Succotash

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Danielle spent a recent Saturday at the U.S. Botanic Garden teaching visitors about succotash and handing out samples and recipes. A Native American food, succotash finds it’s way on to many Thanksgiving tables and was a staple for families during the Depression. Traditional succotash will often include tomatoes, sweet peppers and bacon. The name originated in Narragansett, and translates from the Algonquin Indian language meaning “broken corn kernels.” Butter beans, or lima beans as they are often referenced, are grown throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Carolinas and harvested in August and September. Corn is cultivated copiously all across the United States, yet Americans are among the few cultures who eat sweet corn on the cob, which also originated with Native American tribes.

 

1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)

1 cup fresh butter beans (or lima)

½  medium-size sweet onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped dill (or 1 teaspoon dried) – optional

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

 

Cut the kernels off the cobs into a large bowl. In a medium-sized pot, cover the butter beans with water and bring to a low boil. Cook until beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. While beans are cooking, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the onion. Cook until it becomes fragrant and a bit soft, about 2 minutes. Add the corn and stir well, then add the butter beans. Cook another few minutes until corn is tender and then add the cream. Reduce heat to very low and let the cream soak up into the mixture, add the dill. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 2.

 

 

 

 


Rice Salad with Corn, Blueberries and Almonds

A tangy and nutty salad complimented by the pop of sweet blueberries. Sure to become a summer favorite. Also a great way to use up leftover rice, quinoa or any whole grains you have on hand.

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1 C brown rice, or a whole-grain rice blend (such as Lundberg)

¼ C white quinoa

½ C red onion, chopped small

2 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob (raw)

½ pint blueberries

¼ C sliced almonds, toasted

¼ C fresh parsley, chopped

 

Dressing

½ garlic clove, minced

Juice of ½ – 1 lemon (about 4 teaspoons)

2 t Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 t sugar

½ – 1 t curry powder

¼ C olive oil

 

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

 

Do ahead: Cook the rice and quinoa according to package directions. Let cool, or if using leftovers from the refrigerator, bring them to room temperature.

 

Make the dressing: Whisk garlic, lemon juice, sugar and curry powder together in a small bowl to combine. Whisking constantly, gradually add the oil until emulsified; season with salt and pepper.

 

In a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the red onion. Add the raw kernels and stir well. Cook covered about 2-3 minutes until kernels are soft but not mushy. Add the blueberries, remove from heat and stir. Add the cooked rice, quinoa and dressing. Mix well, add the almonds and parsley; season with salt and pepper (and more curry powder if you wish). Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.


Chicken Pot Pie Soup

soupAn old favorite, demoed years ago and back by popular demand.

4 puff pastry shells
4 T butter
1 C diced onion
3/4 C diced celery
3/4 C diced carrots
1½ C diced potatoes
1½ t poultry seasoning
1/4 t white pepper
½ salt
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 C flour
4 C chicken broth, preferably home-made
2 T dry sherry
2 C cooked chicken
½ C corn kernels
½ C peas
1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley

Bake puff pastry shells according to directions; set aside. In a large pot, melt butter and add diced vegetables; cover and sweat 10 minutes. Add seasonings; Whisk in flour, cook 2-3 minutes; slowly add broth, stirring mixture to incormporate and prevent flour from clumping. Add sherry; cook soup 15 minutes until thickened. Add chicken, corn, peas and let these simmer about three minutes until hot. Before serving, stir in heavy cream and parsley. Serve in large bowls, each serving topped with a puff pastry shell.


