Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Arepitas and Tomato Coriander Jam

I definitely remember an episode of Parts Unknown involving Bourdain visiting Colombia and eating arepas. I just checked, and that would have been in 2013. So, I’ve been curious about arepas and wondering how to make them at least since then. The new book Colombiana: A Rediscovery of Recipes and Rituals from the Soul of Colombia by Mariana Velasquez, of which I received a review copy, has taught me to make arepas and so much more about Colombian food. Velasquez has worked in restaurant kitchens, tested and developed recipes for food magazines, styled food for photo shoots, and contributed to other cookbooks all while living in the US for more than half of her life. This book brings all those skills together with an opportunity to share the cuisine of her homeland. There are recipes for the morning, menus for lunch or dinner including lots of tempting cocktails, afternoon snacks, favorite everyday dishes of hers that might not be strictly Colombian in origin, and desserts. I noticed the cocktails as soon as I started turning the pages. Aguadiente, called the national liqueur of Colombia, appears in a few of them. The Mistela de Mora is started by infusing aguadiente with blackberries, green peppercorns, and bay leaves. And, the Coquito Mio sounds delicious with coconut liqueur, aged rum, lime juice, and coconut water. Each menu is introduced with a setting of a particular place in Colombia and time of year. Reading about Bogota, at 8,500 feet above sea level, on a cool, fall day made me want to try the dishes even more. That menu includes a potato soup with corn, chicken, and capers and a strawberry meringue with dandelion cream for dessert. The author’s father was of Syrian-Lebanese decent, and Middle Eastern immigrants arrived in the Sinu River Valley of Colombia in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This brought new flavors to the area that are reflected in a menu with stuffed yucca fritters with creme fraiche, olives, hummus, pita bread; yam soup with cheese; and a mango-sesame baked Alaska. There are sweet and savory empanadas, shrimp cocktail, and ice cream sandwiches with molasses cookies and malt ice cream. One snack I couldn’t wait to try was the Alegrias de Coco y Anis. These are popcorn balls held together by date syrup and tahini. They’re usually made with a small type of popcorn, coconut flakes, and anis seeds. I can report they did not last long in my house. But, let’s get back to those arepas. 

I loved the idea of making mini arepas or arepitas. The method is the same, they’re just made smaller. I started by placing an order with Rancho Gordo for dried hominy. It was soaked overnight, drained, and cooked until tender. Some cooking liquid was saved, and the hominy was drained. It was placed in a food processor with reserved cooking liquid, butter, and salt and was processed until smooth. Small balls of dough were formed and then flattened into thick rounds before being cooked on each side in a small bit of hot oil in a cast-iron skillet until charred and golden in spots. The tomato jam paired with the arepitas was inspired by a Paula Wolfert recipe from The Food of Morocco. Velasquez styled this dish for that book in Marrakesh where it was photographed. For the jam, canned tomatoes were combined with paprika, garlic, coriander seeds, salt, pepper, and olive oil in the blender and pureed. The mixture was then cooked slowly over low heat until reduced and thickened. 

The little arepas were thick enough to stay tender on the inside while the surfaces were crispy, and the tomato jam was a terrific topping. I want to use leftovers stored in the freezer for brunch with eggs. And, I want to have a constant supply of arepas in my freezer. Until I have a chance to go see for myself all the places mentioned throughout the book and taste the dishes where they originated, I can keep learning about Colombia by cooking these recipes.

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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Blackout Onigiri

