Blueberry muffins made me nostalgic for a recent column in the food section. But the carrot corncakes forced me into the kitchen.
Savory baked goods, after all, are my go-to for everyday dishes, certainly with soups and stews. And the recipe I posted with the column was a real winner, producing the lightest, moist muffins I can remember. A dollop of goat cheese or mascarpone on top is more appealing to me every day than frosting.
Count on cheese to blend a wide variety of sweet and savory ingredients into one harmonious bite. Here are some combinations to consider that could replace carrots in my corncakes or mixes in your favorite muffin recipe that includes about 2 1/2 cups of dry ingredients in total.
South West: 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese + 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels + 1/4 cup diced roasted chilies OR 1 tbsp chili powder + 2 tsp cumin
Italian: 1/2 cup grated parmesan + 1/2 cup pesto + 3/4 cup pine nuts (sprinkle with cheese before cooking)
Greek: 1/2 cup crumbled feta + 1 cup thawed frozen chopped spinach + 2 tsp dried oregano + 1 tsp dried rosemary
Classic: 3/4 cup diced ham + 3/4 cup diced Swiss or Emmental cheese + 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Gourmet: 1 cup diced Brie (rindless) + 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Guest rooms : 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese + 3/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon + 2 tsp sage
Aged cheddar is a staple in my fridge, and balances out the jalapeno bite in these muffins using canned corn, courtesy of Tribune News Service. Frozen grains also work wonders.
For the cornmeal, you can substitute polenta, semolina, or just plain all-purpose flour.
Tribune News Photo service
Jalapeno Canned Corn Muffins
1 cup cornmeal
1 can (8.5 ounces) whole kernel corn
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup of milk
1/3 cup oil
12 pickled jalapeno rings, optional
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, corn kernels, baking powder, salt and jalapeno pepper with a spatula.
Add eggs, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, milk and oil. Mix all the ingredients well.
Divide the corn mixture into the muffin tins. Top each muffin with some of the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Place one of the pickled jalapeno peppers on each muffin, if using.
Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.
Makes 12 muffins.