Category Archives: Farmers Markets

Grilled Corn and Lobster Chowder

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It is the peak of summer. Time for lobster and corn on the cob. While both are abundant, I decided to make a Chowder on a rainy summer day. It is not hard at all. I used lobster tails that I found on sale and some claws I had frozen for this, but usually I use live lobsters. I always save the shells for stock. This makes enough for 6 servings and reheats well.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 (1 1/2-pound) cooked lobsters, cracked and split (reserve shells) Boil in Spice and Tea Exchange Crab and Shrimp Boil
  • 4 ears corn

For the stock:

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2  yellow onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup dry vermouth

For the chowder:

Method:

  • Remove the meat from the shells of the lobsters. Cut the meat into large cubes and place them in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • Reserve the shells and all the juices that collect.
  • Grill the corn by removing the stocks and silk, spray lightly with olive oil. Grill on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side.
  • Allow the corn to cool, then cut the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside, reserving the cobs for stock. I use a great corn cutter made by OXO. It really works well. There are not a lot of gadgets that impress me, but this one does.

For the stock:

  • Melt the butter in a stockpot or Dutch oven large enough to hold all the lobster shells and corncobs.
  • Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 7 minutes, until translucent but not browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the sherry and paprika and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the milk, cream, wine, lobster shells and their juices, and corn cobs and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer the stock over the lowest heat for 30 minutes.

For the chowder:

  • In another stockpot place the shallots, celery and butter or olive oil. Stir until slightly translucent.
  • Add the potatoes, corn kernels, salt, and pepper to the same pot and saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add the flour and stir in and add a ladle full of the stock.
  • Remove the largest pieces of lobster shell and the corn cobs with tongs and discard.
  • Place a strainer over the soup pot and carefully pour the stock into the pot with the potatoes and corn.
  • Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the cooked lobster, the chives,  and the sherry and season to taste. Heat gently and serve hot.

Squash Blossoms

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Squash or pumpkin blossoms offer up multiple opportunities. While in cooking school in Mexico, we used them as a filling ingredient for quesedillas, empanadas and tacos. They were also tossed in salads and soups for color and nutrition. Of course they are also lovely when filled and fried or baked. Squash blossoms are a unique ingredient. Unless you have a big patch of squash or pumpkins, you are at the whim of the farmer who brings these highly perishable ingredient to market. At the Charleston Farmer’s Market yesterday, I spied a little box of the blooms and grabbed it. My mind was swimming with filling ideas as we drove home. I decided on some queso fresco that I bought at a small Hispanic market on John’s Island with herbs and peppers & a little mascarpone for smoothness.

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The recipe:

Ingredients

10-12 squash blossoms

1/2 cup queso fresco ( you can also use a creamy feta) allow it to warm up to room temperature

1 jalapeno or hotter pepper if you want more spice cut into small pieces

3 tablespoons mascarpone or cream cheese

a hand full of grated jack cheese

1 Tablespoon TSTE Vik’s Garlic Fix

1 Tablespoon of TSTE Aleppo chile

6 sprigs of cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

For batter:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 can or bottle of beer

salt and pepper

Method

About 2 hours before you plan to serve, mix the beer and flour together with salt and pepper. Cover and leave on the counter.

Clean blossoms by brushing off any soil, do not run under water. Pull out the stamen.

For filling:

Place the cheeses, cilantro, Vik’s Garlic Fix, aleppo pepper, jalapeno and salt and pepper in the small bowl of a food processor. This can also be done by hand, but if you are doing it that way, you will need to finely chop the pepper and cilantro.

Pulse until the filling is smooth. Using a spatula, fill a small zip lock bag. Push all of the filling down so that there is no air in the bag. Just before filling cut a small piece of the corner off and pipe the filling into the blossom, carefully wrapping the petals around the filling. Leave the top 1/2 inch unfilled and twist to enclose the filling. Refrigerate.

In a large pot or fryer heat peanut or canola oil (at least 3 inches) to 375 degrees.

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Put a few stuffed blossoms into the batter and then place carefully into the hot oil. After about a minute of frying, turn the blossoms and allow them to fry till golden. Remove with a spider and drain. Serve immediately.

ImageYou can find another post of mine about squash blossoms made with sourdough batter here on my Hawaii blog.

Grits in a Rice Cooker: perfection

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We arrived in Charleston to our new home a little over a week ago, though most of my household goods are still en route. I shipped a few things ahead so we would have some basic items. One of those things was my rice cooker. I wanted to make some grits and though that maybe I could do it in the rice cooker. I did it and it was so easy. No stirring and they stayed warm and ready to eat with the warming function on the rice cooker. Here is the way to do it. I of course recommend stone ground grits from the Low Country, or at the very least from the south. The grits I used were purchased at the Charleston Farmer’s Market from Steve Dowdney at The Colonial Charleston Kitchen. This recipe serves four but could easily be doubled and I am sure it would work equally well with polenta.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup stone ground grits
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon course ground black pepper

Method:

Place all ingredients in rice cooker on porridge setting and forget about it till you are ready for dinner.

 

Charleston Farmer’s Market

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Today I got to go to my first Charleston Farmer’s Market. My friend Holly Herrick took me through and introduced me to all kinds of wonderful farmers and producers. I took home a full load of fun things to work with from tomatillos to fresh chorizo. I got a half bushel of those great South Carolina peaches and some stone ground grits from the Colonial Charleston Kitchen.

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I had a Vietnamese Five Spice Pork Taco for breakfast

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And, the best thing about going to the farmer’s market is what you make for lunch! Two big slices of a “Pineapple” tomato, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with smoked salt and fresh ground pepper. Image

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 Monday afternoon, James Island has a farmer’s market, so of course I will have to check that out too!