Cake, Batter, and Bowl

Cornmeal Pancakes with Corn, Bacon, and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Brunch Dishes, Travel

I’ve mentioned before that my mom teaches a high school culinary arts program. Her students have a few big national competitions coming up this summer, where they will be vying for scholarships to culinary school, and they recently held a really cool fundraiser at BOS in the Renaissance Savery Hotel in downtown Des Moines to raise money for their trips. My mom holds events like this a couple time a year, and I finally made it to out to Iowa for a long weekend in May to support her efforts!

First, I had to check out the gorgeous new kitchens that were built for her students last summer. Along with money provided from the school district, my mom has written a lot of grants to obtain the funds for these gorgeous facilities. Here’s the demo kitchen.

And just one of the kitchens where her students practice making meals. They have a couple actually, along with a walk-in fridge, freezer, and huge pantry.

They also run a café a couple times a week, which is open to the public, and here’s the line where they prep all the dishes.

And, of course, they compete in a wide variety of culinary competitions, including FCCLA and ProStart. Her students also receive college credit for completing her two year program. It just sounds so fun!

Anyway, for the fundraiser, Chef John Andres graciously opened his kitchen at BOS and let the students prepare a three course meal and also serve all the guests in the restaurant. Then he donated 100% of the proceeds to the program!

There were two options for each course, and I attended the fundraiser both nights so I got to try everything – it was all very delicious! For just $29, diners were treated to either crab cakes with cabbage slaw and wasabi aioli or arugula salad with lemon-balsamic vinaigrette and gouda croutons for the appetizer course, parmesan-breaded chicken with marina and mozzarella atop herbed risotto or pork loin stuffed with gruyere, red pepper, and spinach with glazed yams for the main course, and a caramel apple tartlet with fresh berries or peanut butter cookie dough brownie with vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.

Yes, these peanut butter cookie dough brownies! My mom thought featuring the recipe that landed me on the Food Network might drum up a little extra publicity for her event. I thought this was a crazy idea, but she ended up being right. I did a radio show to help promote the dinner and chatted with some guests about my experience. It was a very successful fundraiser, and I’m so proud of my mom – she is such an inspiring teacher!

The only problem with the weekend was that it was too short! I did manage to squeeze in some shopping with my mom, Scrabble with my dad, and a super fun Saturday night with my good friend Emily and her boyfriend Art. I also checked out the incredible Des Moines farmer’s market. I was looking for sweet corn, but it wasn’t quite in season yet.

I knew that the recipe that went along with this post just had to feature corn – and pork, since Iowa produces more pork than any other state. Since my mom loves pancakes, I decided to run with these ingredients and whip up savory cornmeal pancakes packed with corn, bacon, and sun dried tomatoes. We went ahead and poured syrup on top and devoured them for breakfast. These were such a nice twist on traditional pancakes!

Cornmeal Pancakes with Corn, Bacon, and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Cornmeal Pancakes with Corn, Bacon, and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Cornmeal Pancakes with Corn, Bacon, and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
4 strips applewood smoked bacon, chopped
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup cooked corn
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions:
Place chopped bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and sauté for 7 to 9 minutes or until crispy; drain on paper towels.

Mix the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Stir in the egg, buttermilk, and butter until just combined. Stir in the cooked bacon, corn, and sun dried tomatoes.

Pour 1/3 cup scoops of batter onto a greased nonstick skillet over medium heat. Flip the pancakes when bubbles start to appear on top, after about 3 minutes. Cook the other side until golden brown and serve with maple syrup. Makes 8 pancakes (4 servings).

Nutrition: 468 calories, 12.6g fat, 4.2g fiber, 12.4g protein per serving
Cost: $1.80 per serving

Apple Brie Scones

Happy Halloween! After dressing up as Jem, my favorite 80s TV character for the past several years, I decided to fast forward to the 90s this year and go as Angela Chase from My So-Called Life, which is seriously one of the best shows ever! I was a little nervous no...

Chicken Salsa Quesadillas

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I’m in the lobby of the Bright Angel lodge at the Grand Canyon right now sitting next to the fireplace, drinking hot chocolate, and taking advantage of the free internet! Apolinaras and my brother Richard braved a snow and...

Caribbean Sweet Potato and Plantain Soup

Well hello, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas celebration! We unplugged for the week and met my parents and brother in Palm Beach, Florida. A relaxing break with warm weather was just what we needed to recharge and it was so nice to spend time with my family. We...

Tuscan Frittata

I’ve gotten into the habit of buying one pound logs of goat cheese from Costco and since goat cheese goes bad faster than other varieties, I’m always trying to quickly use it in several different ways after opening the package – there’s nothing worse than wasting goat...

Crispy Pecan Chicken and Sweet Potato Biscuit Sandwiches

I have a thing for biscuits. The love affair started when I was growing up and always used to gobble them up at KFC and McDonald’s (actually, McDonald’s breakfast biscuit sandwiches are still one of my guilty pleasures when we’re travelling!). I also have fond...

Apple Coffee Layer Cake

I’ve often wondered why I’ve never seen a layered coffee cake. It just seems like stacking coffee cakes on top of each other would make the presentation so much more festive! I recently couldn’t help but try out this idea when I was baking a birthday treat for us to...

Sesame Chicken with Soba Noodles

I spent the last week at a science conference in Colorado – check out the gorgeous views! While most people ski during the afternoon breaks at Keystone meetings, I decided against pushing my luck with my poor knee that has been acting up again when I jog. I did get to...

Green Eggs and Ham

  Wednesdays have quickly become my favorite night to relax in front of the TV because I love Top Chef and have become addicted to Glee. I was so disappointed this week when Glee wasn’t on due to the World Series and the “Top Chef All Stars Dinner” was on instead...