The last few months of the Carlisle Farmers Market have been bountiful, to say the least. Late summer harvest Massachusetts is colorful and varied - the zucchini gave way to tomatoes which is giving way to butternut and acorn squash, and growing piles of bright orange pumpkins and the last of the summer greens.
Each week, I go down and help my Bride and the Critter set up their table. They always sell out of eggs (and our hens are slowing down a bit - the old ones are molting. The newer ones are just ramping up. And one of my hens gave a suspicious cock-a-doodle-doo the other day. I'm thinking I know why that one's been slow to lay.)
I've developed a habit of trolling the best tidbits of the market while things are still getting set up. We've become friends with several of the farmers, and they'll help me put whatever's best into my basket. I take it home and entertain the Boy for a while, since his 4 year old attention span isn't quite up to several hours at the market. And I cook up whatever I brought home that morning to bring up to the market and give to our friends.
This week saw the firstr of the real autumn chill set in. I've been turning to soup. I grabbed up a bunch of the corn picked that morning (probably about the last time I'll see it there), as well as a double handful of the prettiest 'baby bell' peppers and a few other ingredients. This is a dead simple recipe that I put together with only a handful of ingredients that makes the most of the fresh flavors avaialble from really terrific produce.
Recipe: Late summer corn bisque
- Corn - a dozen fresh ears
- Onions - 2 small white or yellow
- Garlic - 1 clove
- Salt - about 2 tsp
- Chicken stock - 8 cups
- Milk - 1 cup
- Thyme - dried, about a tablespoon
- Butter - 3 tbsp
Garnish: Red & yellow bell pepper and scallions - diced
Dice and toss the onions and garlic in a stock pot with a bit of olive oil, and let cook until transparent. While that's cooking, peel the corn husks, and slice the fresh kernels off the cob. (see the picture if you've never done this before. Also: why have you never done this before? It's seriously easy to get delicious kernel or creamed corn yourself).
Add the corn to the pot, the tablespoon or so of thyme and around 8 cups of chicken stock, or enough to cover it with a half inch or so to spare and let simmer until you smell the corn. In batches (because it's a lot), ladle it into the blender or food processor. Have a towel ready if you're like me and over-fill the cuisinart, even though you know better. Add about a quarter cup of milk to each batch and puree.
Move the puree back to the pot add the butter, and let come back to a simmer until heated through.
Serve in bowls or cups with a spoon full or so of diced peppers and scallions, and if you're feeling up to it, some cracked black pepper and a dash of tabasco. Add a hunk of crusty bread, and you've just made a really good friend of whoever you're serving.