Let There Be Harvesting: Jalapeno Corn Bisque

Let There Be Harvesting: Jalapeno Corn Bisque

Creamy and sweet with a touch of heat, this soup is fabulous served after a brisk walk on a cold day!  Welcome Fall with my Jalapeno Corn Bisque! Click to skip to the recipe

 

We took a drive through the countryside this past week. This was by complete accident.

We were on our way to our friend’s home across the state, about a three-hour drive. Usually, we take freeway to by-pass freeway to alternate state road freeway and bam…we’re there.

Not this time. I pecked in the address, plugged the phone into the car, and listened to my (Aussie-voiced) virtual assistant as he directed me along the way. In an entirely different way!

We were on roads that we had never traveled.

Once hubby looked up from his iPad and asked me where we were…and I couldn’t say…we began to look around at our whereabouts.

We drove through town after town and passed farm after farm and noticed the fields full of growing cornstalks. Hubby noted that it was soon to be harvest time for that corn and that was just enough insight to send me off in that direction.

I found my recipe for Jalapeno Corn Bisque from Canvas and Cuisine and altered it by placing the ingredients into a slow cooker while I skedaddled towards errand running.

The results were delish.

But I pushed the meal up a step by adding a wedge of home-baked focaccia bread (Also, a recipe from Canvas and Cuisine). Now, it was both delish and tummy-filling.

If you are in the mountains of North Carolina, then you know fall is in the air. If you are living by the ocean in Florida, then you are experiencing the dog days of summer.

Either way, you will find corn is most plentiful at this time of year and I invite you to “harvest” some of your own and chow down on this really yummy soup.

Jalapeno Corn Bisque

Creamy and sweet with a touch of heat, this soup is fabulous served after a brisk walk on a cold day; I like my bowls fireside! I was introduced to this soup, by a super chef in Banner Elk, North Carolina. It was that kind of bone-chilling Autumn day when you just need a big bowl of soup to warm you from the inside out. It didn’t hurt that the corn is grown right down the street from the restaurant.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped, about 1 cup

1 whole leek, washed, white part chopped, about 1 cup

4 large jalapeno peppers, seeded, veins removed, diced, about 1 cup

8 ears of corn, kernels removed from cobb, about 6 cups

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup sherry 

3 cups homemade chicken stock or prepared low sodium broth 

4 cups half and half

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour mixed with 1 tablespoon room temperature butter (beurre manié)

Fresh chopped cilantro

Serves:   8

Time:   60-Minute Cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Heat the olive oil in a deep soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, leek, and jalapeno pepper and cook until beginning to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder. Pour in the sherry. Cook until the liquid is almost all evaporated, about 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the veggies are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Use your gadget of choice (food processor, blender, or immersion blender) to emulsify the soup. 

Return the soup to the pot if you have used a blender or food processor. Heat the soup over low heat. Stir in the half and half. Drop small pieces of the beurre manié (flour mixed with butter) into the soup. Stir until the soup thickens to your desired consistency. You can add more cream to thin the soup or more of the beurre manié to thicken it.

Garnish with fresh herbs, cheddar cheese, salsa, cooked bacon, or all the above!

Easy Mexican Street Corn, Skillet Style

Easy Mexican Street Corn, Skillet Style

As any visitor to Jorj.com might surmise, summer and its farmer’s markets are a big deal to me. I try to visit one every Saturday – not just for ingredients to use in weekend dinners, but for recipe ideas to take me and my family through the season with full bellies and empty plates. This month, inspiration struck when I passed a vendor making Mexican street corn.

I play with corn in Canvas & Cuisine – fresh, roasted ears get slathered in a savory pesto sauce. I was reminded of those flavors when I tasted corn on a stick at the farmer’s market this weekend.  I could isolate all kinds of yummy flavors – from peppers to lime juice. There was the tang of tomato and cojita cheese, and bright notes of cilantro – and like all good things, the undeniable presence of sour cream.

Determined to go home and duplicate that taste, I hit the various veggie stands and came back with everything I needed to make Mexican Street Corn – only thing is, it rains a lot in the summer, and backyard BBQs aren’t always possible. I transformed the dish into a skillet version that went over really well as a side this Father’s Day.

A popular item, there were requests for more. I’d run out of fresh corn on the cob at that point and discovered that frozen kernels work just as well. The results were super savory and the juiciness at the bottom of the bowl so good, it got my mind on corn chowder recipes for fall – just gotta get through this beastly summer first!

So, here’s my lighting fast recipe for a bright summer side dish – you can make it in the time it takes a thunderstorm to roll past your house, and the sun to start shining again!

Mexican Street Corn Skillet Style

15 minute cuisine

Serves 4

4 cups corn kernels (shucked from fresh ears of corn or frozen)

1 large red tomato, diced

1 bunch chives, washed and chopped, about ½ cup

1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped, about ½ cup

Juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup cojita or feta cheese

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon sour cream

Salt and pepper

Olive oil for sautéing

In a skillet set on high heat, sauté the corn, herbs, lime juice, cheese, and cayenne in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the sour cream and mix with a spatula, lowering heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Grill Me Something, Mister, with Salad on the Side!

Grill Me Something, Mister, with Salad on the Side!

It’s that time…. Father’s Day! To all you Dads out there, enjoy your day. To all you moms and kids old enough to know your way around a kitchen, here’s a fresh farmer’s market salad, WITH an amazing easy to put together dressing.  Trust me, it’ll be the only side dish you need to go with perfectly grilled steak, pork or chicken. I’ve included a few extra photos in the cooking instructions to show you what a scrumptious possibility this salad actually is – but before I get to it…

DADS, here’s a foolproof way to create a flavorful grilled dish.

