Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cashew-Creamed Corn with Chanterelles


I thought I'd have so much more time to play in the kitchen and blog about my experiments this summer. But life has a way of distracting you, especially when your priorities shift daily. I have quite a long list of excuses which include pregnancy fatigue, researching baby gear and dealing with my dog Misty's intensifying fear and anxiety disorder. 

Misty on the rug is a rare occurrence these days, as she typically resides in the bathroom 24/7.
"Cook something new", "update blog", and "index recipes" have been on my excel format to-do list for months. I've occasionally chipped away at the blogging to-do's, but have not been able to check them off completely. In fact, I've just about given up on the to-do list as a whole. Outside my absolutely necessary 2-hour naps, I end up doing whatever is of utmost priority - like minimal cleaning, doctor visits, baby registry, and solving the dog's problems. I end up cooking and eating simple tried-and-true meals that don't create many dirty dishes. Cooking is not that fun any more when I have to clean up the mess - my belly is too big to reach the faucet and bend over the sink to wash dishes.

Sometimes I do get a chance to stop by the farmer's market, or at least order something seasonal from Fresh Direct. Corn is at a peak now, and it's pretty versatile for experimentation. Chanterelle mushrooms were on sale at some point, and I decided I'd try something new instead of using them in soup. I had a vision of combining the sweet corn with the delicate mushrooms.

I didn't want the dish to be too heavy, so I used cashew cream instead of dairy cream. For some reason I added fakin' bacon, but I wish I hadn't. The smokiness overpowered the other mild flavors, which made adding the pricey mushrooms a waste since you could hardly taste them. Although, the smokey corn dish still tasted great as a topping for sautéed Quorn chicken fillets

Next time I would omit the expensive mushrooms and serve them sautéed on the side, or skip the bacon and make the mushrooms and corn an interesting side dish for a party that can stand on it's own.

Here are the two versions:

Vegetarian Creamed Corn with Bacon
*great as a sauce for meatless chicken
approx. 4 servings

1 T olive oil
1 T butter or vegan butter
3 strips veggie bacon
2 C fresh corn (approx 3 cobs)
1/4 C onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C cashew cream (see below instructions) 
1/4 C water, or as needed
1/4 C white wine
salt & pepper
2 T dried parsley

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon about 2 minutes on each side, until browned and crisp. Remove to a plate to cool.

2. Add 1 T butter to the skillet, along with corn, onions, and garlic. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

3. Season with salt and pepper. Add cream, water and parsley. Cover and cook another 5 minutes until heated through. Add more water if the consistency seems too thick. 

4. Chop bacon into small pieces and add to the corn before serving.


Cashew-Creamed Corn with Chanterelles
*a mild side-dish that would go well with breaded cutlets and an herb or arugula salad

approx. 4 servings

1 T olive oil
6 oz fresh chanterelle mushrooms
2 C fresh corn (approx 3 cobs)
1/4 C onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C cashew cream (see below instructions) 
1/4 C water, or as needed
1/4 C white wine
salt & pepper
2 T dried parsley

1. Prepare the chanterelles by swishing them in a bowl of water to remove the dirt. Wipe any remaining debris and cut the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. 

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, corn, onion and garlic. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

3. Season with salt and pepper. Add cream, water and parsley. Cover and cook another 5 minutes until heated through. Add more water if the consistency seems too thick. Serve hot.


Cashew Cream
To make cashew cream, you must soak raw cashews in water for about 3-4 hours or overnight. 


Place the cashews in a container and add cold water to just barely cover thenuts completely. Cover and refrigerate. Using a blender, purée until liquified. You can also use an immersion / hand blender, but it won't be as smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add water a little at a time to reach the consistency of cream.

1 cup of nuts will yield a little more than 1 cup of cashew cream, depending on how much water is added. Exact measurements don't matter, but it's much easier to make a larger quantity, such as 2 cups of nuts at a time. Refrigerate the unused cream for about 4-5 days, or freeze in small containers to thaw and use as needed. Frozen cashew cream lasts 1-2 months, but is never quite as good as fresh.



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