Month: July 2013

Corn and Fingerling Potato Chowder with Bacon

So many summer meals growing up were just corn from my dad’s farm. I imagine that isn’t all that uncommon for midwestern farm families (sorry, carb haters — just telling it like it is).

These days, corn is usually a side dish, but it is still a must-do on my summer table. I love this chowder recipe: a few fresh, seasonal ingredients that complement one another, and just filling enough without being heavy.

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Corn and Fingerling Potato Chowder with Applewood-Smoked Bacon

Adapted slightly from Cooking Light
Serves 5

2 slices applewood-smoked bacon
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
3 1/2 cups fresh (uncooked) corn kernels (about 6-7 ears)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
8 ounces fingerling potatos, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1/4 teaspoon salt (or more)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more)
Thyme sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble.

Add onion to drippings in pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add corn, chopped thyme, and garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, milk, half-and-half, and potatoes; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Transfer 2 cups potato mixture to a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape; secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid to avoid splatters. Blend until smooth; return pureed mixture to pan. Stir in salt and black pepper. Season to taste, if necessary.

Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

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Tuna Pasta Salad with Lemon Dressing

I may or may not have eaten one too many brownies and had one too many glasses of wine yesterday while celebrating America’s birthday. That’s what happens when you’re surrounded by good friends and good food.

Today, I was looking for a light meal with minimal cooking and prep. I came across this recipe and happened to have the ingredients (I’m not a big tomato fan and left them out).

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High-protein and lower-carb, this salaf is great for getting back on track after over-indulging. The lemon dressing adds a light, refreshing kick. If you have it, throw in some fresh dill.

Tuna Pasta Salad with Lemon Dressing

Adapted from Koko Likes
Serves 4 as a main course

4 oz. uncooked pasta
6 3/4 oz. package solid white albacore tuna in water (or a large can, drained)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half, if desired
2 cups (or more) tightly packed baby spinach
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan

Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse and drain under cold water. In a small bowl, break tuna into rough chunks, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss gently.

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, remaining oil, garlic, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper.Add pasta, beans, tomatoes and spinach to bowl; toss well to combine. Add tuna and toss gently. Taste; season as desired. Divide among 4 shallow bowls and top each serving with 1 teaspoon Parmesan. (RHRW Note: if not serving immediately, reserve spinach until ready to serve)

Ultimate Fudgy Brownies

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One of my dear friends is convinced she is a lost cause in the kitchen. “I burn water!” she insists, and she is only half kidding.

A few days ago, she asked if I could help her make brownies with M&Ms for her brother’s Independence Day party.

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Brownies are actually pretty foolproof as long as you remember the golden rule: don’t overbake.

We threw in some M&Ms, but other add-ins might include nuts, chocolate chips, maybe even caramel.

Happy Independence Day!

Ultimate Fudgy Brownies

From Fine Cooking

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into 9 pieces; more softened for the pan
1 1/4 cups (3 3/4 oz.) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
5 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups (7 3/4 oz.) all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch straight-sided metal baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving about a 2-inch overhang on the short sides. Lightly butter the foil.

Put the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until melted, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth, 1 minute. Add the sugar and salt, and whisk until well blended. Use your fingertip to check the temperature of the batter—it should be warm, not hot. If it’s hot, set the pan aside for a minute or two before continuing.

Whisk in the eggs, two and then three at a time, until just blended. Whisk in the vanilla until the batter is well blended. Sprinkle the flour over the batter and stir with a rubber spatula until just blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with small bits of brownie sticking to it, 35 to 45 minutes. For fudgy brownies, do not overbake. Cool the brownies completely in the pan on a rack, about 3 hours.

When the brownies are cool, use the foil overhang to lift them from the pan. Invert onto a cutting board and carefully peel away the foil. Flip again and cut into 24 squares. (RHRW tip: use a plastic knife) Serve immediately or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. They can also be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 1 month.