Curried Cream Corn

Curry Cream Corn
Every summer we come up with a corn dish to bring to cookouts and to utilize the crazy cheap ears of corn available from about May through August. As this summer is coming to a close, I wanted to share a recipe that is summery and yet has the warmth in flavor of the fall season just around the corner. As the weather cools, I start thinking of slow simmering stews and soups and braised meats and one really great way to shake the flavors of your kitchen up a bit is to introduce Asian and Indian flavors into your meals. We often use coconut milk when making rice to accompany a Thai dish and sometimes we throw curry powder into a soup to give it that depth of flavor we love in Indian cuisine. For this creamed corn, we combined all three: a curry, coconut milk, Southern creamed corn dish that delivers in flavor and comfort.

This recipe won’t necessarily be “printer friendly” as it’s a “little of this and a little of that” type of recipe. I honestly don’t recall the ratios, but we adjusted and tasted along the way and that’s part of the fun in cooking, in my opinion. Use your own preferences to guide you! We have some lemongrass growing in the backyard (I was so surprised it did well, but it’s BEAUTIFUL – highly recommend you plant some!) and so that’s thrown in there, too. This is not one cuisine or another, it’s just a bunch of flavors we all love! I hope you will love it, too!

Curried Cream Corn

Curried Cream Corn

3 or 4 ears of corn
1 large, sweet yellow onion, chopped (about a cup)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
1 stalk of lemongrass, split in two and bruised with the butt of your knife to release the flavors and oils
2 kafir lime leaves
fresh cilantro and basil, about a cup total, chopped
squeeze of lime

Slice the corn kernels from the cobs (use a serrated knife to make this easier and be careful!)
In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil until shimmering. Toss in the onion and cook until soft and starting to brown.
Add enough coconut milk to cover the corn – this may be the entire can (shake the can really well before opening!) or it may just be half. It kind of depends on how big your corn cobs were. We don’t want the corn to be positively swimming, but just enough liquid to cover the kernels.
Let the corn and coconut milk come to a boil and then add in the curry powder, lemongrass and lime leaves. You can find kafir lime leaves at most Asian supermarkets in the refrigerator section. They like to keep them cold. If you can’t find it, it’s not going to ruin anything, but it adds such a bright, interesting flavor!
Reduce the heat and let the corn and coconut milk and spices simmer for a while, adjusting the seasoning with salt and pepper as you like. When the liquid has reduced just a bit, stir in the chopped cilantro and basil and adjust the seasoning again to your taste with a squeeze of lime and salt.

I’ve got a great use for leftover creamed corn coming up later this week, so stay tuned!

 

 

Classic Bruschetta

bruschetta
It’s nice to know an Italian.  They have the goods on traditional recipes and the right way to process a bumper crop of tomatoes.  I have such a friend, Jennifer, and this year, fortune smiled on her plants and she started to get WAY more than she could use and process on her own.  So she asked if I wanted some. (huzzah)  Since that same fortune didn’t happen to fall on my plants this year and my crop looked more like a handful of marbles, I enthusiastically said YES (plus, what crazy person turns down garden tomatoes?!)  I was so happy we could finally make our homemade BLTs before the last whiff of summer is completely gone.  I made a wonderful, basic tomato sauce (recipe coming soon) and canned it for the winter and with the rest of the tomatoes she brought, I saved two for our BLTs and the rest I asked her for her favorite bruschetta recipe.

She told me that there wasn’t really a recipe, but that this was how her granddad always made it and those kind of recipes are my favorite, anyway.  In the spirit of handing down family recipes, I’m not going to list quantities. I’ll basically give it to you like she gave it to me – the taste and adjust method!  If you have any tomatoes still coming off the vine (as many of us in this region do) then I hope you enjoy this recipe! If your crop is done, then look for the ripest plum tomatoes you can find in the grocery store.  We served this with Matt’s plain country bread, and honestly, it was the best meal I’d had in weeks.  Sometimes, nothing beats pure and simple.  Thank you, Jen, for sharing your tomatoes and your recipe with us – we benefited greatly from both!

bruschetta 3

Classic Bruschetta
makes a good amount

Dice up a few, ripe, plum tomatoes.  Add in minced garlic, a nice pour of good olive oil and add in a handful of shredded fresh basil.  Mix to combine and then add in a generous grating of fresh Parmesan cheese and adjust the seasoning to your liking with salt and garlic powder.  Serve on toasted baguette or just about anywhere you can think to use it!

