Monthly Archives: August 2015

It’s Pickling Time!

PicklesAugust is my favorite time of year for gardening. It’s when the garden gives more than you can manage, and you don’t have to do any work (or very little). Right now, I’m on overload with cucumbers and I’ve had one too many cucumber salads. So, I figured, time to make cucumber pickles. This pickle recipe is a win, win, win. In fact, my husband said, don’t bring these anywhere because he wants to eat them all.  I can hardly keep them to myself. I have a blog called BRING IT after all which is about sharing food with others.  I’d feel guilty if I did not share in the wealth.  My husband reluctantly agreed.  However, if I come bearing a jar of pickles to your house, you will also have to take a boat-load of cucumbers with it. That’s the price you pay!

Okay, on to the recipe. Enjoy the last few days of August and good luck to everyone trying to keep up with the summery bounty!

Ingredients

4 lbs cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch disks
2 lbs onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup kosher salt
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp mustard seed
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp peppercorns
3 cups cider vinegar

Method

Wash and dry the jars.

Combine cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl, layering with salt; cover with ice cubes. Let stand 1 1/2 hours. Drain, rinse, drain, rinse again.  Combine remaining ingredients in large pot and bring to a boil.  Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil.  Pack hot pickles and liquid into pre-heated jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by tapping on counter or stirring gently with spoon.  Adjust 2 piece cap and process 10 minutes in boiling water canner.  NOTE: for shelf stability you will need to carefully follow canning process. Click here for link on canning instructions.

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Colorado Summer Corn Souper Chowder

Fresh corn and peppers in their raw, pretty state. What happens later is tasty but not so pretty.

Fresh corn and peppers in their raw, pretty state. What happens later is tasty but not so pretty.

Cowgirl and cook Tania Coffey is back on the cooking range, this time helping us figure out more ways to enjoy summers sweetest fresh corn. This recipe is adapted from a vegetarian version created by Aaron Bennett, a chef at the Aspen Ritz Carlton. It was created as an appetizer to showcase Colorado’s produce, in particular Olathe corn.

Tania says: “This soup is so much of a pain to make that after many efforts we decided to grill a chicken breast, shred it, toss it in with the soup, rename it chowder and not cook another thing for dinner.  That said, it is so good that in August we make it over and over until we are sick of it and can wait another year for fresh corn.”

So there’s your motivation. Armed with Tania’s disclaimer I made this soup, with my own set of preconditions. First, I only had four ears of corn so I had to cut it in thirds which challenged my math skills. Second, in New England my pepper selection is limited, so I had to go with jalapenos and a couple of canned chipotles in adobo. (Update: as anticipated, Tania politely points out in first comment below that cans have no place in this recipe. So let’s all just pretend I never used those chipotles). Third, I had no chicken, so I reverted to a soup more like the original. The good news is that you now have our guarantee that it is delicious with or without chicken.

Before you embark, I will soften the prep warning a bit by summing up the procedure. You are cutting fresh corn off the cob, and boiling the cobs in milk and broth. You are roasting corn kernels in the oven. You are sautéeing diced onions and peppers in butter. Then you are throwing it all together and pureeing part of it. When it’s done it is really truly NOT pretty. But as Tania notes, “it is incredible when the corn is sweet.” So let’s get over appearances shall we?

You will need two big stock pots and a hearty blender (or an immersion blender along with the good sense to keep it deep in the pot while blending).

Colorado Summer Corn Chowder

Adapted from chef Aaron Bennett via Tania Coffey

Makes: A lot; 10-12 servings at least, or more if it’s eaten by the mug vs the bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ears fresh sweet corn
  • 1 1/2 sweet onion diced
  • 3 poblano peppers diced (If you can find roasted poblanos use them for a totally different— and fabulous—taste).
  • 3 jalapeños ribs and seeds removed minced
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 T garlic minced
  • 4T butter
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb chicken breast grilled and shredded with 2 forks.

Method:

Seatbelts on. Preheat oven to 350
Preheat grill for chicken (or bake chicken with corn)

Peel corn. Cut kernels from cobs.  Save cobs.
Put cobs in one stock pot with chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Grill the chicken breast.  Don’t over cook it as it is going in the hot soup.  Remember, this step makes the soup a meal but is not mandatory!  The chicken is added after the soup is completely made so you can live dangerously and decide then.

Toss corn kernels with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Put kernels on baking sheet and roast for 15-25 minutes until lightly browned. (You’ll need at least two baking sheets if making the full recipe).

In an 8 quart stock pot melt butter and add all peppers, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat stirring often until onion is translucent but not browned.  Add roasted corn and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove cobs from stock and discard.

Pour broth over peppers and corn.  Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend 3/4 of the soup in batches in a powerful blender until smooth.  The remaining 1/4 stays lumpy for texture.  Season with salt and pepper. Add shredded chicken.

Told you it wasn't pretty. Not that you would judge on looks.

Told you it wasn’t pretty. Not that you would judge on looks.

This is how corn takes a bath.

This is how corn takes a bath.

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Lemon Beach Pie

Must...eat...more...pie. Sweet, salty, sweet, salty, and oh yeah—creamy, crunchy, cool and tart.

Must…eat…more…pie. Sweet, salty, sweet, salty, and oh yeah—creamy, crunchy, cool and tart.

