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Monday, July 22, 2019

Corn "Grits"!

I'm not quite sure how the single May '94 copy of Gourmet magazine came into my hands all those years ago, but I have always held onto this cherished issue filled with various menu suggestions for entertaining, such as A New Orleans Courtyard Dinner, A Pan-Asian Luncheon in Maui, and A Lunch in the Woods. I have grilled marinated London Broil and soaked cherry tomatoes in pepper vodka from the Sailing Picnic menu and have hosted a Croquet Lawn Party (in my apartment) featuring salmon rillettes, lime Southside cocktails, and gorgeous chicken salad tea sandwiches rolled in smoked almonds.

Most recently, I found a tantalizing recipe for Roast Loin of Lamb with rosemary jus and hominy grits tucked into Gourmet's back pages, courtesy of Joe Castro from The English Grill in Louisville. First of all, I used a frozen pork loin we had on hand instead of lamb and it worked beautifully. I decided to skip the accompanying cheese grits and make a side out of fresh corn that was about burst from the refrigerator. I thought of elote, the spicy, grilled Mexican corn preparation loaded with cojita cheese and endeavored to make corn "grits" instead. The adapted recipe for grits is below. With very little tampering, and basically just subbing corn for the grits, I made a new side and suggest you do the same. See my notes/alterations in italics to make these simple, special grits!

Joe Castro's Hominy Cheese Grits
1 slice bacon (Try a teaspoon or so of liquid smoke instead, no fat!)
1 TB minced shallot
1 TB minced celery
2 cups low salt chicken broth (I used about one cup or so, simmered down)
Four ears of corn (strip and cut off kernels)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup crumbled soft mild goat cheese
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 TB unsalted butter (I only used 1/2 TB of butter!)

In a large heavy saucepan, saute bacon, shallot, and celery over moderately hight heat, stirring, until bacon is browned. (Add your corn now to brown too, then add broth and simmer to further cook corn until liquid is reduced to half a cup or so. Blend in the cheeses, thyme, and butter to a creamy consistency--and you're done!) Serves 4.

Add hot sauce if you wish and do enjoy this creamy, cheesy, deee-licious dish!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Linguine with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans

                                               Artwork by Peter

I've been making Trenette col Pesto Genovese for years, toiling over the homemade pesto; boiling and peeling the potatoes; grating the Parmesan myself. Baby and I wanted a simple Sunday lunch recently, over a glass, or two, of a crisp white wine--so I cut to the chase and made the whole thing in about a half an hour. An accompanying, spirited salad composed of just lettuces and a resolute vinaigrette was entirely enterprising!

The actual recipe from Saveur is here. I found a good ready made pesto (or a pre-packaged brand name pesto such as Buitoni might work as well, I imagine) and added in already grated cheese to it. A bag of microwavable haricot vert green beans were ready in a snap. Instead of peeling the potatoes and boiling them, I purchased a can of Gefen whole potatoes, which I think are quite good! The Del Monte variety is also surprising.

So here's what to do: while the water for the 1lb. of pasta gets to a boil, halve the potatoes and broil them with a drizzle of olive oil until nicely browned. Mix the cheese into the pesto sauce. While cooking the pasta in salted water, put the beans in the microwave for the required 2-3 minutes and let sit to cool for a minute or so before handling. Strain the pasta, reserving a 2 tbsp. of the pasta water to bind the sauce, drain the oil from the potatoes and toss all of the ingredients together, adding the delicate potatoes in at the end. Top with more of the grated Parmesan, grind some black pepper to it and done! Here we have something that is truly elegant and yet quite hearty--and was just as delicious as it would have been had I doubled the time and effort. Although our Trenette col Pesto Genovese may be served anytime, I usually only make anything involving wildly evocative basil in the summer.

Do enjoy!