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Corn chowder with aged cheddar is a great way to use those leftovers of corn or do something different with it. This creamy and cheesy soup with saline herbs will close up the summer on a high note!chowder soup corn cheddar

Corn chowder with aged cheddar

Corn season is finally here and what better way to celebrate the season then a corn chowder with aged cheddar. The days are getting slowly colder and shorter and we all need to comfort ourselves up with some hot soup. Where I’m from, Quebec, Canada, everyone knows that the “best” corns are from that small town called Neuville situated in between Quebec city and Montreal. Pretty much everyone I know, if they pass by, have to stop by to get at least one mega bag that contains 60 corns for about 20$ CAD.

Once home people would eat corn until food coma follows, whether by boiling it or grilling it in its leaves (technique below) but here is another way to use that corn; a creamy yet healthy corn chowder. Whether the corns are already cooked or raw the technique stays the same, cut off with a sharp knife the grains from the corn and the residual pieces with the back of the knife to make some smooth soup with it. A great way to indulge in corn!

Corn in its leaves (a BBQ recipe)

My family’s favorite way to make fresh corn is to soak them up in water for an hour before cooking them on the BBQ with its leaves on for 10 minutes, turning them every 2 minutes. Better to take off some of those thicker leaves from the top of the corn before. You’ll see, it makes super moist and slightly smoky corns. Delicious stuff!

corn chowder soup with aged cheddar

Salicorne(optional)

Salicorne is a seasonal marine herb growing by saline water which make it a superb aromatic for any soup. I was thinking of home doing this dish, so this herb brings me right back. My grandma was from a region (bas du Fleuve) where those would grow abundantly and she would make her own mix of saline herbs in conserves to make fantastic soups all year long with it. Those conserves are an essential to every Quebecois kitchen and are usually without salicorne, called “Herbes salées“, but if you use the Salicorne than you get all the greatness my grandma called ” Herbes Salées du bas du Fleuve” which is the top notch of those conserves in my humble opinion. With this mix you wouldn’t need any salt to season your soups, plus they give an extra fresh sea flavour to any dish. Salicorne can be difficult to find but they sell it in some speciality shop in dry form. Many types of saline herbs exist around the globe so pick up the one more familiar to you whether it’s called glasswort, pickle-weed, samphire, etc. Anyhow, if you don’t have those herbs at home just use a nice sea salt or standard “Herbes salées“.

Few explanations of the technique

Corn chowder with aged cheddar

Sometimes people make roux for thickening their soups, but here no need of extra flour or cornstarch, just have to blend up half the cooked potato and corn in the end and you’ll get a super smooth base. Plus, a nice bite from those reserved corn grains. Also the turmeric added is not for taste, it’s mainly to color the chowder, plus it’s a super healthy spice. As for the yellow bell pepper, I added mine in the end for a nice fresh crunch but if you prefer you can add it in the beginning of cooking. Like any other chowder… it’s better to wait a few hours before serving, to make all those flavors merge perfectly. Just be careful, once the cream and cheese is in, you should not overheat the soup, just warm it up gently until fuming but not boiling. Otherwise it will curdle.

So let’s make this golden chowder!


Corn Chowder with Aged Cheddar

Makes 6 portions | Difficulty: easy | Preparation: 40 minutes

Ingredients
  • Corn chowder with aged cheddar1 litre of vegetable broth
  • 200ml of cream
  • 4 corns (precooked or raw)
  • 1 big potato diced
  • 2 small onions diced
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • *1/2 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • aged cheddar to taste
  • 2 laurel leaves
  • *salicorne (or salt) and pepper

*optional

Directions
  1. Start by softening up the onions in some olive oil or butter for 5 minutes
  2. Cut the corn grains with a knife and diced all the vegetables
  3. Add the diced potato, garlic, corn grains, *salicorne marine herbs and laurel leaves to the soften onions
  4. Add the broth and bring to a simmer
  5. Cook slowly, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes
  6. Once cooked, take out the laurel leaves and half the corn and potato, reserve
  7. Blend carefully the soup until smooth
  8. Add the cream, the reserved corn and potato and the optional *yellow bell pepper
  9. Bring to a simmer and stop the heat
  10. Add the aged cheddar, salt and pepper
  11. Mix and serve

Serve with a chives and extra cheese, enjoy!

