Shorelinechef's Blog

Cooking and creating everyday solutions for busy families like mine.

Comfort Calm without Kitchen heat July 24, 2009

Even in the hot days of summer, I occasionally crave a comfort meal to calm my nerves or make me feel better when I’m coming down with something. This delicious Stuffed Baked Potato & Corn Chowder satisfies the need for comfort food without causing me to have to crank the A/C because it actually cooks in the Microwave! Not only that, it serves six for minimal cost. It’s a great budget recipe that doesn’t taste a bit like I’m on a budget.

 

Stuffed Baked Potato and Corn Chowder

3 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs.)

3 1/2 Cups milk, divided (can be lowfat)

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 T butter

2 – 3 green onions

2 – 3 ears of corn, kernels removed and reserved

4 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Additional toppings, such as sour cream, additional cheese, snipped chives, cooked & chopped bacon and/or steamed broccoli florets.

 

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and then slice each half into thirds. Place in The Pampered Chef’s Deep Covered Baker and pour 1/2 cup milk over the top. Cover and microwave on high 11 minutes. Remove baker from microwave and move center potatoes to ends of baker and outer potatoes to center. Cover and microwave on high 8 – 11 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove baker from microwave and coarsely mash.

 

While potatoes are cooking, whisk cream cheese until smooth and gradually add the remaining 3 cups of milk. Whisk until smooth. Add the milk & cream cheese mixture to baker and cube and sprinkle butter over the top. Add corn kernels and stir just to cover kernels. Cover and microwave on high for 4 – 6 minutes or until mixture is hot. Slice green and white parts of the green onions and reserve.

 

Carefully remove baker from microwave and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Add green onions, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly until cheese is melted.

 

Serve with toppings, if desired.

 

Thanks to The Pampered Chef for inspiring this recipe.

 

Incredible Farmstand Produce Inspires July 11, 2009

Filed under: Cooking,Vegetables — shorelinechef @ 5:40 am

Driving through America’s salad bowl in Northern California, I happened upon an incredible little farmstand selling organic produce, literally straight from the field. High Ground Organics sits on a little plot adjacent to the historical Redman House, which, in its current, dilapidated state would surely qualify to be pictured alongside any encyclopedic listing of “haunted house”. The grounds of the old mansion, less than a mile from the seashore, are teeming with neatly-tended rows of produce, fruit trees and flowers. Once harvested, the freshly picked bounty travels but a few steps to the tiny stand. Red and green cabbage, green onions, a rainbow of chards, red and golden beets, white turnips, radishes, romaine and leafy lettuces and fingerling potatoes abound. A selection of avocados, fresh eggs and a few other items from select nearby fields and farms are often available, as well.

On this day, along with some other organic items procured from the farmers’ market in the Santa Cruz Mountains town of Felton, I was inspired to make a French-style potato salad of white and red fingerlings with a Dijon-based vinaigrette of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, finely diced sweet white onion, basil, parsley, kosher salt and ground pepper. Some thinly-sliced organic red onion and a brief chill in the fridge completed the flavors. Golden beets, drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven at 375 degrees for an hour, then peeled and dressed with more olive oil, kosher salt and pepper were an earthy accompaniment to grilled chicken. Tangy sourdough bread, spread with sweet butter and rubbed with a cut garlic clove was grilled to slightly charred. A green salad of organic romaine and red leaf lettuces, Japanese and lemon cucumbers, small Roma tomatoes and thinly sliced French breakfast radishes completed the meal with a bottle of Zinfandel to top it all off with flair. Sugar-sweet Blenheim apricots were the perfect dessert. This delicious meal was prepared while salty ocean breezes wafted through our beachfront kitchen.

Summer produce inspires. Local, organic ingredients can make the difference when simple techniques are applied for spectacular results.

www.highgroundorganics.com/farmstand.htm