End of the Season Creamed Corn

By some stroke of luck (or creepy global warming phenomenon) we are still eating corn.  It's almost the end of September and there are still fresh corn cobs in my kitchen.
I spoke to the farmer I buy my corn from at the market - yeah, like we're so tight.  We 'talk' and everything - vacations, sky, weather - and he told me that we might (and that's a big MIGHT) get another week but it's hard to say.  So I decided to take what might well be the last of my fresh corn and get all creamy with it.  It's going in my freezer.  I'll super appreciate this in February when I'm making Shepherd's Pie or something... it's going to be amazing.
We've had a good run with corn this year.  I've put it in everything.  We've been consistently going through about 1 1/2 dozen cobs of fresh corn a week.  Sometimes that's all we have for a meal - mostly because nobody cooked anything and the fridge is empty and the corn is pretty easy to get ready in about, Oh, say 5 minutes or so.  This kind of overkill has happened before.  I tend to get these obsessions.  Last year I was obsessed with Green Beans.  I grew them (still do) and bought them as well.  I curried them.  I make them salad.  I almost pickled them (some people put their foot down at that one).  They went into pasta, potatoes and rice.  They got parboiled and tossed in butter then sprinkled with salt.  They got served with Sausage and Tomato with parmesan on top.  Green beans and bacon is a combination created by the gods.  I think you get the idea.  Everything I made seemed to inspire the addition of green beans.

This year it's Corn... and eggplant.  Never in combination however.  I've now successfully grown my own eggplant.  One Eggplant.  One baby that I've saved from the raccoons and squirrels.  They found every other eggplant except for this one and I think that by the time it was discovered it was too big and heavy for them to get... or whatever... I don't know if there is anything too big and heavy for raccoons.  Either way, it's still hanging to the plant for all it's worth.  It's so sacred to me right now that I've afraid to pick it.  I've done lots of other things with eggplant over the last couple of months it's still a distant second when compared with my corn obsession.

This is probably the last hurrah.  And what a hurrah it is.  This was so easy.  Too easy almost.  It's so easy that you wonder why you didn't try this before.  You wonder why you ever bought canned creamed corn - which D used to be obsessed with BTW.  This might just inspire him too - It gets you thinking about all of the things that would go well alongside.  I bought a chicken just because the thought of a well roasted chicken, dripping with juice and caramelized, crispy skin sounded like just the thing to have with creamed corn.  The truth is that there are about 3 freezer bags of creamed corn in my freezer now.  The new 'creme de la creme' of my freezer hoard.  If creamed corn inspires this kind of eloquence from me now, in September (!), just imagine what my reaction will be come February.

Creamed Corn adapted from Alton Brown@FoodNetwork
yield: about 3 - 3 1/2 cups or about 4 cans worth

8 ears of fresh corn
1/2 onion, diced small
3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped
2 tbsp cornmeal
1 cup cream
dash of pepper sauce or cayenne (optional)
pinch or two of parmesan cheese (optional)

De-Kernel each cob of corn: I usually use an angel food cake tin.  Place the top of the cob in the hole of the baking tin.  Hold the stem of the cob and cut down each side.  Use a sharp knife and the kernels will come away easily.  Run the blunt edge of the knife back down over each cob scraping off any left back flesh or juice.
Set the corn aside.
Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat.
Add in the butter, salt and the onion.  Cook just until the onion begins to get transparent.  Add in the corn (if you need to add a little more butter here don't sweat it) and stir well.  Heat for about 5 - 8 minutes or so, turning down the heat a little if needed.  The corn should be well coated with butter and the colour will be a little brighter.
Add in the honey, turmeric, herbs and cornmeal and mix well.  Cook for another 4 minutes.
Add in the Cream and turn the heat down to low.
Add in some pepper sauce and a pinch of parmesan if you wish.
Check the taste and adjust if necessary.
Cook on very low heat for another 15 - 20 minutes.
Cool slightly and serve.  (or cool completely and pour into freezer bags - smallish portions in each bag - to save for a very lucky winter day)

In light of my week...

