I did not fall off the face of the earth. That’s good to know, right? And I didn’t get into one of my writing funks again. Also good to know. But I did go and get myself PREGNANT!!!!!!!!! And holy COW was the first trimester a doozey. I literally survived off of sausage biscuits (breakfast) and mac & cheese every other moment of the day. Whoever called it morning sickness is a big fat liar, because it was all day sickness for me. Ugh.
The good news is once I hit about 14 weeks the Second Trimester Fairy sprinkled me with magical feel-good dust and life has been much, much better. So much so that I’ve actually started cooking again. The Hubby is CRAZY happy about that. Poor guy was living off of Totino’s Party Pizza’s and Spaghetti O’s for 3 months.
But do you wanna here the even BETTER news? I’ve actually been ordered by my doctor to GAIN weight!! *HALLELUJAH! THE HEAVENLY CHOIRS ARE SINGING!!* So that means all these little recipes that I’ve tucked away for another day are actually making their way to the forefront of my kitchen. I know, I know, I can’t go completely hog wild. But I figure if I eat a sensible breakfast and lunch and make sure I have a few servings of veggies and fruit during the day, I can indulge during dinner. Oh and the other thing that makes my indulgences a little more justifiable: this kid of mine hates sweets. Anything sweet either makes me ill or just tastes wrong. The only exception to this is straight up dark chocolate. That still tastes pretty darn good. So…where was I…oh yeah, I don’t feel so bad about my less-than-lean dinners. :)
Which brings me to my first pregnant lady dish. Actually, I don’t think I can blame this one on the weirdo PG cravings (which I haven’t really experienced yet). No, I think it’s just getting so darn close to Thanksgiving that I absolutely cannot stop thinking about this dressing. I got the recipe from a cooking class I took with Jack Gilmore, owner and executive chef of Z’Tejas, last year. My family absolutely flipped for it when I brought it to our Thanksgiving dinner. And if you’re a Mexican/Tex-Mex/Southwestern food junkie like me, this is sooooooo up your alley. Yes, there’s quite a bit of chopping involved, but if you make this recipe over the course of a few days, it doesn’t seem so bad.
My suggestion is to whip up the corn bread a day or two before you want to serve the dressing. It needs the extra time to dry out a bit. And while this is in the oven, chop your veggies. Store them in the fridge until it’s time to mix everything up and the whole process won’t seem like such a chore. But even if you do it all in one day, it is worth every second of the effort.
Z’Tejas Sweet Corn Cornbread (This is the stuff would be awesome with some black eyed peas or chili!!)
Yields ~2 – 10″ skillets
1 ½ cups of Lamb’s Corn Meal (or any other stone ground variety)
1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 Tablespoon of baking powder
1 Tablespoon of baking soda
1 cup of plain, nonfat yogurt
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of canned creamed corn
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of frozen whole kernel corn (thawed)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of REAL butter
¼ teaspoon of salt
Mix all dry ingredients together and set a side. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk all wet ingredients (including corn) together. Then add dry ingredients to form a batter.
Use a 10″ castiron skillet. Spray with nonstick spray (or melt ½ a stick of butter) and fill with 1/2 the batter. ***If you heat your skillet on the stove before adding the batter you can trim 10 minutes or so off the baking time.***
Bake at 400 (375 for convection ovens) for about 20 minutes. Test by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cornbread. Toothpick should come out relatively clean but still a little moist.
*If using this for the Tamale Dressing, make at least one day in advance and allow to dry out.
*If using this for regular cornbread, make this right before serving the meal.
Z’Tejas Tamale and Jalapeno Corn Bread Dressing
One recipe of Sweet Corn Cornbread, crumbled into quarter sized chunks
6 Tablespoons of REAL butter
1 1/2 cup of chopped onion (~1 whole medium onion)
1 1/2 cup of chopped red bell peppers (~ 2 peppers)
2 cups of chopped poblano peppers (~2-3 peppers)
3 large jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and chopped (*This was a little too spicy for my tastes, so I’d cut back to 2.*)
1 Tablespoon of fresh sage or 4 teaspoons of dried
1 1/2 Tablespoons of dried oregano
3/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups of crushed corn chips
1 1/2 cups of frozen corn kernels (thawed)
12 pork, chicken OR beef tamales, shucked and chopped into 1″ chunks
3 cups of chicken stock, heated
3/4 cup of canned creamed corn
Salt & Pepper to taste
Melt butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, bell peppers, all chilies, sage and oregano. Sweat the vegetables (sauté until about half way cooked). Transfer bowl to bowl with cornbread. Mix in cilantro, corn chips, kernel corn, creamed corn and heated chicken stock. Stir well. Mix in tamales, being careful not to break up the chunks. Add salt and pepper. If stuffing is too dry for your tastes, add a little melted butter.
Preheat oven to 325. Butter a 13x9x2 baking dish. Pour mixture into baking dish and cover with foil. Bake approximately 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until top is browned.
*Do NOT make this the night before. Make it the morning of and then reheat it in the oven before serving.
P.S.–Pictures will be up tomorrow (10/24)!!