Photo: Condé Nast Archives
Gourmet Live’s Fall Harvest issue coincides with the juxtaposition of the last of the summer’s corn and tomatoes, alongside the winter squashes and dark leafy greens at farmers markets in many parts of the country. Actually, the greens have been around most of the summer, but they’re at their sweetest best as the weather cools and the first couple of frosts nip the air.
During the dog days of July and August, we automatically pair corn with zucchini and other summer squash, but as the daylight shortens in September and October, fresh corn becomes more appealing in squash soups and hearty chowders. One of my favorite soups is a purée of calabaza or kabocha squash (you can even use butternut squash) and coconut milk, topped with a corn relish spiked with lime juice and cilantro. Our cheesy corn chowder is a colorful hodgepodge of late summer and fall vegetables, all cut in small dice to match the size of corn kernels.
Then again, there’s minestrone, that Italian staple that joins the last of the zucchini, green beans, and tomatoes (feel free to substitute fresh for the canned in this recipe), along with the heartier members of the fall garden: kale, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. My family pasta standby, kale, caramelized onions, and lentils tossed with penne, gets extra color and juiciness at this time of year with the addition of pan-roasted cherry tomatoes. For a real knockout fall main course, try our kale, butternut squash and pancetta phyllo pie. Doesn’t everything looks better wrapped in phyllo?
So grab the gusto and embrace this transitional time of year when the best of two seasons of produce are just waiting to be tossed together in your kitchen. Who knows, your ingenuity coupled with their flavors could result in an exciting new harvest creation. Whatever you’re concocting, we’d love to know about it!
Photo: Stephanie Foley
Gourmet Live’s latest issue, Sweet Heat, reminded me of what a wimp I used to be about chiles. It took two trips to Mexico—a week’s study with Mexican cooking authority Diana Kennedy at her home in Michoacan, and another week with cookbook author and teacher, Susana Trilling, touring the different areas of Oaxaca to sample some of the many regional dishes containing their richly varied capsicums—to transform me from a chile-phobe to a chile fan. I learned that not all chiles are searingly hot, and that once you get beyond the heat, each chile has it’s own unique flavor.
I’m particularly fond of the big dried Mexican chiles, and these days, I’m finding them in supermarkets everywhere, even in a Walmart in northern New Hampshire. When reconstituted in water and puréed, the resulting sauce is thick and velvety. My cupboards are now stuffed with cellophane bags of anchos, guajillos, pasillas, and fiery little chiles de arbol.
Anchos are probably my favorite, because their heat tends to be milder, and there’s an earthy sweetness to their meaty pulp. I turned to them for a corn chowder I created several years ago, when I was looking for a way to give the soup a rich and creamy texture without adding milk or cream. True, a simple purée of cooked corn kernels and water is pretty darn creamy on its own in a soup, but the chiles add an extra layer of warmth and body. From the anchos to the corn and potatoes—all native to the Americas—this chowder is a bowl of New World flavors.
My soup is just one example of a way to incorporate more chiles into your life. Tell us, what do you like to make with chiles?
Photo: CN Digital Studio
Gourmet Live’s latest issue on Water got me thinking about how our most precious liquid gets a bum rap in recipes. It’s essential to cooking, yet it often gets taken for granted. Sometimes it doesn’t even rate inclusion in the ingredient list.
Where water really gets ignored is in soups. Many cooks automatically turn to chicken broth for the liquid base, when water would work just as well, if not better, where a pure flavor is the goal. Ask any vegetarian.
In late August, when corn is busting out all over, I’m reminded of one of the simplest summer soups, made from just three main ingredients: Water, corn, and salt. Period. Okay, there are chives, too, but they’re more for garnish. Continue reading
No barbecue is complete without corn on the cob, but we think this summer staple could use a little spicing up. This weekend I’m making Grilled Corn with Honey-Ginger Barbecue Sauce, which adds an unconventional twist to the golden kernels. Once I’ve mastered the grilled version, I’m going to cool things down by highlighting the seasonal staple in refreshing Chilled Corn Soup topped with sour cream and fresh chives.
For those looking to kick up a classic, try Creamed Corn flavored with your choice of spices and fresh herbs. And what better side for all that finger-lickin’ barbecue than a Puffy Corn Omelet? This carbo-loaded favorite is perfect for breakfast or brunch.
What’s your favorite way to cook with corn?
Photo: Romulo Yanes
Summer has officially begun, and with the heat comes a bounty of fresh produce. With wonderful warm weather fruits and vegetables like strawberries, zucchini, cherries, tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, blueberries, corn, and peaches, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But, we want you to tell us:
What summer produce are looking forward to eating the most?
Photo: Kemp Minifie
After reading this week’s Gourmet Live
article about Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi, I was amazed to discover freeze-dried corn, ground to a powder in the blender, is the secret ingredient that gives her Crack Pie its unique flavor. Once you know, you kick yourself for not having been able to instantly identify that familiar burst of sunny sweetness you get with your first bite from a hot buttered ear of corn. It’s a brilliant way to max out everything we love about corn in the first place.
Leave it to the wonderfully-quirky mind of pastry-chef Christina Tosi to look at a bag of freeze-dried corn— marketed these days as a crunchy, low-fat snack—and think, what would happen if I ground this up and added it to cookies, pie fillings, or ice cream? Tosi doesn’t stop at freeze-dried corn: Freeze-dried fruit, such as cherries and blueberries, are also ground and added to her signature “crumbs” which act like little flavor bombs. Think Pop Rocks minus the fizz.
Thanks to Tosi I’ll never look at freeze-dried corn or raspberries, or pineapple the same way again. The possibilities are endless!
When shopping, opt for freeze-dried over dehydrated. The freeze-drying process removes more moisture than dehydration. Tosi warns you in the beginning of her soon to be released cookbook, Momofuko Milk Bar, to keep it dry. If moisture gets to it, she says, “It will make you very sad.”
The full-length feature version of A Corn Story by Kristin Kimball appears in the current issue of Gourmet Live. Download the free Gourmet Live app for this story and more.
Photo: Francesca Yorke/Getty Images
I’m thinking about that as I choose my ears for dinner. In summer’s decline, I crave ears that are as mature as the season feels now, the kind of corn you find for sale on a street corner in Chiapas: ears with hulking kernels that I can sink my teeth into, with a complex corn character. Most farmers here grow the corn that American tastes demand, the extra–sugary hybrid varieties with kernels that pop off into your mouth when you bite. When picked at just the right stage, and eaten very fresh, I guess they deserve their celebrity. But as soon as their sweetness begins to fade, I find there’s nothing to back it up. These modern varieties have gained extra Brix points—the standard measure for sugar content—but lost their substance, the nourishing, nutty depth that makes corn more than a vehicle for salt and butter.
Gourmet Live guest columnist, and New York farmer extraordinaire, Kristin Kimball sings the praises of the controversial yet delectable over-grown grass, and darling of farmers’ markets across the country, corn.
Download the free Gourmet Live app for the full story and more.
From Cornmeal Crepes with Ricotta and Ham to Summer Vegetable Succotash, take advantage of one of the season’s standout veggies with our Crazy for Corn collection, now available in the Gourmet Live Store.
Indulge in a hearty bowl of Kemp’s Creamy Creamless Chile Corn Chowder or fire up the grill and add flamekissed flavor to your next meal with Salvadoran Grilled Corn dressed with cayenne pepper, fresh lime juice, and a dash of sea salt.
Download the free Gourmet Live app then head to the Library to access the Store for our Crazy for Corn collection and more.