Monday, July 26, 2010

Fig and Prosciutto Pizza Revisited

Ok, it's fig season again. I had to make another fig and prosciutto pizza, but this time it's quick.

I began with flat bread, whole wheat naan to be specific. I love naan, and now I love naan pizza.

Brush the naan or flatbread of choice with olive oil. Layer with some cheese (I used asiago) and basil.

Next layer - the prosciutto and more cheese. The cheese acts as glue to help hold the slippery, sliced fig onto the pizza.

Then, zee sliced fig! And of course more cheese.

Toss into a hot oven (400-450 degrees F) until the cheese gets slightly brown and the prosciutto's edges a bit crispy - about 20 minutes.

This super quick, fancy meal couldn't be easier. Give it a try!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Save That Sweet Corn!

Summer is short - very short. Fortunately, summer is still with us. Sweet corn is finally in season, and now it's time to get kernels in your teeth and butter all over your face. Dig in while you can. But wait, how about digging in now AND later?! The frozen corn in the grocery store just can't compete with our Indiana ears, so let's preserve this amazing summer food.

Get some fresh ears. The fresher the better. If you can, preserve the same day that the corn has been picked. You'll be so happy you did. I'm partial to our Indiana corn and very partial to My Dad's Sweet Corn from Tipton. If you can find this family business at a farmers market, you'll see how popular they are. Folks LINE UP for this stuff. It's like crack on a cob.

Shuck your ears. Try to get most of the silks off, and trim all of the "tails" as short as possible - shorter than pictured so they'll fit better in your hot pot and cold bowl.

Get the biggest pot you own and fill it with hot water. Let it get up to a rolling boil and keep it there. Put 3 to 4 ears in at a time. Depending on the size of the ears, let them cook for 5 to 7 minutes.

Take them out of the hot water and place them into an ice bath for the same amount of time. This photo is a "what not to do" photo. I should have had a bigger cold bowl. If you don't have a giant bowl, just use your kitchen sink and fill it with ice and cold water. I also needed WAY more ice. Those hot ears turned the water warm within seconds. Keep working in batches until all of your corn is blanched and cooled completely.

Now you can cut the corn from the cob. Don't forget to scrape the cob to get the little bits off.

Break the kernels apart and spread them thinly on a tray and put in the freezer. After the kernels are completely frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.

You might be wondering why even go through all of the cooking steps. Why can't I just cut it off the cob and freeze it? Well, the fresh ears contain enzymes that will break down the sugary goodness inside the kernels. The blanching process kills off the enzymes allowing us to preserve that amazing sweet flavor and crisp texture.

Just think, when it's cold and lifeless outside, you can be inside reminiscing about summer and munching on sweet, delicious corn. Now what to do with your corn this winter: put it in a soup/stew, in a salad, in a pot pie, on a pizza - seriously, put it on a pizza. The possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pineapple Whip Ice Cream! (or sherbet if you want to get technical)

I don't know about you, but my family and I go to the State Fair every year pretty much for the food. I know, that sounds appalling, but it's a once a year thing. Our arteries have a year to recover. One of the treats that we can't leave without is pineapple whip ice cream. The state fair is the only place we've found it. My mom used to Jones for it until she found a recipe that is as close as you can get to the real deal.

The coolest part is that it's made of only three ingredients: pineapple juice (one 46oz can), sugar (2 cups), and half & half (2 cups OR 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup milk).

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and beat well with a mixer until frothy.

Pour the pineapple-y goodness into your ice cream maker of choice and churn according to the directions of your specific machine. Ours churned for about 35 minutes.

Oh, flippin' yeah. Just like at the fair, except you don't have to encounter the grumpy man who dishes it out for you. Ah, the State Fair.

Monday, July 5, 2010

At the Lakes

Alright, I'm kind of on vacation. Only "kind of" because I still have to work from a distance thanks to the wonderful interweb, but I'll take what I can get. I'm back at my old summer stomping grounds on Lake Tippecanoe. My grandparents have had a tiny place here for decades. It belongs to my parents now, and my dad has been making good use of it all of his life. Every weekend of every summer, we drove up north to this sacred place. I can only make it up about once a year now, and every time I come I'm reminded of how beautiful it is.

Mushy memories aside, there's a cool, new hangout restaurant/bar that's walking distance from our place: Pie Eyed Petey's. The owners won the lottery so they opened up shop in a rinky-dink, vacant marina. I remember that marina being very creepy with it's old, abandoned boat houses, but now it's hopping with lake chatter and a wafting smell of oven baked pizza.

You have to love lake mentality. You can come in from the water, dock, eat/drink, and set back out again. I'm surprised there aren't more lakeside eateries like this one.

It was July 4th and PACKED!!! Our waitress was super strung out because of the crowd, but very nice. The wait for our food was, as expected, very long, but that's not a problem here at the lake because when you're here, time isn't important. There are no watches or clocks. The only time you set your alarm is when you want to wake up at dawn to ski on the water that's as smooth as glass. To tide over our hunger, we ordered fried green beans as an appetizer. These beans must have been local because they were so huge, green, and fresh.

A great thing about Petey's pizza is the crust. You can choose between deep dish, thick, or thin. We got their cracker thin crust. A 10 inch pizza filled us up just enough. With the pizza and beer down, we could relax and wait for the homemade ice cream to finish churning before the sun set.