After making burrata with corn and tomatoes, I just couldn’t throw away the corn cobs without squeezing every sweet drop of summer from them. Since I only had a few, I couldn’t make enough corn stock to be worthwhile for soup. Using the same technique, however, I was able to produce enough sweet corny liquid to create a simple syrup for cocktails.
Place corn cobs in a pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook to extract flavor, about 30-45 minutes. Strain, and combine however much corn stock you have with equal parts sugar (ex.: 1 cup stock requires 1 cup sugar).
Use anywhere you would use standard simple syrup. For me, whisky was a natural partner, so I combined 3 parts of the spirit with 1 part corn simple syrup and topped it with club soda. A great cocktail to help transition into fall.
One of the most essential concepts I’ve been studying in culinary school is the art of sauce making. Jax Past would scorn at the very idea of a sauce, believing that taking short cuts would yield just as good a product. Jax Present knows better. Jax Present understands that a sauce deserves as much attention–or perhaps more–than the thing with which it will be paired. Many sauces require time to develop each layer of flavor that will eventually come together as something else entirely.
I recently prepared pork loin with a grainy mustard sauce. Unfortunately, the pork was too dry for my taste, but thankfully I had lovingly nurtured several raw ingredients into a sauce that made up for the protein failure.
In a large saucepan, brown roughly chopped carrots, celery and onions over high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the vegetables have caramelized, pour stock (homemade is preferred, but in this instance I was only able to use store-bought, low-sodium chicken broth) into the pan and reduce over medium heat. (At this point, you can add any herbs you’d like, as well as crushed garlic.)
Once the sauce has reduced by about half, strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or a colander lined with paper towels or cheese cloth). Wipe down the sauce pan and add a pat of butter. Sprinkle in finely minced shallots and cook gently to avoid any color development. Add a generous splash of white wine and reduce until it has almost completely evaporated. Pour the reduced stock into the pan, stir in grainy mustard and a touch of heavy cream and reduce further, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season with S & P to taste.
Jax Future will absolutely make this sauce, and so should you. Serve over any protein you’d like (but I think pork works particularly well, so long as it’s not mutilated), preferably without pants.
Whenever I buy celery, I wind up using two measly stalks and find the bunch weeks later, somewhere in the dark part of the refrigerator, flavorless and pliable. My celery intentions always begin pure, but I usually screw them up along the way.
Not this time.
No, this time I was going to let this fibrous vegetable shine in a simple side dish of braised celery. Cut the celery on a bias to the desired length. In a deep pan, heat a bit of butter and sear the celery on both sides. Once browned, add stock (I used chicken) to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Braise until the celery is cooked to your liking (I like it pretty soft).
Remove the celery and reduce the stock to thicken. Season to taste with S & P and pour over the celery.
Warning: This is a healthy recipe. You may find it’ll cause you to feel good about the way you look, and, subsequently, you may end up removing your pants. Go with it.