(Recipes published with the preceding article in the San Jose Mercury News and its affiliates on March 1, 2012.)
Former corporate workers have created some delicious recipes in their new culinary careers including: Southern Cornbread Muffins, Golden Almond Cake and Polpettini (cheese-stuffed meatballs).
Southern Cornbread Muffins
Makes 12 cornbread muffins.
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease or line 12 muffin cups.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, honey, eggs and salt. Mix in flour, cornmeal and baking powder; blend thoroughly. Stir in milk and corn. Pour or spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
Golden Almond Cake
Makes one bundt cake.
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons almond extract
3 1/3c sifted cake flour (recommended: Soft-a-Silk)
4 oz., ground, unblanched sliced almonds, toasted and finely ground
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 sticks softened butter (salted)
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan.
-In a medium bowl, lightly combine the eggs, ¼ of the sour cream and the extracts. In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 ½ minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides.
-Gradually add the egg mixture in three batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.
-Bake 45-50 minutes or until a wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.
-Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and unmold. Allow to cool completely before wrapping airtight.
-Adornments: a simple dusting of powdered sugar.
Polpettini (Little Tomato-braised Meatballs with Melted Fontina Centers)
These delicious, cheese-filled meatballs are one of the most popular dishes at the company’s Sumptuous Small Plates cooking events.
Makes 24 meatballs.
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
2 ounces prosciutto, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
3/4 cup good-quality Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1 egg, mixed with a fork
2 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Tomato, Garlic, Wine Braise:
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups Muir Glen brand crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup basil, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1 teaspoons kosher salt
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish
10 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
Loaf of crusty bread, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Form Meatballs: In a large mixing bowl, combine pork, veal, prosciutto, salt, garlic, pepper flakes, fennel seeds, oregano and thyme. Add the onion, parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano and mix by hand. Add the breadcrumbs, ricotta and milk. Mix by hand. Add the eggs and stir until just barely incorporated (don’t overmix). Form the mixture into 1-inch balls. Poke a hole in the center of each ball and fill with a piece of Fontina. Cover with meat, re-roll, and place on a well-oiled sheet pan.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté meatballs on each side until golden. Drain fat from the pan and transfer to an ovenproof baking dish. Set aside. (Alternatively, bake in the oven until browned, about 12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.)
Prepare Tomato-Wine Braise: In the same large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and carrot and cook until the carrot is softened and the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, then deglaze with the white wine and cook for one minute to evaporate alcohol. Add the crushed tomatoes, stock, basil, oregano and salt. Increase heat to high and simmer for 5 minutes.
Finish Meatballs: Pour the braising liquid over the meatballs in the baking dish (it should barely cover the meatballs). Return to the oven and braise for 5-10 minutes until cooked through.
Serve: Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano and basil. Place crusty bread around the edge of the serving dish to sop up the sauce. Put out toothpicks for serving.