Corn is more American than Apple Pie!
Not only does America produce half the world's corn supply, but by the time apples first arrived on our shores in the 1660s, corn had been growing in the Americas for over 9,000 years.
And though Aphrodite won the Golden Apple, since ancient times it has been corn harvest celebrations that have represented the abundance and regeneration in life; while corn and wine taken together personify the balance of cultivation and reward.
America's corn growing regions traditionally celebrate harvest with a Cornfest. One such community is California's 'other' Brentwood. Just one hour east of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the boutique agri-viniculture community of Brentwood produces peaches, cherries, corn and wine. People flock there in mid-July for a colorful festival weekend overflowing with toe-tapping music, spirit quenching art, lip-smacking bar-be-que, hot roasted buttered corn, and prized local wines.
With the incredibly delicious, easy to prepare main course Cheddar Cheese Corn Chowder from The Barefoot Contessa, you can gather family and friends to celebrate the spirit of Cornfest abundance, too. Accompany the chowder with a fresh spring mix salad tossed with dried cranberries, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, and candied pecans. For desert offer strawberry-rhubarb pie. A boutique Brentwood, California wine pairing suggestion follows:
Cheddar Cheese Corn Chowder
8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt [I use sea salt]
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 pound sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated
In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cobs and blanch the kernels for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn, you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and Cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.
Wine suggestion: From the Brentwood, California's Tamayo Family Vineyards, serve their renown Silver Medal winning Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Napa Valley. Crisp and refreshing with sunny citrus and tropical fruit flavors and a mouthwatering texture it will make your celebration meal sing!
Click on: http://tamayofamilyvineyards.com/tamayo/index.js
© 2008-2012-Suzanne de Cornelia. All worldwide rights apply. This article may be reprinted on websites as long as the entire article, including website link and resource box below are included and unchanged. Suzanne is a freelance writer, Web 2.0 expert and author of French Heart, which will be released in Summer 2009. Contact Suzanne on FaceBook or on her site: http://web.mac.com/myfrenchheart