So here I am posting my fourth post, still no readers other than the fam, so again I have to say, "is anybody out there, anyone at all?"
Anyway, I was trying to think of something to blog about, since that is the point of this silly website and thought of corn, it's in season, it is of course delicious, and well people do tend to struggle with it. Now bear with me because I am about to go on a tirade. The majority of my experiences with corn have come from the cobs boiled in water and then me proceeding to wrap my mouth around it, practically administering the Heimlich maneuver while munching all those tasty yellow jewels off, completely covering my face in butter and salt and pepper (breath). The other unfortunate experience I have had with corn is your typical frozen corn zapped into submission. So I told myself, "there must be more to corn than this!" And thankfully of course there is. So this weekend, I traveled to my favorite produce market and gathered several ears of locally grown corn and decided to embark on a corn journey, where it would take me I didn't know, but I would come out of it alive, and well, sick of corn at the end, but oh well, it's for humanity damn it!!!!! Well it would be if there was anyone reading my blog.
Now I feel that this journey deserves a descriptive since the process was just as wonderful as the resulting meal so forgive me but I always find myself reveling in the magic of cooking, and what it invokes in oneself..........
So there I was, preparing my corn dish (which I will reveal shortly), in my refrigerator box of a kitchen with my little girl giggling and dancing to a well chosen CD of Billy Holiday's greatest hits, a glass of wine in one hand and a knife in the other, when I realized the moment that I was in. I had the front door open, which allowed the glow of the sun setting to filter in, the smell of yummy goodness in the air (butter and Mirepoix, which I will explain later) and I had an epiphany. Cooking isn't necessarily all about how good the meal is (although this is a bonus) but about the memories it creates and evokes. Some of my fondest memories as a child were from times around the dinner table and in the kitchen learning how to cook from my mother, grandmothers, and great grandmother. It is these memories with friends and family that make cooking such a joy, and it is not the meal we remember but the process by which that meal came our way. But anyway, away from this sentimental b#$#&&%&, on to the foodie stuff.........Here it is, the result of corn obsession.
Fresh Summer Corn Soup
1 lb Bacon diced
4 tablespoons butter
2 large yellow onions diced
4 large carrots diced
5 celery stalks diced
6 cups whole milk
3 cups half and half
6 ears yellow or white corn
5-6 medium Yukon gold potatoes diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
In a large stockpot cook the bacon on medium high heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and drain off any excess fat from pan. Melt the butter and add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook the veggies until tender on medium heat (8-10 minutes). Now, for those of you who have heard of Mirepoix but don't know what the hell it is your about to get schooled. A Mirepoix is another genius French culinary invention that is a combination of chopped onions, carrots, and celery. It is the base for almost all soups, stews, broths, and sauces. So there, if ya didn't know, you learned something new today. It is very important here to note that it is really important not to brown the veggies. Letting them sweat allows for their natural sweetness to cleanly flavor the soup, so damn it don't brown them! I always dreamed of being a drill sergeant. Anyway, while the Mirepoix is sweating you can prep the corn. Now for several years removing corn from the cobs with a utensil other than my mouth proved to be daunting. Picture a woman, with corn shit all in her hair and face, cursing like a sailor while attempting to shave corn kernels into set receptacle. After much trial and error and a little research I have found that the best way to accomplish this ridiculous goal is to place the cob on a clean kitchen towel and to cut the kernels off with a sharp butcher knife. The towel here serves two functions, one is collects all the corn kernels and makes it easy for dispensing into your chosen receptacle and two, limits their travel . Once you have removed the kernels, save the cobs, your gonna need them. Place the kernels into the pot and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Once the corn is tender add the milk, half and half, and cobs to the pot. Bring to a soft boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. When the potatoes are tender remove cobs and salt and pepper to taste. Right before serving add the chopped parsley and bacon and voila, your done!! You can add additional herbs to this soup if you're an herb nut....... thyme would be lovely. So modify away until your little heart's content.
Oh, and on the subject of modifying, I made a Mexican themed version by simply omitting the potatoes and bacon, and replacing them with some diced roasted Poblanos, diced chorizo, black beans, a little cilantro and some chipotle chilies for some heat. Topped with shredded cheddar and it's delicious!
Other dishes to consider for fresh corn are black bean and corn salad, corn pudding, or a delicious corn saute with of course corn, a little bell pepper, onion and basil! OK, I could go on and on but this post is turning into a novel, so my apologies. But hopefully I have inspired you to create your own corn "festivus"(courtesy of Jerry), and as always, bon appetit!