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September menus.


Lazy cooks have it easy this month. Wonderful produce is overwhelming gardens and markets; take advantage of nature's generosity and focus on single, wholesome foods for fabulously simple meals. Here we zero in on two--at their ripest and best value--and put them center stage.

Some warm evening, eat your fill of sweet corn; for a quick, any-day lunch, savor a salad of really ripe tomatoes with a fresh cheese.

Because corn and tomatoes are favorites as motifs in serving pieces, check your shelves; you might have such dishes hidden away.

To reduce last-minute activities, start up to a day ahead by organizing the butters and cheese for the corn, roasting chunks of Italian sausage, and measuring dry ingredients for the muffins. Then, while water for corn comes to a boil, make the muffins.

Plain melon is fine, or dress it up with a splash of fruit syrup or liqueur (black raspberry, cassis, orange).

Boiled Corn with Lime, Butters, and Cheese

16 to 24 medium-size ears of corn, husks and silks removed

Lime wedges

Flavored butters (suggestions follow)

About 1 cup soft cheese such as boursin or rondele, flavored with herbs (optional)

Salt, pepper, and crushed dried hot red chilies

Rinse and drain corn; if husking ahead, cover corn with damp towels and chill up to 4 hours.

Half-fill a 16- to 20-quart pan (or 2 smaller pans of equal volume) with water. Cover and bring water to a boil over high heat. Carefully drop corn into boiling water; cover, remove from heat, and let stand until kernels look slightly darker in color, about 10 minutes. Serve corn on a platter or from hot water. Have lime wedges, butters, and cheeses in small bowls.

To eat, season corn as desired: rub ears with lime and sprinkle with salt and pepper or chilies, or spread with the flavored butters or cheese. Makes 8 servings, 2 or 3 ears each.

Per ear with lime juice: 78 cal. (13 percent from fat); 2.9 g protein; 1.1 g fat (0.2 g sat.); 17 g carbo.; 14 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Flavored butters. Choose 1 or several flavors (following); if making ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days. To make each flavor, beat 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature, to blend with 1 of the following combinations. Allow about 1/2 tablespoon flavored butter for each ear of corn.

Hot-sour butter. Add 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Makes about 1/4 cup.

Per 1/2 tablespoon: 54 cal. (100 percent from fat); 0.1 g protein; 6 g fat (3.7 g sat.); 0.2 g carbo.; 61 mg sodium; 16 mg chol.

Wasabi butter. Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) and 1 tablespoon wasabi powder (Japanese horseradish) or prepared horseradish. Makes about 1/4 cup.

Per 1/2 tablespoon: 54 cal. (100 percent from fat); 0.1 g protein; 6 g fat (3.7 g sat.); 0.2 g carbo.; 63 mg sodium; 16 mg chol.

Bacon butter. Add 1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Per 1/2 tablespoon: 28 cal. (93 percent from fat); 0.4 g protein; 2.9 g fat (1.6 g sat.); 0 g carbo.; 45 mg sodium; 7.3 mg chol.

Cumin Muffins

16 strips dried cornhusks, about 2 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches long (optional)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, cut into chunks

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Discard any debris on cornhusks. Place husks in a bowl and pour boiling water over them; soak until pliable, 10 minutes or up to 1 day. Drain husks and pat dry.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and cumin seed. With 2 knives or a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until coarse crumbs form; add buttermilk and stir until mixture holds together.

Crisscross 2 husk strips over center of each of 8 buttered muffin cups (2 1/2 in. wide); if husks are not used, line cups with paper baking cups. Divide dough equally among cups, pushing husks down. Bake in center of a 375 |degrees~ oven until muffins are browned, about 35 minutes. Serve hot or warm. Makes 8.

Per muffin: 261 cal. (45 percent from fat); 5.1 g protein; 13 g fat (8 g sat.); 31 g carbo.; 399 mg sodium; 35 mg chol.

This meal is so easy and quick that the salad recipe is mostly a shopping guide.

Sliced Tomatoes with Herb Dressing and Fresh Cheese

About 2 1/2 pounds (4 or 5 large) ripe tomatoes, any color, rinsed or peeled, and cored

1/2 to 2/3 pound fresh (buffalo) or regular mozzarella cheese, or Mexican-style panela

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Fresh basil sprigs

Salt and pepper

Slice tomatoes and cheese, overlapping, on a platter. Mix oil, vinegar, and chopped basil and thyme; pour over salad. Garnish with basil sprigs and add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Per serving: 278 cal. (65 percent from fat); 12 g protein; 20 g fat (1.1 g sat.); 15 g carbo.; 64 mg sodium; 40 mg chol.
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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Lipman, Karyn I.
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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