By Marcela Valladolid
As an avid traveler and mother of three, I love to learn about new cultures through their cuisine. Even though I've been cooking for most of my life – I've attended the Los Angeles Culinary Institute and the Ritz Escoffier Cooking School in Paris and hosted my own Food Network series, Mexican Made Easy – it's amazing to me that with each trip I take, I learn even more about my food passion and am inspired to create new recipes.
I teamed up with the Purpose Project by Capital One, a program launched by Capital One to illustrate the power and the impact of purposeful travel on our lives, because that's what I live for. I'd never been to New Orleans and I was there with the incredibly talented Noelle Scaggs, who I first met at the Capital One launch event in October and we were so excited to reunite in New Orleans. We visited an incredible establishment called Café Reconcile that works with the youth in the community to teach them life skills through cooking and serving meals at the café.
While at Café Reconcile, I snuck my hand in the hot line and sampled a jalapeño corn biscuit that instantly transported me to my youth in Mexico. I grew up with corn bread topped with creamed rajas, so the combination of sweet corn and smoky chile was something not only recognized by my palate but embraced by my soul. Another reminder that we all have so much more in common than we think.
Please enjoy the recipe below, I hope the warm and comforting scents of corn and sweetened condensed milk transports you to Mexico and fill you with inspiration to book your next purposeful adventure! Every trip can have a purpose, whether you're motivated by an appetite or teaching your family about your heritage and other cultures (like me!).
Cornbread and Creamed Rajas
- 5 eggs
- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (scraped from 3 cobs)
- 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 egg whites, beaten into soft peaks
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 ears fresh corn kernels
- 6 charred, peeled, stemmed, seeded Poblano peppers, cut into thin strips
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup Mexican crema or Sour Cream
- ½ cup shredded Oaxaca cheese or Mozzarella cheese
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven at 350 F. Prepare 12 muffin tins by greasing with oil.
In a food processor, combine all the cornbread ingredients, except egg whites. Process everything until smoothly mixed. Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour the filling into the prepared muffin cups. Bake cornbread muffins for 40-45 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut an X in the top of each cornbread muffin.
Heat oil on medium in a skillet. Sauté onion for about five minutes. Add corn, cooking another three minutes. Add strips of poblano peppers to the skillet and cook another five minutes. The corn should be tender at this point. Add heavy cream and Mexican crema. Cook about eight
Gracias familia! Keep traveling and exploring!