CRAVE: Dishes combine classic comfort with modern flair

photo by: Mother Earth News

Jalapeno Cheese Hush Puppies

As a child, the kitchen was where we congregated as a family. My mom and I shared special bonding time there, talking and laughing, and before I knew it, a meal had been prepared. My mom always presented cooking as fun and exciting, which made me eager to pitch in.

The kitchen allows us to be creative, spontaneous, and daring. Cooking is all about trusting yourself so you’re comfortable and confident enough to create.

Jalapeño Cheese Hush Puppies

Yields 4 servings.


Peanut or vegetable oil (enough to fill deep fryer or large pot 2 to 3 inches deep)

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup yellow cornmeal

3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1⁄4 cup chopped scallions (about 4 scallions)

1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


1. Pour oil into a deep fryer or a large, heavy pot. Heat to 375 F.

2. Combine egg, buttermilk, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, scallions, jalapeño pepper, and cheese in a large bowl, and mix well.

3. Using an ice cream scoop, form balls of batter.

4. Place 3 or 4 balls at a time into hot oil, and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from grease, and place on paper towels to drain.

NOTE: Let the hush puppies get a rich, deep golden color before pulling them out of the oil.

Also, if you have extra jalapeño peppers, slice them into rings, fry them in the same oil, and serve them alongside your hush puppies.

Spicy Sage Sausage Flatbread Topped with Fried Eggs

Yields 4 servings.


2 large flatbreads, cut in half

1 pound ground spicy pork sausage

3⁄4 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms

1⁄2 teaspoon dried sage

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 red chile pepper, thinly sliced

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

Fresh sage leaves, optional

1 1⁄2 teaspoons unsalted butter

4 large eggs

Pink Himalayan salt

Chopped chives


1. Preheat a grill to medium heat, or warm a large, heavy skillet on the stove over medium heat. Preheat oven to broiling.

2. Toast both sides of flatbreads on grill or in skillet. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; set aside.

3. Heat a skillet over high heat. Add sausage and mushrooms, and cook until sausage is no longer pink, breaking into crumbles with a fork as it cooks. Stir in dried sage and black pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.

4. Sprinkle flatbreads evenly with red chile peppers and tomatoes. Top with sausage mixture, cheese, and sage leaves, if using.

5. Place baking sheet under broiler, and broil for 4 minutes, or until flatbreads are golden-brown and cheese is melted.

6. Add butter to a skillet, and melt over medium heat. Crack eggs into skillet, and let membranes fry lightly. Reduce heat to low, and cook until yolks are set.

7. Top each flatbread with an egg, sprinkle with a little salt, and garnish with chives.

8. Serve immediately.


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