Friday, May 8, 2009

Mexican Masa Cakes with Chevre & Red Pepper Sauce

I know, I know...what's with this girl and hotcakes?? Truth be told, I have a third pancake recipe in the chute to publish after this. But who can argue with something so easy to make that also happens to be infinitely variable. These were undeniably delicious, made all the more so by the tasty additions. A great first course, lunch or light dinner. We ate ours for dinner with some of the leftover black beans (thawed from the freezer) topped with avocado. Perfect.
The roasted red pepper sauce was awesome, but I'm thinking it could also be made with jarred peppers in a pinch. Would be a real time saver. Or, you can make a double batch and freeze it in 1 cup servings, leaving the yogurt out until you thawed the portion you were going to use.

I think I'll make omelets for dinner this weekend with fresh spinach, avo, chopped tomato, and the leftover goat cheese. Topped off of course with the yummy leftover red pepper sauce!

Mexican Masa Cakes with Chevre & Red Pepper Sauce:
(Biscuits, Pancakes, & Quick Breads)

Yields 12 pancakes; 4 servings

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup masa harina de maiz
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or parsley
1 Tbs canola oil, or other vegetable oil
mild goat cheese, sliced ~1/4" thick (I used Montrachet's chevre with pepperdew peppers)
1 (8oz) can corn niblets, drained (buy one with nothing else added besides corn and water)
1 cup Red Pepper Sauce (recipe to follow)
red bell pepper strips and cilantro sprigs to top

Preheat oven to 300.
If you have an electric griddle, heat it to 325. If you'll be cooking stovetop, just wait till your batter is resting.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, masa harina, baking soda, and salt.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg, buttermilk, cilantro, and 1 TBS oil.
Stir with a wooden spatula until just blended.
Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes.

Oil (if needed...we have non-stick electric, so didn't have to) your heated griddle.
Ladle scant 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the griddle, making pancakes 3 1/2 -4 inches in diameter.
Cook the pancakes until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
Turn and cook the other side about 2 minutes.
Keep them warm in the preheated oven while cooking the rest of the cakes.
When all the pancakes are made, arrange 3 cakes on each of 4 serving plates.
Place 2 overlapping slices of cheese on top of the pancakes.
Scatter corn over each serving.
Return the plates to the oven and heat for 5 minutes, until the cheese is warmed through.
Spoon the Red Pepper Sauce around the pancakes and garnish with pepper strips and cilantro.

Red Pepper Sauce:
(adapted from Biscuits, Pancakes and Quick Breads)

2 large roasted red bell peppers
1 Tbs canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2-1 tsp Asian chile-garlic sauce
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 cup low sodium chicken broth (I made this a second time with veggie broth)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt (Fage...original recipe uses sour cream)
(original recipe also used 1 Tbs chopped cilantro added after taken off heat)

Finely mince 1 1/2 of the peppers; cut remaining 1/2 pepper into thin strips to garnish cakes.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add onion, minced peppers, chile-garlic sauce, and cumin. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes, until onions begin to soften.
Stir in the broth and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until reduced somewhat.
I blended it at this point with a stick blender in a smaller bowl. You could also use a regular blender.
Wait for the sauce to cool, then whisk in your yogurt and season with salt and pepper if needed.
If you're making the sauce in advance and plan to use it later, refrigerate it; reheat gently without letting the sauce come to a boil.

Yields about 1 1/2 cups of sauce

This sauce is so amazing! Wonderful warm or cold. We had it atop veggie omelets and then I used the rest cold as a dressing for my spinach salad at lunch the following day. Sooooo good.

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