Summer’s Last Hurrah – Sweet Corn Chowder – Bodacious Grub Style

Sweet Corn Chowder - Bodacious Grub Style

A Visit to the Market

So I visited the Santa Clara Farmers Market last weekend and one purveyor was selling sweet corn, end of summer sweet corn, so I jumped on it.  But what to do with sweet corn and how to make it bodacious.  Well I put my thinking cap on and thought Sweet Corn Chowder.  Well you may be thinking, yeah so what, sweet corn chowder, nothing that unusual about that.   Here is where it gets perhaps a bit bodacious.  I added an unusual spice.  Aji Panca.

What is Aji Panca you may ask?

Aji Panca is a type of chile pepper that is commonly grown in Peru, and frequently used in Peruvian cuisine.  It is dark red, mild pepper with a smokey, fruity taste. I used the powder as I have it in my pantry.  It is awesome, my favorite spice of late it adds a wonderful smokey taste to the food without blowing out your taste buds (unless of course you dump a cup of it into the dish, which I didn’t).

I also added some Spanish paprika to the chowder.  So now we have a bit of fusion going, Peru meets Spain meets good old American corn.  Hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients

4 slices of bacon – diced

1 large carrot – small dice

2 red onions – small dice

1 leek – diced

2 stalks celery diced

2 sweet Italian peppers – diced

7 cobs of corn – kernels cut off 5 cobs and the milk from 2 cobs. Reserve the corn cobs to add to the soup when cooking

1/2 bunch fresh thyme

1/2 tbl Spanish paprika

1/2 tbl aji panca

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

6 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup half and half

Method

Add bacon to soup pan and cook to render the fat.

Remove bacon and set aside.

Add onions and leeks to bacon fat and saute until softened.

Sweet Corn Chowder - #bodaciousgrub Style

Add carrots, celery and red pepper to pot and continue sauteing until softened.

Add corn kernels to soup pot, mix thoroughly.

Sweet Corn Chowder - #bodaciousgrub Style

Add chicken stock to pot and bring soup to a simmer.

Add aji panca, paprika, thyme and garlic salt.

Add reserved corn cobs.

After 1/2 hour remove the corn cobs and continue simmering for another 20 minutes.

Add the corn milk and kernels from the 2 cobs that were milked, reserved bacon, salt and pepper.

Mix in half and half.

Sweet Corn Chowder - #bodaciousgrub Style

Serve and Enjoy! I garnished the chowder with a teaspoon of Red Pepper Tapenade that I picked up at the market on Saturday.  Nice finishing touch.

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Bodacious Grains of Paradise, Chicken & Lentil Soup

I felt like cooking soup today and had some grains of paradise that I had purchased at Boulette’s Larder at the Ferry Market in San Francisco.

Grains of Paradise from Boulette’s Larder in San Francisco

Grains of paradise are peppery seeds from the Aframomum melegueta plant. They have been used in their native West Africa for centuries, and in Europe since at least the 800s. Today, they are commonly in used in Northern Africa. Stores which specialize in spices may carry grains of paradise. They can also be ordered through companies which import spices.

This spice is also known as alligator pepper, Guinea grains, or melegueta pepper. It has a slightly peppery flavor, but the taste of grains of paradise is a bit more complex than pepper. The spice tastes a bit like coriander, ginger, and cardamom, with a bit of a citrus flavor. It is milder than black pepper, but it still packs a punch, especially when applied in large amounts.

Grains of Paradise

I had a few ingredients that I wanted to use up along with some home made veggie stock. I had not one onion in the house (I turned the veggie drawers over and could not find one) so I used leeks instead and that was a success as leeks are wonderfully sweet and complex. I also had some lovely small garnet yams in the fridge and added those as well for more sweetness.

The Recipe
Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/3 cups leeks, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup carrots, finely chopped
2 cups diced garnet yams
8 ounces chicken breast cut into 1/2 pieces
1 cup red lentils
1 cup tomato sauce
8 cups vegetable stock
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon grains of paradise
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp ground dried thyme
1 bay leaf
parsley and pea shoots for garnish
Directions
1. Heat the olive oil in large pot and add the leeks and saute until softened, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the carrot and sweat until the carrots are softened, about 7 minutes.
3. Add the chicken breast and continue to saute until the chicken is slightly browned.
4. Add the remaining incredients and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40-50 minutes. Check from time to time and add additional stock (or water) if the soup is too thick.

