dia de los potluck

My friends Leah and Maury hosted a Dia de los Muertos potluck last night.  The timing couldn't have been better for, after wedding madness and being on the road for the past two weeks, nothing delighted me more than the thought of cooking something warm and plentiful to share with friends.

I also had corn on the brain.  My original plan was to roll up a batch of tamales.  Ha!  That was some ambitious thinking on my part.  With much catching up to do and now a house trashed with post-wedding decor, I soon realized I'd have to go smaller than that.  So I found this recipe from Gourmet (RIP) for corn costard with chorizo and mushrooms.  For once, I followed it pretty much to a tee, which is unusual for me.  But corn custard sounded just wonderful to me, and where there's custard, there's science.  And I didn't want to mess with science.  Anyway, I enjoyed the outcome and I think you will too.

Corn Custard with Chorizo and Mushrooms
from Gourmet
makes 8 servings (more in my opinion!)

butter for greasing baking dish
2 T olive oil
1/2 lb Spanish chorizo (I used chorizo from the deli department, but the recipe suggests chorizo with casing discarded and sausage quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/3 inch thick slices)
3/4 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced (I used around a lb.. I love shrooms)
1 T freshly chopped jalapeno with seeds
2 (10-oz) packages frozen corn kernels, thawed
4 ox cream cheese, softened
1/3 c yellow cornmeal 
2 T sugar
6 large eggs
1 c whole milk
3/4 tsp salt
6 scallions, finely chopped (about 1 c)
1/3 lb Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated (2 1/2 c)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Heat 1 T oil and saute chorizo until brown, about 6-8 minutes.  Transfer to buttered baking dish and reserve fat in skillet.

2. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in skillet and saute mushrooms until liquid is evaporated and shrooms are browned.  Add chopped jalapeno and saute one more minute, until softened.  Add to baking dish with chorizo.

3. Puree two cups of the corn with cornmeal, sugar, and cream cheese in a food processor, until smooth (but grainy).

4. Whisk together eggs, milk, and salt in a large bowl until combined.  Whisk in corn puree, scallions, 1 1/2 c cheese, and remaining 2 c corn until combined. 

5. Pour into baking dish atop the chorizo/mushroom mixture.  Spread evenly and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until puffed and golden, 50 minutes to an hour, and cool slightly before serving.

the finished product

just some of the spread!

Shannon's legit chilaquiles, characterized by a complex salsa and homemade, extra crispy chips

Maury's doble flan-- custardy pumpkin with "chichas de chocolate" says Shannon :)

Not pictured above is Leah's amazing pozole!!  Yumyumyumyum!  I have no good excuse for not getting a photo, except that it was on the stove and separate from everything else.. and once I discovered it, I was just so blown away by the spectrum of flavor and textures going on (it was accompanied by a plateful of various toppings-- onion, cabbage, lime, green onion...more than that but my memory fails me)...

the altar

Unfortunately, this Dia de los Muertos celebration had a little more meaning than intended originally.   One of L and M's two dogs dug out of their fenced-in yard several days earlier and got hit by a car on East 7th Street.  So this altar was dedicated to DeeDee, with photos capturing her adventurous spirit and calm, almost intuitive, gaze.  I can't imagine life without Chef, and I don't want to.. but at times like these, I am reminded of the reality of life's impermanence...