Lake Norman Magazine

Hoe cake heaven

Joe Rauzi

Slow down, enjoy the experienceMore times than not we cook out of necessity, to get dinner on the table quickly and without fuss. For those of us who enjoy the process of cooking and learning different techniques we like to slow it down a bit.Preparing a recipe that has more than one complex component can be challenging, but it has its rewards in learning how to time and coordinate a few things at once.The three pieces that make up this recipe can and will stand alone or can be matched with some of your own signature dishes. Hoe cakes or Johnny cakes preceded the pancake; however they are made using cornmeal or a combination of flour and corn meal instead of all flour. It is said that settlers heated their iron hoes in a fire and poured small portions of the batter on them to cook the cakes. The hoe cake batter is a blank canvas for any flavor you can throw into it, herbs, vegetables or even fruit. Cream sauces can vary from rich to delicate and once you have mastered this roasted garlic cream sauce you will be able to modify this basic recipe to compliment fish, roasted meats and grilled vegetables. Roasted tomatoes can accent any dish with lots of color and loads of flavor, use any fresh herd you can imagine and make them different every time. Enjoyment in cooking isn¡¯t always about the satisfaction of feeding others. Learning something new, trying different combinations or techniques to make us better cooks should also be part of the experience.Ultimately everyone gets to enjoy the food, so you might as well slow down and enjoy the ride.

Hoe Cake with Roasted Tomatoes and Cream Sauce

Makes 12 to 16 Hoe CakesCakes:

To Fry Canola Oil

1 Cup Self Rising Corn Meal

1 Cup Self Rising Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3/4 Cup Buttermilk

2 Each Eggs-slightly beaten

1/4 Cup Bacon Grease-or shortening

1 Each Corn on the Cob-parboiled, oiled, seasoned and charred on the grillRoasted Tomatoes:

1 Pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes-halved

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

1 Clove Fresh Garlic-very fine chop, grated or smashed into paste

1 Tablespoon Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley-rough chopped

To Taste Kosher Salt

To Taste Black Pepper Pre heat grill to medium high heat for indirect grilling. Place all ingredients in a small iron skillet or baking dish and mix together to combine. Place the iron skillet on top rack of grill on indirect heat side, close lid and cook until tomatoes are reduced to half their size, stirring frequently about 30 minutes.Sauce:

2 Ounces Unsalted Butter

1 Ounce Onion-fine chopped

2 Tablespoons Roasted Garlic-or 2 cloves of fresh chopped garlic

2 Ounces Chicken Stock

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

¡Ç Teaspoon Black Pepper

2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Each Fresh Corn-par boiled 12 minutes, oiled, seasoned, charred, cut off cob

3-5 Leaves Fresh Basil-rough chopped, plus extra to garnish Melt the butter in a small stock pot and add the onion, cook until onion becomes translucent about 5 minutes. Add the roasted garlic or fresh garlic and half of the corn; cook for 5 minutes. Remaining corn will be used as a garnish once the sauce is on the dish.Turn heat up slightly and then add the chicken stock, stirring frequently and cook until most of the stock has evaporated. Next add the cream, salt, pepper and stir to incorporate.Bring to a simmer then turn heat down and cook until sauce starts to thicken, sauce is done when it will coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, stir in the chopped basil, use immediately or keep warm over very low heat.Cakes:

Warm an iron skillet over medium high heat. Cut the corn off the cob and mix with all of the other ingredients, except the oil, in a mixing bowl, until incorporated. Add about a 1/2¡± of oil to the skillet and begin adding the hoe cake batter a few tablespoons at a time to form the cakes.Cook until golden brown on each side, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place on a paper towel lined plate and continue frying using all the batter. This will make about 12 to 16 hoe cakes,Serve:

Ladle some of the cream sauce on a plate, top with three hoe cakes and garnish with a few roasted tomatoes.