Corn Chowder

Dear Young Singleton,

Perhaps you came across this page, hoping to find some nekid pics of Liz Lemon.  Sorry to disappoint, but while you’re here, can we talk about a couple things?  Like, what not to say to girls¹.  I can’t exactly tell you what to say, but if you avoid the following, you may be able to avoid another night alone Googling ‘What’s under Liz’s shirt.’

1) Are you really going to wear that?

I was, until you looked at me like I was rolling around in cheese. Now I hate clothes. All the clothes.

2) Don’t you have enough shoes?

THERE ARE NEVER ENOUGH SHOES! (wipes drool from side of mouth)

3) Are there going to be any guys there?

Yes. It’s actually brothel. And you’re so not invited.

4) You should definitely get a gym membership.

Now I’m just going to spite-eat these cookies while picturing your face melting off. In yoga pants of course.

5) Are you going to eat all of that?

Yes, and so should you. It’s delicious. Asshole.

Continue Reading for Recipe

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Wheatberry, Corn, Red Onion, Tomato and Arugula Salad

If you’re like me, this may be one of the first times you’ve heard of wheatberries.

It’s ok.  It’s not your fault.

If I repeat that ten more times will we have a moment?

I just don’t want to be Robin Williams.  The body hair alone will give me a complex.

Body hair aside (gross), I’ve never heard of wheatberries until I started perusing creeping the aisles of Whole Foods.

It’s becoming an odd hobby of mine, looking at items in a store that I can afford little in.  And when I got to the “whole grains,” section I learned that I also didn’t know about the majority of what they had in stock.

Spelt. (That just sounds wrong.)

Kamut. (What?)

Millet. (Isn’t that for birds?)

Teff. (No seriously, this one sounds the worst of them all)

You get the point.

I honestly have never seen some of the items, nor knew how to use them in dishes.  I’ve dabbled with quinoa, and I love white whole wheat flour, but actual, “ancient grains?” Clueless.

So I got brave. I grabbed the most innocent sounding of them all: wheatberries.

What, that doesn’t sound innocent to you?

Perv.

I kid, I kid.

What I was actually going to do with the wheatberries, kind of threw me for a loop.

I thought about it on the drive home.  Nothing.

I thought about it while I brushed our cats. Again, nothing. And, I got clawed.

I thought about it while prepping for an experiment, and realized, I shouldn’t be doing that.

So last night, I decided I should just go for it.

I made a salad.  (How anti-climactic.)

The wheatberries soaked up the lovely lime and balsamic dressing, and added an interesting, but welcomed chewy texture.  Raw, fresh picked corn, sweet red onion and juicy, almost bursting with ripeness, tomatoes are some of my favorite components of a “summer salad.”  And with it still being summer (although lately it hasn’t felt like it), I figured why not celebrate these flavors before winter comes with its sad sad warehouse veg that makes me wonder why supermarkets even supply produce that tastes like that.  Paired with a peppery bite from arugula, this dish made me incredibly happy to welcome Roo back from 8th Grade Parent/Teacher night with something refreshing and somewhat hearty.

Serves Two Generously

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients

For the salad

Half cup wheatberries, cooked according to package’s instructions

One ear of raw fresh sweet corn, with the kernels cut off (you can use grilled, or boiled corn, if the corn in your area isn’t very sweet)

One large beefsteak tomato, cut in half, then into quarter slices (or whatever fresh tomatoes you have on hand)

Half a large red onion, sliced thinly

Two to three big handfuls of arugula, washed and dried well

For the Dressing

Juice from 2 limes

2 tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon agave (or maple syrup)

1 large garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons good olive oil (I used extra virgin)

Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

A salad spinner (if you have it)

A sharp knife

A small mixing bowl (to whisk your dressing)

A whisk (or a fork will do)

Two plates (to plate your salad with)

Cook your wheatberries according to directions on the package.

While they’re cooking, take your washed and dried arugula and create the first layer of your salad on the two plates.  Scatter the tomatoes, slices of red onion and kernels of corn about on top.

When the wheatberries have finished cooking, drain them, and allow them to cool.