I topped mine with a bit of parsley and some delicious pea shoots for some additional pepperiness. Be warned if you munch on a grain of paradise you will get a good hit of peppery flavor. But a lovely pepper it is.

Enjoy, serve with a side salad for a healthy meal.

Lentil Soup With Grains of Paradise
Finished Lentil Soup With Grains of Paradise

Bodacious Fresh Sablefish with Tender Pea Shoots

I went to the farmers market.  The heavens opened and the rain came pouring down. I huddled under my umbrella and looked at all the beautiful offerings. A lot caught my eye including fresh chickens (slaughtered yesterday), heirloom variety hard squash, pea shoots and lovely fish. I wanted something for lunch so I picked up some gorgeous sablefish also known as black cod and pea shoots.

Pea shoots are harvested after 2-4 weeks, are tender and bursting with a distinctive pea flavors. Since the earliest times people have harvested wild leafy plants. In the middle ages salads were very popular when people looked to spring greens after eating salted meats and pickled vegetables all winter. Today salads are a regular part of our diet however many people are adding the pea shoot to the salad for a fresh taste.

Fresh Pea Shoots with Japanese Influenced Dressing

Pea shoots can be cooked or eaten fresh. They can be stir-fried, in a wok, as an addition to a healthy salad, wilted into a risotto or pasta dish, added to a marinade or sauce or on their own as a salad. Pea shoots are nutritious, delicious packed with vitamins A, C and folic acid. They will keep in the refrigerator for close to a month.

I love sablefish, also known as black cod. I have prepared it before and typically I like to do it with a Japanese type of seasoning. The fish purveyor at the market said it had been caught the day before. So I had to buy it as fresh fish is gorgeous. I thought it would pair beautifully with the fresh pea shoots.

I made a  Japanese influenced dressing that paired very well with the pea shoots. The sablefish was marinated with a similar Japanese marinade for about 30 minutes and then cooked in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes and finished under the broiler for about 3 minutes. The pea shoot salad was plated and topped with the sablefish and finished with sesame seeds and the pan juices from cooking the fish.

RECIPE

Pea Shoot Salad 1 cup fresh pea shoots Pea Shoot Salad Dressing 1 tbl sesame oil 1 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar 1 tsp shoyu 1 tsp mirin 1 tsp sesame seeds 1/8 tsp fresh grated young ginger Method 1. Mix dressing ingredients together. 2. Dress pea shoots with the dressing.

Sablefish with Japanese Influence Ingredients 4 oz. sablefish Marinade for sablefish marinade 1 tsp shoyu 1 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp mirin 1/8 tsp fresh ginger

Method 1. Preheat oven to 400F. 2. Mix marinade ingredients together. 3. Marinate sablefish for 30 minutes. 4. Add sablefish and marinade to oven proof dish and bake for 15 minutes 5. Remove fish from oven and turn on the broiler 6. Broil fish for 3 minutes or until nicely golden

To serve: plate the pea shoot salad and top with fish and pan juices. Finish with sesame seeds.

Japanese Influenced Pea Shoot Salad with Fresh Sablefish

Enjoy!

Duroc Pork and Fuji Apple Stew – Bodacious Food for Cool Fall Evenings


Bodacious Pork and Apple Stew

I love the fall and fall weather. Warm days and cool fall nights beg for food that is comforting and warming for the body and soul. Lately the evenings have been particularly cool, perhaps I am not used to the cool weather yet. I went out to find some meat to prepare a comforting, soul soothing fall meal. I happened up locally raised, Napa Milk-Fed Duroc pork (in many cuts) that I thought would fit the bill perfectly and make for a special treat. But what is so special about Duroc pork and Duroc pigs.

Duroc pigs were used as the foundational genetics of the pig industry beginning in the 20th century. In 1812, early “Red Hogs” were bred in New York and New Jersey and these would be the ancestors of Duroc pork today. The meat and the fat are superb in taste, texture with a sweetness to it. Dairy raised pork is said to be the best, the creme de la creme, with best of pork.

Milk-fed pigs are very special pigs that are selected for the great honor of being fed fresh Jersey cow milk every day of their lives. This creates a sweeter, more tender meat that really looks and tastes unlike most other pork I’ve ever tasted. Duroc meat is clean and crisp. Its taste and texture are easy on the taste buds. Duroc pork is not too fatty, not too lean, not too strong but certainly more flavorful than its farm raised counterparts.

