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Indian Summer

November 1, 2010

Today is November 1st. I have been slightly behind on the blog posts (by about 2 months), due to work, and work, and some more work (it’s a good thing). This week I have a bit of a breather so I am slowly adding more posts to the blog and slowly working my way back into the kitchen to create some nice fall delights. I do love fall.

As part of my menu planning for this week, I’m thinking specifically of roasted brussel sprouts tangled with salty pancetta, blistered grapes and toasted walnuts. I just love that combination, it works so well with a Pinot or Grenache. I’m also craving a really good, thick and comforting soup. Perhaps I’ll make some of squash. Butternut.

And of course something involving tart, crisp Granny Smith apples and sharp English cheddar cheese. A combination I simply enjoy, for breakfast or for lunch. Or as part of a cheese plate to accompany salami and a glass of bubbly. What sounds nice is cheddar gougeres and apple chutney as a starter, to accompany a glass of prosecco or champagne. I might also make a classic American apple pie with a touch of white cheddar in the crust.

I should learn not to write a blog post while I’m hungry…getting there.

Back in September, at the start of the what is called an Indian Summer in SF, I made a corn dish inspired by Summer and as an homage to the annual Hatch Chile Fest that takes place in New Mexico each year. This festival which celebrates a green chile with a short shelf life, is also a borderline religious festival throughout Texas (almost as big as footballigion). Particularly in Austin, San Antonio and Houston, and even extending to the far reaches of Dallas, people get really excited about Hatch Chile season. Central Market is known for their huge Hatch Green Chile festival, as is Chuy’s Mexican restaurant. Think, people dressed as green chile, t-shirts to mark the occasion and ice-cold beer to wash it all down.

During Hatch season, you’ll find Hatch chile in anything and everything, including in: bars of chocolate, chocolate brownies, granola, chips, dips, breads, tortillas, in meat, marinades,and even in drinks. You can probably tell by now, that Hatch is a bit of a big deal. Texans do love their chile. And their football.

Unable to access fresh roasted Hatch Chiles this year in the Bay, and having no one I know willing to FedEx me a box or two, I decided to go the canned route, which is normally not something I’d do. I only go canned when making my special chili con queso  which involves to canned items and 1 block of processes cheese. It is so damn good.

Corn is such a summer and early fall staple and it is a perfect pairing for roasted Hatch Chile.

To make this corn salsa/relish/salad

I drizzled olive oil over a few ears of corn, wrapped them in foil and roasted them in the oven until the kernels were plump and juicy. When cooled, I sliced the kernels off the cob and added them to a bowl, along with a dice of red onion, a dice of roasted red peppers, chopped cilantro, squeeze of lime juice, a splash of apple cider vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss together and let sit at room temperature until pleasantly associated.

This corn medley is perfect on steak tacos and on white cheddar quesadillas with sliced green apple. I’d also add a nice scoop of this corn salsa to a plate of smoky shrimp and grits, studded with crisp bacon..if I had a one in front of me right now.

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