Recipes from the White House chefs are featured in First Lady Michelle Obama's book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, published on May 29, 2012. Corn is grown in Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden in the summer, and Sam Kass, Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, contributes a fairly complicated recipe for Summer Corn Soup with Summer Vegetables. (Above: Kass in the White House kitchen in a photo from the book)
"This versatile soup is the essence of summer," Kass wrote in the book. "Dairy free and nearly fat free, it showcases the pure, sweet taste of summer corn and can be served hot or at room temperature."
Some of the corn is pureed for the base of the soup, and some of the kernels are browned to be included whole. Chef Kass leaves other decisions up to the home cook: "A garnish of summer vegetables, grilled and cut into bite-size pieces, makes this soup your own unique creation," he wrote, and suggested "zucchini or summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers or mushrooms, alone or in combination."
To use the soup as a sauce:
"If you leave out the corn kernels and don't thin the soup with the corn stock, this becomes a luxurious sauce for seafood like halibut, tilapia or shrimp," Kass noted.
Chef Kass has a much easier summer soup recipe previously released by the White House: Cucumber Avocado Soup. Check the sidebar of the blog for all White House recipes. Click here for 'American Grown' recipes.
Click here for an excerpt from 'American Grown.'
with Summer Vegetables
4 to 6 ears of fresh corn, shucked and silk removed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
Grilled vegetables of your choice: zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms
1. Cut the corn off the cobs and set aside.
2. Place the cobs in a large pot and just barely cover with water. Bring to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the stock has a rich corn flavor. Strain the stock and set aside.
3. Reserve 3/4 cup of the corn kernels and place the remaining corn in a blender. Blend, starting on low speed and increasing the speed as the corn purees. You can add a little of the corn stock to get the corn started. Blend on high for 45 seconds to a minute.
4. Pour the pureed corn into a medium saucepan through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the bits of skin. Add the thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. You do not want the soup to boil. As the soup heats, the natural starch will begin to thicken the soup. Once the soup has thickened, add the lemon juice and the reserved corn stock little by little until the soup reaches the desired thickness. You should have 4 to 6 cups of soup. Add salt to taste.
5. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat; add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil begins to smoke, add the reserved corn kernels and do not stir until the corn has a nice brown color. Stir the corn and then remove it from the heat. Add the seared corn and any other grilled vegetable of your choice on top of the soup and serve.
CLICK HERE for links to all posts about American Grown. CLICK HERE for links to all posts about the Kitchen Garden. CLICK HERE for all Let's Move! posts.
*Photos by Quentin Bacon, courtesy of Crown Publishing. Reprinted from American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama. Copyright © 2012 by the National Park Foundation. Published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.