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!

My First Supper from Farmer’s Market Opening Day!

My First Supper from Farmer’s Market Opening Day!

My friends, the farmers, are all over social media promising the fruits of their spring labors – I start drooling and reaching for my tote bags every time I go online. I couldn’t wait to get to my favorite place in the mountains, Watauga Farmers Market, which opened for the season on May 4th.  Over the last few weekends, I’ve gotten my hands on those lovely purple spring onions and the coils of garlic scapes, painted and cooked a lot within the pages of CANVAS & CUISINE: the art of the fresh market.

Watauga will have early (greenhouse) tomatoes this year and the tender leaves of baby greens. Here I come, and will continue to come through October!

After my first visit this year, I created a dish that pulls together some of my favorite farmer’s market finds: tender collard greens and rich pork belly. It makes for a lovely first course or a wonderful side dish…once you’ve chopped up the belly and stir it into the greens. Either way, it’s sure to delight and perhaps motivate you to find a fresh farmer’s market opening near you. If you find a new one in your neighborhood, please share the experience with us! I love posting scrumptious possibilities to my social media @jorjmorgancooking.

Now, please excuse me while I simmer my greens…

Collard Greens with Slow Roasted Pork Belly

serves 6 or more

30 minute cuisine plus slow cooking

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 (1 ½ pound) piece pork belly

3 bunches collard greens, stemmed, rolled and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

3 to 4 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Mix together the onion, garlic and chili powder with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the pork belly with some of the seasoning. Reserve about a tablespoon for the collards. Heat your slow cooker (or Dutch oven) over medium high heat. Place the pork belly into the cooker and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the pork and brown on the second side, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork belly to a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook on low heat (about 275 to 300°) for several hours until the meat falls apart when pulled with a fork.

Place the onion into the bottom of the slow cooker and cook until soft. Add the chopped collard greens and stir. Season with the remaining spices. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Set your slow cooker on high and place the lid on to top. If you are using a Dutch oven, place the lid on top and move it into the oven with the pork belly.  Continue cooking adding more liquid as needed to produce soft, syrupy greens. Before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

Serve the collard greens on a plate with pieces of tender pork belly on the top. Drizzle the juices from the pork belly pan over the top.

Cookbook Give-Away, Day after Mother’s Day!

Cookbook Give-Away, Day after Mother’s Day!

The month of May has been good to me, my family and my friends! I hope everyone had a happy Mother’s Day weekend that left them full of love and good vibes. In the spirit of that, I am offering to give away a free copy of CANVAS & CUISINE to the first person who comments on, or shares this post!

If the public reaction to the book is any indication, I think you will love this artful cookbook as well. My co-author, Sue Fazio and I just hosted a book signing party in Jupiter, Florida. It was a grand open house event to introduce our neighbors to our new book. For those who don’t already know, Canvas and Cuisine: the art of the fresh market was inspired by trips Sue and I took around the world, ogling at all the exotic fruits, veggies, meats and cheeses of France, Spain, Russia, Vietnam and so much more.

For just one day, we hosted an art gallery/cooking demo. Our readers were able to preview the original artwork that was my whole inspiration for this cookbook.

During the event, guests perused Sue’s (abundant) paintings not only of fresh markets around the globe, but also many of her other passionate pieces. They also sampled several dishes from the recipes I created to go along with Sue’s paintings.

But the real fun occurred when Sue demonstrated how she creates an original painting. Guests huddled around to watch the magic take place. From blank canvas to her vision of the 16th hole at Jupiter Hills…. all in just minutes. She is an inspiration for any aspiring artist!

My blank canvas began with a few cutting boards and a sharp knife. I demonstrated how to prepare the dishes the guests were sampling. My Grilled Guac was a big hit, as were the Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and Cauliflower Risotto— these recipes were posted to Jorj.com recently – and go over well at any party.

Good times were had by all and great benefits were reaped for our charities with painting and book sales soaring!

Thank you to everyone who opened their hearts and their checkbooks and thank you to all of you who are enjoying our book!

Ciao – Jorj!

A Tasty Trip Down Memory Lane

A Tasty Trip Down Memory Lane

New Zealand held so many special times during our recent trip. If you’ve been there, you know how special it is. The locals keep the towns pristine and welcoming. They love to show off their love of their lands. We visited Christchurch, a small coastal town on the South Island. Our tour guides arranged a visit to a small sheep farm in Canterbury. We were greeted by the farmer, his gorgeous wife and their adult daughters, and given a sheep shearing demonstration! What a show!!

