Blog-checking lines: Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!
We use cornmeal in a few different recipes already. We enjoy grilled polenta and cornbread. But this challenge was to find new ways to use cornmeal. So I decided to see if I could make a whole meal out of cornmeal. And I did!
I started with an appetizer of deep fried pickles.
I've never had deep fried pickles before. I love dill pickles, so it seemed like a good choice. The hold their crunch and have a nice flavour. Hilary didn't enjoy them as much, but she's not a huge pickle fan to start with. I don't think these will become part of our regular repertoire, but I'm glad I got to try them.
Then I made a rustic cornmeal and spinach soup.
It was only Hilary and I enjoying this meal so I cut the recipe in half. Unfortunately the chicken broth I used was too salty for the quantity of water I had. But since I made the soup in the morning, it thickened as it cooled and I had to add some more water to thin it out before serving, so that helped. It was a really great tasting soup, but one better suited for a cool fall day rather then a hot summer one. This recipe will definitely be one that we do again. It was very quick, something you could make after work and have ready within 30 minutes.
For the main dish I made a cornmeal crusted chicken breast.
I didn't follow this recipe exactly. I soaked the chicken breast in the buttermilk for about 30 minutes before cooking it. I then omitted the egg wash and went straight to dipping it in the cornmeal mixture. I also didn't have any cajun spice, so I simply added my own spices. After tasting it, I realized that I could have been more liberal with the spices. It was still tasty but would have supported more. I think my favorite part of this recipe is that it isn't only fried, but finished off in the oven. It keeps it's crispiness without being oily. Another recipe that we will revisit.
And for desert I made strawberry-rhubarb cobbler.
I was a little iffy about a cornmeal topping for this. I thought it would be too heavy and too gritty. I was pleasantly surprised, it was light and airy. The only thing I didn't like was that the baking soda gave it a fuzzy, bubbly feel when you bit into it. When I make it again I think I will cut down on the amount I use. I also found that the rhubarb was a bit under cooked, even though the topping was already browned.
Overall, this was a great challenge and I'm glad to have found some new recipes that we enjoyed. I will actually be making this whole meal again in a few days for friends. I love to share the Daring Kitchen challenges with friends of ours, but we couldn't coordinate our schedules to get together before the DK due date.
As always, I can't wait to find out what our next Daring Kitchen challenge is going to be!