This recipe was originally a blueberry coffee cake.  It is out of this world; not too sweet, moist but with just the right bit of crunch from the streusel topping.  It really is a cake to go with coffee.


I had a bunch of apples and some of them were starting to go soft so I decided to take my awesome Blueberry Coffee Cake recipe mess around with it a little bit and substitute apples for the berries.

And it came out equally as awesome.  You have no excuse not to bake this.  It has very few ingredients that are generally always on hand.  You won’t be sorry.  The only problem with this cake is you’ll be tempted to cut just a little bite everytime you pass by.  You could end up eating the entire thing yourself one bite at a time.  smiley

2 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C half & Half
1/4 C butter, softened
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries OR
2 medium apples, diced

For APPLE cake:
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest (if you don’t have it, don’t knock yourself out)
1 tsp cinnamon
1TBSP sugar


Heat oven to 350°F.

Peel and core apples.  Slice one half of an apple thinly.  Cut remaining apples into medium sized chunks.  In a small bowl, toss apples with 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 TBSP sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Set aside.

Combine all cake ingredients except blueberries/apples in large bowl.  Hand mix using a fork or wooden spoon, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.  Batter will be stiff and sticky. You can use a mixer but the batter is stiff and it’s hard to get off of the beaters.  Stir in blueberries or apples. Spread batter into a greased 8-inch square baking pan.  I prefer to use glass rather than metal.  If you use apples, arrange the slices on top of the batter.


Stir together all streusel ingredients (see below) except butter in small bowl; cut in butter using pastry blender or 2 butter knives until mixture resembles pea-sized coarse crumbs. Sprinkle mixture over batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Do not over bake.  Start checking for doneness right at the 35 minute mark.


1/2 C sugar
1/3 C flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 C cold butter, cut into chunks


Posted by Donna on Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 03:08 PM
Filed in: Cakes • ◊ Permalink
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(This is NOT a paid or sponsored post.  This is solely my opinion.)

Sometimes there are products you just have to tell other people about.  People who love to cook and/or bake have certain tools they can’t do without.  I have many such tools and today I’d like to tell you about my wooden spoons.  I have the absolute best wooden spoons ever.  Seriously.  I do.  Everyone who has ever seen these, even people who don’t cook, remarks on them.

Years ago I volunteered in the museum store at Old Sturbridge Village.  I was lucky enough to win a set of wooden spoons while attending a summer barbecue function.  I will say that was one of the luckiest $1.00 door prize tickets I’ve ever bought.

These spoons are the absolute best wooden spoons I have ever owned...or seen for that matter.

These spoons are made by a company called Whetstone Woodenware.  I can’t even begin to tell you how pretty and sturdy they are.  They’re certainly built to do the job but it’s the look of them that will surprise you.  They have some weight but are not heavy.  They’re so well made, I can’t even imagine one cracking.  The surface of the spoon is like satin.  You have to touch them to believe just how satiny they feel.  They gleam even though I rarely oil mine...maybe once a year if I think about it and despite my abuse they do not even have a dry appearance.  (You should oil your woodenware at least once a month or so with mineral oil.)

I love these spoons so much, I highly recommend you go surf that site and spend a few bucks on the last woodenware you will ever need.  I think these would make an awesome gift for anyone who loves to cook.  Trust me.  Buying these spoons is money well spent.

Posted by Donna on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 01:10 PM
Filed in: Tools, Tips, Tricks • ◊ Permalink
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1/2 C flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 3-1/2 to 4 lb chicken cut into 8 pieces
8 TBSP butter, divided
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C orange-flavored liqueur
1/4 C honey
2 TBSP orange zest
1 TBSP soy sauce

Whole cooked baby carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, salt and pepper in large plastic bag. Add chicken pieces a few at a time, to bag; shake to coat completely with flour mixture. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in large baking pan. Roll chicken in butter to coat all sides; arrange skin side down in a single layer in pan. Bake 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in lemon juice, liqueur, honey, orange zest and soy sauce.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture.  Remove chicken from oven; turn pieces over. Pour remaining honey mixture over chicken. Continue baking, basting occasionally, 30 minutes or until chicken is glazed and tender. Toss reserved honey mixture with cooked carrots; serve with chicken.

Makes 4 servings - two piece of chicken per person.

