Tag Archives: soup

A “Live with the Parents” Locavore Musing

29 Sep

A guest blog post by our intern Kim:

I’m not extraordinarily proud of it, but like many college graduates these days (or so I tell myself), I have moved back home with my parents. Moving home certainly wasn’t my first choice, but after obtaining an unpaid internship at the NOFA-NY headquarters near my Rochester-suburb hometown of Honeoye Falls, moving home seemed like a good option. And, come to think of it, the only real downfall has been the reentrance of sister-clothes-sharing-related problems into my life.

The upsides to living at home are many. Most notably, free food. And, since the beginning of this month, a definite upside has been sharing the Locavore experience with my family. I’d say we’ve always been about middle of the road when it comes to family meals- we eat together several nights a week, but certainly don’t stick around for a family game night. However, the combination of locavore month and my guilt about living parasitically off of my family without pitching in financially has led me to help out by taking the reins when it comes to cooking dinner.

I never cooked much before college, or even thought about food much for that matter. But when I began to learn about the food system in various courses, anything relating to food, organics, health, and agriculture really began to catch my attention. And, I met some great people in college who could really cook. Like most people, I could always make a few simple things, but I never really got to experiment with cooking until I moved back home this summer.

Having more local ingredients in the house and ingredients from our garden has basically led to a large increase in the number of fresh vegetables we have laying around at any time. This has changed the way I cook because it has allowed me to tryout dishes that I would never have thought of cooking from scratch before. For example, one of my favorite comfort foods is grilled cheese and tomato soup. I’ve always used the typical canned Campbell’s tomato soup for this. However, when I was craving it last week, we were basically drowning in tomatoes from our garden, so I decided to make home-made tomato soup- which I really had no idea how to make, but it ended up being delicious!! I added ingredients that I liked, and some things from our garden- like green peppers and chives- and a lot more onion than the recipe called for. The difference from a can of Campbell’s soup was extraordinary. I liked my soup because it was unique!

I have four sisters, and it is definitely nice to be known now as ‘the one who can cook.’ And, I love the feeling of cooking for my family- especially when they enjoy it, which they most often do!

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Corn Cob Stock and Corn Soup Recipe

6 Sep

[From Rachel]: I’d been hearing about boiling corn cobs down to make some soup, so I checked out a recipe for corn soup that would use a corn stock.  The one I found needed some locavore edits, and I’m pretty bad at following recipes anyways.  Here is the original ingredients list:

Yield: 6 servings

  • 3 large or 4 small ears fresh sweet corn
  • 1 small red or other thin-skinned potato
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water, plus 2 cups more water
  • 1 tsp. salt (1/2 tsp. if using canned broth)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 leek
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1-2 tsp. dry white wine, or 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro or finely slivered sweet basil leaves

I had or could obtain everything locally except cilantro, the bay leaf and the acid (wine or lemon juice).  I haven’t given up salt and pepper, so that stayed.  I’m not one to normally make creamy soups, but I guess you could keep in the cream…high-quality local organic dairy wouldn’t be hard for me to get around here, but I just don’t use that much cream.  Since I’m on a major thai-basil kick, I decided to sub in a few thai basil leaves in the corn-cob stock-making process.  So here’s how it went after:

Yield: 6 servings

  • 3 large or 4 small ears fresh sweet corn: used 5 ears because I figured more is better when you are a Pennsylvania native who is known to eat 6 ears of corn in a sitting
  • 1 small red or other thin-skinned potato: didn’t use it, but could have gotten a local potato
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water, plus 2 cups more water: corn stock instead
  • 1 tsp. salt (1/2 tsp. if using canned broth)
  • 1 bay leaf: 4 fresh thai basil leaves from my garden
  • 1 Tbs. butter: easy enough
  • 1 leek: local farm sold through my natural foods co-op
  • 1 onion: my CSA
  • 1 stalk celery: found one sitting in fridge, definitely from a local farm but who knows which, and i forgot to add it in anyways
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds removed: most of a thai chili pepper from a local farm
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 tsp. dried: felt like parsley instead
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine: CSA
  • Salt and white pepper: cheats/givens
  • 1-2 tsp. dry white wine, or 1 tsp. lemon juice I’m sure acid would be nice, but not sweating this one
  • (2-4 tablespoons heavy cream, to taste)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro or finely slivered sweet basil leaves: my garden
  • Lots more basil and herbs: my garden
  • Green pepper

The stock was simple–I just cut off the kernels and threw the cobs in a pot with water to cover them by an inch or so.  I let that simmer for an hour.  Meanwhile, I chopped other veggies and managed to make a pesto with local sheep’s milk cheese, local oil, and not-local-but-maybe-one-day-would-be sunflower seeds.  The apartment smelled great.  You know what else I did?  While cleaning up from dinner, I figured I’d taste one of the boiled cobs too.  Yup, I slurped up a little warm broth straight out of that cob…nothing was going to waste.

Corn broth and sauteed local delights topped with almost-local pesto.

Anyways, I used my basic soup-making technique for this light and summery soup (this ALWAYS works).  I sautéed the aromatic veggies (onion, leek, garlic, pepper) till they started to brown, then added in the celebrity vegetable: corn (and it’s not really a vegetable either).  I actually realized that I had a lot of kernels, so I put some into the freezer.  Not enough for winter, but if I do that a few more times, I’ll really make some progress on being a locavore in the winter.  Once they started to cook and smell sweet, I ladled in the broth and some water.  I threw in the herbs, didn’t end up adding any salt or pepper.  I was hungry, so I let it cook for about 15 minutes.  I ended up with a very light and refreshing broth-with-veggies (I think to be a soup it would need to meld together longer), and I was pleased.  I topped it with some stir-fried SoyBoy tempeh and farmers’ market veggies…since corn is a grain, not a veggie, to me.  And some of that aspires-to-be-local pesto.

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