So I am quietly freaking out just a teensy bit about this chef’s dinner. It has sold out and no wonder. Seven of the best chef’s in the country are coming to town to raise money for the Community Resource Center and Mobile Loaves and Fishes. I will be anonymous Tuesday night, happily sitting at my table devouring my Pate of Tennessee Foie Gras and 24-Hour Butter -Braised Chuck Short Rib, just to name two of the dishes on the menu. Is that considered name dropping? Yes, I think it is.
But Monday night we are having an intimate dinner with the chefs. I will actually meet them. If I am not careful, they will see me for the charlatan I am. I mean how in the world do you explain Velveeta ? And Manwich sandwiches with Tater Tots? I probably shouldn’t bring them up.
We are having dinner at City House. I look at the menu online. Oh, no. I don’t even understand it. What is Taralli (as in Olives with Taralli)? There’s a salad with GMRS in it. Yes, that’s exactly what is says on the menu. And then there’s Three Meadows Chicken Sugo. What is Sugo? Will the chefs quietly make fun of me behind my back because I don’t know what Sugo is?
But last night, something happened that just put things in perspective. We had the perfect summer vegetable supper. As usual, I overbought at the Farmer’s Market. There was okra from a farmer in Murray, Kentucky. There were fresh crowder peas from Manchester. And, finally, there was beautiful silver queen corn from Fayetteville. Plus tomatoes. Plus cantaloupe from an Amish farmer. Plus bacon and sausage from West Wind Farms and fresh eggs.
I immediately came home and made an omelet with the eggs and some fresh-snipped chives and thyme. Yum. Then last night, the tour de force. Mark’s incredible fried okra (soak the okra pieces in milk, toss them in a paper bag with cornmeal and fry them in hot vegetable oil), crowder peas simmered all day long in chicken stock with some smoked applewood bacon and creamed corn made from the silver queen cut off the cob. And, yes, that is a dollop of Duke’s mayonnaise on the crowder peas. Don’t judge. Try it.
These are vegetables that were in someone’s garden just the day before. Simply cooked. Simply wonderful. Yes, I may have a weakness for Velveeta and I am not above completely enjoying a bag of Cheez Waffies every now and again. But I guarantee you if the chefs happened to be sitting at my table last night they would have wept with contentment.
½ stick butter
4 cups silver queen corn, cut from the cob
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup cream
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the corn and sauté it for just a minute or two over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and simmer until the cream reduces by half and thickly coats the corn kernels. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as necessary.