I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Caramelized Corn Pudding

I talk often here about how I come about recipes, and this one has a story with it too. A friend and I were eating at a popular local restaurant and I told her about the amazing creamed corn dish they sometimes make (sadly not on the menu that day). This led to a larger discussion of corn preparations, and she told me her husband couldn’t stop raving about a corn pudding he had at a restaurant on a business trip that had “some kind of sugary topping.” She asked if I had ever heard about this and I told her I hadn’t but it sure did sound good. Low and behold, a few days later I was flipping through my collection of community cookbooks and came across a recipe for “The Best Corn Pudding Ever” that involved sprinkling the top with brown sugar. Well, I just couldn’t wait to give it a try and am I ever glad I did. I served it to my family as part of a full dinner of summer produce and they absolutely raved. They did indeed think it was the best corn pudding ever.

The second time I made this, I admit I accidently let the butter brown a little, but it was a serendipitous mistake, because it added even more depth to the final result. Adding a hint of sugar to the mix brings out the sweetness of good summer corn, and the lightly caramelized top is a revelation, providing a perfect sweet-salty balance.

Caramelized Corn Pudding
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 8 ears fresh corn
  2. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, divided
  3. 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 2 Tablespoons flour
  5. ½ cup heavy cream
  6. 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  7. 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Cut the kernels from the corn into a large bowl.
  2. Melt 6 Tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat in a deep skillet. When the butter starts to foam and little flecks of brown appear, about 3 minutes, stir in the granulated sugar and stir until smooth and the butter has browned a little more, about 3 minutes, then stir in the flour until smooth. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the cream until well combined. The mixture may look a little odd or curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come right in the end. Stir in the corn kernels to combine, then add the beaten eggs, baking powder and salt and stir until everything is mixed together. You may see some lumps of the cream mixture, but that’s okay.
  3. Spread the corn in the prepared baking dish, evening out the top. (You can make the dish to this point up to a few hours ahead, keep it loosely covered with a towel on the counter). Bake the corn pudding for 45 minutes, until firm and golden around the edges. Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter in a measuring jug with a spout (I use the microwave), then stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Drizzle the butter and brown sugar mix over the top of the corn pudding, gently spreading it out with a heat proof spatula or the back of a spoon. Cook for a further 5 minutes and serve immediately.
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Lady Peas and Lacy Cakes

I have stated many times before, I love field peas and go on mad buying frenzies when they are in season at the farmers market. I put many of the peas up in the freezer, but my standard weekend summer supper is field peas, fresh corn and tomatoes. It’s easy to set a pot of peas simmering on the back of the stove while I get on with my obsessive summer canning. And it the end of a day of making jar after jar of jams, relishes and pickles, it’s nice to have a comforting supper waiting without much extra work. Some days, though, I am looking to jazz things up a bit, to add a little extra to my standard field pea pot. And I think cornbread is a wonderful way to do that, so I tend to fiddle around with the ingredients I have on hand.

Lady peas are at the top of my field pea love list, not least because of the sweet and pretty name. My go to is butter braised lady peas, served with pillowy buttermilk hoecakes. This recipe is a riff on that basic formula, and I’ll be honest, it came to me because I like the silliness of the name lady peas and lacy cakes. The lady peas here are served with a lightly creamy, but not at all heavy, sauce, this one inspired by my Southern Girl Butter Beans. Lacy cakes are a traditional cornbread preparation, in which the cornmeal batter is sizzled in hot oil to produce lacy edges and an open bubbly crumb. They are the perfect foil for delicate lady peas. So here’s to a new twist to summer supper.

