Friday, August 26, 2011

Sweet Corn Pancakes

Corn pancakes made with fresh corn. Doesn't that sound like the perfect summer breakfast dish?  Where I live people are poised and ready for that first plump, sweet ear of corn and if the weather permits, we have fresh corn through September.  I grew up preferring white corn and white cornmeal and felt yellow corn was inferior.  When I was younger I was told that white corn was for people and yellow corn was for the animals.  Now I know that is just silly.  They taste very different and it is really just a matter of preference.  White corn such as silver king is sweet and delicate whereas yellow corn varieties such as the hybrid mirai  are firmer, sweet and has more of a corn taste.  There is also bi-colored corn that is a bit of both worlds.   These days I enjoy them all.  The only animals I need to feed are my family and they readily line up for fresh corn any way they can get it, grilled, boiled or creamed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Creamed Corn with roasted peppers

 White corn was used for this dish, probably Silver King.

Fresh corn is best grilled or boiled on the cob, seasoned with butter, salt and pepper.  Maybe some lime, pure chili powder and cumin might make an appearence!  There are other seasonings that enhance the simple deliciousness of corn but in my opinion, it is always best to keep it simple, quickly cooked and a few ingredients.  This year, because of the lack of rainfall in the northeast, corn was not at its best at the start of the season.  Some of the first corn I purchased at the market was small, dry and some of the kernels were hollow.  Not too promising.  Thank goodness, rain came and corn, along with other produce, improved.

When growing up, we hardly ever had corn on the cob.  It was always creamed corn.  Now I wonder why?  It probably is a uncomplicated reason like it is just how my Granny and Mom did it.  But now in my house the first corn on the cob is a seasonal event.  After a while of indulging on fresh corn on the cob, it is time to move on!  Now comes the creamed version along with the process of freezing portions to use through out the year in some of my favorite recipes. 

This recipe is way too ridiculously easy except for cutting the corn off of the cob.  That is always a pain.  Shucking the corn is a little messy which I do outside or preferably at the market where I buy it because they compost it.  If I am going to shuck, cut and prepare corn for creamed corn then doing extra for freezer storage kills two birds with one stone. I will reap the reward later!

For Creamed Corn:
makes a good amount  or 8 - 10 servings

2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup milk, whole is preferred but 1% to half and half will work.
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
fresh ground pepper
4 cups of corn kernels (exact measurement not necessary), about 6 ears corn

1 to 2 roasted poblano chilies, roasted green New Mexico chili  or roasted red pepper
     (optional, canned whole roasted chilies work well here)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the flour, stirring constantly for about a minute.  Add the milk in a steady stream, constantly whisking.  Add the corn, roasted pepper (if using) and salt after the milk has thickened and the roasted pepper.  Simmer for a couple of minutes until the corn is slightly cooked.  Salt and pepper to taste.

  • Milk.  The higher fat milk used will produce a thicker, richer end result.  Alternatively for a truly indulgent creamed corn, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of heavy cream can be used in place of the butter, flour, and milk.  Just heat the cream,  add the corn, simmer until you like the consistency and season.
  • You might ask what do I freeze corn for?  Mostly for three different dishes:  it is a delicious addition to cornbread, cornmeal pancakes with whole corn (it is just not the same without it) and corn pudding for Thanksgiving.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer Squash Casserole

Summer yellow squash is perfect for this dish.  In fact, I can't think of another way to eat yellow squash that is anywhere near as good.  Yellow squash is not usually a first choice vegetable for me unless it is in this casserole.  Zucchini is a whole other story and blog post!  This recipe is one of the understated, humble classics of southern dishes.

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