Sunday, June 28, 2009

Corny

My hubby has been working so hard lately that when he found a grill on sale that he really liked I wanted to get it for him as a surpise.  But I have to admit that it is really just as much for me.  I am really looking forward to doing more grilling.  We didn't get it set up until Thursday night though so there is nothing from it on this week's menu, but look out next week for some BBQ action.  
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I made this risotto for the first time last summer and was in heaven with the first bite.  It is creamy with crisp pops of juicy corn and the sweetness is cut perfectly by the thyme.  It was a fleeting moment of joy though because Summer was drawing to a close and I knew that fresh corn would soon be disappearing from the market.  Well, it's back and I was ecstatic to have this on the menu this week!  If you make this (you have to make this), do it on a night when you are not in a rush to get something on the table.  It does take some time and a watchful eye, but it is worth every second.  

1. Corn Risotto
from Real Simple
makes 4 servings

2 cups uncooked corn, cut of the cob (from 4 medium cobs)
4 cups chicken broth
2 T butter
1 shallot, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 t thyme leaves
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Puree 1 cup of the uncooked corn in a food processor until smooth.  In a saucepan, heat the chicken broth to a simmer.  In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the shallot and saute until soft, about 2 minutes.  Add the rice and saute, stirring, 3 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup of the chicken broth and the pureed corn and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed, 5-7 minutes.  Continue adding the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and waiting until the previous addition has been absorbed before adding more.  After the last cup of broth has been absorbed, let the risotto cook 3 minutes more, stirring.  Add the remaining corn and thyme leaves and cook 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.  

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I usually shy away from making any kind of Asian food because I feel like I usually just butcher it.  So, I'm not sure what inspired me to put this on the menu but it actually turned out pretty good.  I think the key, at least for me, is to have all of the ingredients ready to go because everything cooks very quickly once you get started.  The cashews were my favorite part of the dish, they grounded it somehow.  

2. Stir-fried Beef with Snow Peas and Cashews
make 2-3 servings

3/4 lb flank steak, cut into 3 long strips with the grain and then sliced across the grain into 1/4" thick slices
1 T soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 T vegetable oil
1/4 lb snow peas, stem ends trimmed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 t fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup cashews, chopped (if you buy the "halves and pieces" it will save you money and the step of chopping them)
brown or white rice, cooked according to package directions

Combine the steak and soy sauce in a bowl and refrigerate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.  Whisk the hoisin sauce, water and pepper flakes together and set aside.  Heat the 2 t of the vegetable oil in a large, nonstick skillet, over high heat until just smoking.  Add the steak and cook without stirring for 1 minute.  Toss until browned around the edges, about 30 seconds more.  Remove to a clean bowl.  Add the remaining 1 t of oil and heat until just smoking and add the snow peas, stirring once or twice for 2 minutes.  Clear the center of the pan and add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds.  Stir the garlic mixture into the snow peas and add the steak back to the skillet.  Whisk the hoisin sauce mixture to recombine and pour into the pan.  Cook until thickened, about 1 minute.  Stir in cashews and serve.   

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My mom makes cinnamon rolls with chili, when I asked her why, she said it's because that's what her mom did.  Well, now it's what I do.  I crave the flavors together.  This soup wasn't exactly chili and the cinnamon buns were definitely not my mom's homemade ones but the flavors were there and it was a quick weeknight fix.  

3. Pork Chili Soup with Cinnamon Buns
modified from Simply Soups
make 4 servings

2 t olive oil
1 lb ground pork
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 T tomato paste
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken or beef broth
1/8 t ground coriander
1/8 t ground cumin
1/4 t dried oregano
3/4 t chili powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper 
kosher salt and black pepper
avocado (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the pork, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until no pink remains.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, celery red bell pepper and garlic.  Cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft.  Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, broth and spices and stir to combine.  Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until all vegetables are very tender.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Top with avocado slices if desired. 

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This zucchini pies takes a little time but most of it is unattended in the oven.  I have experimented with the flour before but this is the first time I have used 100% whole wheat.  It was fine for flavor but it changed the texture a lot and next time I will go back to a mix of white and wheat or go with all white.  This makes great leftovers for lunches.  

