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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Thai Basil Gimlet

Thai Basil Gimlet

Thai Basil Gimlet

We’re very fond of our herb garden. A few years ago, we built a step stand on the back deck, and this holds enough aromatic greenery to pinch for the kitchen all summer long. Having herbs so close to hand means that it’s easy to get inspiration for a food or drink recipe. Herb pots are easy to set up, don’t require any digging, and can be positioned wherever you have a sunny spot. A few years ago, in our garden-less apartment in Brooklyn, we’d sneak herb pots out onto the fire escape in defiance of the landlady. When Emily lived in an industrial loft building, the roof was always the sunniest location and where herbs thrived. The pride of our raised bed garden is always late-summer tomatoes, but there’s a hero of the herb garden that brings us delight from early summer onwards. To paraphrase T S Eliot, we can measure out our summer in basil leaves. 

This is about a third of the herbs we’re growing, though the shiso (bottom left) is trying to take over the world.

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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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Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Mascarpone Cream

[We’ve been running around this week literally spinning plates and juggling knives, so here’s a repost from a few years back. It’s one of our absolute favorites from the blog, and is an absolute crowd-pleaser whenever we make it. It’s super-easy, and, other than the crust, doesn’t need baking. We just planted our own redcurrant bushes this year, so we’re hopeful that within a couple of seasons, we’ll have enough gorgeous berries to decorate a tart entirely from our garden.]

Besides being nerdy about movies, television and all things culinary, Matt and I both share a dorky fascination with etymology (the history of words). I’ve written about my most hated words in a previous post (which had to be titled Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad because Matt despises the word ‘slaw’). Now I thought we’d list some of our favorites (join us and write yours in the comments!).

Emily: Luminescent, gloaming, nixed, defenestration

Matt: Ramble, button, spandrel, pickle

“Great,” you mumble. “But can I have the recipe for that tart now?”

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Summer Stuffed Shells with Creamy Fontina Sauce

Stuffed Shells with Fontina Sauce

Stuffed Shells with Fontina Sauce

This post is sponsored by Cakebread Cellars. Thank you for supporting Nerds with Knives’ sponsors!

Whenever we cook for a crowd, baked pasta is our go-to. All the prep can be done ahead of time, so all that we have to do is pop the pan in the oven, make a quick salad and open the wine. This time of year, the farmer’s market is bursting with early summer vegetables like Swiss chard, baby peas, spring onions and basil. So to celebrate the season, we made our stuffed shells with a mix of our favorite greens and paired them with the most delicious fontina cream sauce. And then popped the corks on a couple of bottles of white wine and enjoyed the sunshine!

Our wine of choice to pair with a beautiful early-summer outdoor dinner is something light with a subtle floral and fruit character. We’ve paired up with Cakebread Cellars’ Napa Valley Chardonnay and our garden peonies opened up just in time to help us celebrate the season.

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Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

A simple, healthy Thai shrimp salad with an authentic sour-savory-spicy-sweet combination of fresh lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste, showered with fresh herbs and crunchy roasted peanuts.

Summer is almost done but we are officially in the middle of a heat wave. You know those shots in movies of a long, empty road, heat lines shimmering up from the pavement? Maybe a tumbleweed blows by, lazy and misshapen? That’s our living room right now. In this case the “tumbleweed” is Arya, our rescue dog who, for a pup who lived her first year on the streets of West Virginia, is hilariously particular about the range of temperatures she finds acceptable. 70º – 75ºF is fine, but a few degrees in either direction and get ready for dramatic sighs and woeful glances.

I hear you, puppy. I’m hot too.

Arya, hot and cranky
Arya, hot and cranky

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