Corn Archive

Saturday, July 30, 2011

corn, buttermilk and chive popovers

buttermilk popovers with corn and chives

I hope you didn’t think I forgot about you this week, or actually hopped on a plane to Mexico, as repeatedly threatened during last week’s taco fest. The truth of where I’ve been is far less interesting and could be roughly summarized as: man, am I a terrible cook this week. However, the week started out promisingly; I nailed a cookbook chicken dish on the first try (that I’d been certain would be no good at all) and brimming with confidence — maybe I should trust all of my cooking instincts! maybe I am good at this? — I decided to make a dish of slow-roasted vegetables that turn out should never have been slow-roasted, unless vegetable leather is your thing. Oops.

buttermilk, flour, eggs and corn
more corn

I gritted my teeth and decided to move on, as I had on my agenda to prove that my recent acquisition of a popover pan — yes, a pan that makes one thing, and one thing only, purchased by the person who used to insist that you buy no single-use items for a kitchen, unless your kitchen has cabinets by the dozen, in which case, can I borrow one? because I can’t fit this pan anywhere — had not been a late-night impulse purchase but a justified step in bringing us my idea of summery popover nirvana. Or something.

splattery batter

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, July 21, 2011

charred corn tacos with zucchini-radish slaw

charred corn tacos

I would not say that previous to the last year, we were not taco people. I can think of several carnitas that have brought me nearly to tears (and definitely to tears when they stopped delivering) and we’ve been doing an egg-tortilla thing for years. But at some point in the last six months, I got bit with the taco bug bad and now I can hardly think of anything else to eat. Saturday afternoon and the toddler is napping and suddenly we’re hungry? Black bean tacos! Nothing but a couple zucchini in the produce drawer? Roasted zucchini tacos for dinner! I’m about thisclose to becoming the sort of person who puts peanut butter and jelly on a taco. The taco has become the answer to all questions.

slaw to be
tiny matchsticks

It’s this obsession that finally got me to unearth a dish I’ve been meaning to put my spin on for two years. That’s more than a lifetime, if you’re this guy, and even he doesn’t know why it took me so long. The dish is called esquites and from what I understand but have sadly not yet experienced yet in person, it is a street snack in Mexico. Corn is cooked in butter with onions, garlic, chiles, an herb called epazote and salt. It’s then seasoned with lime juice, chile powder and served with mayo in small cups. Oh hi, are you still here? I’m not, because every time I read that description, I run to JFK and book the next flight to Mexico.

charring the corn, duck!

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

sweet corn spoonbread

sweet corn spoonbread

What an awkward time for me to admit this, as no doubt these will grace some tables this week I’ve been gracefully invited to, but I’m not really into, well, mashed things: potatoes, yams, parsnips, root vegetables and other purees that serve as the piles to sop up everything awesome that runs off our main courses before our forks can catch it. I mean, I won’t pushed mashed potatoes away; it’s not that they actually taste bad. It’s just that I’ve never been convinced that they taste better than the sum of their copious amounts of various combinations of butter, cream, buttermilk, sour cream, crème fraîche, cream and goat cheeses. No, really, I mean copious. Jeffrey Steingarten, a man whose essay collections you should read if you have not already, found that the magic formula that elevated mashed potatoes to, well, the kind you’ll probably gush about on Thursday night fell somewhere between one and four sticks (a pound) of butter for every two pounds (two to three) of potatoes. I know, I know: “Deb, you are such a party pooper.”

some stuff you need

But I delight in cornbread. And this, corn bread meets pudding meets soufflé under the alias of spoonbread, is something that I would happily heap on my plate and eat it without fear that my heart might give out before I can get to the pie. A Thanksgiving without pie would be unacceptable, afterall. I’m not saying this is health food — guys, I hope you know I would never do that to you so close to the eatingest holiday of the year — it is, afterall, whole milk, eggs and butter, but it has a richness that suggests so much more.

splashy but worthwhile

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

sweet corn pancakes

sweet corn pancakes, butter, syrup

Unfortunately, we had to come home from the beach. You see, I’d left my chef’s knife at home and seriously, people, I never knew I was the kind of person who had to have their creature comforts to cook. In fact, I get some sort of sick enjoyment out of making do with whatever’s in front of me (see also: my shoebox kitchen with a mini-stove, single tiny counter and a climbing baby over- under- and hanging-off-of-foot, putting everything he can find into his mouth) but I got bested last week by a drawer full of dull knives and not a sharpener in sight. You don’t want to know what the best of the lot did to some tomatoes — it should be ashamed of itself! Plus, there were the small matters of a city baby who refused to sleep in such foreign places with large rooms, crickets and scary flowers outside and the fact that we’d only rented the house for a week. What were we thinking? Two weeks! A month! More! Farm preschool, here I come!

our beachour house had the cutest pinwheel

And so, I’m back, at least physically. (My brain is still with the swans.) These were supposed to be the perfect beach house breakfast, as what could be a better embodiment of high summer than fresh corn kernels sauteed in butter, lightly salted and tucked into a barely sweet pancake? Nothing, clearly. Alas, they never made it into our rental kitchen but they’re quickly becoming a regular at home and they seem gunning for a savory application too — nixed sugar, a dollop of sour cream and fresh tomato salsa. And now that I’ve given you an excuse to have pancakes for breakfast for dinner, I think my work is done here and I’ll go back to looking at North Fork real estate working hard on that cookbook.

cobssweet white cornbatteroops

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

summer succotash with bacon and croutons

succotash with bacon, croutons

[Er, croutons not pictured.] Here’s the thing: If you told me you were serving succotash with or for dinner, I’d inwardly groan. People, I’ve had all sorts of succotash — a summery stew of corn and lima beans, often with tomatoes, yet still so bland that no added butter or cream saves it for me, and when adding butter and cream don’t save something for me, you know something is terribly wrong — and can’t think of one that I wanted to run home and make for myself. It might be because it’s usually in the off-season, when the above come frozen and no, it’s just not the same. It might also be because I once had a roommate that would open cans of succotash, not drain it, heat it in the microwave and eat it straight and guys, it’s been many, many years and still, my stomach turns. Don’t ever live with me. I’m a jerk.

corn, limas and cranberry beans
split cherries

But this is different. This was a midsummer dinner dream, the result of another bleachingly sunny, sauna of a day when I staggered around the market and realized if I put this stand’s corn and that stand’s shell beans and those purty tomatoes together, I might make a succotash that was worth writing home about. I wondered if you could pork it up. I wondered if I could pass it off as a main course. I came home with the haul of all hauls and discovered, as I often do, that Gourmet (moment of silence) had beaten me to it more than a decade ago. I love it when they do that.

lima beansspeckled and pink cranberry beansmmm, sweet crunchy corntomatoes, so fresh and so sweet

Continued after the jump »


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