Lady Peas and Lacy Cakes
Serves 6
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For the Peas
  1. 1 pound fresh lady peas
  2. 3 strips bacon
  3. 1 small shallot or ¼ of an onion
  4. 3 garlic cloves
  5. 3 -4 stems of fresh thyme
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. 2 Tablespoons butter
  8. 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  9. salt and pepper to taste
For the Lacy Cakes
  1. 1 egg
  2. 3 cups whole buttermilk
  3. 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. vegetable oil
For the Peas
  1. Place the lady peas, bacon, onion half, garlic clove and seasoning in a heavy saucepan.  Add water just to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the beans are tender, about an hour. When the beans are done, strain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the bacon, thyme stems, bay leafs, onion (which may have fallen into pieces – fish them all out) and garlic cloves if you can find them.
  2. Now make the sauce.  Wipe out the pot and melt the butter in it.  Sprinkle over the flour and stir until smooth.  Slowly pour in the cooking liquid, whisking until the sauce is smooth and thickened.  Add lots of pepper to taste.  Add the beans and stir to coat with the sauce.  Warm the beans through.  Season with salt to taste.
For the Lacy Cakes
  1. Beat the egg and buttermilk together in a large mixing bowl. Add the cornmeal, baking soda and salt and stir until thoroughly combined. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, then give it a good stir. Generously grease a shallow skillet or griddle pan with vegetable oil. You want more than just a light coating, but we are not deep frying here, so just a little pool of oil. When the oil is shimmering, scoop a ¼ cup of batter into the hot oil and spread into a circle from the center of the cake. Cook until golden brown on one side, about three minutes, then flip over and cook until crisp on the other side. Remove to a wire rack or a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining batter. Add more oil as needed. The cakes can be kept warm in a low oven.
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Greek Style Green Bean Salad

Every year, I look forward with great anticipation to the Memphis Greek Festival. I go as soon as it opens and stock up on frozen spanikopita, delight at the flaming cheese saganaki and pig out on the cookies and pastries made by the ladies of the church. And it always gets me thinking about Greek recipes. I’ve only been to Greece once, many years ago, with friends on a budget and without a lot of knowledge about Greek cuisine. But we ate well, and those flavors have always stuck with me. One dish we found on many menus was green beans stewed with tomatoes, garlic and herbs, and it sometimes just came with whatever cheap plate meal we ordered. I’ve used that idea as a template for cooking fresh green beans at home, or for maximizing the flavor of frozen beans. But I flipped the script here to create a refreshing summer salad that makes great use of the farmers market abundance here in the South.

Beans cooked just until crisp, tomatoes roasted to bring out their sweet richness, fragrant oregano and salty feta cheese marry together perfectly. I prefer to use a solid block of feta cheese which I cut into small pieces. Pre-crumbled cheese tends to dissolve and muddy up the finished product.

Greek Style Green Bean Salad
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds fresh green beans
  2. 12 ounces fresh tomatoes (about 2 medium)
  3. 3 cloves garlic
  4. 6 -7 sprigs of fresh oregano
  5. 7 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  6. 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. 1 large shallot
  9. 8 ounce block feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, and fill a large bowl or sink with ice water. When the water is boiling, drop in the beans and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and plunge them into the ice water to stop cooking. When the beans are cold in the water remove them to a tea towel to air dry. The beans can be cooked up to a day ahead and refrigerated in a ziptop bag.
For the Vinaigrette
  1. Preheat the oven to 300. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place in a small baking dish close together. Tuck the garlic cloves into the tomatoes, so they do not touch the bottom of the dish. Tuck three – four sprigs of oregano into the tomatoes, then drizzle over 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Turn the tomatoes around in the oil so they are coated, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 ½ hours, until the tomatoes are completely soft. Scrape the tomatoes and all the collected juices into the carafe of a blender and leave to cool. When the tomatoes are cool, add the vinegar and blend until smooth. Drizzle in the remaining 6 Tablespoons of olive oil until the dressing is smooth and completely blended. The dressing can be made ahead and kept covered in the fridge. Blend again before adding to the salad.
  2. When ready to serve, cut the beans into ½ inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Thinly slice the shallot and add to the beans. Cut the feta cheese into small cubes and add to the bowl. Finely chop the remaining oregano and add to the bowl. Toss everything to combine, then pour over some of the dressing, then gently stir to coat the beans. Start with about three-quarters of the dressing, then add more as you like. You may have a little more dressing than you want to use. Taste and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. The salad can be kept in the fridge for a few hours. Serve chilled.
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Zucchini Pasta Bake with Mint Pesto

A few years ago, on a family trip to Italy, we had an amazing meal prepared by a local chef that included handmade ravioli with a zucchini mint pesto sauce. It was one of the culinary highlights of the trip for me. I asked the chef how it was made, but my lack of Italian and his lack of English didin’t make for very good instructions. I have wanted to recreate that dish since then, but making ravioli by hand is above my patience level, and I never managed to get his pesto version just right. But with tinkering, I eventually managed to get a mint pesto that mimicked the lovely fresh taste I remembered. I toss it here with freshly shredded zucchini – and the real shortcut of pasta made by someone other than me. I nice dose of crème fraiche mimicks the creamy handmade ricotta filling of the original dish, and just ties the whole thing together.

This really is the taste of summer in one dish. Beautiful in season zucchini with a gorgeous garden mint pesto, which I always find artfully displayed at the farmers market. Keep the pesto recipe in your back pocket – it is great stirred into pasta on its own or spooned over grilled chicken or veggies.

Zucchini Pasta Bake with Mint Pesto
Serves 8
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For the Pesto
  1. 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  2. 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  3. zest of one lemon
  4. 4 cups loosely packed mint leaves
  5. 1/3 cup olive oil
For the Pasta Bake
  1. 1 pound tubular pasta like rigatoni
  2. 2 medium zucchini (about 1 ¼ pounds)
  3. 2 (8-ounce) containers crème fraiche
  4. 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  5. ¾ cup plain dry bread crumbs
  6. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  7. salt and pepper to taste
For the Pesto
  1. Put the almonds, garlic, lemon zest and mint leaves in the bowl of a food processor and process until chopped to a rough puree. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil until you have a thick paste.
For the Pasta Bake
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water 2 minutes less than the package directions. Dip out about 1 cup of the pasta water in a measuring jug, then drain the pasta a rinse under cool water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Put the grated zucchini in a really large bowl, then add the crème fraiche and the pesto and generous pinches of salt and stir to combine. When the pasta has cooled, stir it into the zucchini. (If you don’t have a huge bowl, you can scrape everything into the pot you cooked the pasta in). Stir to coat the pasta with the creamy mixture. Drizzle in ¼ to ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to create a lighter sauce that coats the pasta.
  3. Scrape the pasta into a greased 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the Parmegiano-Reggiano evenly over the top. Mix the breadcrumbs and the olive oil together in a small bowl. I start with a for, then use my fingers to rub them together until I have a mixture like wet sand. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta.
  4. The dish can be cooled covered and refrigerated overnight. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Bake until heated through and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
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Radishes with Browned Butter Spread

I think radishes are absolutely gorgeous and I love it when they start to appear at the farmers market. Beautiful red and pink and pale purple Easter egg radishes, long ombre breakfast radishes, simply orbs of bright red. But to be honest, I’ve never really known what to do with them besides slice them for a salad. I’ve been so tempted by their beauty that I searched out recipes and ideas, and I’ve tried some with nice results, though I truly think the simple, French way of serving radishes with very good butter, flaky salt and soft baguettes is the best. It is that type simply stunning presentation you see in magazine spreads that I always aspire to reproducing. The beauty of the radishes does most of the work. And I find people are always excited or intrigued. Just to spark things up a little, I whipped up this browned butter spread

Use a good European-style butter for the best flavor, there is so little to this dish that you want to make every ingredient count. I think this is charming with pink Himalayan salt, or really striking with black salt, but crunchy flaky white salt, such as Maldon, is perfect. Any type of radish works, and you can slice them to drape over baguette slices slathered with the butter, or leave them whole for swiping through the spread and eating out of hand. The browned butter spread is good on just about anything!

Radishes with Browned Butter Spread
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
  2. ½ teaspoon flaky salt, pink, black or white
  3. radishes
Instructions
  1. Cut one stick of the butter into small pieces and place in a small saucepan (light colored or stainless is best so you can see the butter as it browns). Heat over medium high heat, watching constantly, until the butter is melted. It will start to spit and hiss, then you will see brown speckles appear. Stir the butter to distribute the browned bits, and as soon as the butter has an even brown color and a nice nutty smell, pour it into a measuring jug. Leave to cool, but not solidify.
  2. When the browned butter has cooled, place the remaining stick of softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the loosen up the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl. With the motor running, drizzle in the browned butter, leaving the brown bits at the bottom of the measuring jug. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Add the salt and beat until well blended. Scrape the butter into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours (or up to three days) to allow the flavors to meld. Return to room temperature before serving.
  3. Serve with radishes and sliced baguettes.
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Asparagus with Creamy Brie Dressing

Fresh spring asparagus I such a lovely thing to serve at an Easter brunch, or any spring occasion really. It can easily be made ahead, it’s hugely adaptable, plus, it always looks so pretty on the table. I have several lovely oblong dishes that seem made for asparagus, and I love asparagus serving tongs. So I am always looking for a pretty and unique way to serve a pile of perfect green spears. And I love anything with brie. I’ve made this dressing for years and served it over baby lettuces with chopped apples and pears, walnuts and crispy bacon (and I recommend you do the same). But as spring arrived and Easter approaches, I wanted to share some great brunch ideas and use spring produce. It hit me that brie and asparagus would be very happy together.

The dressing is thick and creamy, tinged a lovely pale celadon by the chives. You can serve the dressing napped over the spears on a platter, or individual plates for serving a seated meal, or serve it as a dip. When I find gorgeous, local, fresh spring asparagus I just barely blanch it, but if yours is a bit woody or thick, feel free to cook it a little longer, or toss the spears very lightly with olive oil and roast.

Asparagus with Creamy Brie Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. 7 ounces brie cheese
  2. 1/3 cup whole milk
  3. ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  4. 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  5. 1 clove garlic
  6. 1 Tablespoon roughly chopped chives
  7. generous pinch sea salt
  8. generous grinds black pepper
  9. 2 pounds asparagus
Instructions
  1. Use a thin, sharp knife to remove the rind from the brie. It’s easiest to do this when the brie is cold. Don’t be too precious, some rind is perfectly fine and you don’t want to lose too much cheese. Cut the brie into chunks and place in a blender. Leave to come to room temperature. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth. The dressing can be made several hours ahead – refrigerate it in the blender carafe and give it one more whir before using.
  2. Fill a sink or large bowl with ice water, then fil a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Break off the woody ends of the asparagus, and when the water is boiling, drop in the asparagus. Cook just until the asparagus is bright green, but still tender, about 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the asparagus to the ice water with tongs. When the asparagus is cold, transfer to a clean tea towel and pat dry. The asparagus can be blanced severl hours ahead. Store on the platter or in ziptop bags in the fridge.
  3. Makes about 1 ½ cups dressing
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Red Onion, Blue Cheese and Walnut Tart

I love a savory tart. I just find them so versatile. They make a perfect lunch with a salad, or a homey dinner with a bowl of soup, or an elegant starter at a dinner party. They are a great thing to take to someone who needs a meal and are great eaten warm out of the oven or at room temperature, so leftovers are useful as well. Of course, the French-style Quiche Lorraine is the classic, but I’ve also tried the Belgian version, Flamiche, or a hearty Chicken, Cheddar and Pecan version. There is no end to the combinations. Toss up a pretty green salad to serve with it, or a nice bowl of soup.

For this version, I add a lovely, nutty walnut pastry and add some walnuts to the filling for crunch. Sweetly caramelized onions and sharp blue cheese make for a rich, complex flavor. Patience with the onions is well rewarded as they become jammy sweet with the hit of wine and brandy. Marjoram is one of my favorite herbs and adds such as a mysterious note to the filling, but if you can’t find it use thyme. Toast the walnuts to bring out the deep nuttiness, then they add a great texture to the finished product.

Red Onion, Blue Cheese and Walnut Tart
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. For the Walnut Pastry
  2. ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  3. 1 cup all-pupose flour
  4. ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  5. ½ teasponn ground black pepper
  6. 1/3 cup butter, cold
  7. 4 – 5 Tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
  1. ½ cup chopped walnuts
  2. 4 medium sized red onions
  3. ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  4. ½ cup white vermouth or white wine
  5. 2 Tablespoons brandy
  6. 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
  7. 5 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  8. 3 eggs
  9. 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  10. salt and pepper
For the Crust
  1. Put the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to finely grind, then add the flour, salt and pepper and pulse a few times to combine. Make sure to scrape any of the walnuts that cling to the edges of the bowl and mix them with the flour. Cut the butter into very small cubes and drop into the flour, then pulse to a fine, mealy texture. With the motor running, drizzle in the ice water until the pastry just comes together in a ball. Dump the pastry ball onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, though up to a day ahead is fine.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350. Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter, then unwrap the pastry onto the paper. Roll the pastry into a circle big enough to fill the a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Carefully transfer the pastry to the pan and gently press it in to fit.
  3. Prick the base of the pastry case with a fork, then line it with parchment paper. Fill the case with ceramic pie weights or dry beans, then bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
For the Filling
  1. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium high heat just until they smell lovely and nutty and are lightly browned. Immediately transfer to a plate to cool.
  2. Peel the onions and slice them very thinly on a mandolin or with a sharp knife. This is a lot of onions, but they shrink considerably with cooking, so don’t be alarmed. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large, deep skillet or pot, then add the onions and stir to coat with the butter. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they just begin to brown. Pour in the wine and brandy and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and leave the onions to caramelize and soften, about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Watch that they don’t burn or catch, but low and slow cooking makes them sweet and delicious. When the onions are soft reduced, remove the lid and cook a further 10 – 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid is evaporated and the onions are a nice, even golden brown. Remove from the heat, stir in 1 Tablespoon chopped marjoram and leave to cool to room temperature.
  3. Remove the paper and pie weights from the pastry shell, then spread the onions in an even layer over the base. Sprinkle the blue cheese over the onions in an even layer, then the toasted walnuts over the cheese. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
  4. Whisk the eggs and cream together in a small bowl, then whisk in the remaining 1 Tablespoons marjoram. Evenly pour the custard over the filling in the tart shell. Bake the tart for 30 minutes, until the center is set and lightly golden.
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Creamy Roasted Onion Soup

I absolutely love soup, particularly during the grey days of winter. For me it can be a meal in itself, a side for a sandwich or salad or a starter. Soup is also a great pantry and fridge cleaner, because even the humblest ingredients can be transformed into something special, with a minimum of effort.

This recipe is a perfect example, as it was born from an excess of onions. I have a tendency to buy an onion or two every time I’m in the grocery, and every once in awhile I end up with a backlog I need to use up. I had read a recipe in a cookbook for a roasted onion bisque, but couldn’t find it or remember exactly what it called for, but the idea stuck with me. Roasting brings out the sweetness of any vegetable and mellows the flavor of onions, taming some of the bite. I love that this recipe has the hint of familiarity of a French onion soup with the added comfort of a creamy, rich texture. Any number of toppings can be added – crispy croutons, salty bacon, crumbly cheese, chopped herbs. Thyme is a perfect pairing for onions, but you could also use marjoram or rosemary. I like to puree it until very smooth, but leave a little texture if you prefer. Push the puree through a strainer for an extra velvety soup.

Creamy Roasted Onion Soup
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 – 2 ¼ pounds sweet yellow onions (about 2 large)
  2. 10 cloves of garlic
  3. olive oil
  4. kosher salt and ground black pepper
  5. 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (1 32-ounce box)
  6. 4 Tablespoons sherry, divided
  7. 6 – 7 full sprigs of thyme
  8. ½ cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or no stick foil. Peel all the papery skin from the onions and cut each onion into eight wedges, held together by the root end. Place the onion pieces on the baking sheet and spray or brush all sides of the onions with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Peel the garlic coves and place them on a small piece of foil and coat lightly with olive oil. Wrap the cloves tightly into a little foil packet and place on a corner of the baking sheet. Roast the onions and garlic for 30 minutes, then use tongs to carefully turn the onions and roast another 30 minutes, until the onions are soft and lightly browned in places. Transfer the onions to a Dutch oven. Unwrap the garlic cloves and add them to the pot. Pour in the chicken broth and stir in 3 Tablespoons of the sherry. Drop in the thyme sprigs and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Fish out the woody thyme stems then transfer the soup in batches to a blender and puree until smooth. Vent and hold down the top of the blender with a tea towel to be safe. Return the soup to the wiped out pot and add the remaining 1 Tablespoons sherry and the heavy cream and stir until combined. When heated through, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
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Lady Pea, Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Lady Pea, Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

I adore lady peas. They are as lovely as their sweet name suggests. These tiny little gems are creamy and pack a flavor punch for their diminutive size. And during the summer, when the lady peas are abundant, I use them in whatever way I can, braised in butter or in a beautiful Sunshine Succotash. This fresh salad is perfect for a late summer supper, featuring the stars of a Southern summer farmers’ market in a fresh basil vinaigrette. It is light and fresh and looks beautifully colorful. I have served this several times this summer, with a cold fried chicken supper and as part of a fresh summer vegetable meal alongside seasonal green beans, sliced tomatoes and watermelon. It’s a great salad to keep in the fridge over a summer weekend to go with sandwiches or to serve in a dainty lettuce cup.