Sometimes a first impression is completely wrong. I admit it. I was wrong. When I took a first glance at Super Natural Simple: Whole-Food, Vegetarian Recipes for Real Life by Heidi Swanson of which I received a review copy, I wasn’t sure I would be very interested. Those first few pages I glimpsed included some very simple ideas like a bean salad made with canned beans and a few other ingredients and packaged root vegetable chips that get warmed in the oven and tossed with oil, green onion, and lemon zest. Maybe I was in the mood to be more challenged that day? As I started reading the book, and I really do read all of my cookbooks, I kept encountering dish after dish that I wanted to make. I think I tried more recipes from this book than any other before its first mention here. The recipes are streamlined, the ingredient lists are mostly pretty short, and there are things I’ll be making repeatedly for years to come. One that I’ve already made a couple of times and wish I had a constant supply of is the Puffed Rice Party Mix made with unsweetened rice cereal, raw peanuts, raw cashews, raw peptias, flaked coconut, crumbled nori, and spices including turmeric. It’s a delicious and nutritious snack mix. The turmeric will stain your fingers as you eat it, but it’s so addictive you won’t mind. Or, you’ll use a spoon. One of the other first recipes I tried was the Lemon-Garlic Pita Chips, and that was as simple as it gets with pita cut into wedges and tossed with olive oil, minced garlic, and lemon zest before being toasted in the oven. Those chips were then cut into shards to garnish the Coconut Asparagus Soup that was thickened with potato and brightened with lemon. The Weeknight Pot Stickers is another dish I’ll return to often. Dumpling wrappers were filled with the Lemony Carrot Salad, from The Best Salads chapter, and crumbled tofu. They were then fried and steamed and served with ponzu and chile oil. I suspect the Som Tum Noodles will also become a regular in my meal rotation. As promised in the head note, they were sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. Rice noodles were cooked with added turmeric in the water and were then tossed with cherry tomatoes, grated carrots, cucumber, chopped kale, herbs, and a spicy lime and soy dressing. And, there are sweets too. I made the Sunflower Brittle because I was intrigued to see a recipe for a brittle with no refined sugar. It's made with just maple syrup, and it was fantastic. After all those recipes that I’ve already tried and more that are flagged, I then read the Power Pantry chapter. This is where you’ll find basics like sauces, dressings, pickles, broths, and seasoned salt, etc. There are some nutritional powerhouses here like the Omega Seed Spread and the Purple Jasmine Rice, Seeds and Spices. This chapter is where I found the Blackout Beans and Rice recipe and the recommendation to use it in the onigiri found in a previous chapter. I’d never made onigiri before and couldn’t wait to try. 

To start, black rice, black beluga lentils, and black sesame seeds were rinsed in a strainer and then transferred to a bowl. Water was added, and the mixture was left in the refrigerator overnight to soak. The next day, the mixture was placed in a saucepan, coconut milk and salt were added, and it was cooked until the liquid had been absorbed and the rice and lentils were cooked through. Once cool enough to handle, the mixture was formed into triangles. And, that’s when I decided I want an onigiri press because I’m definitely going to make this and other versions in the future. In the book, the triangles were grilled and glazed with a harissa-tamari sauce. I went with gochujang instead of harissa, and I griddled out of fear of the triangles breaking and falling through the grill. They were served with a green onion garnish and more glaze. 

I don’t know why I’d never tried making onigiri before, but I’m so glad I finally did. Forming the rice triangles was fun, and I look forward to trying different variations. The surfaces got a little toasty from the final cooking, and the glaze added a punch of flavor. With so many dishes I’ll be making again and more that I still want to try, this book will be a permanent fixture in my kitchen.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Roasted Potatoes with Apricot Harissa

I do enjoy reading a cookbook in which the author writes candidly about how she really prepares various dishes. That was the case with Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories by Nigella Lawson of which I received a review copy. In this book, the chapters are divided not by breakfast, lunch, and dinner or by season or by category of food. Instead, the chapters are themes introduced by a written explanation that includes how Lawson approaches ingredients, how she cooks for herself versus for guests, and how she uses leftovers for instance. The themes may seem random, but the writing offers more information than recipes on their own ever could. And, each recipe includes more than a headnote. Before the ingredient list and instructions, there is a page or two of writing about how the dish came about, how it can be modified at different times of year or for different occasions, and sometimes meandering thoughts on similar dishes. Meandering isn’t a criticism here. I quite enjoyed the foray through variations and executions. The first chapter is A for Anchovy, and I was delighted by the description of ways to enjoy anchovies on bread. She carefully explains the quantity and temperature of butter for an ideal base for anchovies on bread before describing a version of this she had in Milan that came with roasted red pepper slices. Then, she goes on to discuss crostini with mozzarella, burrata, or stracciatella that’s topped with an anchovy fillet. By the end of this intro to the chapter and before even reading through the recipes, I was doing a search to order anchovies. In the chapter Pleasures, she wholeheartedly supports the seeking of pleasure in food and suggests guilty pleasures have no place in the world of eating since there should be no guilt in culinary joy. The recipes here include a Crab Mac ‘N’ Cheese, a Fried Chicken Sandwich, and Creme Caramel for One that I want to try. The book was finished during the pandemic, so the chapter Much Depends on Dinner took on a new meaning since dinner parties have become tricky or unadvisable depending on the current state of things. Here, you’ll find chicken dishes, lasagna, and roasted vegetables. I was inspired to try the Beet and Chickpea Dip recipe in this chapter. In its intro, there’s a discussion of dips to offer rather than complicated appetizers that includes an aside about a green salsa made with cilantro and jalapeno and the Burnt Onion and Eggplant dip included earlier in the book. This inspired me to whip up a chips and dip Friday with eggplant dip and roasted salsa. And, from later in that chapter, I had to try the Vegan Lemon Polenta Cake that I topped with a blueberry sauce. The dish I want to tell you more about, though, is the Roasted Potatoes with Apricot Harissa. The harissa appears a couple of times in the book. It’s used on a sheet pan chicken dish with sweet potatoes and again with roasted cauliflower and spinach. In the intro to the cauliflower recipe, there’s a mention of using the harissa on roasted potatoes with specific instructions for how to do that, and that’s what I did. 

