Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Corn Chowder


Ingredients:

4 slices bacon

2 medium potatoes (red or Yukon Gold), peeled and diced into about 1/4-1/2 inch size pieces

2 ears corn-on-the-cob, uncooked (place lengthwise on cutting board to slice off kernels)

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (optional, if you prefer a thicker chowder)*

2 cups water

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

dash white pepper

3-4 basil leaves, chopped fine


Directions:

In a large pot (approximately 5 quarts), on med-low heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon when done and set aside.

In the hot bacon drippings, cook diced potatoes for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn kernels to pot, stirring to cook for another minute.

*(Note: if you like a thicker chowder, now is the time to add the 1 Tbsp flour to the potatoes and corn in the pot. Stir to coat evenly.)

Add water and salt, stir. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.


Add heavy cream, butter, white pepper and chopped basil leaves. Crumble the bacon into small pieces and add back to the pot. Stir and heat on low until thoroughly heated through, about 5 more minutes. Serve.

Serves 4

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Baked Beans


This North country family recipe is adapted from the one used by my Grandmother Zahn. The pieces of salt pork she added for flavor have been replaced with salt, butter and dry mustard. It is still a very simple recipe and I think the end result is as good as the original.


Ingredients:


16 oz. bag dried navy beans (Note: check the date to use the freshest ones available and find a brand that gives consistent results -- I like Goya)

7 cups water

1 medium-large onion (vidalia or white are best), sliced thinly

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. Coleman's dry English mustard

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp. peanut oil

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Additional sugar for sprinkling on top prior to baking



Directions:

Remove dried beans from bag; rinse in a colander, sorting to remove imperfect beans and possible small bits that might be pebbles (really -- I have seen this).

Empty rinsed and sorted beans into a large (6-7 quart) pot. Add 7 cups water. On high heat, bring the water to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 1 hour. (This is the quick soak method).

After 1 hour, drain the beans and then add them back to the pot. Add another 7 cups water. Bring beans and water to a boil over high heat. While waiting for the water to boil, add the other ingredients, stirring occasionally. When the beans have come to a full boil, reduce the heat to bubbling ( a little more than a simmer). Cook like this for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans have absorbed most of the water and the rest of the liquid, which should barely cover the beans, turns milky colored and soupy textured. (Notes: (1) You may need to adjust the heat downwards to more of a low simmer if the water level gets too low and the beans are in danger of sticking or burning, and (2) You may need to add more water if the beans are still not tender, but the water level is too low -- add a little water at a time, 1/4 to 1/2 cup). Also, while the beans are cooking, you can adjust the salt, to taste.

When you have tasted the beans to be tender, and the water which probably just barely covers the beans is that milky, soupy color and consistency, remove from the burner. Turn the beans into a pyrex, or other, baking casserole dish. Sprinkle with a bit more granulated sugar, about 1 tablespoon, on top to brown. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the top is nicely browned. Remove from the oven when done and let cool a bit before serving.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chicken Livers


One of Brian's favorites, I make this a few times a year. It is pretty rich, definitely not low fat. Buy the freshest chicken livers you can find as this does make a difference in taste and texture. I buy them at Whole Foods. I usually serve the chicken livers with cooked rice.


Ingredients:

Container very fresh chicken livers (see above)

4 Slices of raw bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 Large sweet or white onion, chopped

1/4 Cup brandy

1/2 Can chicken broth

Fresh ground sea salt and pepper, to taste


Directions:

1. Open container of chicken livers and transfer to a colander in the sink. Rinse gently. Using kitchen scissors, trim off and discard any fat and connective tissue. Cut the livers into about 1 to 1-1/2 inch pieces, trying to preserve as much of the livers as possible; set aside.

2. In a large cast iron skillet, over med-low heat, cook the bacon pieces until they are crispy and done. Remove from the pan and set aside on a small plate or bowl.

3. Add the butter to the bacon grease in the pan and turn up the heat a little bit (heat can be adjusted down later if cooking too fast or spattering). Add the chicken livers and cook until nicely browned.

4. Add the chopped onion, and lower the heat a bit so the onions cook slowly and do not get browned. You want them to get soft and golden and blend in a bit with the livers. This may take 10 minutes or so.

5. When the onions are done, add the cooked bacon back to the pan and stir.

6. Turn the heat up to sizzling, then add the brandy, stirring to coat and deglaze the pan.

7. Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook gently until broth is mostly gone, about 15-20 minutes. Serve.

Serves about 4.


Chopped Salad With Grilled Corn and Black Beans

Ingredients:
Medium head romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed, end cut off, and chopped into bite-sized pieces.
2 Ears corn-on-the-cob, wrapped in buttered aluminum foil, and grilled about 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so. When done, remove husks and silk. Cut the kernels off the cob.
15-1/2 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1 Tbsp., packed, finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Ranch dressing
Fresh ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
Place warm corn kernels in a large serving bowl and stir in butter until melted. Place remaining ingredients in the serving bowl and stir to mix. Add ranch dressing to coat well, stirring to mix thoroughly. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Serves 4-6.