Saturday, October 3, 2009

corn mania

If any of you are like me, the fall season brings with it, big brown bags of corn. I love corn. From milling it for corn tortillas in Guatemala to picking fresh sweet Taber corn; it's a truly fantastic food. After the homestead manhandled 13 ears of corn one night, my father (who doesn't eat vegetables) decided I must really like it, brought home bags of the stuff. OK..I might not love it enough to eat for a week straight.

I had to create something with corn to make the eating process a little less monotonous. First up was cornbread. Always delicious; cornbread is a perfect place to sneak in a cup of sweet corn kernels.

Preheat oven to 375. Mix one egg into 1.25 cups of buttermilk, set aside. Combine 1.5 cups of cornmeal, .5 cup of flour, 1.5tsp baking powder, 1tsp salt, and 1tbls of sugar. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet. Mix wet ingredients into dry, before pouring into skillet and baking for 30 minutes. You will notice the corn bread pulling away from the sides, or browning on top. I used a larger cast iron pan, so it was thinner than usual and cooked a tad bit quicker.

The results were good. A thinner final product allowed for a lighter cornbread and made it seem ok to go back for extra slices! The fresh corn created little pockets of moisture. Love or leave it, this 12 inch slab of cornbread was gone in one evening.

With the cornbread barely cutting into my stash, I looked for something else to make. I thought about making a soup, but lacked bacon and vegetables. This lead me to cream corn. Now I haven't had cream corn in years, but my childhood memories are filled with it. I used to dig a hole in my mothers creamy mashed potatoes and ladle in the cream corn. Yum!

So with my history devoted to canned cream corn, it's no surprise this would be a first. I looked through a few cookbooks and ended up back with Mark Bittman. The recipe requires 6 ears of corn, so I knew this would make a bigger dent than the cornbread. Melt a few tablespoons of butter, add corn, cream (I used 1%, it's what I had), salt and pepper, a little sugar if you need it, and that's that. With everything in a pan, you simmer it down until soft and delicious. If you need to thicken things up, Mark says to mix in a tablespoon of corn starch when you feel ready.

Even without mash potatoes handy, this little dish was tasty. The kernels had more tooth to them when compared with the canned version. I suppose I could have mashed a bit in the pan before pulling from the stove, but it alas I didn't.

Which brings me to the last item. Yes, there was still corn left. With my corn enthusiasm dying slowly, I threw the remaining ears on the BBQ while I put together this chili lime butter. Combine 1 tbls honey, 2 tbls fresh lime juice, .5 teas of chili powder (I mixed in some cayenne too) with .5 cups of softened butter.

So there it is. Two days of corn. BBQ'd, boiled, baked, and simmered. Corn season 2009 is officially over in my life.

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