mini corn muffins with sun dried tomato pesto

          you really can't come into our home and expect to leave without eating. it makes me happy to feed you, so please indulge me with your chewing. it starts the instant after we say hello, with appetizers, usually in the kitchen, and continues on through dessert. and, then, i'll send you home with a little package of foil, wax paper, or plastic wrap with something in it for your mid-night snack, or your breakfast. if you just drop by, don't worry, i can at least serve you some homemade bread and cheese, with fresh fruit, or maybe some olives and nuts.
          this little pick-up goodie was one of the appetizers i created recently for an italian dinner party for an old friend and his wife. i wanted something special, and designed these diminutive polenta crowns, with their royal roasted tomato tops, just for them. the italian twist comes from using polenta instead of corn meal in a basic sweet cornbread recipe from my deborah madison book, vegetarian cooking for everyone. and, the creamy-salty pesto punctuates them with a rich, juicy tang. i received my reward when our guests hummed, "mmmmmmm".

mini corn muffins
makes about 48 mini muffins
• 1 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 uncooked polenta
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 to 3/4 cps packed light brown sugar
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 1/3 cups buttermilk (i use plain yogurt)
• 1/3 cup butter, melted
• 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1. preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. rub the muffin tin with butter.
3. mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ones in another.
4. pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix with a spatula to make sure there aren't any pockets of flour, but don't beat it.
5. using two teaspoons, spoon the batter into the tins, and bake in the upper third of the oven until browned and risen, about 20-25 min.
6. turn the muffins onto a rack to cool completely.

roasted tomato pesto
• 1-2 large whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
• 3-4 tbl. of pine nuts
• 1/2 - 3/4 cups of grated parmesan cheese
• olive oil 
1. heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. put the garlic in foil or a clay roasting pot and drizzle with olive oil.
3. roast for about 20-30 min. until the garlic is browned.
4. blend the garlic, tomatoes and pine nuts in a mini food processor until evenly chopped and combined.
5. use a spatula to put the blended ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix in the cheese.
6. add olive oil a little at a time until the mixture is smooth, spreadable, but still has body.

assemble the polenta crowns
1. cut the tops off of the mini-corn muffins.
2. top with a little dollop of tomato pesto.
3. sprinkle with minced parsley.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Top of the Muffin to You! I had to look up the Muffin Top episode we talked of while eating these little gems. Top of the muffin to you was the name of the store and the bottoms were called stumps. Good stuff, thanks for sharing the recipe.