Friday, July 29, 2011

Turn that Beautiful August Corn into Corn Soup!

Corn Soup P Serves: 8
Combine the creaminess of pureed fresh corn, sweet onions and potato, add the bite of sautéed corn kernels and slivered shitake mushrooms and you have a spectacular summer soup. The flavors of this soup are enhanced when eaten cold so make this soup a day in advance and enjoy having one less thing to do when your company comes.
Prep time: 30 min.  Cooking time: 75 min. Chill overnight
10 ears fresh corn-shucked
2 large sweet onions-peeled and thinly sliced
6 tablespoons pareve margarine
2 teaspoons sugar
1 large Yukon Gold potato-peeled and diced
½ cup dry white wine
2 sprigs thyme
1 pound shitake mushrooms-stemmed
1 bunch chives-minced
Large soup pot with cover
Long handles tongs
Fine strainer
Large mixing bowl
Medium saucepan with cover
Medium skillet
Electric food processor
Slotted spoon

  1. Fill large soup pot with 12 cups of water. Bring water to a boil and add corn to pot. Cover and boil 5 minutes. Using long handled tongs, remove corn from pot and set aside to cool. Reserve cooking water. When corn is cool enough to handle, cut off all the kernels and set them aside. Place cobs back into cooking water, cover pot, and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain liquid into mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons pareve margarine in saucepan. Add sliced onions and stir until onions are coated with melted margarine. Cover saucepan and cook over medium heat until onions have softened-about 10 minutes. Remove cover and add sugar. Stir well and cook until onions have caramelized and turned golden brown.
  3. Remove one cup of corn kernels from the rest and set them aside. Pour remaining corn, diced potato, caramelized onions, and wine to the soup pot. Simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Add strained corn broth and thyme to this mixture. Cover pot and simmer until potatoes are tender-about 15 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs. Let corn soup cool about 15 minutes before pureeing it.
  4. Using the steel knife in a processor, puree corn soup two cups at a time until it is very smooth. Pour puree into a large container. Repeat this action until all the soup has been pureed. Add salt, ¼ teaspoon at a time, until you are happy with the taste.  Set soup aside.
  5. Melt 1 tablespoon pareve margarine in saucepan (the one in which you cooked the onions is fine). Sauté reserved cup of corn kernels until they have browned. Remove them from saucepan with a slotted spoon and add to corn soup. Chill soup overnight.
  6. Before serving soup: wipe off shitake mushrooms and slice them thinly. Melt 6 tablespoons pareve margarine in skillet and sauté mushrooms. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  7. Rinse chives and mince them.
  8. To serve soup: Fill soup bowl with chilled corn soup. Garnish each serving with 4-5 slices of sautéed mushrooms and a pinch of chives.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Julia Child's Chocolate Truffles made Pareve!

I can't imagine what Julia would have said if she had heard that her truffles were being made with --gasp--pareve margarine instead of her beloved butter.  They truly are equally delicious, but perhaps it's best that she never knew ;) 

Julia Child’s Chocolate Truffles- In My Words, and Pareve Yield: about 36 truffles
The original recipe is on page 472 of Vol. Two of Mastering the Art of French Cooking
These tiny little truffles are a chocaholic’s dream. They are rich, creamy and totally delicious! An extra perk is that these are a great treat for Passover!
1 tablespoon espresso powder/instant coffee dissolved in ¼ cup water
7 ounces pareve chocolate chips
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
5 ounces pareve margarine
¼ cup orange liqueur
½ + cup unsweetened pareve cocoa
Double boiler
Hand held electric mixer
Paper candy cups
  1. Fill bottom of double boiler with just enough water so that the top does not touch water. Bring water to a boil and then reduce to a slight simmer.
  2. Mince the unsweetened chocolate with a sharp knife and add it along with the chocolate chips and dissolved coffee to the top piece of double boiler. Insert the top into bottom of double boiler and cover. Remove cover every few minutes and stir until chocolate has melted. Beat chocolate with electric mixer until smooth. Remove from heat and continue to beat chocolate a few minutes until cool.
  3. Cut margarine into tablespoons and beat them, one at a time, into chocolate. When you have a totally smooth mixture, dribble in the orange liqueur and beat until it is well incorporated into chocolate. Chill chocolate mixture about two hours until it is firm enough to scoop.
  4. Pour cocoa onto a shallow dish. Separate about three dozen paper candy cups and line them up in front of you.
  5. I’ve formed the truffles two ways. 1. Take two teaspoons. Scoop a small amount of chocolate with one and scrape it out with another. Then, mold an uneven ball with your hands and roll the ball into the cocoa. Place in a candy cup. 2. Scoop chocolate mixture with a small melon baller, scrape it out with a narrow knife, roll in cocoa and place in candy cup. I find the second option quicker, easier and neater.  Keep truffles refrigerated for a few weeks or keep them in the freezer for a few months.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Mid-Summer Soiree: Dinner Party Menu

Generally, on Friday nights, I have my children and grandchildren over for dinner and, very often, it isn't until the very last minute that I know exactly who is coming and how many friends of theirs will be tagging along.  

In order not to mess with my open door not-quite-empty-nest policy, I try to do the bulk of my entertaining with a few dinner parties sprinkled over the course of the year.  Because they are generally not on Shabbat, my menu can be somewhat more complex and I don't have to take the constraints of Shabbat into account.

And, yes, I am known for going a little bit over the top with my menus...but when I get in the swing of making and trying out new recipes, I am often having too much fun to stop :)

This was a recent, mid-Summer soirée for a handful of couples.

Hors d’Oeuvres
Armenian Meatballs with Plum Sauce
*Mushroom & Pesto Ears
Fried Olives
White Bean Dip (pita chips, baby carrots, sliced peppers)
Preplated 1st Course
Cold Corn Soup garnished with Sliced Shitake Mushrms & Minced Chives
Radicchio leaf filled with Avocado, endive, heirloom tomatoes
Beef Tagine
Grilled Chicken Cutlets with Grilled Peaches-Sauce in Gravy Boats
Lemon-Pistachio Rice
Roasted Potatoes
Steamed Asparagus
Nectarine & Blackberry Galette
Rhubarb & Raspberry Galette
Chocolate Truffles, *Meringues, *Candied Orange Rind

*recipes on Kosher Cookbook App for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch