One of the contestants on the current season of Top Chef made a chilled corn soup with mint. I found the recipe on the Top Chef web site and it said: "Serves 4-5." The ingredients called for 15 ears of corn, 5 potatoes, 5 onions, a quart of cream and 1/2 pound of butter!
Serves 4-5 what? Army brigades?
When you're working from a recipe, you always need to be on the alert for errors. Some sources are better than others. BravoTV, home of Top Chef, is especially bad. Last season's BBQ Pork with braised greens has no braised greens but it does include "local mango salad." That's if you can find it: Their site search and organization are pretty bad.
Some sources are consistently excellent, such as Fine Cooking, Cook's Illustrated, and Martha Stewart's fastidious, if fussy, publications. (See: My favorite cooking magazines.)
Food Network is usually reliable but recipes from cooking contests aren't as carefully checked. Last year's cassoulet recipe from Lisa Garza was clearly very different from what she made on The Next Food Network Star. Too bad -- Bobby Flay raved about how great it was and when I made it, it was good but not rave material. It called for two quarts of chicken stock, at least twice as much as it should have.
Check out the Comments people add. They will often disclose errors — sometimes with fixes — that are good to know before you get started.
And the corn soup? It was pretty good but will need some tweaking to deserve the endorsement the judges gave it.
Chilled Sweet Corn Soup with Mint and Chili Oil
6 ears yellow corn, cleaned and cut off cob -- or, 6 cups of frozen corn niblets
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 yellow onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, smashed
2 qts vegetable stock or chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup heavy cream, or half-n-half
1 bunch mint, tied with a string
salt to taste
2 potatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon crushed chilies
2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
1. In a stockpot, heat butter.
2. Add garlic and toast till golden.
3. Season with salt.
4. Add onions and season with salt.
5. Cook till soft over a medium heat.
6. Add celery and cook till semi-soft.
7. Add potatoes, corn, mint and cover with vegetable stock.
8. Bring to a simmer and cook till potatoes are soft and check seasoning.
9. Remove mint.
10. Puree in batches in blender and add a small amount of cream to each batch
11. Strain through a china cup and allow to cool.
12. Adjust consistency with extra stock and re-season if necessary.
13. Place 6-8 oz chilled soup in a chilled bowl and top with a little cooked corn,
chili oil and mint.
1. Heat to a simmer and let steep 20 min.
2. Strain and reserve.
Chiffonade some mint leaves (roll like a cigar and slice very thin to make threads). Sprinkle on top with some corn kernels, cooked in butter and seasoned with salt. Dust with paprika.