in my new apartment with my new (amazing) roommates, we decided that since all of us like to cook, we’d have apartment dinners twice a week on tuesday and thursday nights. the four of us switch off so we each end up cooking once every two weeks. it saves each of us some money and is a fun tradition we have together. for my night the other week, i decided to make sweet corn tamale cakes with a few delicious salsa toppings, along with spicy black beans.
the inspiration for this meal was a cheesecake factory appetizer that my mom and i loveee to order every time we go. there are countless websites that try to copy the myriad of dishes that they have on their menu, so i looked this one up and tried it out. the corn cakes are just a softer version or cornbread and the pico de gallo and green tomatillo salsa on top are a perfect complement to the creamy cake. i wanted something spicy on the side so i made up a pot of delicious black beans. the meal is a little time consuming to prepare, but i made the cakes a day ahead of time, and just had to pop them in the oven and whip up the salsas just before dinner. but this meal is worth the trouble, i promise!
first for the cakes, here’s what you need. this makes 12 cakes (2-3 per person)
-4 1/2 cups frozen corn
-6 tbsp. sugar
-1/2 c. butter, softened
-1/2 tsp. salt
-4 tbsp. flour
-1 1/4 c. masa harina (which is corn flour)
take the frozen corn and in a food processor, grind it down nice and fine. do this in batches so that the corn doesn’t thaw before you grind it (its much easier when its frozen). here’s what you’re looking for:
-1/2 can of fire roasted tomatoes
-1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
-1/2 vidalia onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-2 tbsp olive oil
-salt and pepper
in a little bit of olive oil, sauté down the onion, garlic, and jalapeño until they are soft. then, add the drained and rinsed black beans to the pot along with half a can of the fire roasted tomatoes. stir until combined. when warmed through, add 1 tsp or so of cumin, 1 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of chili powder. cook until all the flavors are combined (about 10 minutes or so). the wonderful thing is that the black beans start to break down a little and the final product is a nice mixture between refried beans and baked beans. here’s what it looks like:
to assemble the final meal, my suggestion is to put the tomatillo salsa on the bottom of the plate, two corn cakes next, and then the pico de gallo right on top. serve with a dollop of sour cream (or make it fancy with some fancy chipotle mayo or sour cream!) and a nice serving of black beans on the side.
these were perfect for a light mexican dinner and totally worth the trouble! i hope you enjoy them as much as we all did!