Friday, August 28, 2009

Recipe: Chef Ryan Scott's Sweet Corn Soup

Tonight I continued my intern hours by assisting former Top Chef contestant Ryan Scott at a fundraiser event in San Francisco, Art for Aids. We served his amazing sweet corn soup with pickled cherry tomatoes as well as a hit of chili oil and tomato salt. Ryan's got a catering company here in SF now call Ryan Scott 2 Go.

We're in a heat wave... It struck with such sudden viciousness I actually got a call from a friend in sheer confusion. She couldn't understand why it was sweltering in her place, then walked outside and realized it was the entire city that was melting. Hot steaming soup at the peak of summer? In SF, it's usually a nice option since we're often still in coats anyways. That said, the soup received rave reviews despite the hot environs. Many people said it was the best dish in the house (other tables included SF notables Town Hall, Maya, Home and Asia de Cuba). My favorite feedback was someone who asked whether it was sweet or savory, and after being told it was savory told us "Well I like it even better than dessert."

Corn soup is one of those simple but completely pleasurable foods best served at the height of summer. Ryan's posting his recipes on his website, but because I can't seem to find it up yet check out the version I found here.

If you're interested in other summer corn recipes, I also found this old SF Chronicle article full of options, and a note on how to make "corn milk" (which is included in Ryan's recipe as well).

“Top Chef” Ryan Scott Sweet White Corn Soup Recipe
1/4 pound butter
1cup leeks, white part only, minced
2 cups onions, finely minced
2 Qt corn milk
1 Qt shucked corn
2 1/2 Qt's vegetable stock
1-cup heavy cream
Dash of Tabasco
3 T salt

Sweat in a large saucepan the butter, onions, and leeks or until translucent (5-10 min). Add the corn milk, corn, stock and simmer for 1/2 hour. Then add cream, salt, Tabasco, and bring to a boil. Puree in blender and strain through a fine mesh strainer (depending on the desired consistency of the soup)

“Top Chef” Ryan Scott Pickled Cherry Tomatoes Recipe
2 lbs Cherry tomatoes, cut in half and washed
2Tbs slivered garlic (as thin as a dime)
2 Tbs slivered ginger (as thin as a dime)
2 Tbs minced parsley
1 1/2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs Espelete pepper
1/2 Tbs tumeric
1 1/2 Tsp cracked black pepper
1 cup champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup corn oil
1 cup sugar

Boil salt, sugar, and vinegar till dissolved.

Heat the oil just warm enough to lightly cook the garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook till garlic is tender not brown.

Add vinegar slowly to the oil mixture and then add parsley. Pour liquid mixture over the halved tomatoes, let cool at room temperature, and then refrigerate. This mixture will hold up for weeks as long as its chilled. When serving it does taste better at room temperature.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Eat Here, Now

If you are in the Bay Area and have an excuse to have a nice dinner (or like me need no excuse), I have been raving about Commis to anyone and everyone. It's only been open 6 weeks or so, over in Oakland. I've been twice already I loved it so much, and if you're into cooking it's especially cool to sit at the counter and watch the chefs in the open kitchen. I posted my review on Chowhound, and was ammused to see it quoted under EaterSF's recap of online chatter about the restaurant with the heading "The Final World... For Now." If only I always got the final word.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Recipe: Flourless Almond Torte with Melted Chocolate and Berry Sauce

This European torte uses ground almonds (almond flour) in place of "normal" flour. It's a good option for anyone eating gluten-free. It's also delicious and easy. I was so enthralled that I decided the torte deserved its own photo album. I bet other nuts would work well also in this recipe, especially hazelnuts.

1 ½ cups almonds
¼ cup maple syrup
3 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted, for topping
½ pint fresh raspberries
agave nectar, to taste
lemon juice, to taste
2 Tbs almonds, toasted and chopped

1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8 inch cake pan (a fluted tart pan or pie tin would work) with a parchment paper circle cut to fit the bottom.
2 In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, grind the almonds until they have a flour like consistency, about 1 - 2 minutes. If you go too long, it will get sticky and eventually turn to almond butter... not what you want. Run a spatula around the sides of the work bowl if it isn't mixing evenly.
3 Measure the maple syrup, eggs, extracts, and salt into a measuring cup, mixing well to break up the eggs. With the food processor running, pour the maple syrup mixture through the feed tube and process until smooth.
4 Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. The torte is ready when the top is lightly golden brown and the center is just set, it may appear to even be a bit jiggly. Touch it to make sure it isn't too dry. Tent with foil if the top browns too quickly.
5 While the torte is baking, puree the raspberries with a touch of agave and a splash of lemon juice. Strain out seeds and set aside.
6 When torte is finished allow it to cool slightly before gently inverting the torte over a plate to remove from the pan. Carefully peel off the parchment paper. Turn it back over and place it on serving platter. Spread the melted dark chocolate over followed by the toasted almonds. Serve with the raspberry sauce.

Author: Adapted from "One Bite at a Time" by Rebecca Katz