Because this week has brought with it a lot more than I had originally bargained for...

Because I have an awesome recipe for homemade creamed corn that took almost no time to prepare and I didn't get one single picture of it and I'm not sure I'll see corn again until next August (but I'm keeping my fingers crossed)...

Because sometimes the only thing that cheers me up is the thought that I can sit for a few minutes in the park, looking at the farmer's stalls and watch my kids eat and play...

Life is short... Breath Deeply and Live it Well.

Beef and Orzo Bake

The difficulty that I have when it comes to canning is multi-tasking.  Normally I'm a decent multi-tasker.  Not great.  Not twenty-balls-in-the-air kind of multi-tasking but maybe five balls.  The strange thing is when I start canning the ability to multi-task gets flung out the window and I'm completely and utterly enveloped, distracted and obsessed with the process going on right in front of me.
I don't eat.
I don't talk.
I don't listen to music (that's a big one).
I don't answer the phone (not so big).
I don't cook.
This leaves certain other people who live in the same house as I do in a bit of difficulty.  First problem: Although I'm not the only person who cooks here, I am the primary person.  Things just get thrown off when I'm not kind of delegating at the very least.  Second Problem:  Canning takes up space, both counter and stove and even oven sometimes.  In order to eat food must be prepared - even if it's just toast - and I'm in the way, standing, stirring, staring into the pot enraptured by the bubbles.
A couple of weeks ago, while doing the tomatoes, I didn't eat for the whole day.  Finally, at about 8pm,  it was just kid #2 and I.  I broke my roll and walked out to pick up a pizza and bring it home.  Kid #2 ate more pizza than I'd even seen him eat before and I'm not too embarrassed to tell you that I ate almost a whole medium pizza by myself.  That's just how it gets.  Today I'm finishing up some blueberry and gooseberry jam and making some tomatillo salsa.  Uh Oh.
I've determined to try to improve.  If I can prepare ahead then, even if I don't eat, the rest of the clan can  fill their belly's with something good.  This recipe is a great make ahead because it actually improves with age.  It's a kind of mishmash of ingredients but it ended up being 'interesting' enough for the adults and 'not interesting' enough for the kids.

I'm not sure where your multi-tasking limit is.  I'm learning.  Learning limits is hard and sometimes painful.  When it comes to the food stuff though this dish made things a lot less painful.  I'm going to go now and finish up some jars now and all the while I'll be trying to get my brain off the idea that a couple of more bushels of tomatoes would get me loads of ketchup and salsa for the year (what is wrong with me - two weeks ago I never wanted to see jars and tomatoes and funnels again).  The Fam will be chowing down on this awesome food.  Happy All Around.

Beef and Orzo Bake adapted from BBC GoodFood Magazine
serves 4 - 6

1 lb stewing beef (or lamb which would be even better)
2-3 tbsp lemon juice (I used one lemon)
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 heaping tbsp grainy mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 good pinches of pepper
2 cinnamon sticks about 2 - 3 inches long each (do not use ground cinnamon for this one)
1/2 cup onion, thickly sliced
3 cloves garlic, quartered
1 1/2 red pepper, thickly sliced
1/2 tsp (1 good pinch) saffron
1/3 cup ketchup
3 cups fresh tomato, chopped
2 cups chard, chopped
1 2/3 cup orzo
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a heavy baking dish - one that has a lid -  (I used one of the Le Creuset Dutch oven thingy's - I got it from a yard sale) add the beef, lemon, Worcestershire, Honey, grainy mustard, salt, pepper, cinnamon sticks, onion and garlic.  Mix so that the beef is well coated.  Cover and roast for about 30 minutes - everything should be bubbling well and smell great.
Remove from the oven.
Add in the the rest of the ingredients but save half of the parmesan.  Again, mix well so that the orzo is mixed into everything and the liquid should cover everything.
Cover and bake again for 15 minutes.  Remove the cover, sprinkle the other half of the parmesan on top and bake uncovered for another 15 - 20 minutes.  Test to make sure that the orzo is done.  It should be bubbly and the cheese just browning.
Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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