If you love your people—and I know you do—make this pie now. In the wilds of the Internet it is known as Bill Smith’s Atlantic Beach pie. Anything called Beach Pie gets my attention. When its maker also calls it the “easiest recipe in the world,” I’m all in. This pie is not a secret. In fact, way before Ms. Kardashian tried to break the Internet I think this pie came close. For some reason, however, it took me until recently to make it.

What pushed me over the edge was the entire stick of butter on my counter, barely maintaining its solid form on a sweltering summer day. “Mix me with Saltines and a touch of sugar, then turn me into the crust of a glorious pie,” it seemed to be saying.

Perhaps that was the heat. At any rate, I obeyed the voice. The aforementioned Bill Smith created this version of a pie that is served up at coastal seafood restaurants in the North Carolina. It tastes darned good far from the beach too, and if for some reason you don’t finish it, just pop it in the freezer and bust it out whenever you need a taste of the beach. 

Make One Beach Pie

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup lemon or lime juice or a mix of the two
  • Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands. Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8 inch pie pan. (If you only have a 9-inch pan just top the pie with more whipped cream.)  Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust colors a little.

While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Load it up with fresh whipped cream give it a sprinkling of sea salt.

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Summer Lovin’ Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Oh yeah, it's berry season—get 'em while you can!

Oh yeah, it’s berry season—get ’em while you can!

Rocky Mountain Correspondent Tania Coffey strikes again with this really good and really easy cake which you should make really soon. Why? Because we have berries! And we probably have cream hanging out in the fridge, dying to be whipped. And we have hungry kids. And because cake is good!

I happen to have one cooling on the counter right now and will figure out where to hide it so it’s there after dinner. If the hiding place is discovered, all is not lost. Apart from the fresh berries you’ve probably got plenty of everything else you need (including time—it’s pretty quick!) to make another.

Now go and enjoy every bite of summer while it’s here!

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Adapted by Tania Coffey from Gourmet, June 2009

This cake is so much fancier than a crisp or a crumble or cookies.  Super easy but looks like you REALLY care a lot.

raspberry-cake-rawraspberry -cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour—I have been substituting 1/4-1/3 cup course cornmeal for a little more texture lately.  As long as you have 1 cup total flour the cake has proven to be very flexible.
  • 1/2 teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick  unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 T raw sugar for top of cake
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 large egg room temp.
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk.  Just add a squeeze of lemon to your milk and stir it up to make buttermilk.
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (I have substituted blueberries before with success, but don’t try strawberries because that was a disaster unless you like pink pudding cake)

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Put the half stick of butter on top of oven to soften while oven warms. Get the egg out of the fridge.

Grate lemon zest then make buttermilk with a slice of lemon if you need to.  It needs to sit for a bit.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup  sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and zest. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Place raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons raw sugar.  For some reason the raspberries drown a little less if you place them so the hole is up.  They sink like stones the other way.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Watch it at 20 min, it cooks quickly. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Invert onto a plate.  This is Gourmet’s idea.  I have never tried to invert the thing. This cake is actually better the next day for breakfast, but it rarely survives that long.

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Gnocchi Verde

Kale GnocchiI was driving home from a great visit with my family in Connecticut the other day, which is a 4 hour car ride.   This is an easy drive, but one still needs a good plan with books on tape, radio shows, and downloaded podcasts to get you through without too much twitch. I planned it perfectly so that I could listen to a full, uninterrupted hour of Lynne Rossetto Kasper on The Splendid Table. It made one of the four hours pass very quickly (if you don’t know Lynne, go to this link and check it out – she’s great!). I adjusted the sound, sat up straight, and got ready to absorb as much information as I could. There are food experts, new recipes, seasonal fare, cooking lessons, guest questions, and so much more for all the foodies out there. I was psyched!

One of the stories on Lynne’s show that day was how to make kale gnocchi. I thought, I love kale, but I don’t eat gnocchi – it’s too much starch. But if I substitute the kale for the potato in the gnocchi I might be in business. Plus, there are so many recipes for kale salads, kale chips, braised kale, kale with pasta, and so on. But kale gnocchi was something new. So, I listened in and tried to remember the tips and tricks from Lynne’s description of how to make these from scratch.

I got home, picked fresh kale from my garden (PS I love my garden this year – new raised beds are making me very happy!) and got started. It was my first time through so it took a bit of time to make but they are actually very easy and could be thrown together in a flash now that I know the routine. These nuggets are delicious and a fun way to use the abundance of kale out there now.

Eat more kale!

Ingredients

4 lbs. kale (or Swiss chard), ribs removed
5 Tbsp fresh bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 cup parmigiana-reggiano cheese, plus more for topping
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
All-purpose flour for dusting
Olive oil (or butter)

Method

Clean kale and remove ribs. Tear into small pieces and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to ice bath and let cool. Once cool, ring out excess water by squeezing and chop. Set aside.

Put bread crumbs in food processor and processes until finely ground. Add kale, eggs, ricotta cheese, parmigiana-reggiano cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and process until mixed well. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Fill pot with water and bring to gentle boil. Meanwhile, flour work surface and hands, then roll mixture into smallish balls. Drop balls into boiling water (if water is boiling too hard it will break gnocchi apart). Boil for 5-6 minutes and remove with slotted spoon to plate covered with paper towel. Let dry.

Place gnocchi in shallow baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cheese. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted and just starting to brown. Serve immediately.

YUM!

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