Archive for October, 2011

October 24, 2011

Final Harvest | Corn Milk Soup

It’s simply the best of the last of the garden.  Eight ears of the last of the sweet corn.  Cobs scraped completely clean, releasing all that sweet corn “milk.”  I think it’s what makes this soup special.

But perhaps, too, it’s that I added in the last few peppers still standing on my counter.  Another handful of tomatoes that were picked green in the back garden, but managed to ripen despite that deep insult.  And green onions picked up at the farmer’s market.  Plus two palmfuls of teeny purple potatoes (that were a growing experiment by me) from a more experienced gardener friend.  Generous pinches of fresh thyme from the terracotta pot on the patio.  Twists of pepper.  A blessing of salt.

Poach a few shrimp in the hot soup to make it more substantial.  Or some smoked haddock would be perfectly at home.  Or if you have leftovers, top bowls of soup with a crumbled a link of andouille and some sauteed shrimp for a take on a gumbo.  That’s what I’m going to do.

Corn Milk Soup, serves 6 to 8

4 strips bacon, sliced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

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October 22, 2011

Because You’re Only 4 1/2 Once | Chocolate Pudding

Birthdays call for cakes.  Half birthdays, pudding.  Cherub celebrated her four and half years in this world just this past Friday.  We had pudding as a special I-turned-four-and-a-half dessert.  Homemade chocolate pudding is no harder than a box mix, honestly.  Just just need a few ingredients.  Like anything else.  But these few ingredients can make a little person feel awfully special.  Or a big person for that matter.

PK’s Celebratory Chocolate Pudding, Serves 4

3 T corn starch

3/4 c granulated sugar

1/2 t ground cinnamon

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October 21, 2011

What to Serve with Steaks | Caramelized Shallots

I told you I’d have leftoversAnd on a Friday night, because that’s how we roll.

So after last night’s highly vegetarian dinner, I did feel like I needed a kick of iron.  A good piece of red meat.  Enter tonight’s steak, served with caramelized shallots and that fabulous leftover cauliflower.  I know.  Many of you are skeptical.  But trust me.   A very talented chef came up with that combo of white chocolate and cauliflower first.  Trust him.

PK’s Caramelized Shallots, Serves 2 (none for little Cherub, we meanies didn’t want to share tonight)

3 very large shallots, trimmed and thickly sliced

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October 20, 2011

Aggressively Vegetarian | Cauliflower “Steaks”

After nights of pierogies and mounds of mashed potatoes and roast chicken, I yearn for something light.  Almost ethereal.  This dinner is the lightest of light.   Nary a protein to be found.  Strictly vegetables.  And a bit of white chocolate.  What?

Tonight’s dinner took the oh-so-seasonal cauliflower and transformed that single veg into both a steak and a mash

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October 10, 2011

Posh yet Inexpensive | Pork Belly with Somen

Pork belly has been my weakness lately.  So lovely and meaty.  And fatty.  In the best kind of way.  It’s also inexpensive and a cut that a lot of chefs love.  Add it to your repertiore and you’ll find a hundred ways to make it.

This meal is a completely fix-it-and-forget-it kind of dinner.  Toss the belly in some dashi and braise all day.  Cook up some somen in two minutes, toss all together with some seasonal vegetables (last of the green peppers, a few green onions, a carrot) or just some finely sliced shiso.  Some fresh ginger would be great, too.  Dinner’s done.  Who’s hungry?

PK’s Pork Belly with Somen, serves two to three

1 pound pork belly

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October 5, 2011

Local Foods Week | Rabbit

 

Sometimes dinner is completely off the grid.  Tonight’s rabbit was an example of that.  Not purchased at a store or farmer’s market, simply gifted to me from generous friends who have local farmer friends.  The dinners, over two nights, could not have embodied the essence of local more than that.

Spot the backyard bunny. No, this was not dinner.

For the squeamish, let me tell you that a beautifully raised, local rabbit might strike you as tasting a whole lot like turkey.  For the more adventurous, it is light, meaty and absolutely delicious.  It is a protein entirely worth hunting down (albeit grocery shopping or the actual in-the-woods kind) to find responsibly-raised meat.

I wasn’t home last night and Hades took it upon himself to braise our rabbit with leeks and carrots and some decidedly non-local French vermouth.  He served it with warm red cabbage, beet and apple salad and a butternut puree.

I cannot begin to express my bitter disappointment at not being home for this meal.

Freakishly, there were leftovers. 

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October 3, 2011

Local Foods Week | Curried Pumpkin

Local pumpkins are now prolific at farmer’s markets and my Whole Foods.  They are tasty, vitamin-packed treasures that are as versatile as you care to make them.  Add in some of the last of my backyard chilies and yellow cherry tomatoes, and you’ve got a dish that’s downright good for you.

Tonight I yearned for some Indian food and so I spiced up a leftover half of roasted pumpkin to accompany the fish I baked.  With the new addition of mustard oil to my pantry and now this dish, I even felt like I might be breaking some sort of law.  And after dinner there was a very distinctive warmth (not spicy heat) in my mouth that couldn’t be attributed to anything but that mustard oil.  Who says cooking is boring?

Curried Pumpkin, serves two hungry people, originally inspired by a dish by Aktar Islam of Lasan

2 t mustard oil (or grapeseed oil, or other oil with a fairly high smoking point)

1 t whole fennel seeds

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