Friday, November 20, 2009

a Great CAJUN CORN RECIPE and a big fat failure recipe

I had an epiphany last night, I have a couple of advantages in the kitchen for the upcoming holiday that most of you do not.
  1. I am not burdened with history. Many of you are limited with your menu because your family has expectations. Your stuffing comes from Grandma's recipe and your second cousin will be pissed off if you fail to honor Grandma properly (change stuffing to potatoes, corn, bread, pies, etc and you get my point). My wife and I have fond memories of our family get togethers, but culinary talents are not part of that fond recall. I get to make whatever I want, in any new manor I want.
  2. I am not burdened with know-how. I am at best a decent cook, I have many years of history as an eater, but only a few months of being a cook... but I like to think I have an advantage over people that have been cooking for years... I am (insert Julia Child warble) fearless when it comes to trying new things. I work really hard to consider everything I make. Study a recipe and decide what I can do to make it my own. There is a reason I put the photo of "ELVIS ASPARAGUS" on my header. Every time I open my blog, I am reminded of the feeling of taking a bit from here, a bit from there, and a bit of imagination and coming up with something new. But, the more I learn from reading your blogs and experimenting on my own, the more I find myself limited by fear. Are we doomed to lose our fearlessness because we know too much???
So, take one fearless, imaginative albeit ignorant (classic definition, not stupid, just uninformed) cook, add the inspiration from all your blogs and I get to do whatever I want this holiday... This is my first Thanksgiving since taking over almost all of the cooking responsibilities for our household. I am so excited, I have already cooked one Thanksgiving meal, when, My Wife's Boss is Coming to Dinner - Sucking Up for a Raise Menu - Thanksgiving Preview, I already smoked a turkey. Despite a fabulous end result, I am planning a new turkey session for Thursday, cooking an entirely different way (and gonna do my Christmas Turkey another different way)! I get to decide if I want tried and true sides, or try something new. I am not limited by my second cousins expectations, nor by my knowing what works best. Gonna be a fun time!

But, I do realize that the Holiday table is no place for totally new concepts. So, I was pondering what vegetables to make when I saw an interesting post from one of my favorite bloggers, MARGUERITE from CAJUN DELIGHTS. She did a post of MORE CAJUN THANKSGIVING SIDES that I enjoyed. I especially liked her Cajun Corn Casserole. Not for the recipe (which sounded terrific), but because I have plans for this Jewel... if it works. SO first, I had to see if it works.

Here's what she wrote...

Cajun Corn Casserole ******************* 1/4 cup butter 1 can cream style corn 1 can whole kernel corn 1 tbs. sugar 2 eggs beaten 1 tsp. salt 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper 1/2 cup water 1 6 oz. pkg. Mexican cornbread mix ********************************************************************************* Melt butter in small saucepan. In large bowl, combine melted butter, corn, sugar, eggs, salt and pepper, water and cornbread mix and blend well. Spoon into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish and bake @ 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serves 8 Bon Appetit!

And, here's what I did...

You would never know there was corn in there would you???

As always, assemble your ingredients. Right away, I had an issue. I was not able to find "MEXICAN Cornbread mix". So, I substituted what I could find, a cornbread muffin mix, but I added...

A jalapeno pepper. I removed the seeds, and the white rib meat from the inside. I cut half up into thin strips, and folded them into the mix. the remaining half, I put on the top (didn't matter, as the muffin mix expanded over the green, and the look I was after never materialized. Next time, I will add on the top about half way through the cooking process).

Anyway, I did all the mixing in M's recipe. I did drain the "regular" corn, but left all the liquid in from the creamed corn. There was just the right amount of liquid in the mix to work it's magic. Next time, I think I will measure the liquid from the drained corn, add water to make the 1/2 cup and use the water in the can.

At 40 minutes (M's directions), my center was still a little too gooey, so I cooked mine for 50 minutes. And it came out perfect!

Jackie had a tough day at her inconvenient day job, and was not really feeling well; so she got served dinner in bed. The recipe was very good. It had a lot of flavor, just a bit of kick form the jalapeno, and would fit in on anyone's holiday table. It was very easy, prep time was short and a version of this will be on my holiday table... hehehehehe, I have a winner planned to goose this up a bit presentation wise!!!! hehehehehe! You'll see soon...

But... just in case you think all I ever do is blog my successes, here is a total failure...

Remember the Tapinade I made earlier this week (Click HERE for that post). On the day I made it, it tasted GREAT. I used it to stuff a Kielbasa, and I ate some on a few crackers as a dip (everything tastes better on a Ritz). Well, I had some leftover chicken breasts from yesterday's post... GARLIC CHICKEN like you would not believe! Well, I got the idea that I could split the chicken, add a bit of the Tapinade, and warm up for a great combination.

I added a little of the Stu's Pennsylvania Gold BBQ sauce that I have been using lately. and warmed in the oven, 350 for about 25 minutes...

Came out looking great, came out tasting...spoiled. It tasted of vinegar. I was concerned that the BBQ sauce was the problem. Tasted a fingerdip of the sauce form the top of the chicken, and it was it;s marvelous self. I cut just a piece of the chicken, with the BBQ sauce, but no Tapinade and it tasted terrific (love this sauce). then I tried just a little of the Tapinade... and sure enough, tasted like bad wine.