While they cool, add all the ingredients of the dressing in a small mixing bowl.  Whisk them together until combined.

By now your wheatberries have hopefully cooled.  Add a quarter to one third of a cup of wheatberries on top of the arugula, per person.

Dress the salad and serve.

Green Bean Succotash

This is Roo’s last week of teaching at the school.  Needless to say, I’m jealous that he’ll have the summer off to do what he likes while I commute an hour to work everyday; hostage to fluorescent lighting and windows that don’t open.  He’s said that he’s going to get another job (working part time waiting tables), but I have my doubts.  Well, the green eyed jealous beast (think Yeti, because hairy = more terrifying) that looms inside me has its doubts.

I’ve never been jealous of Roo’s job until now, especially after my boss and I planned out my schedule this week, which is always set six weeks in advance.  As of today, I’m booked till the end of July.  Wait, what happened!?

And with the feeling that summer is slipping through my fingers (even though it has just begun), I’ve been scooping up seasonal items at our local vegetable stand, like it’s the end of the world.  Or, the end of summer produce.

The other day they were trying to get all their asparagus sold before the end of Saturday (because they’re closed on Sunday) and offered 2 bunches for $1. I almost felt guilty buying four bunches, but, the moment passed after I yanked out two trays of roasted asparagus with parmesan cheese and lemon zest out of the oven.  It tasted too good to feel bad.

This week they were doing the same with their sweet corn.  Five for $1.  And it’s good!  It’s always good!

So with intentions of only stopping by to say “hi,” to Johnny D himself, and pick up a tomato or two (who am I kidding, I knew I can never leave that place with just one tomato), I left the store with two heavy bags of produce.  And like Gollum, I sat on the floor of our kitchen, admiring my bounty and shooing the cats away whenever they neared (they’re obsessed with greens…our cats are weird).

There were so many possibilities of what dishes I could make with the pounds of veg I purchased.  But I knew with the many, many ears of corn, I had to make succotash.

“Ew, succotash?” is what my Dad replied when I told him what I was making for dinner.   And to think about it, “Ew, succotash?” is probably how a lot of people feel, because of lima beans.  I’ll admit it, I’ve never had succotash before because of the lima bean factor.  The dish was pigeon-holed with others that contained things like okra and natto.

It wasn’t until I read Cooking for Mr. Latte and learned that the author had made succotash with green beans, that I decided to give it a try.  It had all the components I liked: green beans, corn and thyme; although I have never tried them together.  Instead of chives, I threw in an onion to brown in the olive oil.  There was an option of adding goat cheese to the dish, but I love the flavors just the way they are.  The thyme pairs really well with the sweet corn and I didn’t want to take away from that.  It’s a great side to grilled chicken, and I loved having it with some vine ripened tomatoes on the side.

Adapted from Cooking for Mr. Latte

A generous side dish for two (probably three)

Ingredients

Two ears of corn

Two large handfuls of green beans

One large onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme

Two tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

One large pot

A large saute pan

A sharp knife

A spatula/tongs

A large bowl filled halfway with water and about a tray (12) of ice cubes

Fill a large pot with water and season with salt.  Bring it to a roaring boil.  Add the corn and boil for about two minutes.  Remove the corn from the water and add the green beans.  Boil the green beans for about four minutes.  Remove the green beans and plunge them into the ice water bath.  Remove the green beans from the ice water bath and set them aside with the corn.

Cut the corn from the corn cobs.  Cut the green beans into a half inch pieces (it doesn’t have to be exact, just small enough to easily eat).

Add the olive oil to the saute pan and set it on a burner on medium heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the diced onion.  Move the diced onion around the saute pan with the spatula, occasionally, until they become golden brown.  Add the thyme and stir into the onions until fragrant, about a thirty seconds.  Add the corn and green beans and stir in with the diced onion.  I like to cook the ingredients from this point for about three minutes, so that they are completely heated through.  However, if you taste the corn (and green beans) and it isn’t soft enough to your liking, keep stirring until it is.  Add salt to taste.

Remove from heat and add pepper to taste.