Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Bounty from the Corn Truck!

I was at home yesterday as Wednesday is usually the day I bake all of my cakes and breads for the market. Cyd had the car to get to work, so I decided to mosey up the corner store to see what kind of trouble I could get into. The corn truck had been AWOL for about a week (a staggered corn planting clearly went awry), but happily, it was back! Can I just say how fabulous it is to live in a hamlet comprised of 18 houses, one mini-mart and, of course, a Catholic church, and yet I can walk less than a block from my house and score a pound of green beans, a pound of wax beans, a bunch of new red potatoes, and a half dozen ears of corn, all for about seven bucks? And how equally wonderful is it that veggies that were in the ground in the morning were fashioned into a lovely dinner by nightfall? Dont'cha just love this time of year for that very reason?

My feelings about seasonal produce are that it is often best consumed in its freshest, unadorned, unadulterated state. So for dinner, I kept things very simple. I grilled a few chicken breasts with the house BBQ rub and served it with some of the infamous apricot pepper jelly. Then we had corn on the cob (now that Cyd's teeth are better). Have I ever mentioned how we prepare corn on the cob? Maybe it's old news to some, but I think it's the easiest, best way to make it. Forget the big pot of boiling water--just toss the whole ear, husks and all, right into the microwave and nuke it for 10-12 minutes. Then shuck, butter and season, and devour. Works like a charm! The corn is perfectly steamed, and I think that the corn flavor is less diluted than if you boil it. This is a great tip for this time of year, if I do say so myself.

Finally, the beans and potatoes inspired me to put together some sort of simple salad featuring only those two star players. So I scrubbed the potatoes but left most of the peel on. (I usually peel potatoes, but the new skins are papery-thin...hey, that rhymed!) Then I cut them into big chunks and brought them to boil from cold with a few good pinches of salt in the water. When they were tender, I tossed them into an ice bath to shock them. Then I threw about half of the green and half of the yellow beans into the same pot and boiled them until tender, which took about ten minutes, I'd say. Most people would like their beans crisper than I do, so you might opt for just five minutes. Then I tossed the beans in the ice bath to stop them cooking. Finally, I whipped up a mustard and shallot vinaigrette in my new Waring Pro blender (so in love with that thing!) and dressed the veggies liberally. I thought I was done, but it seemed to need something. There was a zested lemon sitting on the counter from an early baking project, so I squeezed it over the salad, and that was just what it needed to brighten the flavors and give it a little more zing. Simple, but scrumpious! Here's the recipe for the vinaigrette if you want to try, and I fervently admonish you to do so at the earliest convenience!

Mustard and Shallot Vinaigrette

Throw all of the following ingredients into a blender and hit "turbo" until the dressing emulsifies:

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar (or another white-wine-based vinegar)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (preferably,whole-grained)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup olive oil (you'll want extra-virgin for this)
2 large (or 3 smaller) shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2-6 tablespoons fresh herb(s) of your choice--I went with just 2 tablespoons of lime thyme myself, but also consider flat-leaf parsley, dill, basil, tarragon, or what have you

Dress the potatoes and beans with this yummy vinaigrette, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the whole thing, toss gently, and and then chuck the salad into the fridge until dinner time. (It's good at room temperature or cold, but either way, it needs a little time for the dressing to soak in and fully flavor the salad.)

*Post-script: I used the remainder of the green and yellow beans to more dilly beans (that makes nine pints this week!). Perhaps a reminder of that excellent recipe is in order? Done.

1 comment:

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