Zucchini Basil Soup with Stove Top Fritters

Zucchini Basil Soup
I’m happy to have resurrected this soup!  Matt and I made it a long time ago when we were still doing the 800 sq ft apartment thing and then again when a friend of ours invited her dad over and we needed to fix low sodium, low fat recipes since he had recently had heart surgery.   Matt’s father also has heart troubles, so it’s always refreshing to find healthy recipes to share that taste as decadent as a full-fat option.  This soup is so perfect for the coming zucchini-overload we all will have soon (as it’s the only vegetable that seems to have no trouble in our awful climate) and basil, the herb that’s also hard to kill.  It’s got all the depth of flavor of a soup that has been slowly cooked with butter and cream only – it has neither!  It isn’t even made with stock – just water!  So the sodium is only what you add for taste.  I bet in one batch, I added a little over a teaspoon of salt.  And it serves six!  Can you tell I’m excited about this soup?!
zucchini basil soup and stuffing fritters
One other merit of soups from a mother of a toddler’s perspective, is that they are a perfect way to get more variety of vegetables and flavors into our newly opinionated children.  Olive has eaten zucchini, pesto, fresh basil from the garden, etc, before, but suddenly, she’s on a suspicious, won’t-try-anything-green bender.  Drives me batty because I KNOW she would like most things if she’d just try them.  Sound familiar?  What does NOT work is forcing, tricking, cajoling, pleading, prodding or manipulating your kids to eat.  They can smell your tricks a mile away and they’ve come prepared with an iron will.  This is pretty natural and resistance is futile.  But soups.  Olive has willingly eaten this soup twice in the past 4 days.  It’s green!  It’s got darker green chunks in it!  Why will she try it?  My guess is texture.  No chunks – pureed and easy to sip from a cup so she has full control.  When Olive doesn’t want to try something, I ask her to just smell it.  If she smells it, 99% of the time she’ll try a bite.  And I’ve learned to be happy with One Happy Bite, as much as it flies against my need to control the situation.

So.  If you have a child who is resisting new textures/colors/flavors, try soups.  I know it seems like a regression back to the baby food days, but if that’s what it takes to keep the flavors and colors changing on your child’s plate, I say it’s worth it.  Children get used to variety if variety is the norm.

Without further babbling, here’s the recipe!  Also, I paired the soup with a not-so-saintly fritter made from leftover Stove Top Stuffing.  No kidding.  They were FABULOUS as a little crispy soup-companion!  I topped them with herbed goat cheese and they tasted downright fancy.  Happy Meatless Monday!

Zucchini Basil Soup with Stove Top Fritters
Zucchini Basil Soup with Stove Top Fritters*

serves 4-6

2 lbs zucchini, peeled, trimmed and cut crosswise into 2″ pieces
1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups of water
1/3 cup packed basil leaves

Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat in a 3-4 quart stock pot until the onion starts to soften.  Add chopped zucchini and about a teaspoon of kosher salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring.  Cover with the water and let it come to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, until the zucchini is soft and easily pierced with a fork.

Add the basil and puree in two batches in a blender (watch out blending hot liquids and make sure it has a vent or you’ve got your hand firmly on that lid!) or, blend directly in the pot with an immersion blender, which is what I do.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with fritters, toast, or as a starter for your three-course fancy-schmancy dinner! 🙂

*taken from Epicurious.com

Stuffing Fritters
Stove-Top Stuffing Fritters

2 cups leftover cornbread stuffing
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
olive oil for frying

In a medium bowl, combine the stuffing, water and egg and if the mixture won’t come together after a bit of stirring, add a little more water until you can form the stuffing into small patties.  I used a medium sized cookie scoop and it worked well.  Heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil (or any vegetable oil) over medium-high heat and fry the fritters about 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and keep the cooked fritters in a 250 degree oven until the rest are done and you’re ready to serve.  This will keep them crispy and warm!