Tuesday, February 15, 2011

200th post! Red Pepper Zucchini Cakes, Pickled Poblano Aioli, Grilled Tomatoes, Corn Relish

Even though it's winter, I wanted to keep tonight's dinner fresh with bright flavors and varying textures.

Creamy on the inside, crisp on the outside, zucchini, potato and red pepper cakes with smokey grilled tomatoes, sweet and sour Southern corn relish and pickled poblano aioli.

Zucchini Red Pepper Cakes
1 large russet potato, skin on
1 zucchini, peel on
1 red pepper
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbl chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbl finely chopped chives
2 garlic cloves, grated
salt and pepper
1 tsp freshly grated lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Par bake the potato in the oven or microwave until it is cooked 3/4ths of the way through.
Use a food processor with a grating blade to shred the potato, zucchini and red pepper. (Or use a box grater to process the vegetables). Squeeze out any water and set in a colander over a bowl and let excess moisture drain for 15 minutes.
Combine the vegetables in a bowl with the cornmeal, cilantro, chives, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, lemon zest and 2 tbl olive oil. Stir to combine and form into 1" thick cakes.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Saute one side in a non-stick pan with the remaining 2 tbl of olive oil. Once the bottom is golden brown, flip over and put the pan in the oven. Finish cooking the cakes through for 15 minutes.

Pickled Poblano Aioli
1 poblano chili
1/4 yellow onion, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbl fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tbl chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat a grill or broiler and grill the poblano until it is charred on all sides. Transfer to a bowl or bag and cover. Once cooled peel off the skin. I like to keep a little char still on the pepper for flavor. Remove the core and seeds and chop the pepper into coarse pieces.
Combine with the onion, cumin, salt, lime juice and cilantro. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours, tossing every so often making sure all the pepper gets coated with lime juice.
Transfer the pepper and lime juice mixture with the garlic to a food processor and process until smooth. Very slowly stream in the oil with the machine on, allowing the oil to emulsify with the pepper and create a thick sauce. Season to taste.

Corn Relish
2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 green bell pepper, small dice
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
1/2 cup small diced tomato
1 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 organic cane sugar
1 tbl sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp dry mustard powder

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Taste and season.

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