Never heard of sweet corn ice cream? Well then, you’re in for an ice cream flavor revelation. As my collection of American Southwest and Mexican cookbooks grew over the years, I occasionally encountered this “oddity” in one or another of the dessert chapters. Finally, I searched the web and lo and behold, the word is out.
Like most of the baby boom generation, I grew up on the ubiquitous American iceberg lettuce salad with the usual assortment of dreary bottled dressings. It was only in adulthood that I discovered that fruit could be used to good effect in a salad—beyond those ghastly sweet coconut and marshmallow concoctions that sat high and proud on every family buffet of my youth.
After last week’s post, I had a fridge full of Perfect Homemade Mayonnaise, and the super-delicious variation, Chipotle & Roasted Red Pepper Rouille, demanded attention.
Of course, I could have just slathered it on a heap of grilled vegetables or corn on the cob, but there was also a ½ pound of cold-smoked salmon staring at me every time I opened the fridge door. I imagined the two would taste great together but nothing came immediately to mind.
Over the years, I have eaten this much-lauded soup in every restaurant and café I could find it. I love the concept—toasted chiles, tomatoes, garlic, corn tortillas, and cumin soup base with fried tortillas, avocado, and sour cream embellishments—but not always the execution. Restaurant renditions vary considerably, as do recipes in American Southwest and Mexican cookbooks.
Suddenly, Green Goddess Dressing is showing up everywhere. I’ve encountered it on four menus in the past month. And I can’t stop ordering it, even though restaurant versions pale by comparison to what you can make in your own kitchen. Restaurants invariably hold back on the herbs, perhaps to control cost or to appeal to the less adventurous diner. This is a mistake, because this dressing is supposed to be all about the herbs and bold rather than timid.
I read about this method of cooking fresh corn some time ago, but the idea really took hold when one of my personal culinary goddesses, Cindy Pawlcyn, of Mustard’s Grill and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen fame (both in Napa, California), described the process in her truly wonderful book, Big Small Plates.
Cindy’s version of this dish is called Grilled Street Corn. She brushes the hot grilled corn (the husk pulled back and corn silk removed) with a garlic mayonnaise, dusts with cayenne, rolls in parmesan cheese, and serves with lime wedges. Wow!
If there is an easier, quicker, more elegant, more economical, more versatile, more satisfying dish in the world than risotto, I can’t think of what it might be.
As long as you keep a premium-quality risotto rice on hand, you will almost certainly have something in the frig to complete the dish. That something can be any thoughtful combination of fresh or cooked vegetables, meats, seafood, fresh herbs, and cheese.
I used to make ratatouille (an aromatic vegetable mélange of eggplant, zucchini, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs) the classic way (AKA the Julia Child way), sautéing each vegetable separately in copious amounts of olive oil. Julia says that her recipe is the only one she knows in which each vegetable retains its own shape and character.
This salad is the happy result of a recent early morning meander through the Portland Farmers Market. In mid-August, the market is full to bursting and the choices are almost overwhelming.
A huge variety of sweet and chile peppers overflow baskets onto large bunches of just picked basil and mint. Plump sweet onions nestle next to mountains of green and purple beans. Tomatoes are either as small as a marble or as large as your fist and range in color from green, to yellow, to orange, to red. Blackberries, yellow raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries all vie for attention.
When I was a wee bonnie lass, I tolerated raw carrots, but cooked carrots were the kiss of death to my usually robust appetite. In fact, since MauiJim shares my aversion, I began to experiment tenuously with cooked carrots only recently. I usually saute them quickly or add them at the last minute to preserve their crunchy texture.
However, carrot bisque is an exception. The carrots need to be fully tender in order to liquefy them in a blender. And because they are quite sweet by nature, especially when they are young and freshly dug, I treat them in a similar fashion to yams, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.
Clafouti (pronounced klah-foo-tee), a simple French custard-cake, is the perfect foil for the fresh fruit and berries of summer. Formulas vary wildly from one end of the spectrum (custard) to the other (cake). I love trying them all, and I’ve shared two of them with you already. What I am sharing with you today is a chewy, cake-style clafouti with a sweet-tart topping of lime and vanilla-scented fresh rhubarb.
This past Saturday, I walked through the Seattle University District Farmers Market with–gasp–no goal. I let the season’s bounty and the culinary muses set the agenda. The muses, aroused by my atypical lack of planning, whispered sweet nothings in my ear: “cherries, cherries, cherries.”
Luckily, several growers’ tables were piled high with sweet cherries (Bings, Rainiers, and Chelans) and one grower had oh-so-hard-to-find Montmorency pie cherries as well. But at $10 a pound, I will plan what to make with these, perhaps next week.
Fourth of July festivites are just a few days away, so for this roundup, I selected nine dishes most suitable for an All-American summertime barbecue. These are tried-and-true recipes that I have made again and again to rave reviews. I hope they will become your faves as well.
My Grandma Mary would have loved homemade chutney, but alas, I doubt she ever tasted true chutney, even though her cellar walls were lined yearly with row upon row of pickled and candied veggies and fruits.