Posted by Donna on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 03:34 PM
Filed in: EntreesPoultry • ◊ Permalink
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After eating some surprisingly tasty vegetarian meals of late, I’ve been trying to cook vegetarian from time to time. 

Black beans and rice

Black beans and riceIngredients
1 cup Basmati rice
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
4 radishes, cut in largish chunks
1/4 cup cilantro

Cook rice according to package directions.  While rice is cooking heat the oil over med high heat in a large pan.  Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic 1/4 tsp black pepper and cook until the veggies are softened.  Stir in the ground cumin and cook for another minute or so more.

Add the beans, oregano and 1 cup water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes before stirring in the vinegar. Mash some of the beans with a fork to thicken the cooking liquid. Serve over rice and top with radishes and cilantro.

Serves 4 as an entree, 6 as a side dish

Note:  This was tasty, but a little bland. The next time I cook this, I’ll up the amounts of garlic and cumin and add a bit of cayenne or habanero pepper sauce--or at least sprinkle some on when it’s in the bowl.  I also use dried reconstituted beans which cuts down on the salt content dramatically.  Without the rice, it also works as a kind of burrito

Posted by Mike on Tuesday, May 05, 2009 at 03:22 PM
Filed in: EntreesSidesVeggies • ◊ Permalink
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I asked a friend of mine, Deb, to send me her recipe for what she said was The Best Ever cream of potato soup.  I pshawed.  I’ve tried lots of “best ever” food that was far from it.  But, as I soon found out, Deb doesn’t lie.  The following is my take on the recipe she sent me.  The original recipe can be found by clicking “read more.”


4-5 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup diced onion
1 packet G Washington’s Golden
1 qt half & half
1/3 cup flour
2-3 cans chicken broth
A handful or two of shredded (or cubed) monterey jack or white cheddar cheese
1+ cup(s) cubed ham

Cook potatoes in chicken broth -enough to cover the potatoes- til just not over cook.  Saute’ onions and celery in butter.  Add flour and G Washington’s.  Cook 5 minutes.  Stirring constantly with a wire whisk, slowly add half & half.  Continue to stir until thick and smooth.  Season to taste.

Mash cooked potatoes right in the pot with the chicken broth then add to the half & half mixture.  Cook stirring frequently until soup reaches a simmer.  Reduce heat to low add ham and cheese and heat through.

Makes enough soup to feed four or 5 people as a main dish with leftovers.


•If you like your soup smooth, you’ll want to whip them using a mixer, adding the chicken broth to make a thick potato slurry.

•My ingredients picture shows both red and white potatoes.  This would be because I had a few red potatoes left in a bag so I used them up.  You don’t need multiple types of potatoes.

•If you think the soup is going to be to runny remember that potatoes are a starch and will thicken up immediately.  If you follow this recipe, it won’t be runny at all.  You might want to add some milk if you think it’s too thick.

•Do not eat a second helping of this (or any other creamed soup) unless you want to be a big useless lump sitting in your chair going all, “Uuuggghhh.  I ate too much.”

•I use ham from a boiled ham bone.  I buy ham shanks frequently.  They’re good for dinner, leftovers, soups, ham salad and a million other things.  I always keep a lot of meat on the bone when I boil it.  I boil the bone down for several hours.  I then remove the bone, cool it, pick the meat off and bag it up in various portion sizes.  I put the cooled pot of water that it cooked in in the fridge overnight.  The next day I take off all the fat (which will have solidified) and then I put the broth in ziplock bags and keep it in the freezer.  I use the broth for pea soup.

•My SIL said this is “Restaurant quality soup.” My husband asks for it now at least once a week.  I told him we would be dead from heart attacks brought on by high cholesterol within a month.  He’s only allowed to have it once a month.

•A pot of this would definitely feed a ton of people as a soup course.  It’s very hearty and filling.

