Kitchen Experiment – Corn and Coconut Soup

So here’s the thing to know about me before you continue reading this recipe attempt. I experiment in the kitchen.  I mean it.

I know Paula Deen (whom I adore) says to try a recipe first so you know what you are working with and then experiment by changing it.  Well that is a beautiful theory, but I’m usually too impatient and adventurous to make something as instructed exactly the first time.  Now if the recipe is complicated and gives me pause, then yes I will most likely leave the experimenting until later.  However, in this case, as it is most times, I am outright messing around with the recipe from the beginning.  There, I got my disclaimer out-of-the-way. Now onto the journey…

On Labor Day my mother’s family got together and as things were wrapping up, my Aunt was preparing up leftovers for folks to take home.  I inquired if it was alright to take some of the corn on the cob home given that she had about a dozen ears left over.  She let me take five ears and that led to me trying to figure out what to do with them.  I pulled up the Epicurious app on my iPad to see what would come up with Corn and Coconut Milk as ingredients in suggested recipes.  I found the Silky Corn Soup one to my liking.

Considering I had half the amount of corn (quantity), I checked to make sure I had everything else on hand and got things started.  I cut down the sides of the 5 ears of corn to de-cob them.  I got approximately 4 cups in total of cooked corn kernels.  I added this to 4 cups of organic vegetable stock which I had picked up on clearance last week.

To this liquid base in the pot, I added 1 heaping tablespoon of Rowdy Kitty Rub (yes it’s a rub and I used it as a spice mix), 1 heaping teaspoon of Tandoori spice mix and 3 frozen cubes of curried vegetable puree.  [I got into making these frozen flavor enhancers and freezing them as a way to cheat and they add great seasoning.]

I put the lid on this over medium heat and waited for it to boil.  I think it took about 10 minutes.  Remember, the corn was already pre-cooked so I basically heating this through to mix all the ingredients together and melt those cubes.  I let it moderately boil for about five minutes.  Now the fun part… so to speak.

I worked this base in two batches through my smoothie blender.  Yes, I used my yogurt and fruit smoothie blender instead of the conventional blender.  It worked just the same and no one would tell the difference in the end anyways… lol.  While blending the first batch, I added sea salt into the smoothie blender.  I tasted the first portion and realized over salted it… eek!  However I was glad I tasted it so I could course correct.  By adding the second half, I diluted the salt seasoning ratio and made a huge improvement to nearly wipe out my boo-boo.

The quantity turned into about 8 cups total.  After blending the two batches, I strained the soup to separate out the solids (kernel skins, corn silk not removed etc).  The solids made up about 3 cups leaving 5 cups of liquid soup.  And this is where it got to be interesting.  I added a 1/3 cup lime juice I had saved in the fridge.  I opened the jar I had been saving the leftover coconut milk in from the fridge.  However, when I opened the bottle I noticed the coconut milk didn’t smell like I expected.  I inspected a little further and decided that it was about to turn, perhaps already had.  Now that I have a curve ball, I had to figure out how to hit back.

So back to the fridge I went.  I spotted my Piña Colada Bottled Mix.  Yes, I went there.  Here’s the deal.  Piña Colada mix makes use of cream solids, pineapple and coconut which means the flavor profile is relative to what I had planned to use.  The key here is that I already know that this bottled mix is rather strong and its far too easy to go overboard when adding it.  So I used only 1/3 cup of this mix to keep it tamed.  I tasted and decided that was plenty to use in this case.

I realized that with this being a chilled soup, I could stand a little more sweetness to help put in balance the heat provided by the Tandoori and Rowdy Kitty Rub.  I looked around and found that I had leftover 100% fruit juice from a jar of sliced peaches.  I added only 1/3 cup and tasted the soup finding this to be what I was looking for at this point.  So this left me to put the soup in the fridge and let it cool down before I re-contain it.

Lastly I re-purposed the corn solids for use later as flavor enhancers.  I placed this porridge consistency into a sandwich baggie, cut the corner to make a tip opening.  Then I squeezed the solids into a spare ice-cube tray to make more cubes.  Tomorrow I will pull the tray and place the frozen cubes in a freezer bag.  That way I can place as much as I want in future dishes; most likely pasta and rice based ones.

So did I follow the recipe I started with, absolutely not.  I used it as a guide and needed to make an ‘in the moment’ change due to the ingredient hurdle I faced.  In the end I produced a soup I never had made or tasted to date.  I experimented and think I was successful.  Now I’ll be honest here.  Nearly 100% of the time I eat what I make because its my creation.  Every now and then I make something and despite my efforts, I just can’t enjoy the food because it is beyond reasonable.

In the end, the food I make is for myself to enjoy, typically solo, not to serve paying guests in a restaurant.  Does that mean I shouldn’t try to achieve great food?  Of course not.  I just know that if I’m the audience, I can deal with it being less than fantastic and that’s all that matters.  So get in the kitchen and learn how to make food you love because we should all eat what we love, not what someone else thinks we should love.  :)

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