I had local potatoes and sweet peppers from Boggy Creek Farm, so the time was right for this dish. Both were chopped into big chunks. The potatoes were coated with olive oil and some of the harissa before being spread on a baking sheet. A few tablespoons of water were added before the pan went into a hot oven. After 20 minutes or so, I added the pepper chunks and stirred the mixture around to distribute the harissa and oil. The mixture roasted another 20 minutes or so until the potatoes were crisp outside, tender inside, and the peppers were browned. For the harissa, I used the dried peppers I had on hand which on that day were pasillas and anchos. They were stemmed and seeded and rehydrated in boiling water. Coriander, cumin, and cardamom seeds were toasted. The softened chiles, spices, some garlic, dried apricots, turmeric, smoked paprika, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt were all added to a food processor and pureed. I omitted the ginger that was part of the ingredient list. 

Happily, this made enough harissa for a few uses, and I have a jar in the freezer. The sweetness of the apricots plays nicely off the bitterness of the dried chiles. It was fantastic with the roasted potatoes and peppers, and I can’t wait to try it with cauliflower and/or chicken. Or, I might meander a bit myself and try it on fish or with roasted mushrooms. That might not happen until after I’ve tried all those options for anchovies on bread though.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Ricotta Gnocchi with a Simple Tomato Sauce

What’s your favorite day to cook? Is there a point in the week when you most enjoy the process of creating a meal for yourself or to share with others? For me, it’s usually Friday. I cook a lot on Fridays, prep things for the weekend, and get excited to try new recipes. For a professional chef, the weekend falls on Monday and Tuesday. The new book, At Home in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes from a Chef's Night Off by David Kinch, of which I received a review copy, is all about his Tuesday cooking. That’s his Sunday. Unlike the dishes prepared at his restaurant Manresa, his home cooking is a far more relaxed situation. He shares the straightforward, crowd-pleasing dishes he offers to friends who join him at his “Pink Palace” California home for those days off. Music is a big part of those days as well, and each recipe in the book comes with a song suggestion. At the start, there are some basics like a few stocks, pickles, croutons, and mayo. The Chickpea Stock reminded me that I’d previously learned how dried chickpeas can add a good flavor boost to homemade stock, but I never seem to remember to try it. Here, the stock is completely chickpea-focused. It’s recommended for the Minestrone with pesto recipe found a few chapters later that I have to try while I have lots of basil growing. The first thing I tried was the Spicy Sesame Cucumber with Avocado salad. It’s thick and lovely from the smashed avocado, bright and fresh from the cucumber, and spicy with jalapeno. If you’re looking to take your grilled cheese sandwich to a new level, the version here comes with a crispy cheese veil. Cheese is browned in the pan, and the finished sandwich is set on top of it so you can lift the cheese up the sides of the sandwich with a spatula and then serve it crispy cheese side up. In the pasta chapter, there’s a walnut sauce made with ricotta that’s garnished with fried marjoram leaves, and that’s on my to-try list as well. There are meat and seafood dishes and Jambalaya, Paella, and California Crab Boil, but the vegetable dishes kept calling out to me. Another one to try is the Eggplant with Black Olive Tapenade made with thick slices of eggplant. For dessert, there are not-too-sweet options with lots of fruit. I like the idea of the Rice Pudding Sundae served with various options for toppings. And, the last chapter is drinks with a couple of sangrias perfectly suited to entertaining. The dish I want to talk more about today, though, is the Ricotta Gnocchi with a Simple Tomato Sauce. 

