Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cornbread Corn Chowder

When corn is in season, I love to get elotes wherever I can find it.  Roasted corn, topped with mayonnaise and butter and lime and chile powder and cheese.  It takes all the healthiness of corn and then completely abolishes it under mounds of fat and chile.  This soup is kinda like that.  Start with veggies, then drown them in half and half.  Also, add some bacon grease, then use cornbread to thicken it. Taste Tester had a sensitive stomach so this was a nice simple version, but at the bottom I suggested some add-ins that would make it pretty awesome.

Cornbread Corn Chowder
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped white onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1/2 cup diced yellow and/or red bell peppers
1/4 tsp each thyme, sage, black pepper, and salt
1 cup half and half
3 cups milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups crumbled cornbread
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp honey
Additional ingredients I didn't use but might next time:
diced green jalapeno--red if I could find them
roasted chicken
potatoes (?) or butternut squash
Bacon grease instead of butter to start, and bacon in it! That's the proper start to a proper chowder.
A cheese--not sure what kind, but manchego is my current favorite
Crema fresca as a top garnish with chives

 First heat the butter, then "roast" the corn in it to slightly brown it before adding the onions and garlic. Once the onion is slightly translucent, add half and half and diced peppers. Add milk and then chicken stock, seasoning.
My cornbread was fresh from the oven and not yet crumbled
Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the crumbled cornbread and mix well.  Simmer for another 10 while mixing, adding worcestershire and honey at the end.  Serve with a small wedge of cornbread.
                                                   Extra tip for free:

I don't know about you, but cornbread batter is better than cold cookie dough. I can't stop tasting it. My cornbread recipe is from the side of the cornmeal bag, but one trick for a perfectly moist cornbread is to preheat a cast iron skillet, then turn off the heat and pour the batter in before baking. 

Whole Grilled Salmon & The Facts Of Life

Wow, I haven't posted since July?  After starting a new job, I guess it got away from me.  Fortunately the change of season means we'll begin having more cookouts and people over, even if our back yard looks like the West end of Mars. (Taste Tester assures me the East enders of Mars is populated with wasteful yuppies who overwater their lawns.)  Unfortunately, we lost a giant elm that shaded most of our back yard to the terrible drought we're having in Texas.

But, since the temperature was a low 97 Sunday, we did dig up a new recipe for whole grilled salmon.  I happened to have a whole salmon in the freezer and Taste Tester wanted to use his smoker, so after dousing the lawn around it to be cautious of sparks, he got it up to 250 degrees and I prepped the fish.

First I had to trim the tail and remove the fins, it was already cleaned when purchased but I rinsed the cavity and dried it as well.  Salt and fresh ground pepper seasoned the inside, then a layer of sliced lemons was added inside.  On the top, I sliced to the bone and inserted half-moon slices of lemon. Too easy.
The garlic-chive-butter was also spread on the outside

Smoker at 250 degrees, a little cooler than it felt outside
 A butter-garlic mix was rubbed on the outside and inside, then it was cooked over low direct heat with minimal smoke for an hour.  Oh, and we used a cedar smoking plank that was soaked for 30 minutes in water.

Butter Garlic Sauce
4 tbsp butter (microwaved till warm, ~45 sec to a minute)
5 cloves crushed garlic (toss into warmed butter)
2-3 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Then the fish was served with this cold sauce:

Lemon Mustard Sauce
1/4 cup mayo
1/8 cup dijon mustard
1/8 cup Greek yogurt
leftover garlic-butter-chive mix from above
more lemon to taste--probably another 1 or 2 tbsp
2 tbsp chopped chives
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

We probably rushed the cooking of this, as our salmon was a little less pink than it should have been, but still delicious. Taste Tester sometimes gets excited and chooses the well-disproven method seen in every sitcom ever written of upping the temperature in order to shorten the cook time. Remember when Tootie tried that on The Facts of Life and burned Blair Warner's birthday cake?  I laughed and laughed.