It’s a simple technique of using a board sauce! On your cutting board, chop several cloves of garlic and use the flat side of the knife to smush (a grown up cooking term) the pieces into the board. Choose your favorite herbs like thyme and rosemary, and finely chop these on your board. Drizzle the herbs and garlic with olive oil and dot the board with pieces of butter. Sprinkle kosher salt and coarse black pepper over everything. Now, your board is ready.

Remove your cooked steak (or pork or chicken) from the grill and place it onto your board. Use tongs to flip the steak several times, coating both sides with melty, buttery, garlicky goodness. Cover the steak with aluminum foil, and let it rest in the “sauce” for several minutes. The steak will absorb the flavors of the board sauce, as well as all its juicy goodness. After 4 to 5 minutes, remove the foil and cut the steak into slices right on the board.

You can serve the steak with your favorite side dish, but for all of you Moms out there, here’s an adaptable farmer’s market salad. It’s the perfect way to utilize all the fresh ingredients you’ve piled into your basket at the market. This recipe (like most) is only an inspiration and a guideline. Use whatever veggies you have on hand, and flavor them with your favorite herbs and spices. It’s all good!

Farmers Market Salad

With Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Dressing

serves a crowd

1 hour cuisine

 

Prepare the veggies:

10 baby red potatoes, halved

2 or more tablespoons olive oil

1 or more teaspoons kosher salt

1 or more teaspoons coarse black pepper

2 tablespoons garlic scape pesto

3 bulbs garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bunch baby carrots

1 bunch purple spring onions, green tops removed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into strips

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into strips

2 beets, roasted, peeled and sliced into rounds

1 bunch radishes, tops trimmed and cut into rounds

½ cup white balsamic vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus a smidge

1 lemon, cut in half

1 bunch haricot vert

1 pint baby tomatoes, cut in half

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

For dressing:

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh chives

I head red leaf lettuce, torn into large pieces

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the baby potatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the potatoes are golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Drizzle the warm potatoes with pesto and toss to coat. Cool to room temperature.

Cut the top ⅓ from the garlic bulbs. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Place the bulbs onto a piece of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the garlic leaving an opening at the top of the pouch. Bake until the garlic is soft, and the cloves begin to crawl out of their skins, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Place the carrots, onions and peppers onto a baking dish. Drizzle with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the veggies are just crisp tender and beginning to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Whisk ½ cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl. Place the beets and radishes into the bowl and toss to coat. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the veggies from any excess liquid.

Bring a pot of water to boil over medium high heat. Squeeze the lemon and place into the pot. Add the haricot vert and blanch until just crisp tender and dark green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a bowl with ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove the green beans from the ice water bath and transfer to a dish lined with paper towels.

Place the tomatoes into a bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of granulated sugar. Toss.

Place the buttermilk and sour cream into the bowl of a food processor or into a blender. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the cream. Add in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Puree the dressing.

Line a large platter with lettuce leaves. Lay the veggies onto the lettuce in bunches. Serve the dressing on the side. You can arrange the salad several hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap. Bring the salad to room temperature before serving.

 

Grilled Chicken & Luscious Stuffed Mushrooms for Dad

Grilled Chicken & Luscious Stuffed Mushrooms for Dad

It’s no secret men like to grill or watch other people grill. That’s why, for the upcoming Father’s Day weekend, I’m recommending a chicken dish that takes the blah, blah out of chicken and makes it rah-rah instead! What’s my secret weapon, you ask? Feel free to file this away for a later date because the answer isn’t grilling. To brighten up even the most boring cut of poultry, I typically turn to bone-in, skin-on, dark meat to braise, fry or roast.

For me, this cut has the most flavor. I avoid boneless, skinless breast meat, because it is easy to overcook, and needs a lot of attention in order to compete with the more flavor-filled cut. But since I think Father’s Day should be a day of special attention, in the name of loving Dads everywhere, I am going to impart my most special grilling methods – which are, as any ardent griller will tell you – all about the marinades and platter sauce.

Oh, and by the way…when I previewed this recipe with my own Fam, it scored a 10 on the health-o-meter. The less weight conscious liked the meal as well… but were looking for my peanut butter chunk cookies for dessert! Hmm…I am amused because this means that perhaps you can please everyone….

Chicken & Mushrooms for Dad

Serves 8

40 minute cuisine

For the marinade

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Juice of 2 large limes, about 2 to 3 tablespoons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

For the platter sauce

2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, about 2 teaspoons

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

For the chicken

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

For the mushrooms

16 Portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound fresh spinach leaves chopped, about 4 cups

1 large white onion, peeled and diced, about 1 ½ cups

1 (8.5-ounce) sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and diced

Prepare a platter sauce to bathe the chicken in by dotting the platter with small butter pieces, minced garlic, chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, and a generous dousing of kosher salt and coarse black pepper.

Grill the chicken, turning once, about five to six minutes per side, until it is just cooked though with just a little bit of resistance when you push your finger into the flesh. Take the chicken right from the grill and onto the platter, turning each piece a couple of times to melt the butter and heat the garlic. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and let it rest for several minutes.

For the mushrooms, sauté spinach leaves with chopped onion and sun-dried tomatoes in the olive oil.  Roast in a 375°oven for about 15 minutes. Optional: roasted baby sweet potatoes complete the meal.