This is such a simple gnocchi recipe. It’s just a mix of ricotta and flour. I made it vegan by using a plant-based ricotta, and I mixed in some chopped basil. The mixture was patted into a one inch thick square and cut into wide slices. Each slice was rolled into a long log and then cut into little pillows. The pillows were rolled over with a fork to give them a curved shape. They were quickly cooked for about a minute in boiling water. For the sauce, I started with fresh, fabulous, local tomatoes. They were peeled by dropping them in boiling water, transferring them to ice water, and pulling off the skins. Cutting an X in the bottom of each tomato before boiling helps with pulling off the skins. They were seeded and then pureed in the blender. Finely chopped shallots were cooked in lots of olive oil, and I added garlic as well. Then, the tomato puree was added with salt and pepper and left to simmer for a bit. The sauce and cooked gnocchi were combined and topped, in my case, with basil although pecorino would also be great. 

This fresh tomato sauce made with just-picked, ripe tomatoes can’t be beat. As it goes here, our local tomato season is on the decline by August. I miss it already. But, the gnocchi could be made any time, and they’re so quick to pull together there’s no reason not to. I lack a Pink Palace near the beach, but I’ll have fun cooking the same fare enjoyed there.

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Monday, July 12, 2021

Shanghai Big Wontons

Well, it’s been awhile. I guess I took an accidental break from blogging. My only excuse is that I’ve been outside. After our freakish February winter storm, our yard that used to be mostly cacti, agaves, yucca, and fan palms was instead mostly dead and brown. We’ve been busy cutting off brown leaves on things that might bounce back, removing things that are definitely dead, and slowly adding in new plants. Also, I started riding a bike outside again for the first time in many years. I’d gotten used to sitting on bikes for spin classes that don’t go anywhere, and going somewhere on a bike is a lot of fun. But, I do want to tell you all about a book that I read and cooked from recently. I received a review copy of My Shanghai: Recipes and Stories from a City on the Water by Betty Liu. She wrote this as a record of her family’s home cooking traditions that began with her parents in Shaghai and were later adapted to their lives in Oregon. She writes: “Food is deeply entwined with pride, respect, and welcome in Chinese culture. It’s a method for treating the body, but also for showing love and generosity.” The hope is that the reader will build new traditions from these recipes. The book is organized by season and also includes chapters for Street Food and Core Recipes. Memories are shared throughout of sharing food and cooking both in the US and in China. I especially enjoyed reading about the breakfast noodles that the author’s father made for her on test days when she was growing up and the importance of noodle soup to Suzhou cuisine. I was taken with several noodle recipes in the book and got completely distracted by the scallion recipes. There’s Scallion Oil Noodles, Scallion-Roasted Fish, Scallion Oil-Poached Chicken, and Scallion-Ginger Clams. Now that eggplant is abundant for summer, I’ll be trying the Seasoned Steamed Eggplant. And, I have to make the Tomato and Egg Stir-Fry and use it as a topping on the Sauced Noodles. I also have several pages marked in the Street Food chapter such as the Scallion Flower Buns made with twisted strips of dough, the Shaghai Shaomai with homemade wrappers, and Liu’s favorite version of Scallion Pancakes. First though, I set about making the Shanghai Big Wontons after reading that in warmer weather they are served at room temperature with chile oil rather than in a bowl of steaming broth. 

