And now, for a bit of a rant.
Like most parents, my mom and dad tried to teach my brothers and I certain things. There was a long list but some were more non-negotiable than others. One was Clean Up Your Room. And Always Be On Time. Also If Someone Extends an Invitation Do Your Very Best to Be There. The first one didn’t stick with me but the other two did. Randy and I are always on time and we also make a big effort to attend any event/party/gathering to which we are invited. I’m always amazed when people don’t follow suit. Occasionally, I send out an invitation to something and most people take forever to respond if they do at all. Is this a Seattle thing? Does our casual lifestyle mean that we don’t need to RSVP? Does this happen in your city? The only thing that bothers me more than the people who don’t respond is the people who decide, on the day of the event, that they can’t make it. Manners, people.
Done! Moving on.
The fabulous Jen Yu breezed into town this week. Do you know Jen? Her site is one of the very first blogs I read. Her talent, strength, determination, and her serious cooking and baking chops have made Use Real Butter a must read for me for years. Jen and her husband were in town for a very limited time and I suggested a potluck at our house to gather the people she wanted to see. She gave me her list, I sent an evite, and I was surprised by the quick response. Apparently, Jen rates highly. I decided to make several dishes to highlight our spectacular produce but, as per usual, on the day of the potluck, I got several cancellations. I opted to be realistic and bag one of the planned dishes, a corn pudding I have been wanting to try since the corn left the markets last fall. There was plenty of delicious food for everyone and we had a truly wonderful evening.
But I still had a bag of corn waiting to be used. My good friend Deb came for dinner last night with her kids and I thought it was time to try out that pudding. The original recipe uses four ears of corn and feeds 10 people. I cut the recipe in half and microwaved the other two ears (it’s ok! Melissa Clark does it!) for the kids to eat straight off the cob. My Graham is now missing both his front teeth so I cut his off the cob for him. As I watched the corn tumble onto his plate, I had one of those memories that nearly knock you off your feet of my mom doing the same for me at a long-ago kitchen table in a long-ago house.
Anyway, this is not the kind of recipe you usually find here unless you are baking. Butter, cream, milk, cheese, eggs. I eat all those things, just not usually all together in one dish. I thought it might be too heavy, a gut bomb. But it wasn’t at all. This is a dish where everything works together in harmony so that you don’t taste too much of any one thing and the only true standout is the summer’s pitch perfect corn. The only bad thing I can say about this recipe is that it doesn’t look like much on the plate. But looks aren’t everything.
One Year Ago: Lavender and Honey Tea Cakes and (more corn in my red baking dish! and much prettier on the plate!) Polenta Baked with Corn, Basil, and Tomatoes
Two Years Ago: Mushroom, Walnut, and Rosemary Pâté
Three Years Ago: Chilled Roasted Tomato Soup with Mint
Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4-6 (4 as a main, 6 as a side)
1 cups milk
¼ cup heavy cream
2 ears of corn, shucked
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
½ stick of unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
¼ cup cornmeal
3 large eggs, separated
½ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
½ tsp. plus a pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the corn, cover, and cook over moderately low heat, turning a few times, until tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes.
Transfer the corn to a plate and let cool. Remove the saucepan from the heat and swirl in the butter until melted. Let cool to room temperature. Using a large knife, cut the kernels off the cobs and add to the saucepan. Scrape the shallot into the saucepan. Whisk in the cornmeal, egg yolks, Cheddar, and the ½ teaspoon of salt along with a few grinds of pepper.
In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt at high speed until firm peaks form. Fold the whites into the corn mixture and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the corn pudding is puffed and golden brown. Let the pudding rest for about 5 minutes before serving. (DT: I served this about 30 minutes after it came out of the oven. It had fallen slightly but the texture was still nice and light.)