Freezing Fresh Corn

The very best thing on earth after the corn season is over is fresh Silver Queen sweet corn during the winter. So I’m going to teach you the easy peasy way to stock your freezer. I use it all fall and winter in soups, stews, and as a side starch for dinner.  I froze 2 bushels this past weekend, which made 30 quart bags. So to break it down for the less ambitious, 42 ears of corn will make 8 quart sized bags, just half filled, so that they lay flat to freeze. Yummy…So, step by step, here you go.

Freezing Corn I

Bring large pot of water to boil. Drop ears of corn in. Blanch 2 1/2 minutes.

Freezing Corn II

Using tongs, transfer cooked ears of corn to ice bath for 3 minutes to stop cooking process and cool corn. (Make an ice bath by filling sink partially with cold water, and adding ice.)

Freezing Corn III

Remove ears of corn from ice bath and place on kitchen towels to dry for 10 minutes.

Freezing Corn IV

Remove kernels from cob. I find this easiest to stand an ear on the raised part of a bundt pan, letting the kernels collect in the pan.

Freezing Corn V

I use quart size freezer bags to freeze. I fill each bag about half way, so that I can then press all air out of bags and lay them flat to freeze.

PostScript…you have about 3 weeks left here in ENC to secure your Silver Queen corn and get it frozen! Post to the PostScript…It took me one hour to process 42 ears of corn and get it in the freezer. I used 2 pots of boiling water and each held 8 ears of corn at a time.

Watermelon Blue Cheese Wedge

It’s rip roaring, pure sweating, hot outside good people of the world wide web. Here’s a sweet little way to cool you off. It’s watermelon season. So swap that traditional iceberg for a hunk of melon! I’m not joking…don’t eat and drive!

Salad Watermelon Blue Cheese

1 small watermelon
Chunky blue cheese dressing, bottled or homemade
4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
Crumbled blue cheese
Chopped chives

Cut watermelon in half.
Cut one of the halves into fourths.
Place a watermelon wedge on each plate
Drizzle with dressing.
Sprinkle with bacon pieces.
Sprinkle with crumbled cheese.
Top with chives.

Serves four.

Happy National French Fry Day!

It’s the day of all days to eat your fries! But first…a bit of history. The good ole folks of Belgium have been frying up these potatoes since the 1600’s. According to Wonderopolis, poor Belgian villagers often ate small fried fish they caught in the river. During the winter the river would freeze, making it impossible to fish, and forcing the villagers to find other sources of food. Enter the potato. The villagers turned to this root plant, slicing and frying it much like they prepared their fish. And BOOM; the first French Fry was born. American soldiers stationed in Belgium during WWI were introduced to this scrumptiousness.  And since the official language of the Belgium army was French, the Americans called the delicious fried potatoes “French fries.” Ta Da!

New Appetizer Pimento Cheese Fries

Pimento Cheese Fries

1 recipe of Peg’s Pimento Cheese
1 26 oz bag Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries

Preheat oven to 450°.
Cook fries according to package directions.
After cooked, remove fries from oven.
Turn oven off.
Preheat broiler.
Spoon pimento cheese in small dollops over cooked fries.
Broil 6 inches from broiler for 1 – 2 minutes, until cheese is melted and browned in spots.
Serve right away.

Serves 12.

*Author’s Note: I always cook my fries longer than package directions, checking at 2 minute intervals. I like them crispy, especially when serving as appetizer!

Spring Onion Soup

Sun streaming through the breakfast room window on my little Spring Onion Soup!

Don’t be sad thinking you can’t have your beloved French Onion Soup just because the winter is over! I’ve skinnied it up for you! This comes in under 200 calories for a full cup and a half serving. So sharpen your pencil and take note of this. I’m playing for keeps good people, and cooking in a lively Spring has Sprung manner.