After a brief tour of their 1840ish farmhouse, we were escorted outdoors, where we were met with a Martha Stewart inspired luncheon table, seating fifty guests! The table was set with linen clothes and napkins, vintage flatware and freshly clipped flowers in mason jars.

The table sat under the canopy of a recently erected, tent shading us from the warm New Zealand sun. Lunch was served buffet style, and featured a garden fresh salad, whole roasted salmon filets, boiled potatoes and a main course of baked chicken pieces with a sauce of wine, olives, dates and capers.

We all passed around bottles of chilled rose wine and dived into lunch. It took only a couple of bites of that chicken dish to bring back memories of my early catering days. I could swear the dish was Chicken Mirabella from the Silver Palate cookbook. What a lovely coincidence! I travel fourteen hours across the globe, only to have the same meal I’ve made over and over again for my clients. I confirmed this with the generous Lady of the Manor. Her smile was ginormous when she realized that we had cooking and entertaining in common. She grabbed my hand, and took me back into her kitchen to show me her cookbook collection. What a treat.

When my pals came to Florida for a recent visit, we put together a girl’s night supper that featured none other than that Chicken Mirabel dish. I served it with Poached Asparagus and a Green Goddess Avocado Dressing, along with a recipe from my new book: Farmer’s Market Orzo Salad.

As a further retro treat, I added yummy rolls from an old Junior League cookbook, another one of my reliable tomes from my old catering days.

The meal was a true treat. When I think of where I’ve been and where I am now, and all the places I still have to visit, I can’t help but be reminded that good food never really changes. It is one of the things that bind us all together.

Here’s a slide show of my scrumptious trip down good ol’ memory lane.

New Year, Old Friends and the Birth of This Book

New Year, Old Friends and the Birth of This Book

Canvas and Cuisine: the art of the fresh market is available for pre-sale directly from the publisher and will be available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon at the beginning of the year.

 

My dear friend, Sue Fazio and I decided to collaborate on what we call our “kitchen table book”, and, after two years of feverish painting, painstaking recipe testing, and a deliberate and dedicated publishing process, it’s finally here!

Canvas and Cuisine: the art of the fresh market is part coffee table book and part travelogue. It is a visually delicious, delectably readable cookbook that pays tribute to what may be the world’s most important treasure: fresh, locally grown food.

This book is SO MUCH FUN!! Here’s a picture from its pages:

Cobblestone streets, winding down the Italian seaside town of Positano where merchants run their farmer’s markets. The burst of color, and depth of texture shows a certain zest for life.

You can take your finds at these open air markets and make mouth-watering food. Canvas and Cuisine ensnares the senses of both the cook and the artist. You don’t have to be one or the other to appreciate fresh ingredients at the heart of every recipe; this is but the preface of a great culinary tale.

I tell that tale in anecdotes of our travels, and Sue tells it with her paintbrushes. I’d give you a few hints of the crazy stuff in this book, but I’ll leave it at this: Sue and I make Lucy and Ethel look tame!

But, here’s the most important thing of all to say about this book. It would not have been possible without our great influencer, Marti Huizenga.

If you’re very lucky, once in your lifetime, you’ll meet a person that molds you into the somebody you want to become, simply by example. That person will have such a positive impact on you, that you will be forever changed.

Sue and I are lucky to have known and grown through our friendship with Marti. Together with her husband, Wayne, she hugged us into their circle, bringing us along on their adventures. (And, man, were there a ton of adventures!) All the way, they were demonstrating their generosity. Their legendary monetary generosity is well documented. But not everyone was privy to Marti’s generosity of spirit, her compassion for critters big and small and most important, her generosity of friendship.

It is because of Marti that Sue and I met so many years ago, and it is because of Marti’s inspiration and influence, that Sue and I proudly donate the proceeds from Canvas & Cuisine: the art of the fresh market to our charities, the Boys and Girls Club of Hendersonville, North Carolina and Hospitality House of Avery County, North Carolina.

Marti and Wayne are no longer with us. They are basking in the love and light that keeps them together eternally. We have dedicated Canvas and Cuisine to Marti, with love and wonderful memories of a life well-lived. Her voice is forever in our hearts.

We are truly hopeful that you will enjoy the book as much as we have enjoyed creating it.

Love,

Jorj & Sue