August 17, 2008

Festival of Maize


We were up in Columbia County, New York this weekend. FARM country! I love it. So, I went a little crazy at the farm stands. I know there are women who get excited by sales at Saks or the deals at overstock.com. For me, it's farm stands. I can't hold back. I need to buy, buy, buy. I purchase a little bit from each place, trying to spread my farm-stand-love around. It takes a real effort not to pull the car over at *every* *single* farmstand. My husband knows by now that he shouldn't even ask - he just slows down as soon as the "Fresh Produce Ahead" sign appears on the side of the road. Because, yup, I'll need to stop and see what they've got.

So, I went here and here and here and a few other unnamed, non-websited places. The selections were amazing - all kinds of tomatoes (heirlooms at great prices!), string beans, zucchini, peaches, apricots, plums, berries, early apples - pretty much every summer vegetable or fruit was there, all of it local. Be still, my heart. Nothing beats August in the Hudson Valley in my opinion. Unless it's September in the Hudson Valley - it's a toss-up whether you'd trade the late-summer berries for the early-fall squashes, apples and pears. Fortunately, we don't have to choose as I'll be heading north again in a few weeks' time. Sure, it's nice to see my friends who live up there but really, I'm there for the farm stands. And it's okay, because they know that about me. :)

So on this spree, I bought 24 ears of corn at Samascott Orchards. Some was bi-color, some was all-white. The all-white corn is as sweet as candy. I think I might actually need to make sweet corn ice cream because this corn is perfect for it.

My kitchen was a corn workshop today. I shucked a bunch of ears and froze the kernels for chowder later in the season. Then I made corn stock from the cobs ,which then went into corn soup with 2 quarts of stock leftover for the freezer.

I also made Dorie's fresh corn muffins, which are incredible with fresh corn. I've made them in the past with packaged, frozen corn and they were just not the same. I also baked them in jumbo muffin tins and I think they work better on that scale. They were so tender and moist.

Then we had some corn on the cob with dinner tonight. Can you believe I still have more corn in the fridge?? I am starting to feel like we live on a cornfield. Not that I'd have any problem with that! Bear in mind, there are just 2 of us in my house. And I bought 24 ears. Thank god corn is cheaper than Manolo Blahniks or we'd really be in trouble.
Among my other purchases, was heavy cream from a local dairy. Ooooh the cream, the cream!! This is the real McCoy. Thick globs at the top of the glass bottle, a rich creamy flavor with no hint of cardboard or over-pasteurization. Perfect for a fresh apricot ice cream. More about that on Tuesday, when I'll also report on the granola grabbers for TWD.

And I leave you with some sexy apricots:


I send out a big thank you to my fellow food blogger Jaime at Good Eats n Sweet Treats. Jaime gave me some really helpful advice on how to use my camera - thank you for making my blog look better, Jaime! Go check out her blog, she has great photos and recipes.