It was just 48 hours after I made it fresh. I was surprised that it went bad so quick, but it really really did. I used red peppers that had been marinating in a jar. I opened the jar a couple weeks earlier, maybe they went bad? What ever it was, it sure wasn't what I wanted or expected. I scraped the Tapinade off, and finished the chicken. No one got sick, no one died (except my ego), but it still had just a twang of something wrong.

Oh well, I served it with the corn, and that was a success! So.. (THA TA TATA), I present my newly created award to MARGUERITE from CAJUN DELIGHTS. ...

To this wonderful blogger, and remind her of the simple rules...
1) Take inspiration from or outright steal a recipe from a fellow blogger
2) Actually make the item, or make a close copy of the item
3) Blog about your efforts, giving proper credit and links to the inspiree
4)If you receive the award, be honored, as there is no greater feeling than having your efforts not just recognized, but duplicated! That is the only real rule, is to feel honored. BUT, feel free to post this in your side bar and to pass it on to one of your favorite bloggers which you have made one of their recipes.


  1. I try to explain my cooking theory every once in a while.. It's what I call "The Building Blocks of Cooking" When you have learned heat sources and temps.. when you know enough about what goes with what, when you know what spices and herbs go together, and when you know the techniques(tricks!)- Cook books become entertainment, not recipes to follow! You can make your own now.. I still make mistakes, but they are usually bonehead ones, like something I've known forever, but didn't do!

  2. I love the corn dish, my husband is a corn fiend! He also has the inconvenient day job!

  3. thats too bad your chicken recipe got all vinegary. your "casserole" is very similar to my jalapeno & cheddar corn bread. YUM

  4. I don't really feel burdened by history either, mainly because my family does not have any good cooks in it. So veering from tradition is probably a good thing. I also am not totally knowledgeable in the kitchen. I like to think of my family as my guinea pigs. Now I just need to get them one of those little wheels to run off the Thanksgiving calories!

    That corn casserole looks totally awesome. I love corn in all of its various shapes and forms, so I know I would love this!

  5. My dear friend, I am so totally honored and flattered that you would choose one of my recipes to duplicate! Your version looks perfect and I love the jalapenos, too. And then to share with all of your readers and give me a fabulous shout out! And then, an award on top it it!! My cup runneth over with your generosity and my heart, full of gratitude! Merci Beaucoup, mon cher amis, you are the best!

  6. I hope Jakie is feeling better. It's an awful time of year to be ill. That is an incredible casserole my friend.

  7. I love a corn casserole- I like the kick this one has. And good to see you post of failure...we do learn more from failures than successes.

  8. Your wife gets dinner in bed!!! Could you please have a talk with my husband?

  9. *Giggling at what Pam said"

    Wow Dave that was very well written and I really enjoyed reading your post... Your thoughts and it really made me think or perhaps rethink my menu just a bit.

    Since I'm the "cook" its all my choices and of course I choose things that I know my family loves... I'm pretty sure that's what my family is thankful for!

    I love your enthusiasm for the upcoming cooking event! Sharpen your knives and stock your pantries and fridges! And bring it!


  10. Still getting over you cooking and bringing wife dinner in bed. May I borrow you? The corn dish you created/adapted looks delicious!

  11. Well, too bad about the chicken, Dave, but on the bright side, the corn casserole is quite drool worthy! It looks delicious!

  12. All right, I did steal the fugasse recipe, but not from you. I did add bacon and change a couple of items.

  13. Always love reading your posts. Love the "insert Jiulia warble" in this one. Great minds think alike, I saved that reciipe from Marguerite's blog too. Can't wait to try it.

  14. Nice casserole, I always love a good corn casserole. I've used "mexicorn" in lieu of the mexican corn bread mix with good results.

    Sweet of you to do that for your wife. My wife and I do a lot of things like that for each other. It keeps things fun, doesn't it?

  15. How could every post you do be my "FAVORITE" I love this and read it twice. I really like the corn casserole! I might just have to whip some up for Thanksgiving. Have a great weekend!

  16. The corn pudding looks totally awesome, Dave. I'm sorry your tapenade went off - that's strange!

  17. Sorry your recipe didn't work out - but really, something gone bad isn't your fault, it's just one of those things. It sure looked good. Your corn recipe looks great too - I just made something kind of similar today. Maybe I'll post it this weekend too :-)

  18. Unfortunately I am old enough to be burdened with history. When I try to change anything, everybody asks where is such and such? I gave up and now do my experimenting on days other than holidays.
    However, as long as I have been cooking I still would not call myself burdened with know-how.

    By the way, if I were Jackie, I would have killed you for posting a photo of me in the sick bed. She must be a super duper good sport!

  19. I love corn and am always looking to see what's new.... I will have to try this!

    As for serving wifey dinner in bed... I knew I liked you from the moment I read your blog... as for taking a pic... well I kinda agree with Barbara... I'd have killed you...

    But then again Warreb took a pic of me on his phone after the I got some "happy juice" in my IV from the doc to calm me before my surgery and he's still here to tell about it...

  20. LOL, people know if they eat here, it's a given that I AM going to experiment on them, regardless of the reason or the season.

    The cornbread casserole looks yummy! Wonder how it would work as a dressing?