Dinner And A Movie Ep. 22: 8/15/11 Chicago, IL

Next week’s Dinner And A Movie features Phish’s August 15, 2011 show from UIC Pavilion in Chicago. IL. The full show will play on Tuesday at 8:30PM ET at or Phish’s Facebook page.

“The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye”, as they sing in Oklahoma! and Phish HQ’s Betty Frost brings us her sweet corn risotto recipe, along with a cucumber gazpacho starter and some flourless tahini brownies for dessert. Thanks, Betty!

This week’s beneficiary is The Mimi Fishman Foundation, a volunteer-administered, fan-driven non-profit dedicated to raising funds for a diverse range of charitable organizations that each, in some way, touched the life of the founder, Mimi Fishman. Jon Fishman’s mother Mimi established the foundation with the idea that partnering with bands like Phish could truly influence charitable giving and philanthropic engagement. Organizations supported by TMFF are focused on the health and wellbeing of children and families with a particular emphasis on visual impairment. For more information visit

Cucumber Gazpacho
(3 Servings)

1 clove garlic
1 small shallot
1 large English cucumber (sliced for blender)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (substitute fresh dill, if you desire)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
1 teaspoon coriander
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 of a jalapeño (with seeds removed)

Suggested Garnishes:
Very finely diced fresh cucumber, shallot, or chives.

Place all of the ingredients (not including the garnishes) in a blender and blend until velvety. Taste and adjust salt and acid. Refrigerate until serving. This can be made one day ahead.

To serve the soup, divide among bowls and garnish. Serve immediately.

Sweet Corn Risotto
(Serves 4)

Risotto Ingredients
6 cups corn stock (see recipe below) or chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek (just the whites, finely chopped. You can also sub one small sweet onion)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups raw corn kernels (from 2 ears corn)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely minced chives

Optional: Seared Scallops, served on top
Grape seed oil (or another oil of your choosing with a higher smoke point)
1 tbsp butter
Kosher Salt & pepper to taste

Corn Stock Ingredients
2 sweet corn cobs (kernels removed and put aside for the risotto)
1 onion, halved
1 carrot, cut into pieces
1 celery stalk, cut crosswise into pieces
2 cloves garlic (smashed in skin)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

If you’re making your own corn stock: combine ingredients with 6 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so liquid is simmering; cover pot and let simmer for 30 minutes then strain through a fine-mesh strainer, reserving all stock and discarding the solids. Add enough water back to the broth to bring the liquid up to 6 cups total.

For the risotto: bring corn stock or chicken stock (depending on which you choose to use) to a simmer in a saucepan and keep it simmering as you prepare the rest.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large high-sided sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add leek and cook until softened but not browned (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Add the dry rice and cook, stirring, until grains look slightly translucent. Pour in wine and cook, stirring, until it has all been absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add a ladle of hot corn stock to the rice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until rice has absorbed the stock. Continue cooking, adding ladlefuls of stock whenever rice mixture looks dry and stirring continuously. When half the stock has been added, stir in corn kernels. Continue adding ladles of stock until all has been incorporated, corn is tender and rice is creamy and tender (about 30 to 40 minutes).

Remove risotto from heat and stir in Parmesan and remaining tablespoon of butter. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat cream at high speed until it holds stiff peaks. Uncover risotto, stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. Right before serving, stir in the chives then carefully fold in the whipped up cream.

Optional Scallops: pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Heat up a cast iron skillet until it’s pretty hot and add a drizzle of oil to coat. Sprinkle the tops of the scallops with a little kosher salt and black pepper. Drop in your scallops (give them some space from each other) seasoned side down. Season the other side with salt and pepper. Sear the scallops for about 2 minutes on the first side, then add a small pat of butter to the pan while the other side finishes cooking (just a few more minutes). Serve on top of the risotto.

Tahini Brownies
(Gluten free, with dairy-free options! Makes 16 small or 9 large brownies)

(it’s true – there is no flour in this recipe)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (semi-sweet is also fine)
3 tablespoons butter or virgin coconut oil
5 tablespoons tahini* (sesame butter), divided
2 large eggs
⅓ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup or light agave syrup

Sometimes a jar of tahini will be separated when you open it. If so, try to mix to a consistent consistency before using. (Our favorite brand is Soom Tahini as it doesn’t separate as much as some other brands, and has excellent flavor, but whatever your grocery store has is fine.)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Grease an 8×8″ baking dish with butter or oil. (If you want to make a 13”x9” pan, make 1 ½ times the recipe.)

Whisk cornstarch and cocoa powder in a medium bowl until there are no lumps.

Put the chocolate, butter or oil, and 1 tablespoon of the tahini in a small saucepan and heat over low, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Beat the eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until it is light and fluffy, about 3–4 minutes.

Add salt and vanilla, then beat in the melted chocolate mixture until it’s incorporated.

Carefully add the cornstarch mixture and beat on medium-high for about 30 seconds. It will be thick.

Scrape batter into prepared baking dish and smooth top.

In a separate small bowl combine the maple syrup/honey/agave syrup and remaining 4 tablespoons of tahini. Drizzle spoonfuls of this mixture on top of the brownies, then use a chopstick to gently swirl it on the surface of the brownie batter to make some contrasting designs.

Bake for about 23-25 minutes – they should rise and the top should just begin to brown. Let cool before cutting into 9 or 16 squares.

(You can make these ahead of time and keep covered at room temperature for a day or two, but no guarantees there will be any left when you come back.)