Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Celebrating the End of Summer with Corn

Thursday, September 9th, 2021

We are still eating corn in western Massachusetts. Corn is the perfect late-summer vegetable. Its color reflects the hues of the sun and the goldenrod-filled fields. Its subtly sweet taste reminds us to savor summer’s beauty while we still have it.

Along with most Americans, I believe that fresh corn is best enjoyed boiled or steamed briefly and then slathered with butter, salt, and pepper. In recent years, I have learned to skip the butter, but I keep it on the table for corn-consuming guests.

Unfortunately, I am seldom able to restrain myself from buying more ears of corn than I need at local farm stands. This can be a problem. As readers probably know, corn is ideally cooked and consumed the day on which it is picked.

What’s a cook to do? I tend to cook corn briefly as soon as possible and then save some of the cooked corn in the refrigerator or freezer for future use. I can make corn fritters, corn salad (it goes with lots of other vegetables), corn chowder, and so forth.

I recently used leftover corn in a risotto. I share that recipe below. Risotto can sometimes seem daunting because it requires the cook to pay attention throughout the cooking process.

I handle the challenge of risotto in a couple of ways. First, I invite my guests to come into the kitchen with me to sip cocktails or whatever beverage they choose. That way, I don’t miss out on any scintillating conversation while I stir my risotto.

Second, I remind myself to let the risotto talk to me. The process of making it entails adding liquid a little at a time as needed. If I monitor the bottom of the pan for dryness as I chat with my friends and relatives, this is fairly easy.

The risotto tells me when it is done by creaming. This is a magical process. The cook has to taste the rice grains frequently. Suddenly, the risotto will reach a point at which it still has a little chew but also tastes rich and creamy. I promise, if you keep tasting (the proverbial tough job that somebody has to do!), you’ll know this point when you get there.

Sweet Corn Risotto

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup chopped onion
1-1/4 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine (approximately)
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 cups lightly cooked corn kernels
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (plus a little more if you like)
4 cups simmering chicken or vegetable stock (or as needed; you may use water if you run out of stock)
2 tablespoons diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus a bit more if desired)
a little more chopped parsley or tiny basil leaves for garnish

Instructions:

Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and the oil. Stir in the onion. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the rice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add 1/2 cup of the wine plus the chopped bell pepper and a little of the corn, and stir. Add 1 cup of stock and keep stirring.

As the mixture cooks and dries up, add the remaining stock a bit at a time. Stir frequently but not constantly. Cooking will take quite a while—somewhere between half an hour and 45 minutes. The corn is done with it suddenly tastes creamy.

Just before serving, add the tomatoes; the parsley; the remaining wine, corn, and butter; and the cheese. Serves 6.

Here’s my video for this recipe:

Tinky Makes Corn Risotto

For Email Subscribers

Friday, June 18th, 2021

Dear Subscribers:

I’ll be posting a recipe in a few days. If you have been subscribing via Feedburner, your new posts will look different. They will be coming via Mailchimp (you may get this one BOTH ways), and they may not even say “In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens” at the top. They will be from me, however, and they should arrive. As I may have mentioned, Feedburner is about to go away. So … please be patient, and do continue reading. Happy almost summer!

Tinky

Important Changes to Email Sign Up

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

Dear Readers,

My current email subscription service, Feedburner, tells me it is about to stop sending this blog out via email. I’m in search of a new way to get the word out when I post.

If you currently subscribe to In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens by email or would like to do so, please email me at ourgrandmotherskitchens AT merrylion DOT com. (I’m not putting in the @ or . for fear of spam, but I imagine you can figure them out!) If I don’t hear from you, your subscription will be canceled.

I will notify you when a new email subscription service is up and running. And of course I will NOT share or sell your email address ever.

Please keep reading! I know I don’t post frequently, but I enjoy the feedback. I plan to share a new recipe very soon.

Warmly,

Tinky

Pudding Time Once More

Friday, October 4th, 2019

 

My town’s quinquennial Pudding Festival is fast approaching. This Sunday, October 6, Hawleyites and others will gather to celebrate community, music, and of course PUDDING, our town’s official food ever since 1780.

If you’re anywhere near Hawley, Massachusetts, on Sunday, please join us at 330 East Hawley Road (directions are on our website). We invite anyone who likes to cook to enter our pudding contest. (The prizes are amazing!) Even if you don’t like to cook, you may join us for lunch, the pudding parade, a festive entertainment, and the crowning of the new pudding head. The day is an awful lot of fun.

All income from this day aid the local historical society, the Sons & Daughters of Hawley, in the group’s efforts to restore the Hawley Meeting House, a former church, as a community center.

For more information, please go to www.puddingcontest.com.

Meanwhile, I share with you a pudding recipe from my Pudding Hollow Cookbook. I made it on Wednesday on Mass Appeal. I can’t post the video; my TV was having troubles that day. But you can watch it here.

My other cooking slot was taken by my friend J.D. Fairman of the Pioneer Valley Charcuterie Team. He made BLTs with an awesome tomato jam. (By the way, he has also donated a gift basket of his lovely products as a prize for the pudding contest.) Here is the link to his appearance (along with the recipe!).

Strawberry Pudding

This recipe, from my Canadian friend Denis, shows the versatility of the term “pudding.” Like many puddings, it is actually a sort of cake baked so that it creates its own sauce.

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh strawberries
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the fruit in a medium-size casserole dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sugar over it. In a bowl mix together the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbly. Beat the milk, egg, and vanilla together. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones, and mix just enough to moisten them throughout. Pour this batter over the fruit. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top of the cake appears light brown and crispy. Serves 4 to 6.

Leslie Clark, Our Current Pudding Head. Will she retain her crown?

National Rhubarb Day

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

I couldn’t let National Rhubarb Day pass without a recipe from Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb! This is a short recipe, although it takes a long time to be ready since it has to sit for weeks.

In
fact, it will take an even longer time to be ready NOW because National Rhubarb
Day falls in January, when there is no rhubarb available … unless you want to
import frozen rhubarb, which I have done! (Somehow or other the rhubarb I
freeze at home doesn’t seem to last through the winter.)

My source is Frank Farms in Michigan. The rhubarb costs as much to ship as it does to buy, alas, but it’s good rhubarb.

Of
course, you may certainly wait until rhubarb season to make this simple
cordial. It’s great in goopy desserts like a trifle. Or you may drink it as an
after-dinner liqueur, what my Francophone mother used to call a “digestif.” I
can’t guarantee that it will aid your digestion, but rhubarb is known for its
medicinal properties.

When
I become famous enough, I will work on moving National Rhubarb Day to a more
appropriate time of year. Meanwhile, I assure you that the rhubarb roots are
still there beneath the snow, waiting to be celebrated….

Rhubarb Cordial

Ingredients:

2 cups rhubarb
1 cup sugar
vodka as needed

Instructions:

Place the rhubarb in a 1-quart Mason jar.  Pour the sugar in over it and stir well; then fill the jar with vodka, cover it, and place it in a cool, dark place. Gently shake and/or turn the bottle twice daily until the sugar dissolves.

At the end of 6 weeks, strain out your cordial.  This recipe makes 2 cups, more or less, depending on the juiciness of your rhubarb.