Friday, August 29, 2008

party corn

When I don't have pink-eye peas for summer succotash (see earlier post), this is my new go-to corn dish. This is what would happen if an ear of corn from Greece went on spring break to CancĂșn and got cooked. This culture clash, however unlikely, makes for a succulent summer dish. It's such a shame to eat boiled corn on the cob when you can eat THIS.

3 ears of corn, de-kerneled
1 oz feta, crumbled
1/2 lime
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 clove garlic, minced

Mix garlic with a pinch of salt and pound to a paste. Stir into butter (this can be done 2 days ahead).
Saute corn kernels on med. high heat in a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once the kernels are golden brown (for the most part) add 1 or both tbsps of butter to skillet and continue cooking for another minute, tossing to coat.
Plate the corn, squirt lime over the top and sprinkle with feta.
Serves 2.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the essential travel accessory

This summer my travels have taken me from the Gulf of Mexico to the Memphis countryside, and I have found one singular accessory more useful than anything else in my luggage--a jar of black peppercorns topped with a built-in grinder. There is nothing that finishes a dish quite as well as freshly cracked pepper. I really don't even know what those gray-white-black specks that come in those cardboard shakers are, but my guess is if they ever were peppercorns, they were ground several years ago. One thing I do know--they are flavorless and therefore useless.
Bringing along my own pepper feels a little snobbish, but the multitude of dishes that have benefited from it (greek coleslaw, pimento cheese, summer vegetable soup, tomato basil bruschetta, homemade pasta with bacon-cream sauce) make it clear that it's not a matter of elitism but one of taste.
I can't wait to go through airport customs and have to explain this one.

Friday, August 22, 2008

roasted feta

This is an inordinately impressive appetizer, considering the five minutes of work that go into it. And, best of all, it's mostly stuff that's laying around. Served with a baguette (or lime tortilla chips, when desperate), it is the perfect prelude to a cool summer salad or pasta dish. It is a riff off of a recipe I read long ago, I think in Gourmet.

2 1/2" slabs of feta
1-2 tbsp fresh chopped oregano (or 1 tsp dry, crumbled)
a few grinds of pepper
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat broiler.
Place feta on ovenproof plate, sprinkle oregano and pepper over. Mix red peppers with oil, and drizzle over feta.
Place under broiler until golden brown, about five minutes.
Serve, with baguette or any other bready item laying around.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Things You can Do When You Raise Chickens

1) Have hours-old scrambled eggs with goat cheese and herbs
2) Bake hot, steaming loaves of challah
3) Egg wash things to your heart's content
4) Make homemade pasta with just flour, salt, and a fork
5) BLT-fried egg n cheese sandwiches
6) Turn aforementioned challah leftovers into a killer bread pudding
7)Improvise vanilla butter cakes, with little more than flour, eggs, butter, vanilla, and baking powder.

Thanks to Eliot and Lee for the down-home farm vacation!