Thursday, August 5, 2010

Henry's Birthday, Part Two

To Henry's great credit, he's pretty low maintenance.  Especially when compared to me (I won't tell you about the time I pitched an entire quart of water at him - and then he just calmly toweled himself off and asked me if I was done yet, haha).  

He's generally pretty easy-going about most things (with the exception of work, but we're not going to talk about that either) and he doesn't even complain when I feed him grass and trees (his expression) most nights in an attempt to limit the carbs and ramp up the veggies.  If you meet him at a party, he will introduce himself as "Mr. Liz" and he will be the first to tell you that he lives in the best restaurant in town.

How lucky am I, anyway?

Tragically, we both love to eat and drink too much, which is why we aren't skinny.  One of the things we like the most is dining at home on a Saturday evening as I mentioned in an earlier post:

So it only made sense to celebrate his birthday yet again on the Saturday night following his actual birth date.  Dinner at the best restaurant in Atlanta (yeah, right!)  Two of his favorite foods were involved:  corn (usually off the menu due to its sugar/carb content) and fresh figs (I'm not a huge fan). 

Here's to you, Henry.   It is one of the greatest pleasures in my life to cook for you!

CORN PUDDING (adapted from Scott Peacock's and Edna Lewis' "The Gift of Southern Cooking")

4 ears of fresh corn, shucked and cut off the cob
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose, unbleached flour
2 extra-large eggs
1 cup milk (I used 1% because that's what I had on hand; whole milk would be better)
1 cup half-and-half (the recipe calls for cream, but I couldn't quite go there)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 35-degrees.  Butter a 6-cup baking dish.  Place corn kernels in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar, salt, pepper and flour.  Stir to combine.  In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, half-and-half (or cream), butter and nutmeg.  Pour over the corn mixture and blend well.

Place into the buttered baking dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until just done (it should still be slightly wobbly in the middle).  Serve immediately and prepare for major accolades.

Serves:  6 - 8

Note:  freshly grated nutmeg is crucial to this recipe.  Just do it.


(A note here:  I'm not giving you a specific recipe, just a basic idea and method.  Tweak it as you see fit).

Fresh figs, halved
Proscuitto, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Extra-virgin olive oil
Unsalted butter
Fresh goat cheese  for serving (or any cheese of choice; Parmigiano Reggiano would work as well)

Wrap fig halves with strips of proscuitto and secure with rosemary sprigs.

In a saute pan, heat equal amounts of olive oil and butter.  Add figs until cook over medium-high heat until proscuitto crisps.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.  Serve with crusty bread and soft, fresh goat cheese.

Note:  I may not be a fig afficionado, but even I will eat these!

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