Chef On A Shoestring

Mike Smith
Blackbird
July 3, 1999

Corn and Potato Chowder
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2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 small Spanish onions, peeled and diced, reserve skins and trimmings for later use
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ears fresh corn, peeled and cut in half
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 quart water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

In a small pot melt the butter over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and gently saute until softened (do not allow to color). Add the flour and stir well to coat the garlic and onions. Allow the flour to absorb the butter and cook for about 2 minutes. Slowly add in the water while continuing to stir. Bring to a boil, add the dried thyme, potatoes and the corn. Lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes until the liquid has thicken slightly. Remove the corn from the pot and let cook for two minutes. When cool enough to handle shave the corn off the cob and return to the pot with the sliced scallions, adjust the seasonings and serve.

Lobster and Grilled Squash Risotto
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11/4 pound lobster, steamed and shelled, shells reserved for a later use
1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and diced, reserve skins and trimmings
4 cloves garlic, mashed
2 green squash, washed and sliced into quarters
2 yellow squash, washed and sliced into quarters
2 cups arborio rice
3 scallions thinly sliced
juice of 2 lemons
2 quarts lobster stock, method to follow
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, reserve the stems
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoons black peppercorn
salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

After cleaning the lobster, chop the shells and add to a sauce pan along with the onion trimmings, bay leaf and tarragon stems. Cover with 2 1/2 quarts of water and simmer until reduced to approximately 2 quarts of liquid. Strain and keep warm. Cut the lobster into small dice and keep refrigerated until needed.

While the stock is cooking the squash can be marinated in half the oil, half of the garlic and salt and pepper. Let the squash marinate for at least 15 minutes at room temperature. The salt will pull some water out of the squash and help it to grill nicely. Grill the squash over medium heat until nicely caramelized on both sides. Let the squash cool and cut into 1 inch cubes and reserve.

For the risotto, place the a medium sized sauce pot over a low flame and add the remaining oil. When warm add the onion and remaining garlic and cook until softened. Add the arborio rice and stir well to coat with oil. Season with approximately 2 teaspoons salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the oil has been absorbed by the rice. Add 1/3 of the warm lobster stock and stir well, the trick to a creamy risotto is to stir constantly. When the pot is almost dry add another 1/3 of the stock and continue to stir. A this point, check the seasoning and add more salt if desired. When dry again add the remaining stock. When the rice is tender all the way through and looks nice and creamy we are ready to finish the dish.

Add the diced squash, the chopped tarragon and lobster meat and fold throughout. Adjust the seasoning with salt if needed and fresh ground black pepper if desired. finish with fresh lemon juice and serve in warm sou bowls.

Roasted Peaches with Shortbread Cookies and Cream
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4-6 ripe peaches, quartered and pitted
1/2 pint fresh heavy cream, lightly whipped
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons butter softened
1/2 cup warm water
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the shortbread, combine the flour, salt and half of the sugar in a small mixing bowl and blend togther. Add half of the butter and work it into the flour with the tines of a fork. Slowly add the water and mix until a dough is formed. Shape into a ball, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.. When cooled cut into four equal parts and shape into disc about 3 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Place on wax paper on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degree for 8- 10 minutes until lightly golden brown on the edges.

Arrange the peaches, in an ovenproof baking dish or roasting pan just large enough to hold them, skin side up. Add water to just cover the bottom quarter of the peaches. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar, drizzle with honey and top with butter. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and place into a 325 degree oven. Bake for 20 minutes covered and then an additional 10 minutes uncovered, if the liquid has reduced to much add a little water.

To finish the dish, spoon two wedges of peaches onto the bottom of a plate with a little of the cooking liquid and top with a cookie. Arrange two more peach wedges on top of the cookie and spoon more liquid on top. Top with some whipped cream and serve the cream can be sweetened if you desire.

Cost Breakdown
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Appetizer
Corn
$1.00
Potatoes
.98
Onion
.46
Garlic
.20

Entree
Lobster
8.68
Arborio Rice
4.00
Scallions
.25
Lemons
.25
Tarragon
.46
Squash
.88

Dessert
Peaches
1.63
Heavy Cream
.79

Total
$19.58

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