Thursday, October 09, 2008

Lighter dinner with Mini Corn Cakes and a Bulgur Salad...

We've had a couple heavier meals over the last few days, so I thought I'd change things up for dinner and go with a couple lighter dishes tonight. First off, I made these tiny Mini Corn Cakes with Scallions that we made in miniature muffin tins for our side.

The batter for these small cakes began with a combination of cornmeal and flour that we spiked with a couple dashes of cayenne pepper. To moisten those ingredients, lots of corn kernels, milk, an egg, sugar and scallion whites were added to produce a fairly wet mixture. To try and get an even portion of the batter in the muffin tins, I used a smaller cookie scoop to fill up each well - a measured amount would be roughly a rounded tablespoon per corn cake.

These little guys cook quick - ours were ready in a short 9 minutes. They are done when the cakes are just set in the center... when they come out of the oven, you'll want to carefully run a thin knife around the edges as they have a tendency to stick as they are quite moist. To add a little flare, we topped them off with a small dollop of sour cream and set a piece of scallion on top. The little chunks of corn were pleasant to bite into, giving the cakes a little heft. Jeff commented that he thought these would be a fun bite-sized appetizer!

While we won't be having a picnic anytime soon (how long till spring again?!), I'll have to remember this Bulgur Salad With Grapes and Feta Cheese that we made tonight... it would be a good dish to bring along on one!

Bulgur is basically whole wheat that has been parboiled (or steamed), dried and then ground into varying small sizes. While bulgur and cracked wheat are sometimes confused, the big difference is that bulgur is pre-cooked, allowing it to be quickly prepared - usually a short 15 minute simmer. However, an even easier, off-hand method like we used in this recipe, the grains are just soaked in salted hot water for about half an hour!

Coating the grains is a simple, clean and bright dressing composed of fresh lemon juice and olive oil. To add some zest to this light salad, a couple tablespoons of minced scallions, halved seedless grapes, nutty toasted walnuts and generous crumbles of salty feta cheese are tossed in with the bulgur and dressing. The bulgur was tender, but still had a wheat-y chew that kept our mouths busy - if you wanted to changes things up, how about using quinoa, whole wheat couscous or even rice?


  1. The bulgur salad looks so good! What size did you use? I've got medium, and hope it will work...

  2. Joe, sometimes it's nice to have meals on the lighter side. Everything looks yummy.

  3. Those mini corn cakes looks just awesome.

    I think I'll have to give them a go.

    Many thanks for the inspiration!

    // Mike

  4. Yum! I have to say I really admire your cooking. Also, Gus is the cutest dog I have ever seen! Those eyes!

  5. Is that a Mickey on your plate? Very cute. I have enjoyed reading your site for some time and the Mickey caught my eye. Thank you. Nella

  6. Vicki - It was fine to medium I believe.

    Helene - It sure is!

    Swedish Mike - Thanks!

    Tokyo - I'm biased, but I agree! He is a cute little monster.

    Nella - Yes... good eye with the hidden Mickey!

  7. those corn muffins are such a great idea! and so cute! i have got to do that! thanks!