then crack an egg and slip it into the hole as well. Carefully return it to the oven and bake until the eggs are set/as done as you want them – about 15 minutes.

pattypan squash

I really liked this recipe. The only problem I had with it was the the pattypan squash were too small for a whole egg to go in there! There was some spillage into the baking pan. This was touted (and would make) a great brunch dish, but I had it with salad and wine as a light dinner and that worked well. So this I think was a great, simple introductory recipe to such a funny-looking veggie. Song of the Week: Sit Down John, from 1776. Long before there was Hamilton, there was another surprise Broadway hit about the Revolutionary War – 1776 which focused on the Continental Congress declaring American independence. I have been obsessed with this musical since I was 5 and listen to the soundtrack every 4th of July.