Mexican-Inspired Quinoa Casserole

quinoaQuinoa is one of those slightly mysterious ingredients that nonetheless is becoming a staple in America’s kitchens. Hailing from its native Peru, quinoa’s tiny seed is packed with complete protein, anti-oxidants, fiber, anti-inflamatory agents, a whole range of essential enzymes, while still gluten and fat free. The grain, or seed, rinsed first to extract the bitter-tasting film it naturally secretes – then toasted dry and finally cooked until it corkscrews like a miniature fiddlehead – has a nutty, cereal-like flavor that becomes a canvas for anything from spicy hot peppers to sweet strawberries and everything in between. This dish borrows flavors from another South American country – Mexico. You don’t need much quinoa – here a scant half-cup, loaded with beans and corn and other ingredients, is transformed into a hearty dish that will fill the bellies of six to eight diners. Feeding the multitudes you might say. Danielle demoed this as part of a class at Brookside and another at US Botanic Garden in February 2015 when our topic was “hearty casseroles.” What a great turnout on a couple of very cold days.

½ C quinoa, cooked in 1 C vegetable broth or water (see below)
1 ½ C frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 T olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 C frozen corn
5-6 scallions, trimmed and sliced, white and green parts
½ C salsa – your favorite brand, mild, medium or hot
1 ½ T chili powder or chili seasoning
2 t oregano (Mexican preferred)
1 T fresh lime juice
1 ½ C shredded Mexican cheese blend, Fiesta blend or Cheddar – divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. When the quinoa is cooked, transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Put the hash browns in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the hash browns to the bowl with the quinoa.

In a medium-sized skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the diced bell peppers. Sauté until tender crisp, about 3 minutes. Add them into the bowl, along with the black beans, corn, sliced scallions, salsa, chili powder and oregano. Mix well, add the lime juice and ¾ cup of the shredded cheese. Mix well again. Transfer the mixture to an 8×8 baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with (non-stick) aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes, until cheese has melted. Serves 6.

Cooking Quinoa

For the best flavor and fluffiest texture, dry-toast the quinoa before adding the water: rinse the quinoa according to the package directions, then put it in a medium pot without oil or butter. Let the grains dry out a bit and toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the water, bring to a boil and cover with a lid. Simmer  10-15 minutes-do not stir the quinoa while it is cooking. This will allow it to cook evenly and steam holes to form. The quinoa is cooked when you see the grains form a little white spiral tail. This is the outer germ of the grain that twists as it cooks, but stays attached to the kernel.


Fresh Corn Polenta with Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Puree

corn polentaThis is an eye-popping dish, the bright yellow polenta served in a pool of red. To turn it into a main course, top with grilled veggie, grilled fish or buffalo mozzarella sliced and finished with ribboned basil. For a dairy-free version of the polenta, use three tablespoons olive oil and omit the butter. The recipe is adapted from Jacques Pepin. We demoed it at U.S. Botanic Garden August 15, 2014. Read More


Corn Saute with Ginger, Lime and Cilantro

corn sauteThis is a great example of the whole being so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s difficult to put into words just how good this little saute is – the combination of sweet corn with the ginger and garlic – don’t skimp on these – and the heat of the serrano – you can go heavier on that if you wish – and the little bit of lime come together in an almost transcendent way. You can serve this with tortilla chips, combine it with a couple of spoonfuls of Mexican crema, or use it as a kind of salsa, on top of grilled rockfish or sword, which is how Adrienne served it last week. As delicious as the fish was, the saute was far and away the star of the show. Adapted from Fine Cooking. Adrienne will demo this at US Botanic Garden Friday August 15, 2014. Read More


Corn, Edamame and Bell Pepper Salad

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What I love about this salad is the colors – green and orange and yellow – so summery, so fresh, so appetizing. They are colors you want to wear all summer to stay cool and feel beautiful. With the zing of lime and a touch of herbs – use mint if you don’t like cilantro, or add basil if that’s what you’ve got too much of – it’s about the most refreshing thing you’ll eat. Serve with a rose or better yet a margarita, if, like me, you think a really good drink adds to the right meal. I like this with toasted naan.  Oh, and if you have to have protein, try something grilled, but keep it simple.  This salad doesn’t want crowding. You can find cooked, slightly salted edamame beans in 8 oz plastic tubs in the produce aisle of your supermarket. Or use frozen and cook it yourself. Adrienne demoed this for Brookside June 17, 2014, and again at USBG June 18, 2014. Serves two as a light main course, four sides. Read More