4. Zucchini Pie
modified from Real Simple
makes ~6 servings
  
2 medium zucchini, grated (tip, don't cut off the stem end of the zucchini so that you have something to hold on to while grating)
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 cup a-p and 1/2 cup whole wheat)
1 cup grated provolone cheese (I can usually only find this kind sliced so I get that and chop it up)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 vegetable oil
4 T Parmesan cheese, grated
2 t fresh basil, chopped
1 t baking powder
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1 T of the Parmesan.  Pour into a greased pie plate and bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown.  Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and let sit 10-15 minutes before slicing.  

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We are corn lovers around here (if you haven't guessed that yet) and so when I came across this recipe for Sweet Corn Ice Cream I had to give it a try.  I also wanted to make something to go along with it that wouldn't be too sweet and these cookies seemed to fit the bill.  All in all it was very good but the consensus was one bowl is enough, which isn't such a bad thing I suppose.

Sweet Corn Ice Cream 
from The Last Course by Claudia Flemming

4 ears sweet corn, shucked
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split open
3/4 cup sugar
9 egg yolks

Slice the kernels off the cobs.  Break the cobs in half.  Place the kernels, cobs, milk, cream, vanilla and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a sauce pan.  Cook on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn off heat, remove cobs and vanilla bean and puree the corn mixture in a blender.  Let sit for about 1 hour then reheat to a gentle simmer.  Whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar.  Add a small portion of the hot cream to the egg yolks, whisking.  Keep adding hot cream until the yolks are warm to the touch.  Add the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and stir until slightly thickened and it coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and press the mixture through a strainer into an ice bath.  Allow the ice cream custard to cool completely over the ice.  Transfer the custard to a container and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.  Then freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.    

Raspberry Cream Cheese Cookies 
from Use Real Butter

2 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract
4 oz seedless raspberry jam

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy.  Mix in flour 1/2 cup at a time, blending well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. (I only had a couple of hours to refrigerate the dough and turned out fine.)  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Divide the dough in half, leaving half in the refrigerator.  On a floured work surface, roll the dough to about 3/8" thick.  Cut out the cookies with a cookie cutter.  Gather and reroll the scraps.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet 1" apart and use your thumb to press a 1" indentation in the center.  Fill the indent with ~1 t of jam.  Bake 13-15 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.

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13 comments:

trudy4 said...

I made beef and broccoli yesterday using the flowers from the broccoli I wonder if I can make the rissoto from the stems after I trim them well.

Andrea said...

trudy4 - There is another risotto recipe that I have posted about (Risotto with Prosciutto and Peas) that might be a better base risotto to put broccoli stems in. Just substitue the stems (I would dice and steam them first) for the prosciutto and the peas at the end.

squirrelbread said...

I'll certainly be making that corn risotto soon! Great recipe.

Thanks and cheers,

*Heather*

Becky said...

all of these recipes and photos look so good and easy to make. i'll definitely making that risotto when i get the chance.

Andrea said...

squirrelbread and Becky
Thanks for commenting! I hope you do make the risotto and let me know how like it when you do!

GreenLava said...

The stir-fried beef looks yummy.

Anonymous said...

I love seeing more comments on your blog, Andrea - because it's the best. Definitely putting some of these on the menu soon.
Love you! Twila

DivineENVE said...

The risotto sounds like it'll be a winner in my household. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

hi-

found your blog on foodgawker. i really like all of your recipes and your site layout. it's a really original idea- to do a week's menu post at a time.

i've been thinking of starting my own food blog for some time now, but i keep seeing so many new cool ones i'm starting to think there might not be any more room on the internet! LOL. anyway- i can't wait to try your risotto. i'll definitely be back!

thanks-
natalie

Andrea said...

DivineENVE - I am sure it will be! It is so good, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it!

Natalie - I felt the same way as you do about there being so many great food blogs out there and I didn't think mine would stand out. But it is really exciting and amazing when you put yourself out there and people start responding. I think you should totally do it and when you do send me the link!

syed said...

Wow really very nice and good information you share here. I read your entire post and really superb information you share here on funny stuff. thanks for your information.

musicmomma said...

i'm going to make this corn risotto for my family tonight. can't wait!

The Purple Foodie said...

Andrea, I am so happy to find your blog! I love the cutesy font you have in the header and the photos. Excellent photos too! I love this corn risotto. happy that it doesn't call for wine. I am so bookmarking this. Subscribed to your blog as well!