As most of my "circle" of blogger buddies know, we have a wonderful opportunity to participate in a contest co-sponsored by Denise at http://quickiesonthedinnertable.yolasite.com/ and Lazaro at http://lazarocooks.blogspot.com/
Cover of Denise's lovely book which is one of the contest prizes.
First I'd like to say thanks to both Denise and Lazaro for inspiring us to culinary creativity (something at which both are infinately accomplished themselves). I couldn't have asked for two better ingredients since BOTH are absolute favorites of mine.
It was difficult to choose between a sweet or savory dish and ultimately, I couldn't. So I made both.
With this first entry my "southern roots" are definately showing! My grandmother made the hands down BEST cornmeal cakes on this earth in her day. We always called them "granny's hoe-cakes". Before anyone gets excited...I said HOE...no HO!! The unusual origins of this particular southern delicacy are said to have originated with slaves and field hands who mixed inexpensive coarse corn meal with water (and sometimes meat drippings if they were lucky enough to have any) and cooked the resulting "pancakes" on the blades of their hoes which were heated over the camp fire. It was cheap, portable and filled an empty belly.
Cornmeal cakes are also referred to as "Johnny Cakes" (though I have no clue why on this one), "cornmeal fritters" and "fried cornbread." There may be other names but those are the ones most commonly used where I grew up.
By the way, I love fried bread! What's not to love? Of course, I don't fry often and I don't use bacon grease or lard as was my grandmother's fat of choice. The recipe I've created takes the Hoe cake to a whole new height of fried bread delciousness. I did use a white self-rising cornmeal blend (Three Rivers is the only brand our family EVER used) just because I find it easier and better than guessing or experimenting with meal/flour ratios. This is NOT one of those "add water and stir" things though. You can use any brand of self-rising cornmeal blend that you like.
Avocado and Green Onion Corn Cakes with Feta-ziki Sauce
A lovely, rustic pale green cornmeal cake served with a fresh spin on Tzatziki Sauce
For the Corn Cakes:
- 1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled and seeded
- 1 whole organic egg
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (organic preferred)
- 2 cups white self-rising cornmeal blend (any brand)
- 1 cup sliced green onion tops
- olive oil for frying
- Place peeled avocado in the blender with the egg and buttermilk. Blend until smooth.
- Measure self rising cornmeal blend into a 2 quart bowl. Pour avocado-buttermilk mixture into cornmeal all at once. Stir until no dry spots can be seen. Fold in green onion tops.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet (I prefer cast iron). Use 1/4 cup scooop (or eyeball it) to measure batter into hot pan. Flatten batter so that cakes are about 4 inches in circumference. Space cakes about 2 inches apart to facilitate turning. Cook until golden brown on first side; about 5 minutes over medium high heat. Flip carefully and cook until second side is golden brown and crispy. Cool on paper towel lined platter.
Makes 8 large cakes
- 1 cup Greek style plain yogurt (I used fat free but you can use what you like)
- 1/2 cup shredded English cucumber, peel on and squeezed dry
- 1 clove grated fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced dill
- 3 ounces finely crumbled feta cheese
- black pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top Avocado Green Onion Corn Cakes with generous dollops of Feta-ziki and enjoy!
The Homegrown Gourmet