Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sweet Cornbread Mini-Muffins with a Chile Pepper Kick for #10DaysofTailgate

While jalapeno-topped little bites may look like ghoulish eyeballs, they have nothing to do with Halloween, not this month anyway. During football season these sweet, chile-packed, cornbread appetizers will score extra points for flavor at any tailgate gathering. Pile them in a basket and serve warm, alone or with some whipped honey butter or pepper jelly. Pair them with ribs or wings, or anything slathered with barbecue sauce. Smother them with chili for a heartier nibble. Go ahead, grab one and take a bite; you'll smile and grab another! 

The batter is sticky so use your fingers or a small, oiled cookie scoop.

Topped with a jalapeño ring or plain, cornbread mini muffins make tasty snacks and delicious accompaniments to chili and chowder.
The muffins easily size up into larger muffin tins or even jars, perfect to split and cover with Cajun Barbecued Shrimp (think Shrimp and Grits) or with Sausage Gravy or Chili, just hold back on the sugar. On the rare off-side chance that you have some muffins left over, build a savory breakfast strata. 

Another batch baked in canning jars was easy to transport and serve. 

Sweet Cornbread Muffins 
with a Chili Pepper Kick

Yields 24 mini muffins
1 stick (6 Tablespoons) butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup Poblano pepper, deseeded & diced
2/3 cup Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup green onion, diced
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Bob's Red Mill coarse grind yellow cornmeal (I substituted a 2:1 mix of Bob's Red Mill medium grind cornmeal and Corn Grits aka Polenta)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 Jalapeno rings (Mezzetta’s Deli-Sliced Tamed Jalapeno Peppers)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an two 12-cup mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. Wet ingredients: Use a large mixing bowl and stir together the melted butter and sugar. Whisk in the beaten eggs and milk. Add the Poblano chilies, cheese and onion and stir until well mixed.
  3. Dry ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, blending thoroughly.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the eggy batter and stir until smooth and well combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared mini-muffin pans, filling each cup about ¾ full. Top each muffin with a Jalapeno ring.
  5. Bake on a center rack in the preheated 350 F oven until a toothpick or tester poked into the center of the cornbread comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cornbread rest a few minutes until they pop out of the pan easily. Serve warm, with a little honey on the side... or butter... or better yet, honey butter.   

Note: Bob's Red Mill is a sponsor of #10DaysofTailgate, but I purchased my own cornmeal. I love this company and have used many of their high-quality products in my home kitchen and boat galley for years.

Here's what the rest of the team brought to the table...

Homemade Honey Mustard Chipotle Chicken Bites by Love and Confections
Beer Cheese Brat Chowder by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Ducky Joes by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Ducky 13 Bean Soup by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
13 Bean Chili by Miss Laura’s Kitchen
Za’atar Spiced Cashews by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chicken & Potato Stir Fry on the Grill by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
El Diablo Spicy Wood Smoked Pork Butt by CafeTerraBlog
Grilled Lemongrass Lamb by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Grilled Clash of the Seasons Panzanella by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Boston Lager Cupcakes by Sew You Think You Can Cook

This is it, the very last day of #10DaysofTailgate. Have you checked out the awesome collection of 14 prizes that are available from our generous sponsors? Get with it! Click HERE to go to the sponsor info and enter the giveaway. Don't miss this final opportunity. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Salads in Jars for #10DaysofTailgate

Unless you are an avid football fan, tailgating is all about the food; rib-sticking dishes like sliders, brats, wings, chili, anything with barbecue sauce. After a few nibbles helpings of these favorites I crave a lighter, healthier bite and head for vegetables... something crunchy beyond the crudités and dip. Toss a penalty flag, call a foul and any eject all soggy, wilted, overdressed salads from your tailgate party. Go with a fresh approach - layered salads in glass jars. You can adapt one of your favorite recipes, experiment with a new recipe, or play around with interesting ingredients just for fun. The secret, if there is one, is in the layering. 

Begin by spooning 2 to 3 generous tablespoons of the salad dressing into squeaky clean containers with lids, like my repurposed 13-ounce jelly jars. Top this with a layer of firm, crunchy vegetable(s) that won't soak up the liquid. Add additional ingredients, pressing each layer firmly as you go to minimize the exposure to air. Leafy greens and fresh herbs work best on top. Note: fill your jars completely; don't leave empty air space on top as I did in some of these photos. Screw on the tops and that's it. The salads are good to go, or chill and hold. 

Salads in jars are quick to prepare once you have your ingredients prepped. Think mise en place. They store well, staying fresh in the fridge for several days, and are easy to stack and transport to any event or even to your work desk. Score! Shake to distribute the dressing and enjoy straight from the jar, or empty the contents into a bowl if you prefer.  

I like to set out a variety of ingredients and build new combinations, change up the dressings, try different herbs and toppings. Go ahead, get creative and play with textures and flavors. 

Greek Salad in a Jar
Build this salad with fresh local produce for an extra flavor boost. Salty feta and licoricey basil really pop this classic.

Salad Ingredients:
Diced hothouse cucumber, green onions or red onions, yellow and orange bell peppers, halved grape tomatoes, diced or crumbled feta cheese, fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley, pitted olives or pine nuts if you like.
Whisk together 1/2 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 oz red wine vinegar, salt & pepper to taste. Add 4 oz of good olive oil in slow dribbles and keep whisking until emulsified.


Minty Orzo Salad in a Jar
Mint and honey balance the slightly bitter bite of kale (or radicchio) in this pasta salad.

Salad Ingredients:
Chopped celery, roasted red peppers, cooked orzo, purple kale or radicchio ribbons, green onions, goat cheese, fresh mint leaves and pecan bits.
Whisk together 1 Tbs honey, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp dried mint, 2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar, 3 Tbs good olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. 

Here are some other ideas for recipes to adapt to a salad in a jar presentation:

(Click here for a further look at mason jar salads at Shockinglydelicious.)

#10DaysofTailgate is approaching its end. Have you checked out the prize packages and entered yet? Click HERE to view our generous sponsors and enter the giveaway. 

Here's what the rest of the team brought to the table today...

‘Da Bears in ‘Da Blankets by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Philly Cheese Steak Eggrolls by Cooking In Stilettos
Ketchup & Mustard Glazed Meatballs by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Duck Bacon, Pear, Brie Baked Wontons by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures

Buffalo Chicken Sliders by girlichef
Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wings by Cheese Curd In Paradise
White Chicken Chili by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Saucy Maple Leaf Duck Sliders by Making Miracles
Three Pepper Burgers by Eliot’s Eats
Chipotle Mustard Pork Chops by The Pajama Chef
Cherry Chipotle Drumsticks by Summer Scraps

Salads in Jars by OnTheMove-In the Galley
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