Of course, I made the filling my own a bit by skipping the ground pork and using reconstituted and finely chopped dried shitakes instead. I had some locally-grow cabbage and green onions that I used as well. Cornstarch, soy sauce, white wine, white pepper, and sesame oil were added, and the finely chopped mixture was stirred until it formed a paste-like consistency. I used store-bought wonton wrappers here. The wontons were filled, folded, and sealed and then covered and refrigerated until cooking time approached. I also froze some on a baking sheet before transferring them to a bag for storage for a later date. I also made the chile oil from the book that involves simmering oil with ginger, scallions, star anise, a cinnamon stick, bay leaves, fennel seeds, and dried chiles. After simmering, that oil was strained into a bowl containing crushed red chiles, white sesame seeds, and garlic. For the sauce, some of that chile oil was mixed with soy sauce, black vinegar, garlic, and scallion. After cooking the wontons in boiling water, they were transferred to serving bowls, and topped with the chile oil sauce and cilantro.
I’m not sure which leftover item was more exciting to have on hand, the chile oil or the frozen wontons. Both were happily used in short order. There’s so much to learn from this book. Whether it leads you on an ingredient search or inspires you to make some adaptations, there will be delicious meals as a result.

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Monday, May 17, 2021


I make a lot of soup. It’s not just a cold weather dish for me. There are so many options and so many seasonal vegetables to use in different soups from one month to the next. And, I love having leftover soup to heat up, unless it’s a chilled soup of course, for lunches throughout the week. So, I thought I knew chicken soup. Turns out, I had no idea how many varieties there really are from every corner of the globe. I got a great education on the topic from The Chicken Soup Manifesto: Recipes From Around the World by Jenn Louis of which I received a review copy. Louis approached the topic as “a culinary connection shared around the world.” Each take on the humble chicken soup offers unique additions for flavors, starches, thickeners or not, and garnishes. The recipes are presented by country, and the first chapters are soups from African countries. I was immediately caught up by the spices and use of chickpeas in several of these soups like Chorba Bayda from Algeria. The Chicken Mafe from Senegal is a thick, rich soup with eggplant, squash, sweet potato, okra, chiles, and peanut butter. I would like that with or without the star ingredient, chicken. From the Americas, there’s the familiar-to-me Sopa Azteca or tortilla soup and Pozole Rojo and Verde. But, I’ve never made the lighter, lovely, and brothy Sopa de Lima with fresh tomatoes and bell peppers. From the US, I’d never heard of Bott Boi from southeastern Pennsylvania or Chicken and Slicks from the Carolina Appalachian region both of which are takes on chicken and dumplings. There are delicious Asian options, and garnishes are always a selling point for me. Laksa from Indonesia and Keihan from Japan are two prime examples. I learned that Thai Khao Swe, Malaysia’s Laksa, and India’s Kho Suey are all adapted from Burmese Ohn-No Kao Swe. The latter is a coconut milk- and broth-based soup thickened with chickpea flour. There are chicken soups with cream from Belgium, Finland, and Ireland; chicken and tomato soup from Albania; and Avgolemono and Stracciatella from Greece and Italy. I want to try all of them. But, I let my produce be my guide. I had both local cabbage and celery and was intrigued by the Saoto recipe from Suriname that was completely unfamiliar to me. 

In the 19th century, Javanese contract workers brought this soup to Surnime, and it’s sometimes called Blauwgrond after the neighborhood where it’s eaten as a late-night snack or meal. I’ve been able to find galangal at grocery stores in the past, but not this time. I used ginger instead. Ginger along with garlic, onion, lemongrass, bay leaf, allspice, and black pepper were simmered in stock with chicken pieces until the chicken was cooked through. An habanero chile was added. When the chicken was cool enough to handle, the meat was pulled into shreds and added back to the soup. Meanwhile, a sambal was made by combining a finely chopped habanero, minced garlic, and soy sauce, and cellophane noodles were briefly fried to crisp them into nests. Garnishes including hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, and thinly sliced celery were prepped. 

Have I mentioned I love a soup with garnishes? Oh, I have. That might have been another reason I chose this recipe first. Wedges of hard-boiled egg, crunchy noodles, crisp fresh vegetables, and a drizzle of spicy sauce were everything I expected them to be here. I learned last year that frying a scant few noodles to top just about anything is one of the most fun things to do in the kitchen. They crisp in seconds and add so much texture. Learning while eating is also a lot of fun, and I plan to continue my chicken soup education.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Corn and Crab Beignets with Yaji Aioli

