Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year's Easy Feast - Roasted Corn and Cashew Crema



Happy New Year Everyone!

I know, I know, I’m a little bit late. But better late than never! My husband doesn’t get much time off over the Christmas period. In fact, apart from Christmas Day, he doesn’t get any extra days. Which means that when the rest of the world has January 1st to recover from the revelry of New Year’s Eve – he has to get up and go to work. Because of this, we have started the tradition of New Year’s Eve Eves – on the Saturday before December 31st. Our actual NYE then can be a bit lower-key. But just because we aren’t partying, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat extremely well.

What does sort of prevent the good eating is that I’m not at work and therefore often have daytime plans. This year, I went with a few friends to watch Hopman Cup tennis, because I was lucky enough to score a few tickets in my company’s Corporate Suite. VIP, baby! This is where the slow cooker comes in handy. Before I left for the tennis, I put a pork leg in the slow cooker, so that when I came home I just had to shred it and we had Puerco Pibil. It is just this recipe here, but I used pork instead of the beef. And excitingly, I got a spice grinder for Christmas, so my spices were perfectly ground without slaving away with a mortar and pestle for ages (including annatto seeds this time!! I found some!). It was such an enticing smell to come home to!
 
Given that it's summer and also corn season, I decided to make a roast corn and cashew crema to go with it. Lance and I had a similar sauce in some pulled pork arepas at a restaurant in Atlantic City and it was so heavenly, we ordered a second lot! We spent the second round trying to break down the flavours we were tasting. It's creamy and rich, with a subtle nuttiness and just the perfect addition to the spice and salt of the pork. I was also a bit lazy in that I used my stick blender instead of my food processor, so it wasn't as smooth as it possibly should be.

Instead of the arepas which are time consuming, I simply grated a large sweet potato in the food processor, then fried it in a little of the pork fat that had rendered out until it was soft and crispy hash.
 
This also makes a delicious dip! You can even add a few tablespoons of greek yoghurt to make it smoother. And it was amazing with more pork pibil in tacos the next day, too.
 

Roasted Corn and Cashew Crema
kernels from 2 corn cobs (or about 1 cup frozen kernels)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
3/4 cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours.
30-60mL room temperature water
 
Heat a frypan up to medium heat and add the cumin seeds. Dry toast for a few seconds until fragrant and then put in the base of a food processor. Pulse to roughly chop
 
In the same frypan, add the corn kernels and toast for 10-15 minutes until brown patches start appearing and there's a distinct toasted corn smell about the pan. Take off the heat.
 
Rinse and drain the cashews, and add them, the toasted corn and the salt to food processor and then run until it becomes a smooth creamy looking mix. Add 30mL of water to loosen and make more sauce-like in it's consistency. I needed 60mL (two shots) to get the consistency I wanted.
 
Serve!


And a few of our NYEEE backyard party shots. Looking forward to what 2014 brings!