1/2 stick butter
3 sweet onions, sliced
1 cup dry sherry
6 cups water
6 envelopes of Herb Ox granulated beef bouillon*
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t salt
1/2 t dried thyme
6 slices French bread, toasted on both sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper
6 oz shredded Fontina cheese
Snipped chives for garnish

(This is a duo serving; hence the onions are scarce! Don’t want to mislead anyone.)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Add onions and cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft and lightly browned.
Stir in sherry and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Bring water to boil in soup pot.
Add in bouillon and stir to combine.
Add onions to broth pot.
Add Worcestershire, salt, and thyme.
Cover and cook on low 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler.
Ladle soup into 6 ovenproof ramekins.
Top with bread slice.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Broil until cheese melts.
Sprinkle with chives before serving.

*I use sodium free broth whenever I can. Do you know that one serving of canned broth can carry 800+ mg of sodium. SNAP. Who needs that? Am I right!

Topping the soup with toasty French bread slice

And then, the cheese please

Cointreau Vodka Berry Rickey

Adult Beverage Berry Cointreau Rickey

It’s the “freakin’ weekend; baby i’m about to have me some fun!” (Thanks R. Kelly for being a bit R. Rated!) Happy Friday Everyone. It’s a BIG weekend in the collegiate basketball world. So don’t wait for summer to enjoy this berry cocktail. You’re going to muddle the berries and mix them with vodka anyway, so they don’t need to be at their summertime freshest! Enjoy in good health, my friends. It’s beautiful, right?

2 oz Cointreau
1 oz vodka
2 blackberries
2 raspberries
5 mint leaves
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
3 to 4 oz club soda

Muddle berries and mint in bottom of short cocktail glass.
Add crushed ice to rim.
Add Cointreau, lime juice, and top up with club soda.
Stir well.
Garnish with additional berries and mint.

Feta Orecchiette

Enjoy this simple March Madness lunch or dinner while pulling for your favorite team. It’s honestly so straightforward that it’s almost like child’s play. And you can pull it off during half time. Bonus…it’s a winner even if your team falters. And if that happens, then just Eat. Drink. Carry On. And Stay Tuned for Next Year. 

entree-pasta-tomato-feta

1/2 t olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs capers, drained and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs sugar
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved*
1/2 cup snipped fresh basil
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
1/4 cup snipped fresh flat leaf parsley
12 oz dried orecchiette
8 oz crumbled feta

In small skillet heat 1/2 t olive oil until hot.
Add pine nuts.
Cook and stir about 2 minutes until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels.
Season lightly with salt.

For dressing, in large bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, sugar, and garlic.
Stir in cherry tomatoes, basil, chives, and parsley.
Let stand at room temperature to allow flavors to meld.
Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions.
Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
Drain pasta.
In the pasta pot, combine reserved pasta water, pasta, and cherry tomato mixture.
Heat for 2 minutes.
Transfer to serving bowl.
Sprinkle with pine nuts and feta.
Garnish with lemon slices and additional parsley.

*For this particular recipe I used my homemade canned Italian tomatoes rather than the cherry tomatoes indicated in the recipe. This is only due to the fact that I am slightly addicted to them! But good quality cherry tomatoes are available at your local grocery all year, and this dish is excellent using them!

Adapted from 100 Best Tomato Recipes by Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications, 2016.

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

the don…It’s supposed to get cold and maybe even snow this weekend. I’ll go to the grocery if you’ll whip up a pot of that yummy chicken rice soup for the grands and me! My happy reply…dealeo! I’m here as the CFO (Chief Female Officer) of Forest Hills just helping to Empower Your Culinary Dreams, while offering a little nod to International Women’s Day.

soup-cream-of-chicken-and-wild-rice

Here’s What You’ll Need:
1 Tbs olive oil
4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
5 stalks celery, sliced
5 carrots, sliced
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 bay leaves
1 t chopped dill
1 t celery seed
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup quick cooking wild rice
Breast meat of rotisserie chicken, chopped
Cup fat free sour cream
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

And Here’s How You Do It:
Heat oil in soup pot.
Add mushrooms, celery, carrots, and onion.
Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add flour, and all other seasonings and stir until incorporated, about a minute.
Add broth, and bring to a boil.
Add rice, and reduce to simmer.
Cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in chicken, sour cream, and parsley.
Cook on medium 5 minutes, stirring half way through time.
Turn heat off, leaving pot on hot eye.
Stir again, and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Adapted from Cooking Light.
Serves 6.
380 calories for 2 cup serving.