So what to make with this delicious meat? Well fall is the time for the new crop of apples. I found some fresh fuji apples at the market. Fuji apples were first developed in 1962 at the Tohoku Research Station in Morioka, Japan. They quickly became one of the most commonly grown apple varieties in Japan and in the 1980’s they were made available in the United States where they are primarily grown in Washington State and California, my state. Fuji apples have flesh that is dense, juicy and crisp. Low in acid its flavor is mild and sweet with hints of both honey and citrus. The thick skin of the fuji apples and their dense flesh helps them hold up well in when cooked. So decided, fuji apples to pair with the Duroc pork. Apples and pork are a match made in heaven. So there was my recipe to take the chill out of the cool nights; Duroc Pork with Fuji Apples, sweetened with leeks and red onions. Perfect in fact.

Ingredients

One pound 1 ounce Duroc pork stew meat – cut into 1 inch pieces

¼ cup flour

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp alderwood smoked sea salt

2 tsp olive oil

1 cup diced leeks (about 1 large leek)

¾ cup red onion diced

1 cup diced celery

½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika

½ tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

½ tsp dried French thyme

2 cups organic beef stock

2 medium apples – cut into cut into 1/8ths

Method

  1. Mix flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper together
  2. Dredge meat with flour/salt/pepper mixture
  3. Sauté meat until browned
  4. Remove meat from pan
  5. Add diced leeks and red onions
  6. Sauté until softened
  7. Add diced celery and continue to sauté
  8. Add meat with juices back into pan
  9. Add beef stock and spices to pan
  10. Simmer for 20 minutes
  11. Add apples to pan
  12. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes until apples are softened. Add additional water if needed.

Bodacious Duroc Pork and Apples

Serve with rice and enjoy the ultimate of fall comfort foods. Wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket next to the fire. Pour yourself a nice glass of crisp German Riesling (the sweetness and acid pair perfectly with this dish) and enjoy the body warming Duroc pork and apple stew.

Bodacious Duroc Pork and Apple Stew

Last Call of Summer – Sweet Corn Chowder – Bodacious Grub Style

A Visit to the Market

So I visited the Santa Clara Farmers Market last weekend and one purveyor was selling sweet corn, end of summer sweet corn, so I jumped on it.  But what to do with sweet corn and how to make it bodacious.  Well I put my thinking cap on and thought Sweet Corn Chowder.  Well you may be thinking, yeah so what, sweet corn chowder, nothing that unusual about that.   Here is where it gets perhaps a bit bodacious.  I added an unusual spice.  Aji Panca.

What is Aji Panca you may ask?

Aji Panca is a type of chile pepper that is commonly grown in Peru, and frequently used in Peruvian cuisine.  It is dark red, mild pepper with a smokey, fruity taste. I used the powder as I have it in my pantry.  It is awesome, my favorite spice of late it adds a wonderful smokey taste to the food without blowing out your taste buds (unless of course you dump a cup of it into the dish, which I didn’t).

I also added some Spanish paprika to the chowder.  So now we have a bit of fusion going, Peru meets Spain meets good old American corn.  Hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients

4 slices of bacon – diced

1 large carrot – small dice

2 red onions – small dice

1 leek – diced

2 stalks celery diced

2 sweet Italian peppers – diced

7 cobs of corn – kernels cut off 5 cobs and the milk from 2 cobs. Reserve the corn cobs to add to the soup when cooking

1/2 bunch fresh thyme

1/2 tbl Spanish paprika

1/2 tbl aji panca

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

6 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup half and half

Method

Add bacon to soup pan and cook to render the fat.

Remove bacon and set aside.

Add onions and leeks to bacon fat and saute until softened.

Add carrots, celery and red pepper to pot and continue sauteing until softened.

Add corn kernels to soup pot, mix thoroughly.

Add chicken stock to pot and bring soup to a simmer.

Add aji panca, paprika, thyme and garlic salt.

Add reserved corn cobs.

After 1/2 hour remove the corn cobs and continue simmering for another 20 minutes.

Add the corn milk and kernels from the 2 cobs that were milked, reserved bacon, salt and pepper.

Mix in half and half.

Serve and Enjoy! I garnished the chowder with a teaspoon of Red Pepper Tapenade that I picked up at the market on Saturday.  Nice finishing touch.