Kitchen Therapy


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Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes Recipe – Cheesecake Factory Fabulousness

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It’s summer time here on the Northern Beaches of NSW, Australia.
We live a few minutes drive from Manly Beach and I feel blessed to live here.
It is absolutely beautiful.

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We decided to not go away these holidays as we are about to start building a new house.
However living here, a popular tourist town, has made me miss our favourite holiday getaway…
Hawaii!

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We stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in the Rainbow Tower.
We have a routine we have carved out for ourselves over a few years now.
We head over to Duke’s for breakfast and dinner at the Cheesecake Factory!
We don’t have the Cheesecake Factory in Australia and it’s usually the first stop after we’ve checked in, had a nap after our overnight 9 hour flight and wake up famished!
On our last trip I discovered the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes and I’ll be honest, I haven’t stopped thinking about them!
I have a clear memory of taking a bite and stopping. There was so much flavour in one bite I just sat, smiled and savoured the explosion in my mouth. A year later I couldn’t remember the exact taste, but I remembered the impression they made on me and everyone else at the table who tried them.

I found the recipe here and after sourcing a can of tomatillos and a bag of masa harina flour I knew the day had come to commit to this recipe. The list of ingredients is long so it did make me hesitate and put this off for way longer than needed. However once I committed to it, I realised I had quite a few of the ingredients in the pantry and the rest were easy to source.

I also realised that the first three components could be placed into my processor and blitzed!

The Salsa Verde:
I doubled the recipe so I put in 4 tomatillos from a can (I had read that it was ok to substitute canned if I couldn’t find fresh and I could not find any tomatillos here on the Northern Beaches). A few slices Jalapenos from a can as I wasn’t sure what type of green chilies the recipe called for, 2 green onions, 4 Tablespoons coriander leaves, 2 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 pinches ground black pepper. You can see the gorgeous and vibrant colours in the salsa verde after a few blitzes in the food processor. Now put in the refrigerator to chill.

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The Tomato Salsa:
Again I doubled the recipe.
I had read a medium tomato weighed about 120grams so I put in a 250g punnet of sweet cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a medium spanish onion, 2 Tablespoons coriander, 1/2 tsp lime juice, a few slices of jalapeno from a jar some salt and pepper. The recipe calls for a dash of salt and a dash of pepper, I found out that a dash is 1/8 teaspoon so since I’m doubling the recipe I added about 1/4 teaspoon of each. I drained a lot of the liquid after blitzing the ingredients in my food processor and then placed in the fridge to chill. The smell was absolutely amazing!

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The Southwestern Sauce:
I also doubled this recipe however for future reference I only need the amount specified in the recipe for double the amount of tamale cakes. This is 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tsp white vinegar, 1 tsp water, 3/4 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1 pinch cayenne powder, 1 pinch onion powder, a dash of salt and a dash of garlic powder. I placed all the ingredients in a bowl, gave them a quick stir and into the fridge to chill! It was that easy and now I had 3 out of 4 components for my recipe. I wish I realised how simple this recipe was  earlier!

southwestern sauce

The Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes:
I doubled the recipe and placed 2 cups of frozen sweet corn in the processor along with 1 cup of softened butter, 5 tablespoons sugar and 2 pinches salt. I then placed this mixture in a bowl with 1 cup of masa harina flour, 4 tablespoons all purpose flour and 1 extra cup of frozen sweet corn. I mixed everything through and was ready to cook my tamale cakes!

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The mixture was cold and at first I struggled to get the cakes to stick together however I found using slightly damp hands made a huge difference. The recipe called for them to be baked however I cooked them about 3 minutes each side in a frying pan over medium heat.

I then placed sweet corn tamale cakes on a plate, topped half a side with salsa verde and the other half with the tomato salsa. I added some diced avocado over the top, a small dollop of sour cream and some chopped coriander for garnish.

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As I said earlier I remember they were good however biting into these was orgasmic! The flavour exploded into my mouth and I actually moaned with pleasure. Yep. They were that good! To be honest I don’t think I can do them justice with words. I am so glad I made these and will be making them again soon!


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Pioneer Woman’s Mexican Rice Casserole with Grilled Chicken and Avocado

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This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was deliciously simple.
1. Cut an avocado in half.
2. Take out the pit.
3. Sprinkle some lemon juice and salt.
4. Fill hollow with pistachio oil.

Two out of my three kids are allergic to nuts, one is anaphylactic, so I knew there’d be no pistachio oil for us! So from the start I knew a lemon and salt combo was going to be as exciting as it was going to get in our family. On the up side, I knew it would be eaten.

I deliberated on all of Dorie’s Bonne Idee’s and settled on having the avocado with the Lemon-Grilled Chicken. I was starting to get excited!
The last piece of the puzzle was Ree Drummond’s Mexican Rice Casserole.
I have had a page on my iphone permanently devoted to this dish for a couple of weeks now.
It was time to put it all together!
And it worked out beautifully 🙂

I have been searching for easy to prepare dishes that can fit into our hectic lifestyle.
And for some reason, I decided rice casseroles were the way forward (I don’t know why…)
I love Mexican food, but it’s not that common here in Australia.
Or at least not as common as Thai, Indian and Italian.
So when I saw the Mexican Rice Casserole… well…  it ticked all the boxes!
And the Pioneer Woman’s recipe had so many rave reviews I had to try it.
I made half the recipe and it was more than enough for a family of 5.
It was simple, tasty and the kids loved it!
The recipe is here if anyone is interested.

Now back to Dorie!
The Lemon-Grilled Chicken was super tasty and super easy,
The Avocado was perfect with some lemon infused extra virgin olive oil and salt.
The coriander (cilantro) leaves lifted the flavours just that bit extra.
I will be making this combination again, might even add the chicken to the rice casserole next time and top it off with the avocado slices.
The husband loved it, the kids loved!
Winner 🙂

I am looking forward to hearing what the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie Group thought of the recipe and especially of the avocado / pistachio combo!