Weekend Special – Oops! A Day Late – Dinner from the Sunny South

So here I am a day late for the weekend special. Blame it on April Fool’s Day and six inches of heavy wet snow. No I didn’t have a power outage. I was lucky and the lights stayed on but I might as well blame the snow for my tardiness or was it forgetfulness.

Anyway the snow is melting rapidly in spite of the gray day and I’m headed over to ski and watch the slush cup. Look for photos on Susan Nye 365 later today or tomorrow.

What do you cook when the calendar page has turned over to April but a look out the window suggests that spring is still months away? Call me predictable but I’d go for some fun and festive Latin flavors.

Here are a few suggestions for a festive evening:

Start with a taste of the sunny south: They may not be authentic but my Avocado, Black Bean and Tomato Tostaditas are certainly yummy!

The Main Event: If you are in the mood for seafood, try my Tequila Shrimp with Jicama Slaw. Or get beefy with Tex-Mex Braised Beef. The jicama slaw without the shrimp is also a great side dish for the beef.

Something Sweet: How about some delicious Strawberry Gelato. It’s too early for fresh, local berries but the recipe works fine with frozen strawberries. Let them soften on the counter for about 10 minutes before you throw them in the blender. Throw the slushy mix into the ice cream maker and you’ll have gelato in no time. Or think chocolate with my Black & White Brownies. The first chocolate sweets were created by the Mayans or maybe it was the Aztecs. (In any case, the first chocolate treats were not cooked up in Hershey PA or even en Suisse!)

Hey the sun’s coming out … got to dash! Have a great weekend – enjoy!

Avocado, Black Bean and Tomato Tostaditas
Makes 8 tostaditas

1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and halved
1/4 cup (or to taste) sour cream
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves and more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
About 1/2 cup cooked black beans rinsed and drained
About 8 big cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon (or to taste) jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped small red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash hot sauce, or more to taste
Corn Cakes (recipe follows)
Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the avocado in a bowl. Mash with a fork and add the sour cream, lime juice, cumin and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and mix to form a cream. For a creamier mixture add more sour cream. Set aside.

(Since it is a bit last minute – if you can’t find a ripe avocado go ahead and use vacuum packed guacamole. Taste for seasoning before adding the lime juice, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper.)

In another mixing bowl combine the black beans, tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, garlic and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

Put a small dollop of the avocado cream on top each corn cake with. Top with a spoonful of the black bean-tomato mixture. Garnish with a little chopped cilantro and serve.

Corn Cakes
1 cup sweet corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, minced
3 tablespoon finely chopped red or yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 ounces grated cheddar cheese
1 cup whole milk
Olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the corn, garlic, jalapeno and bell peppers. In another bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the vegetables and cheese to the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Whisk the egg and milk together; add to flour-vegetable-cheese mixture and stir to combine. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of skillet. When the skillet is hot, pour corn batter, about 2 tablespoons per corn cake. Cook on 1 side for about 1 1/2 minutes or until brown. Turn and cook until the middles of the cakes no longer appear wet. Transfer the cakes to a warm platter and repeat to make 8 cakes. Serve immediately.

Happy April … Happy skiing … and bon appétit!

One Year Ago – Lavender Infused White Chocolate Crème
Two Years Ago – Lemon Tart
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What are you eating this weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below. I’d be delighted to add you to the growing list of blog subscribers. To subscribe: just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive a new story and recipe every week.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2011

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