Guest Post: A Secret Summer Romance…

While I’m visiting all things Philadelphia this week, I’ve opened up Cooking In Stilettos to some FABULOUS bloggers I adore.  First up is the one and only (Sometimes!) Serendipitous Girl aka SSG disclosing her "secret summer romance"…

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A Secret Summer Romance

by SSG

I have a secret … I love soup.

I wish it was more scandalous, really.  Like I love soup AND I slept with a celebrity.  But the secret really is that I just love soup. 

A hearty lentil and sausage stew in the fall, slow cooked onions simmered in beef broth and topped with melted Gruyere on toast in the winter.  A bowl of homemade chicken noodle to combat the sniffles or a simple tomato soup to combat a rainy afternoon.  Surely "hearty" stems from its root word, heart.  And I can’t think of another place that warms mine more than being wrapped up in a soft blanket on the couch, Pride & Prejudice queued up on the DVD player, spoon poised, ready to make the first plunge into warmth and comfort.

That is, until summer.

Soup and I have to go on the equivalent of a "Ross and Rachel" break.  Where instead of scraping the last bit of soup from the bowl, I scrape whatever vegetables I can pull together without having to turn on the stove.  I dabble with strolling through the farmers market in flip flops, warmed instead by the early morning sun.

But deep down, I miss soup.

There are cold soups, sure.  But gazpacho can get old after a while.  And while the cantaloupe soup I had at New York City’s Home one hot summer evening was delicious, it was too light to make a full meal.

I would just have to wait.

Or would I?

Enter the June 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living where "Soups on Ice" caught my eye.  While the title of the article initially had me envisioning Disney sized bowls of soup on ice skates, coming soon to a rink near you!  I quickly forgave her after seeing page after page of Spicy Tomato, Fresh Pea and Buttermilk, and Cucumber Basil & Mint.  And then my heart stopped when I saw "Corn & Coconut."   Described as "farm fresh familiar and surprising all at once" it had a humble list of ingredients.  Jalapeno, corn and coconut milk are boiled together with water, pureed, chilled and strained before getting to know each other a bit better in the fridge.  On some warm Portland days I’d like to climb right in there with them. 

The soup, when finished with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a few turns of the pepper mill, was the perfect accompaniment to a crisp Pinot Gris and salad.  Hearty?  Yes.  But cool and refreshing with a hint of complexity … though all really quite simple in the end.  Just like a summer romance should be.

Corn & Coconut Soup
Serves 4

Bring 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped, 3 cups fresh corn kernels, 1 can (14 oz) light coconut milk, and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Reduce heat, and simmer until corn is tender, about 20 minutes.  Filling a blender halfway and covering with a kitchen towel, puree soup in batches (I used my immersion blender).  Strain through a coarse sieve into a large bowl; discard solids.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill soup at least 3 hours or up to overnight.  Stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice.  Garnish each serving with fresh corn kernels if desired and season with pepper. 

 

SSG-CornCoconutSoup

Fast & Fresh: Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad…

I’m a sucker for corn, especially when it is during the hot summer months. Couple that with some grilled chicken and a curry dressing, I’m game.

So you can guess what will be on the menu this weekend…

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GRILLED CHICKEN & CORN SALAD

Recipe [and photo] courtesy of Cooking Club of America

DRESSING
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

SALAD
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 ears corn, husks and silk removed
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cups loosely packed baby spinach

  1. In small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the dressing.
  2. Heat grill. Brush chicken and corn with reserved dressing. Place chicken and corn on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium coals; cover grill. Grill corn 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and tender, turning to brown all sides. Grill chicken 8 to 10 minutes or until no longer pink in center, turning once.
  3. Place on cutting board; cool 5 minutes. Slice kernels off corn; slice chicken into strips. In large bowl, toss together corn, green onions and spinach; top with chicken. Drizzle with dressing.

Makes 2 (1 3/4-cup) servings