After narrowing down the many delicious-sounding entries, we ended up with a "Fab Five" to prepare, including Greg Fontenot's wonderful Cilantro Corn Cakes with Sauteed Mushrooms & Cumin Yogurt.His recipe was a favorite right from the start. What captured our attention about this submission?
- It's quick and easy to prepare
- The ingredients are inexpensive and readily available
- Its use of colors makes it visually attractive: golden toasty yellow from the cornmeal, intense green from the cilantro, inky brown from the portabella* mushrooms, and soft white from the topping
- The flavors and textures run the gamut from the grainy cornmeal to the lime-accented mushrooms to the creamy Greek yogurt.
- And, simply put, it's unique and intriguing.
The camera caught Greg and his son, Kenneth, in a playful moment!
When asked for information about himself and the recipe, Greg e-mailed us the following:
I have entered this contest for years now and it is nice to win. I do not even remember what got me to enter the first time, but I had a feeling I would eventually hit on a good mushroom recipe. A little about me. I am 52 and a PhD scientist. I live in The Woodlands, TX, just north of Houston. I am known for my cooking and gardening, raising tropicals and orchids among many other plants. I prepare many vegitarian dishes and I think that is why I enjoy mushrooms. They have a meaty texture and flavor and since I have diabetes they are low in carbohydrates.
Our sincere thanks to everyone who contributed a recipe this year. They were an exceptionally interesting and delicious group of entries. We intend to feature some of the runner-up submissions on the website later in the year.
* the reason for the asterisk above concerns the spelling of "portabella." Over the years, we've also seen it spelled "portobello," and every time we encountered it, we'd always wonder which was right. As we published this, we determined to research this burning issue and get it right, once and for all. The Internet is a wonderfully useful tool for research, and it was easier than we expected. No less an authority than the Mushroom Council has come down on the side of "portabella," and henceforward, so will we!
Cilantro Corn Cakes with Sauteed Mushroom & Cumin Yogurt
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups sliced portabella mushrooms
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, baking powder, egg, milk, oil, salt and cilantro. Mix until well blended.
- Heat a lightly greased skillet or griddle until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates. Drop 1 tablespoon of batter at a time onto the hot pan and cook until the cake is beginning to set and the bottom has browned, about 1 minute. Flip and repeat with remaining batter. Keep warm until mushrooms are finished.
- Melt butter in another skillet. Add mushrooms and shallots and cook until tender. Add chili powder and lime juice. Continue cooking until liquid reduces.
- Combine yogurt, cumin and pepper in a small bowl.
- Serve cakes topped with mushrooms and yogurt mixture.