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As you know, for the past several months I’ve been featuring “The Best” recipes – those recipes that really are my favorites. Today, I want to feature “The Best” cook and friend – Polly Shaw of Elizabethtown.
If you’ve read this column at all during the past six years, you know Polly Shaw has sent me many, many recipes and they’ve all been very popular. Several folks have suggested Polly publish a cookbook, and if she did, I’m sure it would be a bestseller. What I love about Polly’s recipes is they’re real food for real people. These are recipes real people love. They’re recipes that, on tasting the finished product, folks say, “That’s so good! I want that recipe!” Real food for real people from a real, down-home woman.
In a column in 2006, I said I was proclaiming 2006 as “I Love Polly Shaw Year.” At the time I hadn’t even met Polly, but every time I needed a recipe, I would get one in the mail from Polly. She was always apologetic, saying she hoped she wasn’t sending in too many recipes. But it would always happen when I needed a recipe the most and it would always be a recipe that would get me lots of calls and emails from folks saying, “That recipe from Polly Shaw was so good! I loved it!”
So, as far as I’m concerned, every year is “I Love Polly Shaw Year.” She’s a giving, caring woman who loves to cook and loves to share food; it doesn’t get any better than that. She’s, well, “The Best.”
Today I’m reprinting two of my favorite Polly recipes – Fresh Corn Cakes and Banana Pudding.
I have always loved any kind of corn cakes, but these are very special as you will notice if you read the ingredients. mozzarella cheese and chives in corn cakes? Yep. That’s right, and they’re fantastic.
The Banana Pudding is just as good. What makes this different from most banana puddings is that Polly uses sugar cookies instead of vanilla wafers. I think it’s those sugar cookies that give this pudding a very special taste.
Fresh Corn Cakes
2½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears)
3 large eggs
¾ cup milk
3 teaspoons butter, melted
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup yellow or white corn meal
1 8-ounce package fresh grated mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons chopped chives
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pulse first four ingredients in a food processor for 3 or 4 times, just until corn is coarsely chopped; Stir together flour and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; stir in corn mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon 1/8 cup batter for each cake onto a hot, greased griddle or large nonstick skillet to form two-inch cakes (do not spread or flatten cakes). Cook cakes for 3 or 4 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges are cooked. Turn and cook other side for 2 or 3 minutes.
When I make these, I don’t measure out 1/8 cup of the batter as suggested in the recipe; I just use a big spoon (larger than a teaspoon) and scoop up a rounded spoonful. It ends up making about 30 to 40 of the little corn cakes. Also, when fresh corn is not in season, I just use frozen corn and it works perfectly.
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8-ounce container Cool Whip
1 small package vanilla instant pudding
2 cups milk
Mix pudding mix and milk and set aside. Cream the cream cheese with the sweetened condensed milk. Add the Cool Whip, then add everything to the pudding mixture.
Layer the sugar cookies, bananas and pudding until all are used up.
Top with crumbled sugar cookies.
Mary Alice Holt can be reached at (270) 505-1751, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.