I'm as corny as Kansas in August......
Hope this photo of Spicy Corn and Coconut Soup will entice you to try the recipe in today's post on Cooking the Kitchen. This corn soup which is made with a vegetable stock that has coconut milk added to it, is garnished with peanuts and toasted coconut for crunch, and cilantro for enhanced flavors.
Corn season at the farmers' market...
The summer is winding down, and I have hardly partaken in buying fresh corn on a Saturday morning at our Park Slope Grand Army Plaza farmers' market. Usually I like to cook and devour a piece of corn on the cob as soon as I get home from the market, after, or even while unpacking the groceries I purchased.
I like to get to the farmers' market early, while the produce is especially fresh and has not been sitting around in the heat and summer sun. I think of our farmers' market as being akin to a country state fair. Everyone in the surrounding neighborhoods come out to shop at it. We run into friends and catch up with what is happening in one's life, shake hands with someone running for office, hear a local country music band with fiddlers and a mandolin player, see pottery, jewelry, t-shirts, and art being sold along the outskirts, and perhaps catch a bite from the taco truck or buy an apple cider doughnut at one of the farmers' stands that carries strawberry apple cider when strawberries are in season.
I often take a 9:15 am pilates class on Saturdays at the armory Y, which is only two blocks away from my house. So I have had a spotty farmer's market attendance this summer, as my class conflicts with getting to the market early. I am not a morning person, so going to the market before my class, is out of the question. Sometimes, I do go right after my class, and other times, skip my class and make going to the market my priority, as I miss that celebratory atmosphere, and good produce.
So this story is a long way of saying that because I have missed fresh fresh corn this summer, I decided to go to the market and then make a NYT recipe by Sarah Jampel for Spicy Corn and Coconut Soup. I had dear friends come over for lunch yesterday, and this is one of the dishes I made for them. Because I get a bit flummoxed when cooking and serving meals for friends, I forgot to add the garnishes before serving the soup. Please, as my mom used to say, "do as I say, not as I do." Do not forget the garnishes, as they enhance this flavorful soup so much more, layering on even more flavor and adding some very necessary crunch.
Here is a tip for a clever and efficient way to cut corn off the cobs, which is the hardest part of this recipe. Put a small bowl with a rimmed edge on the bottom, upside down, inside of a larger bowl. If your cobs are large, break them in half and then stand the piece of corn upright on end, before using your knife to cut off the kernels. The kernels will fall into the larger bowl, and none will go flying, helter skelter, all over your work surface and floor.
Here is the recipe. Enjoy! And by the way, if you have never experienced being as "corny as Kansas in August," here is a link to this gem of a song from the Lincoln Center version of the Broadway show, "South Pacific."
Spicy Corn and Coconut Soup
The coconut milk used in this recipe gives it a creamy base. The peanut and toasted coconut flakes add crunch. Cilantro garnish adds to the toothsome flavor of this corn soup. Make this recipe at the end of the corn season, when you want a change up from eating corn on the cob.
- 5 ears yellow or bicolor corn
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1 inch piece ginger, peeled & minced
- 1 Serrano (or other hot) pepper, minced
- 2 small red potatoes (6 to 8 ounces total), cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2-½ Cups vegetable broth (or 2-½ cups of hot water whisked with 1-½ teaspoons jarred bouillon)
- 1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (from ½ lime)
- Kosher salt, to season
- Torn cilantro leaves, toasted coconut flakes, chopped roasted peanuts, crispy fried shallots, lime wedges, more sliced Serrano chiles, to serve (optional)
Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and transfer to a bowl. Using the back of a butter knife, scrape the cobs so that all of the milky juices collect in the bowl and the cobs look completely dry, like wrung-out sponges. Set aside.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, ginger and Serrano or other hot pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add reserved corn kernels and juices to the pot, and sauté until the corn is softer and brighter, about 3 minutes more.
Add potato pieces, and stir to coat, 11 to 2 minutes.
Now, pour in the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender all the way through.
Use an immersion blender to roughly puree the soup, so that it's creamy with some kernels of corn, chunks of potato, and chile flecks remaining. (Alternatively, ladle about half of the soup into a blender, blend until smooth, an return to the pot.) Season with lime juice and salt, and mix to combine. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with toppings of your choice.
Vegetable Stock recipe from "Vegetable Soups" by Deborah Madison.
Ingredients include the following:
1 T olive oil or other oil suitable for the soup, optional
1 large onion, cut into ½ inch chunks
2 large carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, including a few leaves, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, including half of the greens
6 garlic cloves, smashed
8 parsley sprigs with stems
6 thyme sprigs or ½ dried
2 bay leaves
Additional soup vegetable trimmings, herbs, etc., if available
1 teaspoon sea salt
If you're using the oil, heat it in a stockpot, add the next 4 ingredients, and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until they take on some color and glaze the pan. Then add the rest of the ingredients plus the water. If you're not using oil, put the ingredients in a stockpot and cover with 2 quarts cold water.
Take a look for the ingredients in your recipe that might amplify the soup-an herb that's called for, vegetable trimmings such as squash seeds and peels, or some thing from the garnish, such as scallion greens or chervil stems. Also check the refrigerator for useful tidbits-leftover chopped shallots, a lone mushroom, some chard stems, etc.-and add them to the pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer slowly, partially covered, while ;you go back to the soup. Give the stock at least 30 minutes if time allows, then strain it and add it to the soup. Still warm, it will quickly come to a boil.