Archive for July, 2012

is it really corn season?

image from Discover Magazine online

Isn’t it early for corn, or am I just becoming an old person???  Already several dinners have simply been multiple ears of corn, just barely boiled.  It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

I like the corn from Martin’s, or Egers.  But really, yellow, white or bi-color, I haven’t run into a bad ear of corn yet.

Read a little more about the genetics of corn here.  The corn in the picture above is real.

food to-do’s:

OK, it’s just way too hot for me to want to move around.  However, if you are freshly showered and wanting to do something other than wilt on your back porch, check out these options over the next month or so:

Monday July 23rd – Acres Co-op Meeting at the Chamber of Commerce, 1 Front Street (7pm).  This might sadly be a dissolution meeting, but as one of the board members said, it could be an opportunity to continue the discussion on the availability of good food in Hudson. (update: Co-op wasn’t dissolved!)

Thursday July 26th – Eat (and Drink) for Books – Support the Library at various restaurants in Hudson.  Loads of restaurants in town are participating – just look for the balloons out front and mention you are there to Eat for Books.  It’s a fabulous idea!

Saturday July 28th – Friends of the Farmer Festival at Copake Country Club in Copake Lake.  For those of you with the $$, there’s a Hootenanny fundraiser the night before.  Come on – don’t you want to say that you’ve been to a hootenanny???

Saturday July 28th (I think) – the Annual Tivoli Pie Contest on Tivoli Yard Sale day.  There is never any advance p.r. – you just have to know that the Annual Tivoli Yard Sale day is the last Saturday of July, and the Pie Contest happens on the front lawn of Tivoli Bread & Baking.  I hope.  I might just be spreading rumors.  Show up with a fork in your back pocket, just in case, at 12 noon.  There might be pie.

Sunday July 29th – the Austerlitz Historical Society 2012 Blueberry Festival in Old Austerlitz.  Eat. More. Blueberries.

(update: how did I miss this?)

Monday August 6th – Taste of Hudson Valley Bounty dinner – great opportunity to taste food from local farms prepared by local chefs

Next month is county fair month: the Dutchess County Fair August 21-26 and the Columbia County Fair August 29 – September 3.  You know you are going there to eat fried things.

And then there will be Taste of Hudson…

Well.  This blows all ideas of eating lightly and simply sweating off the pounds, doesn’t it?

of the moment: cherries

Strawberry season just flew right by me – as I suppose it does every year.  Even though I had great plans for strawberry icebox cake and strawberries with sabayon and strawberry ice cream, I didn’t do anything fancy with the strawberries that I ate: just cut in half, sprinkled with a small spoon of sugar and a spoon of balsamic and ladled over vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt.  Cherries came right after and I was doing the same thing:

And then, I remembered clafouti.  I remembered clafouti and it came out of my mouth as a little song (think the Swiss yodel of Ricola).  So while I am loath to turn on the oven during a heatwave, I had a craving to quell.

Cherry Clafoutifrom The Gourmet Cookbook

  • 1 1/4 pounds cherries (sour cherries if you have them)
  • 1/2 c plus 1 T granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 c milk (recipe calls for whole, I usually use 1 or 2%)
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 T kirsch
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/8 t almond extract

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish (I usually forget to do this and it comes out alright).

Toss cherries with 1 T sugar and spread evenly in baking dish.

Combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, butter, kirsch, extracts and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a blender and blend until smooth (or, whisk vigorously).  Pour batter over cherries.

Bake clafouti until puffed and golden, 35 to 45  minutes.

Cool slightly on a rack (clafouti will sink as it cools) and serve warm, or room temperature.

*I usually halve the sugar and find that this eggy cake still tastes de-lish.

*I make this the traditional (and easier) French way and don’t pit the cherries.  Just warn everyone at the table!

Finished result will look something like this:

While many feel it’s best at room temperature, I cannot wait that long.  Remember that those cherries will still be 300 degrees or so even when you think the cake is cool enough.  Trust me.

***

I’m also making cherry jam this season.  I’m not into canning – just not that brave – so I make refrigerator jam.  It always lasts longer than the recipe says and that’s long enough for me.   In the past I’ve followed David Lebovitz’s No Recipe Cherry Jam, but this year I was inspired by Mark Bittman’s column in the NY Times Magazine on stone fruit.

Mark Bittman’s The Family Stone / In a Saucepan / Jam

  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 1/2 pounds halved fruit (must remove pits or pay a lot of dental bills)

Put all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil.  When sugar dissolves, reduce heat and cook until liquid is thick and clear; stir frequently until it darkens, 15-20 minutes.  Cool completely and serve (baguette, butter & jam anyone?).

It’s as easy as that – which is why I consider that man on a higher plane.

***

Up next: blueberries.  Yum.

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