Marcus Samuelsson’s latest book, The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, is best summed up as “an invitation to a listening party that everyone is welcome to join – a celebration to discover the breadth, depth, and diversity of Black cooks.” I recently received a review copy. It’s a collection of recipes inspired by the work of African American chefs, culinarians, and writers. Because “The contributions of Black people in this country have always been underdocumented and undervalued,” this book shines a light on some of the inspiring work in the food industry in an effort toward social change. The chapters are organized by theme as it relates to the food industry individuals highlighted. And, after an introduction to each individual, there are recipes that speak to that person’s history or current work. The first chapter is Next, and it includes stories of cutting edge work that shows what’s possible and what’s to come. Of course, I was delighted to see pastry chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph of Austin’s Emmer and Rye included here, and the recipes that follow his story are based on flavors from Guyana where he was born. There’s Coconut Fried Chicken with Sweet Hot Sauce and Platanos and Smoked Venison with Roti and Pine Nut Chutney. And, what’s so interesting throughout the book is the variety of dishes. Following the venison, you’ll find Quick Salted Salmon with Carrot Broth and Mushrooms in honor of Adrienne Cheatham’s elegance and grace. She worked at Le Bernardin and was also Samuelsson’s executive chef at Red Rooster. I’m always drawn to Cheryl Day’s sweet creations and the recipes she inspired here include Baobab-Buttermilk and Broiled Peach Popsicles and Sweet and Wild Berry Pie with C & C Crumble that involves a mix of cassava flour and coconut. Also, the seafood recipes kept getting my attention. I was craving the Grilled Piri Piri Shrimp with Papaya and Watermelon Salad, Crab and Chile Chitarra Pasta, and Citrus Scallops with Hibiscus Tea. And, that seafood craving led me to the Corn and Crab Beignets with Yaji Aioli. 

These savory beignets were inspired by BJ Dennis of Charleston, South Carolina where he works to preserve and celebrate the food of the Gullah Geechee culture. His cooking along with his research into ingredients prepared and grown by descendants of West Africa focuses attention on dishes “driven by produce and seafood, rich and full of deep flavor.” I was able to get some lovely, jumbo lump crabmeat from a nearby seafood market. But, since corn isn’t in season yet, I opted for frozen. Making the beignet batter is a simple enough process of stirring everything together, and frying is quick and easy once you have everything ready. I use a paper grocery bag cut open and folded in half on top of a baking sheet as a resting spot for anything just fried. Use a pan with plenty of space, and give the oil enough time to come up to temperature. Then, frying in batches goes by in a flash. For the aioli, I first made the yaji spice blend with roasted peanuts, ground ginger, salt, paprika, garlic and onion powders, and cayenne pepper. The peanuts were ground in a small food processor until finely chopped. The spices were added and processed to combine. This mixture should remain dry and not become peanut butter. A generous tablespoon of this spice mix was added to about a cup of aioli. 

Crispy beignets were a decadent treat, and the rich, spiced aioli contrasted the texture perfectly. Happily, we had some leftovers, and they do reheat well in the oven. There’s so much more to explore in this book. From Fonio Stuffed Collards with Pepper Sambal and Sauce Moyo to Montego Bay Rum Cake, I’m going to enjoy the journey from one page to the next. 

Corn and Crab Beignets with Yaji Aioli 
Excerpted from The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food by Marcus Samuelsson with Osayi Endolyn. Recipes with Yewande Komolafe and Tamie Cook. Copyright © 2020 by Marcus Samuelsson. Photographs by Angie Mosier. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved. 

BJ Dennis grew up in Charleston, picking okra and fishing in the creeks for shrimp and crabs. The crab beignets here are paired with an aioli made with yaji, the ultra-popular West African spice blend. 


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears) 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup cornmeal 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 cup buttermilk 
1 large egg 
8 ounces lump crabmeat 
Vegetable oil, for frying 
Yaji Spice Aioli 

Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the corn and cook until softened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, stir in the chives, and set aside until cool. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, corn- meal, baking powder, cayenne, and salt. Add the buttermilk and egg to the corn and stir to combine. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add the crabmeat and fold to combine. 

Heat 1 1/2 inches oil in a large pot or deep fryer to 375°F. Place a paper towel–lined cooling rack in a baking sheet and set aside. 

Using a tablespoon measure or a 1/2-ounce scoop, carefully place scoops of batter into the oil, four or five at time. (Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the beignets in the oil.) Fry, turning frequently, until the beignets are golden brown and cooked through the center, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the cooked beignets to the prepared cooling rack to drain and cool slightly. 

Serve warm with the aioli for dipping.

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