Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fresh Corn Soup

This fresh corn soup is a great way to make use of all that sweet corn on the cob from the farmers' market or roadside stand. I came home with a dozen beauties the other day and needed to use them up in two days' time. Last night we had half for dinner and the rest were shucked for this tasty soup. We made it into a meal by topping it with a few shrimp and a little extra corn for garnish. Next time I think I'll fry up a few strips of tortilla for a bit of fun and crunch.

Fresh Corn Soup
4 ears sweet corn, cut off the cob
3/4 cup milk
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
5 cups chicken broth
1 t salt
8-10 basil leaves
In a medium pot, place corn and milk. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
In a large pot melt butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and celery, saute until tender, Add garlic, cook 1 additional minute. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil. Cook until potatoes are tender. Add corn and milk mixture. At this point you could eat, or, place half in a blender or food processor and puree. Add pureed mixture back into pot and serve.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oprah's Turkey Burger

Neither Joseph nor I normally choose to eat burgers consisting of anything but beef, however, we're both feeling a little too "bulky" right now. I have a good excuse...I still haven't gone for my six week check up since having Grace (it's tomorrow!) so I haven't been given the green light to exercise. (After tomorrow I don't know what excuse I'll use.) As for Joseph, well, he just eats too much and eats out too often at work. So, we're trying to find some healthier alternatives for dinner around here.
This week I selected some lean ground turkey with the turkey burger in mind but I wasn't extremely hopeful that it was the best idea. I pictured dry and flavorless which has been my experience with the two or so turkey burgers I've had in my life. But what I got was so much more.
When prepping I went in the direction of Oprah's favorite turkey burger. (My taste buds must match up with hers because this was the best turkey burger ever.) In fact it was big hit with both of us, oh, and Gabe ate his as well - even going as far as to say "It's nummy." The addition of my pineapple chutney made these burgers so flavorful and moist that I certainly wasn't missing the all beef patty I'm used to. This burger had a good balance of sweetness from the pineapple and heat from the Chipotle and ginger. It also felt a little tropical which was fun and interesting. The chutney recipe makes enough chutney for two or three batches of burgers, but I don't think it will last that long, I have plans to try it on top of some pork tenderloin.

Here I've taken the recipe from the Oprah Show, a recipe from Fresh Everyday by Sara Foster, and some of my own ideas to create a moist flavorful burger. I changed out the pear chutney for pineapple chutney because I had a fresh pineapple that was begging to be used. I also added and omitted a few things depending on what I had in the pantry/fridge. It turned out swell, in my opinion.

Pineapple Chutney

If you haven't had or made a chutney before you should definitely give it a try. You combine lots of ingredients that you wouldn't normally pair (pineapple, onion, peppers, vinegar, ginger) to get a wonderfully interesting and flavorful accompaniment for a variety of meats.
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 orange/red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarse grain mustard
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. freshly ground ginger
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low. Simmer for 45 minutes. Cool before using.

Turkey Burgers

1 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
small bunch chives, chopped (about 1/8 to 1/4 cup)
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. ground chipotle powder
1 Tbl salt
1 Tbl pepper
1/2 cup chutney (more or less depending on your taste)

Combine all ingredients and lightly mix with hands. Form into 4 patties and grill for about 7 minutes per side depending on thickness.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Marinated Chicken Skewers

We didn't have any big plans for our Fourth of July this year but I still wanted our day to feel festive so I put together a little barbecue for my husband and son. With barely more than an hour to get things ready I quickly threw some boneless skinless chicken thighs in a lemony marinade. As that worked I got a little corn on the cob, watermelon, and lemonade ready for the table. At the last minute I threaded the chicken onto skewers and had my husband grill them off.
The chicken turned out even better than I expected since it only had about 30-40 minutes to marinate. It was tender, moist, and flavorful. We ate them right off the skewers and even my two year old seemed impressed with his chicken on a stick!

Lemony Chicken Skewers

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 lemons
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Cut chicken thighs into strips (cut across the grain for a better result) and place in a large ziploc bag. (I was able to get about 4 strips out of each thigh.) Cut lemons in half and squeeze juice onto chicken. Place lemon rind in bag as well. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper (about 1-2 teaspoons of each). Close ziploc and turn/flip/massage chicken and lemon for a minute or until things look evenly distributed.
After an hour thread chicken on soaked skewers and grill until cooked through. Ours took about 6-8 minutes. Cooking time depends on how big your thighs are and how thick you cut your chicken strips.

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