Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goodbye, Summer (Corn Fricassee)

Corn Fricassee
Today is the last day of summer and I must admit, I'm not really upset with her departure.  She was at most a tease at the beginning with her low to mid 90 temperatures, only to release her fury by August with triple digits.  So, I bid you adieu, you blazing hot season-I won't miss you!

I will admit though, that I'll miss sweet berries, juicy melons, and sweet, succulent, golden corn.  Corn's peak season, for the most part, is mid to late summer, but I guess it just all depends on where you live, right?

So, if you are enjoying a late summer corn harvest, please try this corn fricassee.  It was one of my favorite summer side dishes this season.  Sweet corn, enrobed in a creamy sauce, a salty bite from Parmesan=side dish from heaven folks!
Corn Fricassee makes a great accompaniment to braised pork chops; roasted broccoli also pictured

Corn Fricassee
Serves 4
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6 ears corn (about 6 cups kernels)
4 T. unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 t. all purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
½ t. salt, or more to taste
¼ t. pepper
2 T. roughly chopped fresh basil
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish

1. Using a chef’s knife, remove kernels from cobs into a bowl. Using dull side of knife, scrape milk and pulp from cobs; add to bowl.
2. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When melted and bubbling, add shallots. Cook, stirring, until soft and translucent.
3. Add corn kernels, corn milk, pulp, and flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in chicken stock. Turn heat to high; cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add cream; cook until mixture is thick and creamy, about 4 minutes more.
4. Remove from heat; stir in salt, pepper, basil, and cheese. Garnish with Parmesan.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Key To A Light & Fluffy Pancake

Tiny Bubbles...
Lately, it seems that I have become a pancake aficionado of sorts. My son LOVES pancakes and I often make them once (or twice) a week. I have made all different kinds, pumpkin, whole wheat and his favorite, buttermilk. During my quest to make the perfect pancake, I have found these simple steps to be the key to tender, light, and fluffy pancakes.

It's All In The Mix
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients to incorporate.
  • Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not whisk the batter to a smooth uniform consistency-this can result in a tough pancake. Instead lightly mix the batter, leaving it lumpy. The reaction of liquid and the pockets of dry ingredients (lumps) result in fluffy, light pancakes-isn't food science cool!
Less Is More
  • The more melted butter there is in the pan does not necessarily mean the better the pancake. There is a good chance you'd end up with a "fried," crispy pancake exterior and an undercooked interior. Instead, rely on a thin film of butter coating the pan. I wipe the excess butter off of the griddle with a paper towel. This insures a pancake with even browning.
Flip It Good
  • It is best to flip the pancake when the batter surface is covered with tiny bubbles. The edges will bubble first and will begin to look a little dry. Avoid the temptation to flip until some of the interior bubbles have burst.
Get Creative
  • For fruit pancakes, place fruit on top of the batter after its been poured onto the griddle. That way, you'll have fruit evenly distributed throughout the pancake. Nut and granola toppings will lose their crunch if they sit in the batter too long-so sprinkle those just as you would the fruit.
Add Ins:
  • Sliced Bananas
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)
  • Rum-soaked raisins
  • granola, pecans, walnuts
  • Apple & Cinnamon
  • Lemon Zest & Poppy Seeds
Basic Buttermilk Pancakes
Yields: nine 6-inch pancakes
Martha Stewart Living, January 2001
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• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 3 cups buttermilk
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle

1. Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.
2. Heat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter or reserved bacon fat onto griddle. Wipe off excess.
3. Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.
4. Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm.