Sunday, October 2, 2011

2 courses from dinner: Corn soup and tomato terrine

What a fabulous night!  It is always wonderful to slow down, relax and spend time with good friends.  Sharing a homemade meal over a bottle (or two…or three!) of fine wines – even better. Since much of this meal could be done well in advance – I was able to join the lively table conversation.  My goal was to stretch out the availability of seasonal corn & tomatoes a bit longer, meet Pat’s request for short ribs and not spend the evening in the kitchen.  (Admittedly I did spend a good deal of time in the kitchen the day before!)

THE MENU (all homemade)
Halibut Ceviche with Tortilla chips
Parmesan-Thyme Crackers with variety of jams

Chilled Corn Soup with Toasted Almonds

Tomato Terrine

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs
Sour Cream-Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Broccolini with Burrata Cheese
Roasted Fresh Lima Beans

Lemon Tart with Strawberries

Today, I will share the recipes and methods for making the Corn Soup and the Tomato Terrine.  These are BOTH very healthy and low-cal – but absolutely require best quality fresh ingredients. Hence, they are quite seasonal…get out there and make them soon.  You will not be disappointed.  They are both vegetarian. A few more dishes later in the week!

Chilled corn soup with toasted almonds
Slice the corn off 6-8 ears of corn.  This is most easily done by placing ear on a Bundt pan while slicing so kernels fall into the pan and not all over your kitchen.  (See previous post). Put cobs in a large pot with 6-8 C water. (just to submerge the cobs)  Bring water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 min.  This will become your broth!

In another pan, melt 3 Tb butter, add 1 large Vidalia onion chopped and 2-chopped med. Shallots.  Sweat for about 10 min to soften but do not brown. Add the corn kernels, toss in mixture to coat for 1-2 minutes.  Add reserved corn broth and simmer for 20 minutes.

With slotted spoon, transfer corn and onions to a blender with 2 – 3 C of the corn cob broth. Puree until completely smooth.

Transfer to a clean container and add 1 ½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste.  Thin with additional cooking broth if needed.  Could also add optional 1 C of heavy cream.

Chill for at least 3 hours.  Can be made the day before or frozen. Serve with garnish of roasted chopped almonds.  (Or other nut of your choice, such as walnuts)

Sliced tomato terrine drizzled with olive oil
 This is a bit time consuming but is SO worth the effort! The presentation is spectacular AND it tastes amazing.  It can be made 2 days ahead.

Put 2 chopped carrots, 1 thinly sliced leek, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 halved shallot, 1 garlic clove, 10 parsley sprigs, 10 black peppercorns, and 1 dried bay leave into a pot with 3 C water to make a vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes – until stock yields about 1 ½ C.  Set a fine mesh strainer over a measuring cup – strain stock and discard solids.  Cover.  Keep it hot.

Peel about 8 lbs. of tomatoes of similar size and various colors, such as with a serrated peeler (there are other ways, but this is the easiest if you have one). Set a strainer over another measuring cup. Cut each peeled tomato into 4 wedges. Cut away seeds and pulp from tomato and transfer them to strainer.  Place filleted tomatoes on paper towels to drain (see pic); sprinkle with 1-2 tsp. kosher salt. Let sit for 30 minutes or longer to extract as much water from the tomatoes as possible. Pat tomatoes with more paper towels.

Filleted tomatoes on the towel
Press on seeds and pulp to extract juice to yield ½ C tomato juice. Sprinkle 3 Tb gelatin over juice – let stand 10 minutes to soften. Add to hot stock, whisk vigorously to dissolve gelatin. Stir in ¼ C chopped chives, 2 tsp. red wine vinegar, and kosher salt to taste.

Spray one 8” x 4 ½ “ loaf pans with nonstick spray.  Line it completely and smoothly with plastic wrap – allow a 3” overhang on each side.  Pour ½ C stock into pan. Chill until set, about 40 minutes.  Arrange 1 layer of tomatoes in pan, pressing down gently, then drizzle 2 Tb stock mixture over.  Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes and stock, just like making lasagne – alternating colors, pressing down with each layer. Pour remaining stock over to fill pan if needed.  Cover terrine with overhang plastic wrap. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Press gently.  Chill terrine until set – at least 6 hours.

Uncover terrine, invert onto a platter (see pic). Remove pan and plastic wrap.  Use a serrated knife and gently slice terrine to serve.  Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with chives and sprinkle of your favorite finishing salt. If you used lots of different tomato colors, it will look spectacular! 
Tomato terrine after inverting onto platter

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