Monday, August 30, 2010

Help with Summer's Bounty and Winter's Barren-ness

CSA Tip: When you have so much variety in the summer and too little variety in the winter (i.e. a head of cabbage each week), turn to cookbooks dedicated specifically to vegetables and fruits. There are many out there, but Alice Water's Vegetable and Fruit books are my staples.  I look forward to getting copies of Jane Grigson's own Vegetable and Fruit cookbooks.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer's Creamed Corn

Photo by: Mozart's Nose
A couple weeks ago I got my first ears of corn from my CSA farm. Orginally I'm from the South - Virginia to be specific - so I have exacting standards when it comes to sweet corn. I'm particularly partial to white corn, though its tricky to find the variety that has a taste profile beyond sweet.  I still want my corn to taste like corn. Yellow corn typically has more "corn" flavor however, nowadays you should avoid yellow corn varieties as they are typically developed for animal feed. Thus they dry well, this makes the kernel tougher for our systems to digest, thus reducing the availability of nutrients.  So if you aren't familiar with cultivars that are developed for fresh eating rather than feed, stick to white varieties.

I'm not sure which cultivar my CSA farm has put in for this years crop, but its pretty perfect in its sugar to flavor balance.  So it makes the perfect creamed corn. Oh and if you have to add sugar or other sweetener to your creamed corn, get different corn!

Summer's Creamed Corn

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

6 ears of corn
1-2 T quality butter (I use Strauss European Style)
1/3 c. minced onion
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (or to taste)
1/2 c. creme fraiche (If you enjoy a thicker creamer corn, I recommend using sour cream)

 ~Soften minced onion in 1-2 T butter and add the white pepper, while removing corn kernels and "cream"
~To remove the kernels and cream: Use a paring knife to cut off the tops of each kernel.  I stand them on end (in a shallow, but wide container) and run my knife down the length of the ear.  You just want to graze the tops, any deeper and you'll have less "cream" and it can be a tougher "chew" when the creamed corn is served. Then to remove the cream, once again hold then on end and with a spoon, face down, scrape the ear to remove the creamy insides of each kernel.
~ Add the corn to the onions and stir until back up to temperature, reduce the heat to low and cook for five minutes, allowing the flavors to mix.
~ Add the creme fraiche, cook until warmed.
~ Salt the creamed corn, to taste*

*If you want to add a little "Je Nous Se Qua", use truffle salt in place of regular salt.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pots n' Pans

Ok - here's my take on kitchen essentials. If I was headed to a deserted island only populated by sticks and palm fronds with some random reptiles thrown in, I would pack up:

a cleaver and 3.5 paring knife, a cast iron skillet, a long handled wooden spoon, a ladle, and a knife sharpener (more on that later).

Photo by Mozart's Nose