Read More »

Posted by Donna on Monday, April 20, 2009 at 05:17 PM
Filed in: Soups & Stews • ◊ Permalink
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Last summer my SIL gave me a jar of Herbs de Provence from Penzey’s spices (see note below).  I had no clue how to use it but finally got tired of it standing on top of the refrigerator, giving me disapproving looks as I reached past it one more time to get to the cayenne pepper, tarragon or whatever herb I was using. I finally opened the jar, took a sniff and got a vibe that was almost as much Italian as it was French. Still not knowing what to do with it, I decided on a marinade.  It turned out pretty well and made the all of Casa Apathy smell divine fucking wonderful.  This is good on it’s own but is also outstanding when the chicken is cut up and added to a salad

    Herbes de Provence Chicken

2/3 cups Herbes de Provence
1 cup lemon juice (lime also works)
1 1/2 Tbs chopped garlic
5-6 boneless, skinless chicken parts of your choice

Combine lemon juice, garlic and herbs in a big-ass freezer bag and moosh it around until it’s well mixed. Add the chicken and seal the bag, leaving as little air as possible inside. Marinate in the fridge for as long as 24 hours.

Remove chicken from the bag and allow to drain (do NOT rinse).  Place the chicken in a baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until done.  My guess is that you could also grill them as long as the coals aren’t hot enough to burn the herbs that cling to the meat. 

Note: There are any number of recipes for Herbs de Provence if you’re inclined to bypass the middlemand and make your own blend.  A simple and serviceable recipe is here .  or try this one:

Posted by Mike on Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 01:29 PM
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I don’t really like to bake because I like to improvise in the kitchen and we all know that improvization while baking can quickly lead to disaster.  However, these brownies (from one of Nigella’s cookbooks) are ridiculously easy and fast to make, really moist and gooey, crazy good and gluten free, for those who have allergies. Since there are so few ingredients poor quality will be noticeable, so if you must economize, do it with some other recipe.

Flourless chocolate brownies

1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks)
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups ground almonds (also known as almond meal)*
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans and whole pistachios work nicely)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Break up the chocolate.  Place in a largish saucepan with the butter and melt over low heat. When melted, remove from the burner.  Stir in sugar and vanilla extract and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Add the beaten eggs, ground almonds and nuts to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined in a lumpy, gooey mess of chocolatey goodness.

Pour into a 9 inch square baking pan and pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is set (the insides will still be nice and gooey).  Allow to cool before slicing.

*You will probably have to do some searching for ground almonds as it’s not something that the average grocery carries. I found mine at Trader Joe’s but Wild Oats and your neighborhood health-food store would be good bets too. but it’s worth it. It adds a subtle, sweet and nutty taste and makes the brownies ridonkulously moist and gooey. Regular flour can be substituted, but they will be quite a bit drier. 

Posted by Mike on Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 12:10 PM
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This recipe came from my deceased Aunt Linda.  It is far and away the best peanut butter cookie I’ve ever tasted.  I hope you think so too.



1 cup unsalted butter (The real thing, please!  If using salted butter omit salt.)
1 18 oz jar crunchy peanut butter (Yes, you’re reading this right.  Linda used creamy pb; I like crunchy.)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (Optional...Linda didn’t use these.  I don’t think they existed back then.)

Cream together the butter, peanut butter and both sugars. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. 


In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Stir into batter.  Dough will be stiff.  At this point you can just eat the entire bowl of batter with your fingers, but if the kids are whining for cookies, you’ll probably have to save some back for baking.


Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Roll into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork, making the classic peanut butter cookie criss-cross pattern. Wetting the fork with warm water for each cookie makes it easier because the fork won’t stick.  Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 8-11 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not over-bake.  If you like your cookies soft, bake only until they set: 9-10 minutes.  They’ll look not quite baked when you remove them from the oven.  Carefully move to a cooling rack because they will fall apart until they’re completely cool.  Makes anywhere from 2-4 dozen depending on the size of your cookies.  These cookies spread so roll the cookie balls on the smaller side.


There’s just the two of us so I usually roll the chilled dough into logs and then freeze them.  Roll it with waxed paper so it doesn’t stick.  If you wrap it really well in plastic wrap, then in foil and then put it in a Ziplock bag, this will keep frozen just about forever.


I just cut off a few pieces of frozen dough (Use dental floss to make clean cuts--the unflavoured kind please.), thaw it right on the cookie sheet and bake a few cookies so I can have fresh, warm cookies anytime I feel like having some.  I keep some of the fresh dough in a covered bowl in the fridge.  Refrigerated, it will keep for a week or more.

