Sunday, September 27, 2009

Overwhat?

Today, our tub overfloweth. Somehow or another, it has decided to back up overnight, even though we did not use it last night, and now is slowly filling with murky water. While I think that the main drain to our house may be blocked, I won't know for certain until the plumber arrives in a few minutes.

Last night, our house overflowethed. (What is the past tense of overfloweth? Overflew? Of course, according to The Squiggly Red Line That Dictates All Correctness, overfloweth isn't even a word, so I can find no immediate suggestions.) But our house's overflowing was much more pleasant than the tub's, for our house overflowethed with people.

We celebrated a year of living here yesterday with good friends and food. One friend brought mozzarella and prosciutto on sticks, aka Meat and Cheese Popsicles, and skewers of melon and prosciutto. Another brought microbrewed rootbeer, another watermelon aqua fresca, another creamy baked artichoke hearts; the pastry chef brought his incredible cookies; a longtime partner in crime brought creampuffs from Beard Papa's. There were beers and wines of all sorts that folks brought. No one came empty-handed: our friends are generous and wonderful creatures.

ECG and I served the crowd food that we could plan ahead and serve outside easily. We rubbed chicken thighs with garlic, salt, and Aleppo pepper, and drizzled them with orange juice early in the morning so they could soak up the flavors through the day to be treated with a smoky grill in the evening. Early in the day, I made two tartes tatin to flip over just before serving that night. I baked three loaves of no knead bread and collected an armful of Armenian cucumbers to toss in a simple salad with red onion. In the evening, ECG, in Argentine fashion, amply salted flanken style ribs before he threw them on the charcoal fire, and I put the creamed corn together. Then, we all ate.

We love living here, but we love living here largely because we are able to share it. From here, with friends we have hiked deep into the canyons; friends have sat with us in the front yard and watched a fire threaten to swallow even more than it did; friends helped us move in; friends have helped ECG build the furniture that we live in and on; friends help us eat what we grow; and friends have spent long hours with us on the back patio, talking into nights loud with cricket calls and coyote howls. As I said before, our friends are generous and wonderful creatures.

For them, we are grateful. For the overflowing tub? Not so much.


Homemade Creamed Corn for 25
The corn remains crunchy, fresh, and sweet in this recipe, but bathed in a rosemary and turmeric-scented cream that doesn't taste like rosemary and turmeric, but instead like amplified corn. If you're not feeding 25 people, halve the recipe to the original proportions Alton Brown suggests. Or, just keep these proportions and freeze what you don't eat immediately to eat during the winter when there is no more fresh corn. I cut the corn off the ears early in the day yesterday so I wouldn't be doing the time consuming part just before the party; the actual cooking takes only a few minutes, so it easy to throw together at the last minute.

You will need:
16 ears of corn, shucked
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 4" lengths of leafy rosemary
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 cups cream
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the creamed corn:
Over a very large bowl, carefully hold the stem end of an ear of corn, and using a large, sharp knife, cut the kernels off the length of the ear. Rotate the ear and cut another strip of kernels off and into the bowl. Repeat this to finish the ear, then, using the dull side of the knife, scrape the pulp and corn milk into the bowl. Follow these instructions with each ear of corn. By the end, you should have a large pile of kernels and juicy pulp.

In a large, heavy pot, sweat the onion in the butter and salt until translucent. Add the corn and rosemary to the pot and stir until the corn milk evaporates (as Alton says, "the juice tightens"). Stir the sugar and turmeric into the mixture and continue stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add the cornmeal and cream, and cook until the corn has softened slightly, about 4 minutes. Remove the rosemary branches and season to taste with black pepper and add salt as necessary.

Place the big pot of corn on the big table on the back patio, and let people serve themselves however much they'd like to eat.


(I know it is another picture of the same spider as my last post, but look! It has changed color! It's my favorite pet bug right now.)

10 comments:

Linda Dove said...

I didn't want to just mysteriously say I liked your blog this morning in the Westminster office and then remain lurking...so, here I am. I was just saying to SW-W in the office that I had all these apples but didn't want to bake b/c of the heat. She said you were fearless with the tarte tatins!

Gloria said...

Thank you for the yummy homemade creamed corn recipe! I love creamed corn!

Julian said...

The creamed corn was sinfully good. Thanks very much for your hospitality.

Christina said...

Linda: Thank you for delurking yourself. I was also sloppy with the tartes tatin and ended up with apply-caramel everywhere. Whatever--it tasted great. It's cooling down now, so go for it! I took a look at your site, and it is wonderful! I look forward to reading more.

Gloria: You're welcome. Enjoy it!

Julian: My pleasure. We had a great time, and E really enjoyed chatting with you. I look forward to seeing you guys again.

June said...

Your party sounds like the best of times. So glad you are able to celebrate after the travails of the summer.

That corn recipe makes me mourn our lost growing season all the more. Frost! Sigh. I've filed it away for the next sweet season.

À Chacun Ses Goûts said...

The overflowing tub sounds so frustrating! Will definitely try the delicious sounding homemade creamed corn recipe - never had it homemade!

Rowena... said...

What a lovely gathering (the menu made me stop at half gulp on my coffee). So wonderful to have friends who love to eat, and love to eat well!

I hope your tub woes are drained away soon.

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

A year already? Amazing. Congratulations to you and ECG! Sounds like a truly lovely evening, Christina. I hope your plumbing is behaving itself now, without too much grief or expense on your part.

AJK said...

Congrats on the one year Anniversary of your residence! I'm sorry to hear of the sewage backing up!

altadenahiker said...

I believe this house has the original pipes from 1923. When I call my plumber, I don't have to say this is Karin, he recognizes my voice.

I should just bite the bullet and replace it all, but for some reason I instead spend my money on fun stuff, like fruit trees.