Monday, June 28, 2010

off the cobb

This summer, in all it's heavy heat and maddening humidity, arrived last week, officially. It's been a blur of busy work schedules, pet-sitting, and valiant efforts to cool off lately, and I keep meaning to write out the recipe for this tasty soup, but find myself, well, getting side-tracked repeatedly. But, when you have a minute, and say, 6 ears, of leftover sweet corn because you figured on a dozen ears for 6 guests, and for the first time ever, folks only ate 1 ear apiece, consider turning those leftovers into this smoky-sweet soup.
Roasted Corn Chowder
(adapted from the recipe for Roasted Corn Soup in, Fresh from the Farmers' Market)

Begin by striping the corn from the 6 ears of leftover boiled corn-on-the-cob. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the kernels in a baking dish in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes, or until they begin to color and smell amazing. While the corn is roasting, cut 4 of the cobs in half and put them in a stockpot with 1 quart of cool water and 1 medium red potato (peeled and chunked). Bring this to a boil and simmer it until the corn has finished roasting or until the potato has cooked through. Dry roast 2 cloves of garlic, by placing them, whole, skin and all, into a hot, dry skillet over medium-high heat until they begin to char. When the corn has finished roasting and the garlic is soft, and charred on the outside, Place the corn and peeled garlic into a food processor and puree until smooth with the cooked potato (removed from the broth), adding the corn broth a bit at a time (remove and discard the cobs first), until you have used it all. Return the soup to a clean pot and add 1/2 cup of whole milk (or cream, if you like), and gently re-heat. Season the soup with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve it topped with a good sprinkle of smoked paprika and a few chopped chives.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

washing up

At the sink,in sudsy, basil-scented water,
or in the bright, early sun,
lately it's been quite nice washing up.

Monday, June 7, 2010

the beans

The other day I mentioned our greens. And how we've been gobbling them up at every turn (and we're still not sick of them, thank you very much).
But what I didn't mention were the beans that I've made twice now in two weeks.
These wonderful beans.
I ask you, is there anything more homey, more satiating than a big pot of slowly simmered, perfectly seasoned (and I'm not talking just salt here), soft-to-the-tooth beans? The kind that sit on the back burner, gently bubbling and filling the house with a soft, spicy aroma for two - maybe three - hours on a Sunday afternoon?
I miss his restaurant that has been closed for several years now, but some time ago I picked up a copy of Mark Miller's Red Sage cookbook and was thumbing it through the other day when I spied his base recipe for black beans (or, as in this instance, the mottled beauties shown above). As I've been true to the recipe, aside from substituting those pretty heirloom beans and maybe adding a pinch more of salt, I won't be copying it here (so pick up a copy of the book).
I will, however, describe the idea and tell you that it starts with these:
Sticky-sweet and smokey from a nice charring under the broiler, these tomatoes are made into a puree and added to a pot of beans covered in cool spring water. After several hours, simmering with roasted garlic, fresh thyme, white onion, chipotles and jalapenos, the beans are finished off with fresh cilantro and salt.

It's so simple, really, but...

Something wonderful happens next:

You get to eat them!
(even if it's breakfast time...)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

greens for breakfast

We've been eating our greens.
By the basketful.
For a few weeks now.
Even for breakfast.
I love it.
After a leisurely cup of coffee (tea, if you like), stroll through the dewy grass out to the garden - basket, bucket, or apron folds in tow. Stand in the doorway to breathe in the last of the cool air before the humidity sets in. Stroll over to the spinach rows and pinch a few handfuls of the shiny leaves. Cross the center (tomato alley) to the back corner to steal a bit of baby sorrel, then head for the door, pausing to snag the smallest of the borage leaves, tucked deep in the center of each plant (they grow so quickly!).
Spin, spin, spin the leaves almost completely dry after a good rinsing and set them down while you fetch three garlic scapes (spring onions are good too) from the fridge. Heat a large wok, or deep pan over medium heat and drizzle in a bit of olive oil to warm while you chop the scapes. Toss them in and stir them about while you reach for the greens with your other hand. Begin to add the leaves in fistfuls, stirring in between to wilt them and make room for the next bunch. Sprinkle a pinch of salt into the mix, and when the greens have all just wilted take the pan off the heat.
Pull the one remaining clean dish from the cupboard and spoon a good helping of last night's beans (re-heated) next to a pile of the garlicky greens. Finish the greens with a sprinkling of smoked paprika and a dash (or three) of hot sauce, if you dare.
Sit, contented, and ponder how to spend the remainder of the day.