Corn chowder with aged cheddar

Cured duck, dates and cheddar rolls bites (7).jpg

Holiday season is coming, we’ll soon receive guests at home and/or vice versa. Here is a great idea to make your guests never forget about your dinner party. An hors d’oeuvre plate of duck prosciutto rolled around a date piece and aged cheddar to open up those guests stomach before the main meal. Those little bites will go away in no time, guaranteed, so make sure to prepare enough of those little appetizers.duckrollspin

ThCured duck, dates and cheddar rolls bitesis recipe is based on an appetizer my mom did last year, which was simply the duck prosciutto and the sharp cheddar with a drizzle of maple syrup. Back then, I really enjoyed it, it was delicious as it was but missing a little “je ne sais quoi“. I also experience the date and bacon mini rolls bites at an English friend place a few year ago. Well… I’ve mix up those 2 appetizers to make the ultimate bites of flavour that goes from salty to sweet, crispy to creamy and sophisticated. This holiday season if you want to make your guests the ultimate gift, make them those little duck, dates and cheddar mini rolls hors d’oeuvres.

Duck Prosciutto

Cured duck, dates and cheddar rolls bitesThis is the caviar of cured meat, it’s simply a duck’s breast with its fat (magret), cured and dried. They usually sell it, pre sliced, sous-vide at the butcher, delicatessen shops or markets. If you do not know where to buy such a product, they are lots of recipes out there to make your own duck prosciutto. Some with just salt, other like a gravlax, with sugar and salt cured, extra smoky flavors, spiced up, etc. Plus once you’ve cured a whole breast you can easily keep it in the fridge for weeks. It goes in so many dishes, like salads, croutons with figs or marmalade or cook it and turn it into a fancy pancetta. This last one is often mistaken for bacon, when lightly cooked and crispier. But the duck is finer and more delicate than bacon, although both are pretty high in fat so it’s better not to abuse those little appetizers.

 

The type of cheddar

Cured duck, dates and cheddar rolls bitesThe cheese used in those rolls needs to be an aged one, a sharp and strong cheese. You can substitute the aged cheddar for any other type of aged cheese, I’m thinking; artisanal cheese, as long as it’s aged for a minimum of one year. The older the better the cheese will hold in the rolls, aged cheeses contains less moisture, they will take longer to melt in the heat and hold up better in the rolls. If you use a young cheese, it will melt right out. An other nice fact about older cheese is… they are stronger so you can use a way smaller piece and still get a clear presence of it in the appetizers. We’ll cook just a tad the rolls, up until the duck get’s slightly crispier and the cheese on the verge to melt, so keep an eye on them when they get in the oven.

Let’s roll those little appetizers!

 


Duck Prosciutto, Date and Aged Cheddar Mini Rolls

Makes 30 mini rolls | Preparation: 15 minutes | Difficulty: easy

Cured duck, dates and cheddar rolls bitesIngredients
  • 100g of duck prosciutto slices
  • tiny cubes of old cheddar 
  • 6 dates, cut into 1/4 on the length
Directions
  1. Add a piece of old cheddar and date to the end of the prosciutto and roll
  2. Secure with a toothpick
  3. Cook in the oven just 4 minutes at 180°C (350F) until the cheese start melting

 

Serve on chives or a bed of salad. Enjoy!

Cured duck, dates and cheddar rolls bites

Apple walnut salad

I have to confess… I am a salad freak… I love salads, and love to change them all the time. I’ll explain… I never do the same salad twice, I mean by definition a salad is a mix of ingredients, so I always mix it up. Sometimes I simply change a bit the dressing, or an ingredient, or the method (grilling stuff, pickle, etc). There is obviously those salad which are “traditional” which I wouldn’t dare to touch, like the caprese, greek, or russian salads. Those are set, but the rest of salads, it’s pure delight each time you find a new combination, then u add a little something to it like sunflower seeds or nuts… then maybe try it with a touch of cheese or fruit.

 
I Apple walnut saladlove salads that contains it all! A touch of fruit, nut and cheese is my top favorite combination for salads. But when you watch your calories, then you opt for a cheese free salad or if there is an avocado in it which is already fat then you cut on the oil and cheese… Anyways this one is a kind of classic salad, with a touch of all those magic ingredients (fruit, cheese and nut). I could have add an apple slice on a piece of bread, topped with the cheddar and toast it, then serve it on top as a cracker. It would have been a whole new salad although all the same ingredients. I love salads! They are fun to play with, perfect therapy for creative souls.

Ok let’s do this Apple salad!


Apple, Cheddar and Walnut Salad

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients
The salad
  • 1 bag of your favorite salad mix
  • 1 apple (slice last minute)
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 10 walnuts
  • old cheddar 
  • onion sprouts *optional
The dressing
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of apple juice
  • 1 tsp of white wine mustard (or the a l’ancienne, or your favorite kind)
  • salt, pepper
Directions
  1. Add the salad, cherry tomatoes, cracked walnuts, to salad plates
  2. Mix up the ingredients for the dressing, mix good
  3. Slice the apple, add a squeeze of lime on them if you want to keep them white longer
  4. Add the apple slices to the salad
  5. Add the dressing to each salad
  6. Top with, shaved with the peeler, old cheddar and the onion sprouts

Enjoy!

Apple walnut salad