This day my mind wanders from my present time and place to the Luberon in Provence, to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, to my brother and his family in Seoul, to the ongoing war in Syria, to the refugees across our globe, to the past times of Empire decline, to gaslighting and victim blaming, to the past times of labor battles in America, to my husband and eldest who are at home this week while The Bug and I are away. This day my mind is unsettled, and the best I can hope for is to find moments of focus within it's motions.
I send wishes of safe travel to my sister and her love as they begin their travels back to the states after visiting our mother. I send wishes of joy to my mother on her birthday. I send thoughts of love to my brother and his family, and I miss my men at home. I need to begin the turn of my thoughts to preparations for tonights dinner: Macaroni and Cheese for our children, Cherry Clafoutis for dessert. Eventually I will lose myself in process, but for now I am unsettled, lost in the world.
And, so, a return:
There are a few things I keep stocked in my freezer: a bag of lemons, ginger, and turmeric. These are a few of my favorite ingredients, but they do have a tendency to go bad quickly, if not promptly used. By freezing them, they are always on hand when I need them. I use my microplane to grate them into dishes, but with lemons, I will also throw them into a stock whole.
Start this soup the day before you plan on serving it.
Soup from 4 July: Joy and Friendship
Useful Items: 8qt enamel cast iron Dutch Oven; Microplane
Roasted Corn Soup
5 Ears of Corn: Cut in half crosswise
2 Onions: Quartered
2 Potatoes, Yukon Gold or Red Skin: 1 inch squared pieces, skin on
3 Carrots: Cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Head Garlic: Broken down into individual cloves, skin on
1 Frozen Lemon
Coarse Salt and Cracked Pepper
1 tsp Ground Allspice
Place oven racks at top third and bottom third positions. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Oil two baking sheets.
Place corn, onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic cloves, and lemon in large bowl, coat well with olive oil, salt and pepper. Divide evenly between the two sheets. Place one sheet on top rack, one sheet on bottom rack. Cook for 12 minutes. Remove sheets from oven and shake the veg around, to bring a different surface into contact with the baking sheet, using a spatula to flip if necessary.
Return to the oven, and switch positioning of racks: place the one that had been on the bottom on top, one that had been on the top on bottom. Cook for and additional 10-15 minutes, until corn is browned and a deep golden color, onions have started to brown along the edges, and the garlic looks crispy. If it looks like they need more time, be sure to alternate rack positioning when placing them back in the oven.
I put the roasted yummies back into the large bowl I used to toss them with oil and seasoning. Allow to cool. Separate corn, garlic, and lemon out. Skin the garlic, and throw the cloves back in the bowl. Halve the lemon, and throw back in the bowl. Remove corn from cob, saving cobs and placing kernels back in the bowl. Cover and let sit overnight.
Personal Note: I urge you to invest in an 8qt enamel Dutch Oven. You do not need to shell out for a Le Creuset. I have a Lodge pot, and love it. It has a curved bottom, which I prefer to the squared of Le Creuset, for a variety of reasons.
Place cobs into soup pot and add enough water to cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to just a boil, drop heat down to a gentle simmer: Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, and cover pot. Allow cobs to steep overnight, or until you are ready to make the soup, whichever is longer. Do not skip this step!!
The next day, Start Cabbage Chips (recipe below), and:
Sprinkle 1 tsp allspice over roasted vegetables and toss until coated. Pour veg into soup pot, scraping oil, s&p&allspice into the corn stock. Bring to a low simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Remove one half of the lemon.
When cool enough to work with: Process soup solids. There are several different ways to do this: Food processor, Blender, Food mill (with drained solids), or, my favorite, Immersion blender. However you choose: Process until smooth. At this point, you can run this through a chinois or other large fine sieve. This is entirely voluntary, a personal decision. However, if you do choose to refine it, please make sure you extract as much jus from the veg as you can. Smash it, smash it good. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Reheat when ready to serve.
Green Cabbage Chips
8 Green Cabbage Leaves: Ribs Removed (that was fun to write)
Oil: Sesame, Coconut, Olive, Sunflower: I chose Olive for this use, but use whatever will fit the flavors of your dish.
1 tsp Toasted Dill and 1 tsp Caraway seeds: Or Sesame, Onion, Fennel, again, whatever will fit the flavors of your dish.
Fine Red Salt and Cracked Pepper
Heat oven to 200 degrees F. Place baking racks onto two baking sheets.
Cut cabbage into quarters, or wide strips. Brush cabbage with oil, and place on baking racks.
Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and toasted seeds.
Bake until crisp: 2-2.5 hours. Allow to cool.
Ladle soup into bowl, place a few chips in center of bowl, place a dollop of sour cream on top of cabbage chips. Grate frozen lemon on top. Enjoy.