Posted by Donna on Wednesday, April 08, 2009 at 02:32 PM
Filed in: Cookies • ◊ Permalink
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I’m the first to admit that the ingredients don’t sound appetizing at all, but damn, this is good soup!



6 cups water
3 Tbs Dill
1 pound egg noodles, medium width
4 oz lean ground beef or lamb
1 pound bag California bled vegetables (broccoli, carrots and cauliflower)
1 tsp ground cayenne
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs minced garlic
unflavored yogurt
dried mint


Bring water to a boil.  Add the dill and continue boiling for five minutes.  Add your noodles and continue boiling until noodles are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

While the noodles are boiling, brown the ground meat in a separate pan and drain off the fat. Add the ground meat to the noodles along with the vegetables, then add the cayenne, salt and garlic.  Simmer for another 15 minutes or so.

To serve, stir about 2 tablespoons of yogurt into each bowl of soup and top with a sprinkle of mint.

Posted by Mike on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 08:17 PM
Filed in: Soups & Stews • ◊ Permalink
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2 Tbs olive or canola oil
2 strips bacon, chopped (optional, but if not using, you may need to add a skosh more oil))
3 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 or 2 pounds)* cut into bite sized pieces
2 cans diced tomatoes (flavored is okay)
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 can chicken stock
1 or 2 cans cannelini or garbanzo beans, drained

chicken and bean stew


Heat oil over medium-medium high heat. Add chopped up bacon and saute until the bacon renders it’s fat. Add the garlic and vegetables and saute until the onion is translucent.

Add the chicken. Stir occasionally until the chicken pieces are opaque outside but not cooked through; about five minutes or so.  Add the tomatoes and bay leaf, and let return to a bubble.

Add chicken stock, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the beans and simmer until they are warmed through. Remove bay leaves and serve. 

Alternately, turn the heat down until you’re ready to eat, and add a bit of water if it gets too thick.

*Yeah, I know that boneless, skinless breasts are the darling of the health-conscious, but in a recipe like this?  Trust me on the thighs. They’re much more tender, flavorful and less dry than breasts. 

Posted by Mike on Tuesday, June 03, 2008 at 02:47 PM
Filed in: Soups & Stews • ◊ Permalink
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Yet another fine recipe from White Trash Cooking; Tutti’s Fruited Porkette, a veritable tower ‘o’ southern goodness.

porkette ingredientes


1 Sweet potato

2 slices canned pineapple

1 slice bacon, halved

1 pork chop

1 Tbs brown sugar

porkette assembled


Select a sweet potato that will make a nice pork chop sized slice.  Peel and cut a one inch thick slice, then boil for 10 minutes.  Place each chop between slices of pineapple, then place the slice of sweet potato on top of the pork-pineapple stack.

sprinkle sweet potato with brown sugar and top with the bacon in a criss-cross pattern.  Bake at 375 for about an hour, depending on how thick they are and how done you like your chops.

Note:  A thinner cut, boneless porkchop would probably be better than the bone-in one I used, but be prepared to soak and scrub whatever you cook this in. I mean, we’re talking baked-on bacon grease and brown sugar here, kiddies.  the bottom of the platter was gooey and black when it got out of the oven.

porkette dinner

Posted by Mike on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 10:21 PM
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This has a similar mouth feel to regular au gratin potatoes but without all the cream and butter.

Sorta potato gratinsorta gratin potatoes

3 Tbs olive oil
3 lbs Yukon gold or other similar potato
1/2 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tsp dried herbs of your choice (I used Penzey’s italian herb mix), or to taste
minced garlic (if desired)
Kosher salt and pepper
Canola oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 and spray the inside of a 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Peel the potatoes, then slice them about 1/8 inch thick. Rinse, then place in a bowl of cold water for about a half hour.

Drain the potatoes and dry with paper towels or dishcloths.  Arrange the first layer in the baking dish, sprinkle with herbs and garlic (if using) and repeat until potatoes are used up.

Bring the broth to a simmer and remove from heat.  Add the olive oil and whisk together. Pour over potatoes, then press with the back of a spatula to distribute the liquid. The broth mixture doesn’t need to cover the top layer, but it should come close. Add some additional broth if you feel it’s needed. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove foil, press the potatoes with the spatula again to redistribute the liquid and return to the oven, uncovered.

