Friday, August 05, 2011

Corn!!! Can't get enough of it.

Happy Friday, everyone! Wow, it's so hard to believe it's August, you know? I wanted to share with you this photo of our back door. I am in love with this screen door. Sun pours in in the morning and I can see all kinds of luscious green out through the dappled sunlight. Ahhhh.

Well, actually, the real reason I am sharing this photo, is that I have a tasty soup recipe to show you and—after eating it three times this week—I still haven't been able to take a tasty looking photo of it. Ha! Nonetheless, I will plow ahead…

I know you're also thinking, "Soup? In the summer?… I think I'll pass." But if like me you are obsessed with the fresh corn right now you are probably finding yourself buying more than you can possibly eat while it is still fresh. I'm a wee bit of a corn snob and kinda refuse to eat it if I didn't buy it that day from a local farm — maybe one day later, but that's it. No grocery store corn. Can't do it. Extreme, I know, but there it is. So I keep buying more corn when I have day-old corn waiting at home (or even if I think this corn might be better than the corn I bought just minutes before — yikes! What if I miss out?!?). So last weekend with way too much corn on hand to eat on the cob, I made this yummy recipe from Heidi Swanson. It tastes like summery goodness, so even if you make it and freeze a good bit for a cold December day… you should try it!

Corn Soup
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

6 ears corn, husks removed
7 cups water

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 medium shallots, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. While it is heating cut the kernels off the cobs, reserving them in a bowl. Place the cobs in the boiling water. Turn down to low and simmer while you're prepping the rest of the ingredients, ideally 15-30 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, stir until well-coated, add a big pinch of salt, and saute until the potatoes are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. When the potatoes are nearly cooked, add the shallots and garlic.

Remove the cobs from the broth when you're ready and add the potato mixture, along with the corn kernels and salt. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. For a chunky soup, puree about half of the soup and pour into a separate bowl as you puree it. Pour the puree back into the remaining chunkier soup and stir to combine. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.

Heidi served this with plain yogurt, salted and a swirl of harissa paste. I took one of her other suggestions though and crumbled a little feta on top and sprinkled with fresh, chopped dill. Yummers!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Illustrating a lifestyle…

Doesn't this look like a terrific spot to while away the hours and conjure up copy? It's a little view of the office of Shannon Darrough—lifestyle journalist, social media guru and style maven extraordinaire. I recently completed these drawings for Shannon's web site and had a blast working on them. I loved imagining and drawing the same scene from different angles and with similar elements in all. Fun!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Free Form Birthday Blueberry Tart

At last! I've found my way back into the kitchen. It took my birthday for it to happen, but I finally felt the itch to do a little cooking and it was such fun. I spent a good portion of a beautiful Saturday puttering around after a visit to the Brighton Farmer's Market — my new Saturday haunt! We grilled a whole chicken which I can not say enough about. If you have the time, it well worth it because tat's all the effort you need. A little olive oil, salt, pepper and about an hour and a half of cooking time — the taste is just incredible. For dessert I made this blueberry tart which I think you're going to love. (I'm still adjusting to the lighting in the new place so bear with the photography…)

The recipe was part of an article in this month's Food & Wine about the Island Creek oyster farm in Duxbury Bay in Massachusetts. I absolutely love oysters and the photos of a little floating shack out in the bay with people coming out in the evenings to cook together and eat and relax… sigh. It sounded so dreamy.  I want to make all the oyster recipes, but for now settled on this tart with blueberries fresh from a Michigan farm. The crust is quite similar to this fall tart I love to make and the taste  reminded me that I need to make more tarts! There is a hint of candied ginger in the crust and next time I think I will add even a bit more than the tablespoon called for in the recipe. 

Free-Form Blueberry Tart
via Food & Wine

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water


1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 egg white, beaten
In a food processor, combine the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the candied ginger and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse just until the pastry starts to come together. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 14-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the pastry in half (I like to fold it over the rolling pin) and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Unfold the pastry and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

While the pastry is chilling, make the filling and preheat the oven to 375°. In a large bowl, mix the 1/4 cup of sugar with the lemon zest and flour. Fold in the blueberries and lemon juice and let stand for 15 minutes. (I added a couple of peaches to the mix but they melted away to almost nothing. The blueberries are the star here.)

Spoon the blueberries in the center of the pastry, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around. Fold the pastry border up and over the blueberries, pleating it as necessary. Brush the egg white on the pastry and sprinkle with sugar (raw sugar is lovely if you have it). Bake for about 55 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the tart cool to warm. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.