Spicy Cheddar Cornbread Pudding

Cheddar Corn Pudding CABOT

Cheddar Corn PuddingA little spicy, a little sweet and a lot delicious, this Spicy Cheddar Cornbread Pudding is our most-requested side dish ever. We use two kinds of cheeses — extra-sharp cheddar and pepper jack — to give it loads of flavor. Make it with fresh summer corn when it’s in season, but it’s just as good with frozen corn the rest of the year. 

As a Brit, I get a lot of questions about pudding, most often along the lines of “Why do you have so many of them?”. It’s true. Puddings of all sorts — whether sweet or savory — are practically part of our DNA. There are gelatin or custard puddings (such as blancmange), steamed puddings (sticky toffee or Christmas pudding), baked puddings (you’ve probably heard of the Yorkshire), and even sausages (black pudding).

But corn pudding is American through and through, and this week we cooked up our favorite version: a spicy cheddar cornbread pudding, flavored with fresh sweet corn, scallions, and our two favorite cheeses from Cabot Creamery: Seriously Sharp Cheddar and Pepper Jack (though you can also use the Habanero Cheddar if you like things extra spicy!) 

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Cabot Creamery.

Cheddar Corn Pudding
Our farmer’s market haul from the weekend, and our favorite Cabot cheeses!

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Creamy Cheddar Polenta with Sausage and Charred Ramps

Polenta with Charred Ramps and Sausage

Polenta with Charred Ramps and SausageCreamy, cheesy Cheddar polenta with charred ramps (wild garlic) and grilled sausages: a dish made for Spring. The sweetness in the corn pairs beautifully with extra-sharp cheddar cheese, and a topping of garlicky grilled ramps is as delicious as it is simple. If ramps are not available, scallions make a great substitute. The addition of good quality sausages turns it into a meal. 

There comes a time for most people when they experience a food in a totally different way from how they’ve been used to. For us, that revelation was stone-ground polenta. For the longest time, we’d stuck to the packaged tubes of pre-cooked polenta that you slice up and grill. Now, there’s nothing wrong with them, and we still cook with that variety from time to time, but can we tell you, the first time we had really good, slow-cooked traditional polenta, it was like night and day.

Of course we, along with the rest of the world, have been stuck inside our home so we’ve been craving something warm and comforting even more than usual. When we found a bag of really good polenta, we knew exactly what we wanted to do with it — combine it with our favorite extra-sharp cheddar cheese from our friends at Cabot Creamery.

This cheddar polenta is a sponsored recipe in partnership with Cabot Cheese.

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Stuffing with Apples, Sausage and Fennel

Stuffing with Apples

Stuffing with Apples, Sausage and Fennel

Our Stuffing with Apples, Sausage and Fennel is so good, we make it for (our friends and family demand it for) Thanksgiving every year. Like a savory bread pudding, it’s moist and flavorful in the middle, with crispy brown sides and top. The flavor combination of rich breakfast sausages, sweet apples and fennel make this the Thanksgiving side dish we just can’t do without. 

Yes, we call this Thanksgiving “stuffing”, but several years ago we realized that actually stuffing a turkey is a losing battle. First, it causes the turkey to take longer to cook. This means the white meat will definitely dry out before the stuffing reaches a safe temperature. Not only that, but all the delicious drippings that we want to go into the gravy get soaked up by the bread (which just gets soggy). But don’t fret, you lovely Nerdlings, we’ll show you how to make stuffing so moist and flavor-packed, it doesn’t even need gravy. (You should drizzle gravy on the stuffing anyway because gravy is delicious and you deserve it.) 

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Roasted Beets and Whipped Feta Tart

Roasted Beet and Whipped Feta Tart

Roasted Beet and Whipped Feta Tart

This simple, elegant tart has a layer of creamy whipped feta cheese topped with lightly marinated roasted beets. A puff pastry shell makes it a breeze to prepare, while a scattering of fresh mint and crunchy pistachios adds crunch and freshness. 

We’ve been finishing up a few projects here at Nerds with Knives, which is why you might not have seen a new post from us for (checks watch) six to eight weeks. One of those projects is, we’re thrilled to announce, our new cookbook, Cork and Knife, which will be published in six days! You can follow the link to read all about it and pre-order. Please check it out!

In the meantime, our summer garden has been producing some delicious harvests, and this week we’d like to talk about our beets (that’s beetroots to you in the U.K.). There’s a reason why beet and goat cheese salads have been ubiquitous on menus for as long as we’ve had menus to peruse: it’s a fantastic combination. But like any classic pairing, the devil is in the details. I adore beets, but they often need a little coaxing to bring out their best flavor. They are referred to as having an “earthy” flavor by those who love them, and “like dirt” by those who don’t. That earthiness, which is found in many root vegetables like carrots and potatoes, is produced by a compound called geosmin.

(Nerd note: geosmin is also found in one of my favorite scents, and favorite words, petrichor – the smell of the earth when it just starts to rain.) Acids break down geosmin, which is why beets are often paired with a tart vinaigrette. Tart cheeses, like chèvre, feta and some blues are a tasty foil to that sweet earthiness. 

Beets_Chioggia
Chioggia beets minutes after being pulled from the garden.

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Sticky Lemongrass Chicken Thighs with Black Rice Salad

Chicken thighs nestled in black rice on a platter

After a long, hard Northeast winter, nothing makes me happier than looking out on the deck and seeing row upon row of fresh herbs, sitting up in their little pots all bright and perky, like, “what? I was always here.” No, Rosemary, you weren’t. And I know that for a fact because I paid a freaking fortune for a few measly sprigs in January since I just couldn’t bear to use the dry, desiccated jar of rosemary-scented dust that languishes on my spice rack through the winter. 

Even though spring is yet young, the herb garden still feels like a cornucopia. Chives! Mint! Cilantro!  Sure it’s still too cold for the basil, but don’t be greedy, it will be here soon. Anxious for a recipe that uses this green bounty, we decided on a Black Rice Salad which, along with crisp red cabbage, sweet golden raisins and crunchy peanuts, uses a full cup of fresh herbs. We went with cilantro and mint (because that’s what we have) but basil, when it’s fresh, would be fantastic too, especially spicy Thai basil if you’re growing it or can find it in the store. 

A platter of black rice sprinkled with herbs

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Ultra-Smooth Hummus with Miso and Charred Scallions

 Miso Hummus with Charred Scallions

We’ve been dreaming about Michael Solomonov’s hummus recipe (from his incredible cookbook  Zahav), since we first made it in 2015. You might remember hearing about it because it was one of those recipes that was everywhere, at least in the food blog world. It seemed like everyone and their cousin Sally was making it, raving about it and blogging it. Well, ever on the cutting edge, we’ve finally come up with our take on it and not a moment too soon. 

We give our version a twist with the addition of white (shiro) miso, which is one of our all-time favorite ingredients and something we have permanently in stock. Miso has a deeply nutty, slightly fermented saltiness and a hint of sweetness that is just delicious, especially when paired with something tart, like lemon. Along with the (also nutty) tahini, it adds a layer of flavor that hits just the right note.

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