It's getting colder and rainier here in the Pacific Northwest, but the corn is still coming in strong. Eight more ears for week 17 of the CSA. I've made corn chowder before and love it, but seeing as the poblano plants in our garden were finally starting to ripen, we felt like something with a little more south-of-the-border flair. I chose this recipe that I'd cut out of a magazine a few years ago because it called specifically for poblanos and I just liked all the toppings. It's very prep-intensive, but the actual cooking part is very quick.
I would like to point out that I tried something new this week: liver. We had a package of beef liver that came with our quarter of cow. I followed a Julia Child (i.e., traditional) recipe for liver and onions. The raw meat smelled weird, but I pressed on. After lightly dredging the pieces of liver in flour, salt, and pepper, I pan fried them in a mixture of butter and oil for about a minute on each side, then I added caramelized onions, vermouth, and broth to make a quick pan sauce. I served it on a platter and garnished with parsley. I made mashed potatoes, cucumber sauteed in butter, and poured glasses of red wine. The verdict? It looked great, but it tasted AWFUL. I ate two bites and wanted to puke. Never again...::shudders::...never again.
Have you ever tried liver? What did you think?
My mom hates liver because she used to have to eat it every Tuesday growing up, so she never served it to us as kids, but my dad likes it. I guess I just had to try it for myself and decide what I thought of it. I really liked the idea of using the whole cow, so I was really hoping I would like it. But unfortunately I couldn't get past the texture and taste, and it reminded me a little too much of the tissue samples I process at work. Oh well, live and learn, right?
CSA Week 17:
In the box: 1/2 pound spinach, 2 cucumbers, 1 bunch carrots, 1.5 pounds Heirloom tomatoes, 8 ears corn, 2 pounds White Rose potatoes, 1 yellow watermelon, 2 pounds Abate Fatal pears
I made a pot of delicious pumpkin oatmeal for Joe, Jamie, and Doug for breakfast, but I had to open a huge can of pumpkin to do it. So, later in the week I made some delicious pumpkin polenta with spinach and white beans using the spinach from the CSA, and a Rachael Ray recipe. This recipe also has a version that uses chorizo and black beans that I've already blogged about.
The cucumbers were sauteed with butter and the potatoes became mashed potatoes - side dishes for the liver fiasco I mentioned above.
I made a colorful appetizer to nibble on while cooking dinner one night using the heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper:
We brought the watermelon to a friend's BBQ and ate the pears for snacks throughout the week.
The carrots are still in the fridge so they will be included with week 18.
Corn and Salsa Tortilla Soup
adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray - August 2008
Note: I think a great variation to try next time would be to grill the corn, peppers, and onion first, then add them to the soup.
3 poblano chiles
6 corn tortillas, halved then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick strips
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 ears fresh corn, kernels scraped from the cob (no need to boil first), or two 10-ounce boxes frozen corn kernels
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) vegetable broth
One 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced or crushed tomatoes
1 avocado, chopped
1 lime, quartered
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1/4 cup sour cream (optional, we skipped it)
Preheat the broiler. Place the poblanos on a baking sheet and broil until blackened, about 10 minutes, turning partway through. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover. Check them after about 5 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel, seed, and chop them.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. On a large baking sheet, toss the tortilla strips with one tablespoon of the oil and the cumin. Spread them out into a single layer on the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, then sprinkle with salt. Set aside, and try not to munch on too many.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet (a dutch oven would work too), heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the corn, cook for about 10-12 minutes, until looking charred around the edges. Next add the red onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes more, until the onion is softened. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and poblanos. Bring to a boil to warm everything through and cook the tomatoes a bit. Now it's ready whenever you are.
Ladle the soup into bowls, top with tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro, sour cream if using, and a squeeze of lime juice. Grated cheddar cheese would also be great.