Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lunch on August 12 - Last day of school plus farm fresh cold corn soup!

Tomorrow is Juju's last day of preschool at her current school.  It has been a fantastic year and we are really going to miss the wonderful teachers, scores of new friends, and charming campus.  I can hardly believe how much she has grown in one year.

This also marks the end of weekly lunch packing for me for the next few weeks though rest assured, I will still find things to blog about!

The final meal is a turkey sammie, edamame, and fruit salad with strawberries, grapes, and orange slices.

I also wanted to mention some things I made for dinner since one was quite good.  We recently started up again with a CSA box.  Over the years we have tried a few, then canceled our shares and started to shop at Farmer's Markets.  But, we've gotten busier and we can't always make it out to shop for fresh produce so we started again with a service that delivers organic farm fresh produce to our neighborhood. You never know what you are going to get in the box but we've committed ourselves to trying everything we receive which so far has worked out well.  For example this week we got a bunch of kale so I roasted it in the oven tonight with olive oil and sea salt and made "kale chips."  They were very easy to make and a great way to incorporate such a nutrient rich food into dinner.  

And, because I found a recipe in the Wall Street Journal this weekend I made a cold corn soup with the corn that came in our box.  It was delicious and I highly recommend it for the hot summer nights ahead.  I can't find the original copy of the article (there were actually 4 cold soup recipes, I wish I had scanned them!) but here is the recipe from memory along with a photo of how mine turned out:

Cold Corn Soup
3 ears of corn (I used 4 because I wanted to make sure it was really thick)
1 vidalia onion (I used a large regular onion because it's all I had)
1 shallot (I omitted this because I didn't have one)
2 tbls butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste.
*Serve in bowls or in shot glasses as corn soup shooters!

Cut the corn off of the cobs and set aside.  Place the empty cobs in a pot with 6 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes (you are making a corn stock).

In another soup pot, melt the butter and add in the onion and shallots (both diced) and sweat for ten minutes (do not brown).  Next, add in the corn and mix so the corn is covered with the butter.  Pour in the 6 cups of corn stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the corn is soft.

Using a slotted spoon strain out the corn and onion pieces and put in a blender (I used a Cuisinart).  Add 1.5 cups of the corn stock and blend for 5 minutes, until very well blended.  If you want to thin out the soup you can add more corn stock.  Place the soup in a clean soup pot or a bowl and add in the heavy cream, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.  Mix well and chill for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

When I made the soup last night, I tasted it before chilling it.  I thought it was only ok and was frustrated that I had spent so much time and effort making it since it just tasted like mediocre creamed corn.  I was so delighted this evening when I pulled the pot out of the refrigerator and tasted it again.  The soup was incredibly thick and had much more flavor than it did the night before.  I don't know if that was due to the flavors blending overnight or if it was because it was properly chilled.  Whatever the reason, it was a beautiful appetizer that I might try again with guests.

Happy Summer!

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