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Corn soup, cabbage crunch
Recipes of restraint with summer's finest
What a bounty: tomatoes, corn, melons, peppers, peaches, fennel, and basil, all at the market at the same time. Here’s good stuff I ate this week.
Chilled corn soup
Blasted in a pressure cooker with cobs and all, blended thoroughly, strained well, rested overnight, this soup is incomparable as summertime food.
I used sweet onion instead of leeks, skipped the tarragon, and only had a single tablespoon of butter on hand so added some avocado oil at the start, and I think it’s better for those tweaks.
What makes this soup work so well is restraint in the oil and dairy, and restraint in the use of salt: under-season it slightly and simply turns out better. Going easy on the oil and dairy improves the texture if you eat it chilled.
Last note: as with gazpacho, straining carefully transforms it into a silken treat. I use a stainless steel 9” mesh strainer like this.
Hat tip to the Whole Foods salad bar for this one.
When made with good cabbage it’s just kind of magic. And recently the veggie cooler at Mac Market has green cabbages that are indeed exceptional. I emphatically recommend this dish.
Remove any floppy outer leaves, cut in half, then core one medium cabbage and slice it into strips about an inch wide. Use your hands to separate the pieces well, and set aside.
Make a dressing of a quarter cup of neutral oil (I used avocado), plus roughly a teaspoon of rice vinegar, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and a pinch of salt. Use restraint in proportions here: this shouldn’t be an aggressive, tangy vinaigrette. The oil does the trick of softening the veg over time; the honey and vinegar and salt should quietly balance in the background.
Combine the cabbage and dressing, and mix with your hands, massaging lightly. You don’t have to beat it up like kale, just work the dressing into all the nooks. Once mixed, add a tablespoon of black sesame seeds plus two tablespoons of crushed walnuts, and toss again. (I got walnuts from Bernards, of course.)
Good luck making it last a whole day.
Beans, tomatos, cukes, and tuna
Mac Market stocks Lummi Island tuna, lovely stuff, caught here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s so superior to $3 junk tuna in most supermarkets that you’ll agree $9 for a can is a bargain. Here’s what I made:
Canned garbanzos rinsed well, cukes, tomatoes, capers, pickled onions, tossed with red wine vinegar and olive oil and oregano, tuna with more EVOO on the side. Entirely delicious for a 98º day.
This weekend I learned of a tequila cocktail that isn’t a margarita.
2oz reposado tequila
1oz Amontillado sherry
¼ ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
Two generous dashes orange bitters
Stir with ice until just chilled, and strain into cold glass. Garnish with a Bada Bing cherry, which, hey, says they’re from the Willamette Valley.
I like this cocktail because it doesn’t remind me of tequila in a margarita; the savory sherry plays off the oaky vanilla notes and the whole thing is greater than the sum of the parts, as they are in an improved old fashioned.
Also in season
Farmer Katie Kulla’s guide to buying farm fresh tomatoes. Whoops, I always squeeze them.
A short weekend drive led to discovering The Crowing Hen, a hops farm and brewery near Carlton. Not just great beer — also a gorgeous, immaculate family- and dog-friendly setting. Check out the photos here.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’re inspired to buy local and eat something good.