We took advantage of the Labor Day weekend to do a bit of provisioning. The advent of fall annually sends me into a mini-panic, as I realize that summer—and its bounty of the vegetables and fruits I love—is fleeting, and I try to hold onto it all as long as I can.
So I bought a dozen ears of Indiana sweetcorn at the farmers’ market on Saturday morning, and spent an hour shucking and cutting the kernels off the cobs. I put up three quart bags in the freezer. Come February, it will be a joy to transform that summer corn into a corn gratin with Parmesan and breadcrumbs.
Rob, meanwhile, hauled the Weber smoker out of the garage and, in manly fashion, prepared meat. A lot of it. He seasoned a whole chicken and a huge pork loin and smoked them over beer and hardwood chips all afternoon. A dozen large shrimp went on the smoker for Saturday night’s dinner, and spent about 20 minutes cooking gently and soaking up all that flavor. The next day, I removed all that pink, smoked chicken from the bones and packed part of it for the freezer; likewise, I double-wrapped the pork and bagged it up for cold storage.
(Aside: An Ode to the Basement Fridge—We’re a household of two, and have plenty of real-estate in the GE Profile double-wide brushed-stainless refrigerator with bottom freezer that stands in the kitchen. Still, I’ve no idea what we’d do without a second fridge. It holds a ridiculous amount of cold beer, extra milk and OJ, flavored fizzy water and cocktail mixers. The top section is full of frozen summer berries, corn, pints of homemade applesauce, leftover bread, portions of cornmeal poundcake. In another month, it will be stocked with oven-dried and whole peeled tomatoes. When the Basement Fridge went on the fritz recently and we lost everything that had been in the freezer, I went into mourning. It’s been fun to re-provision. But I digress.)
We used half the smoked chicken to make on of our all-time favorite recipes: Risotto with smoked chicken, peas and tarragon. We started with our basic risotto recipe, and at the end added the following: 1 1/2 cups of smoked chicken (you could substitute roasted chicken), 1 cup of frozen peas and 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped tarragon.