Monday, August 17, 2009

Corn Cob Chowder

"Oh, I this is going to be good." That’s what I was thinking as I began my preparation of last night's dinner.

It was a spur of the moment idea, when David suggested we walk to the farmers’ market with the kids yesterday morning. We didn’t really need anything, since we just got our CSA box on Friday. But, I bought 4 ears of corn on Wednesday from Alvarez Organic Farms at the Columbia City Market that I almost forgot about & needed to cook up before we go on our trip. We got a couple of potatoes at the market for the chowder from Olsen Farms – one starchy and one waxy. Here’s what I did:

- cut corn kernels of the cob & cut the cobs in half
- put the cobs in a pot, covered with water, brought to a boil, reduced heat and simmered for about 30 minutes.
- while cobs are simmering, rendered about ½ cup of diced bacon in a dutch oven.
- drain the bacon & set aside
- in the same pan, sweat diced onions, carrots, celery & garlic with about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat
- add 1 tablespoon flour and stir to coat the vegetable with flour and cook the flour a little (about 1 minute)
- drain the cob stock into the pan; I covered the cobs with more water & added some parmesan cheese rinds that I had sitting around in the fridge (for shits and giggles) & let simmer for another 30 minutes **I did this only because the first pot of stock wasn’t enough for the amount of vegetables I had** - add the corn kernel, fresh thyme sprigs (about 2 or 3), one bay leaf, the starchy potato, peeled and diced, and one cup of cream (that’s all I had in house)
- bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer
- add the cob/parmesan stock to the pot
- add the bacon
- allow to simmer gently until the potatoes are done and soup has thickened nicely
- remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf
- puree about 1 cup of the soup and add it back in to give the soup a little creaminess
- adjust seasoning & serve hot
**I didn't end up adding the waxy potato to the dish because I felt like one potato was enough.
The soup was yum yum yum!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our CSA, and my little mistake

I meant to post last night's meal here, but it ended up on our family blog. You can go see it there at

We have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box again this year with Oxbow Farm. We share it with another family because one box each week is more than we can eat. We LOVE it.

This week, we get the whole box, since our friends are camping. We're leaving town next week, too, so I want to make sure I get as much use out of it as I can, though I suspect I might have to give some veggies away to my neighbors.

I spent much of last night working on just that. Beets got roasted, beet greens taken off their stems & washed, lettuces cut and washed, carrots stemed and washed, cucumber cut up & "pickled" with sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, salt, sugar and sriracha, and basil turned into pesto.
I'm pretty proud of myself for working so hard.
Beautiful basil.Behold, my pesto.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And the verdict is...

"Nice work, Honey. That was so good," said Mr. Hunt.

This isn't a great picture, but the meal really was delicious. The potatoes were cut into eighths & quickly sauteed in a hot pan with olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and minced garlic, then roasted in the oven with diced shallots uncovered for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

This is the wine we had with dinner. It's Italian, but still went very well. David and I purchased this bottle of Brunello di Montalcino about 4 years ago in Tuscany. We've been waiting for it to "come of age," which is a minimum of 10 years.
The table is set. All we need is to sit down, pour the wine, and feast. And feast we did. My 2.5 year old didn't appreciate it as much as we did, and my 5 month old eyed Lucy's plate & kept reaching for it, but was only allowed to have pureed peas from a jar (which he was very pleased with).
P.S. - I cooked this meal in my new All-Clad pans.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Boeuf Bourguignon

Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms
(my version has no onions - at least not the little white onions braised in brown stock that this recipe calls for. There are, however, sliced onions used in cooking the meat)


It's been over 8 months since my last post. I have been cooking. I have even taken some pictures here and there. I just haven't had the chance/energy/motivation to post about what I've made. So, for my return, I've decided to cook Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguinon; inspired by my recent trip to the movie theater to see Julie & Julia.
Here's the dish I'm making it in, with leek blossoms from our garden.Mis en place. Oops, I forgot to include the slotted spoon and butter!
I prepared the mushrooms in advance. Just crimini & shitake mushrooms. Trader Joe's sells the criminis already cut, for just a tad more money...totally worth is when you've got too kids still in diapers!
"Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides."
"...sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of pre-heated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees."
"Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove."

"Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours."

And, that's exactly what my dish is doing right now. I set it for 3 hours, and it has 51 minutes left. I will check it after 3 hours to see if it needs more time. I plan on serving the dish tomorrow night, but can prepare a day in advance. I still have a few steps to go after it comes out of the oven.

To be continued...