She preserved everything she could get her hands on. Her large yard boasted mature peach, pear, plum, sweet cherry, pie cherry, and crab apple trees, which we loved to climb and pilfer.
Every summer, I work up a few new blueberry dishes and share the best of them with you. To prime your creative juices, here are some of my favorite ways to eat this super juicy, distinctively flavored berry. Check out the Fresh Blueberry Primer first to see the wide range of other ingredients that partner beautifully with blueberries. Maybe try a combination you’ve never tried before.
One fine day, as the song goes, I got a note from Colette Becker of Saucy Mama (@SaucyMamaCafe on Twitter). She invited me to participate in this year’s Saucy Mama food blogger contest. Well, it’s hard to say no when an invitation is extended so graciously and a promise of a heap of Saucy Mama products is part of the gig. So of course I said, “Count me in.”
When the package arrived a couple of weeks later, I ripped into all the bottles and tasted each one. I especially loved the Chipotle Mustard and the humongous Garlic Stuffed Olives, so decided to use them together in some sort of easy summer main course. This flavor packed Italian Panzanella is the result.
I’m on a grind-my-own-hamburger kick this summer, so thought I would share another sublime grilled burger that came out of the OtherWorldly Kitchen this past week.
This one is loaded with fire, spice, and smoke, and has got that essential aspect I call Big Taste. For the Summertime Beef & Brew Grilled Burgers posted earlier, I used beef chuck shoulder, but for my Fire & Spice Burgers, I was seduced by a mountain of well-marbled boneless beef short ribs in the butcher case. It was that luscious fat that got me all dreamy eyed.
I was pondering how to introduce the newest member of our family to you, dear readers, when my fabuloso sister-in-law, Mary-beth, suggested tying in Torta della Nonna, which truthfully, I knew nothing about. She fell in love with this simple and rich Italian tart in Italy, during a 5-day cooking course, at the beautiful Capezzana Wine and Culinary Center. Mary-beth says she ate a small slice of this tart every day during that stay and wishes she could continue that ritual indefinitely. This is her kind of tart. Let it be known that Mary-beth, former cooking instructor and continuing culinary maven is no slouch in the kitchen. If she says this cake is to die for, I believe it. And I must try it.
However, still unable to utter the “G” word without grimacing, I have been more preoccupied with what my darling granddaughter is going to call me than with announcing to the world that she has, at long last, ARRIVED. Even if that announcement involves a wonderful tart.
If you’ve been following along with me this summer, you know I am enthralled with the tomato and strawberry flavor pairing. Earlier, I created Fresh Strawberry-Tomato Dessert Sauce to accompany Heavenly Parmesan Sour Cream Pound Cake. It was a surprise hit. I have to explore at least a couple more strawberry-tomato dishes before the summer season is over.
While pondering what to cook next and flagging from the 90+ degree heat wave that hit Seattle this week, the inevitable happened. I opened the oh-so-wonderfully-cold frig and saw, at eye level, a large bowl of strawberries alongside a large bowl of grape tomatoes, both of which were intended for salad.
When we are in Portland, Oregon and heading out on foot to dinner in town, Wildwood in the Northwest district is always at the top of our list of fave destinations. It’s a lovely mile walk, or if we are feeling exceptionally lazy, we can hop the streetcar almost to the front door. (You might have seen my earlier article on Wildwood titled, Sweet Briar Farms Pork Chop with Bodacious Corn Hush Puppies. Just looking at the photo of that amazing dish makes me go weak at the knees.)
What a wonderful Saturday in cool, overcast Seattle. We started early with a 4-mile walk along the east side of Lake Washington and then shot over the 520 bridge to scope out the produce at the University District Farmers Market. By 10:00 A.M., the market was swarming with friendly but purposeful shoppers.
What struck me this week were all the “baby” veggies. One vendor had her large variety of summer squash tagged as “infant” zucchini and “youngster” patty pans. Another vendor had turnips the size of a marble. The carrots were so young and tender they were practically screaming, “Eat me now.” There were even baby shallots, as small and tender as green onions.
A couple of weeks ago, in the post titled, Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie, I included a recipe for Caramel Blondies with a Peanut Butter Caramel Blondie variation. The post shows a layer of Blondie batter with dollops of Peanut Butter Caramel over the top and a second layer of batter being spread over the caramel. The lead photo also features the Peanut Butter Caramel Blondie variation.
Portland, Oregon is gelato country. Not ice cream country—jeh-lah-toh country. No matter which direction I set out on my walk each day from Northwest PDX, I pass at least one gelato shop along the way.
The challenge is to walk by without stopping in for “just a taste.” One taste always leads to another taste, which always leads to a scoop each of two complementary flavors–one tart fruit based, the other cream based (as in sweet cream, cream cheese, crème fraiche, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, or mascarpone). To my palate, it’s a perfect partnership.
Bless your heart if you are actually reading this post rather than running for cover to another food blog. Yes, I know this combination sounds a tad bit unusual, but I assure you it is Pure Genius.
Lest you think I’m being immodest here, the idea is not mine. The combination was recently featured in Gourmet Traveler, and that’s where I first encountered it.