Repeat every fifteen minutes until the potatoes have cooked for at least 90 minutes. When done, the potatoes should be soft (a paring knife should easily slide into them) and should be nicely browned on top.

When done, remove from oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Posted by Mike on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 10:44 PM
Filed in: Veggies • ◊ Permalink
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Wednesday dinner

I made this the other day because I had the ingredients on hand and didn’t want to leave the house to get anything additional, but it turned out really tasty, impressive enough to serve to guests and almost frighteningly easy to prepare. True pork tenderloin roasts up in no time, usually about 30-45 minutes. The sauce was the only fiddly bit, and even that was pretty easy.

Pork medallions with mustard cream sauce
2 true pork tenderloin roasts*see note below*
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup apple cider
1 Tbs prepared dijon mustard
2/3 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Place the tenderloins in a 375 degree oven and roast until a meat thermometer reads 155 degrees. Remove from oven, loosely cover with foil and set aside to rest. Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large skillet over med-low or medium heat.  Add garlic and saute gently for about 5 minutes.

Remove the garlic from the pan, add the wine and cider and bring to a boil until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 of it’s original volume. Add the mustard and cream, stirring to combine.  Give it a taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  Cook about 5 minutes, then remove from heat for 3-4 minutes (sauce will thicken up a bit).

Slice the tenderloin into medallions and arrange on plates, drizzling with cream sauce.

Many people (and grocery stores) call the boneless pork loins that are used to make boneless pork chops ‘tenderloins.’ While delicious, this is the porcine equivalent of calling a New York Strip steak a beef tenderloin. They’re both damn tasty, but they aren’t the same thing by a longshot. I’m assuming that y’all know what a beef tenderloin roast looks like. What you’re looking for is the pork equivalent of that. Long, narrow, dark-colored and about as big around as the bottom of a beer bottle.  Unless you’re buying from a butcher case, they’re usually sold 2 to a package with a total weight of 2-3 pounds, max and sometimes come premarinated.  You could easily make this with a pork loin roast and it’d taste pretty good, but it would take significantly longer to get done in the oven. 

Posted by Mike on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 10:36 PM
Filed in: Pork • ◊ Permalink
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Years back, the food nazis declared war on unhealthy chinese restaurant food and dared to call Fettucine Alfredo “heart attack on a plate’ due to its use of cheese, cream and, well, many of the things that make life worth living.

Well kids, I found a recipe that does the same thing for mashed potatoes.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…

Mozzerella Pie!
3 pounds potatoes
6 ounces salami, finely diced
1 pound mozzerella cheese, shredded
6 Tbs butter, plus a scosh more for buttering the pan
8-10 ounces ricotta cheese
3 eggs
3/4 tsp pepper
1 medium red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350.

mozzerella piePeel and quarter potatoes, then boil until tender. Turn burner to low, drain and return potatoes to pan for a bit to evaporate some of the remaining moisture. Mash potatoes well, but don’t whip them.

Add the diced salami and mozzerella.  Stir until the cheese makes thin, melty threads. Add 4 Tbs of the butter and stir in until melted. Stir in the ricotta, then add the eggs one at a time; stirring the whole mess till around. Add the pepper and onion, and keep mixing until everything is well distributed.

Butter bottom and sides of a large baking dish, or several smaller ones. Add 2 Tbs of parmesan to the bread crumbs, then place them in the baking dish, shaking to coat bottom and sides before discarding the excess.

Add potatoes to the dish, sprinkle with remaining parmesan and dot with the last 2 Tbs butter.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. You’ll need to do this so that it sets up… unless you want to serve it with a soup ladle and I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to do that one bit.

Serves… alot.  Say 6-8

Posted by Mike on Friday, March 07, 2008 at 10:32 PM
Filed in: Casseroles • ◊ Permalink
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2 cups whole kernel corn (thawed if using frozen)
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup cornmeal
4 ounces fresh green chiles, diced

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 1 qt casserole

Puree one cup of the corn along with the butter and eggs.
Mix the remaining ingredients together, add the puree and blend well.  Pour into the pan and bake (uncovered) for 50 minutes to an hour.

Note:  for some reason this turned out to be not too casserole-like. It had more of the consistency of a crustless quiche, which I rather liked since it could be cut into squares and eaten like cornbread.

Posted by Mike on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 09:16 PM
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