Thursday, September 16, 2010

Feeling Uninspired

I think it has something with all the cooking I did last weekend between the chili cook off and the cookout at our house the following day. After 3 batches of rice krispie treats, corn chowder, tortellini salad, and a batch of stuffed shells, quite frankly, I don't feel much like cooking lately. The last two days were pizza and chinese take out. I have been on kitchen strike! Although I must admit that I can feel my cooking mojo starting to return. Lately, I have been thinking about casseroles. I have a love/hate thing with casseroles. They are delicious and I love the simplicity of their preparation and clean up but at the same time find them lazy and visually unpleasing. Let's be honest here, most of them look like vomit. That's why you always have to sprinkle a topping on them. But they are quick, easy and relatively inexpensive to make and I can certainly appreciate that. Maybe it's just my inner food snob coming out.
I also have a pork loin in the freezer that has been beckoning me. Since we are having company next week I will be scouring the tomes for the perfect recipe. I think I would like to stuff it with vegetables and cheese. Maybe brie? I have had brie on the brain lately, too. Or perhaps some smoked gouda? Fontina? GAWD, too many choices! One thing is for sure and that's scalloped potatoes to go with it. whatever "it" ends up being. I'll try to remember to take pictures too since I have nothing to show for all of my cooking efforts last weekend. But I will leave you with my corn chowder recipe. It is a relatively thin chowder but you could certainly thicken it with a roux if you wanted to. It was delicious and perfect for a damp and chilly day.

Erika's Corn Chowder

1/2 pound sliced bacon
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 carrot, shredded
2 large stalks celery chopped fine
6 ears corn, roasted in the husk
2-3 potatoes peeled and diced
1 large box chicken broth
1-2 Tbs chicken base (the paste stuff)
1 C cream

Fry bacon until crisp. Reserve fat. Chop bacon and put aside.
Saute onion, carrot and celery in reserved fat until soft.
While vegetables are sauteing cut kernels from corn cobs.
In a large stock pot bring chikcen broth to a boil. Add corn cobs to broth and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes, scraping any remaining kernel bits from cobs. After about 10 minutes remove and discard cobs.
Add sauted vegetables to stock pot along with corn kernels and diced potatoes and continue simmering.
Add chicken base. Salt to taste.
When potatoes are cooked turn off heat and add cream and chopped bacon to stock pot. Stir.
Taste again for salt and add if necessary.

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