Easy Creamed Corn with Basil is a summer staple in our house. These sweet kernels are just barely simmered in a sauce made from silky mascarpone cheese, a little half and half and not much else. Add a sprinkle of fragrant basil and you’ve got a simple, supremely summery side!
When summer corn is at its sweetest, it doesn’t take much to make it shine. A quick steam, a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, maybe a slick of good cultured butter is all that’s needed, and often not even that. But towards the end of the season our taste buds (and our teeth) need a break from gnawing kernels straight from the cob. That’s when we make this Easy Creamed Corn with Basil. Almost as quick as a simple steam, this method brings out the best in the corn, keeping the kernels crunchy, but bathing them in a silky, creamy sauce that’s the work of minutes.
In our ongoing quest to resurrect interest in under-appreciated vegetables, I present this week’s subject: the leek.
We don’t get too excited about leeks in the U.S. but we should. They’re healthy, easy to grow*, cheap to buy, and best of all, really tasty.
* Theoretically, and according to rumors I read on the internet. Matt and I, conversely, have zero luck growing leeks. Nada. Zilch. They sprout beautifully but then … nothing. They turn spindly and never really get very big. They end up more like thick scallions. It’s quite rude of them if you think about it, because here I am telling the world (our 5 readers, anyway, hello there *waves*) how great leeks are and they can’t even be bothered to make an effort in the garden. Oh well. It’s broccoli rabe this year, I’m telling you.
Pork chops marinated in a spice brine, cooked to perfection and served with garlic-sauteed broccoli rabe and an apple-onion sauce. Chops don’t get much better than this.
One of the things I love about living in Beacon is that it really feels like a community that is growing and changing in an interesting way. For a long time I felt this way about Brooklyn (where I had lived since the early 1990’s) but as wonderful as Brooklyn is, it’s just too damn expensive now for artists and creative people to do anything but hustle every day to make rent.
I know I’m the bazillionth person to complain about how amazing Brooklyn used to be, but I was incredibly lucky to be one of the crazy, hearty few who lived in East Williamsburg back when it was practically deserted. It was a startling, magical, bizarre, occasionally terrifying place back then, and my roommates and I had absolutely no idea what it would become.
In 1995, if you would have told me that one of the hippest restaurants in NYC was going to open two blocks away from my house, I would have laughed loudly enough to startle the poodle-sized rats that lived in the burned-out minivan abandoned outside my front door. All we knew at the time was that you could rent a 3,000 square foot loft for a few hundred dollars, but you had to install your own toilet and either evict or adopt any animals you found on the premises (I love you Special Ed).
So Beacon may not be able to boast quite the same level of grittiness (thankfully), but it does have a bit of that creatively experimental spirit. Case in point, on a rough-looking corner lot, quite a ways off Main Street, has opened one of the coolest new businesses in town, Barb’s Butchery. Run by a former math professor named Barbara Fisher, it’s exactly the kind of butcher shop you dream would open up in your neighborhood. She sources as much as possible directly from local farms and so far, everything we’ve cooked from there has been fantastic.