Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy July 2nd!

As I write this, the date is July 3rd.   I’m guessing that many of you are currently knee-deep in prep for your barbecues tomorrow. I, however, am way ahead of you as we celebrated the holiday last night with friends who are unavailable on the actual Fourth.  So, happy cooking tomorrow and I will think of you as I take the day off.  (Well, sort of. Henry and I will be embarking on one of those 6-hour ridiculous walks in the scorching Georgia sun) . Hmmm … maybe you got the better end of this deal.

In any event, I knocked myself out for our little repast last night.  Not only did I do all the cooking but I/we schlepped everything over to our friends’ house where everyone was gathering.  Yikes, it reminded me of my old catering days – happy I’m not in that business anymore!  Fortunately, Henry is a wizard at packing and loading up a car.  We got everything over there with relative ease.  He earned a well-deserved reprieve from the food police for the evening.

Pack it all up, Lorbs Henry!

I’m not sure I did him any favors.  The food police most definitely should have been in attendance.  Short of celery sticks (to accompany pimiento cheese so that cancels it out, right?) and a beautiful platter of heirloom tomatoes, there was nothing even remotely healthy about my menu.  It's why we hit the gym in the morning and are embarking upon that walk tomorrow.

Pimiento Cheese
Celery Sticks, Ice Water Crackers

Liz’s Awesome Barbecued Pork Ribs
House-made Barbecue Sauce

Sweet Summer Corn Pudding

Baby Potato Salad
Applewood-smoked Bacon, Scallions

Heirloom Tomatoes from Sandee’s Garden
Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Olio Santo

Toasted Country Bread
Garlic Butter

Salty, Crunchy Peanut Butter Brownies
Additional Details Not Required

I’m going to start by giving you the recipe for Sweet Summer Corn Pudding.  I would even venture so far as to say it was the hit of the evening.  Well, at least until those brownies made their appearance!

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

8 ears fresh, sweet summer corn, husked with kernels removed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose, unbleached flour
4 extra-large eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Butter a large baking dish (I used a 13 x 3-inch dish) and set aside.

Place corn into a large bowl and sprinkle in the sugar, salt, pepper and flour.  Stir lightly to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs with milk and cream.  Whisk in melted butter, then nutmeg.  Pour mixture into the corn and stir well.  Pour into the prepared baking pan then place it into a larger pan filled with hot water. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 - 55 minutes or until golden on top and just set in the middle.  Serve warm.

Yield:  12 - 14 servings

*  I have always stripped my corn by standing it up in a pie plate, slicing it down with a sharp knife, then picking through it to remove any remaining strands of silk.  This has always worked for me, but I stumbled upon another way of doing it, so you might want to check this out:

*  Clearly I am not going to morph into a skinny cook anytime soon.  Oh well.  I would go so far as to say this meal was worth it.  Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

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