Sometimes I find tiny “currant” tomatoes that are about the size of pearls. I love to use those in this salad when I can. Otherwise, look for small tomatoes and cut any larger ones in half. Red onions add a nice pop of color and bite, but diced green onions would work just as well.

Lady Pea, Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. For the Vinaigrette
  2. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  3. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  6. ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  7. ¾ cups olive oil
  8. For the Salad
  9. 2 cups fresh lady peas
  10. 5 ears fresh corn, husked and cut from the cob
  11. ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  12. 1 ½ cups small cherry tomatoes
For the Vinaigrette
  1. Place the lemon juice, mustard, salt and basil leaves in the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Pules to chop up the basil, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vinegar and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you have a nice emulsified dressing. Store the vinaigrette covered in the fridge for up to three days.
For the Salad
  1. Rinse the lady peas, then place in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water (you’ll add the corn later, so there needs to be room). Bring to a boil, skim off any foam, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, just until the peas are tender, but still have a little bite. Add the corn kernels, stir, cover the pot and cook a further five minutes. Drain the peas and corn and rinse with cold water. Leave to drain completely, then place in a large bowl, add the onion and stir to combine.
  2. You can prepare the salad up to this point, cover and refrigerate for one day.
  3. About an hour before serving, add the cherry tomatoes and toss to combine. Pour over the dressing and stir to coat everything and evenly distribute the dressing. Taste and add salt as needed.
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Country Ham Butter for Corn on the Cob

Country Ham Butter for Corn on the Cob

Beautifully fresh, sweet and juicy corn on the cob is one of the great glories of a Southern summertime. There something sentimental about it – a throwback to summer camp and family cookouts, spreading butter over the hot cobs and sprinkling them with salt, juicy kernels bursting at every bite and the butter dripping down your fingers, even when you use the little plastic corn-shaped picks. I always come home with more corn from the farmers market than I intend to. Corn with evocative names like Silver Queen, Bread and Butter and Peaches and Cream, yellow and white and particolored. I enjoy it straight, or cut from the cob, and I put up little baggies of kernels in the freezer for a taste of summer in the winter. I love the squeaky sound of the husk being pulled back from the cob, because I know the reward that comes makes the effort worth it.

When I invite friends over for a summer cookout, or head to a lake house for a water weekend, I always want to serve fresh corn with the burgers and hot dogs. Seasoned butter is a special treat for corn, and this version could not be a better companion to Southern corn. Salty country ham, tangy green onions and a little kick of mustard add dimension to a perfect cob. This butter is also delicious melted into simply cooked field peas, or frankly spread on a warm biscuit.

Country Ham Butter for Corn on the Cob
Yields 3
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ounces country ham, center cut (1/2 a large slice or a few biscuit slices)
  2. 4 small green onions
  3. ½ teaspoon black pepper
  4. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  5. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. Pulse the ham and green onions in a food processor (I like to use a mini version) until you have a rough paste. Add the pepper, butter, and mustard and blend until smooth. Scoop the butter onto a length of waxed paper and shape into a log. Refrigerate until firm.
  2. Slice of pieces of the butter to melt over warm corn on the cob.
Cooking Corn on the Cob
  1. Go traditional and boil the husked ears of corn in a large stock pot which will fit your corn, standing on end is fine, covered with an inch or so of water. Bring salted water to a boil and drop in the husked cobs. Cook for 5- 8 minutes, on the low end for just picked fresh corn, a little longer if you’ve had it for a day or two.
  2. For corn on the grill, I use two different methods. One is to husk the corn and microwave 3 cobs at a time on a microwave safe plate for 3 minutes to soften the kernels, then place the cobs directly on the grill for about 10 minutes until lightly charred. The alternative is to peel pack the husks, but do not remove them. Remove the silks, lightly brush the kernels with olive oil and fold the husks back up over the cobs. Place on a medium-heat grill for about 15 minutes until the husks are charred.
  3. I’ve also tried the microwave trick – cut about an inch of the top of each silk end to expose the cobs and microwave for 4 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, then slip the corn out of the husk. This does make the corn easy to husk, but I think the corn can come out a little tough, and you do need to do it one cob at a time.
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/