Fresh sweet corn. Butter. Salt. Iowa born and raised. Summers at the lake in upstate New York. Corn is in my blood.
I love corn on the cob! What a sign of summer! As young girls, my twin sister and I used to make observations about a person’s style of eating an ear of corn, sitting around the table with family, extended family, relations and friends. This was done with sometimes a barely contained hilarity, as oft-times reserved folk were witnessed with bits of kernels or butter slipping down their chins, or teeth bared for the next bite, signs of gusto which delighted us no end. Did they take bites from left to right, like an old fashioned typewriter? Or right to left? Or, was their pattern circling round and round the ear, stripping it effectively from one end to another? Or perhaps (though rarely in our study) bites were taken haphazardly, here and there along the ear of corn, like disconnected thoughts or random observations. Sometimes the looks on their faces, (mine included, to this day) were enraptured with the exquisite taste, the delight, focus on and abandonment of anything else, but their ear of corn, like hearing a choir of angels singing for you and you alone.
I offer for you today three variations on corn, just in time for Labor Day weekend get togethers. Do hope you enjoy! They all involve cutting the kernels from the cobs. Here is my method in a few pictures. Nice because the kernels don’t fly all over the kitchen… unless you need a few giggles, and a bunch more clean up, try this.
Now that you’ve mastered this technique, here are the recipes…
1. Raw Thai Style Corn Salad – absolutely fresh and delicious!
- 3 -4 c. fresh corn kernels, organic if possible
- 1 1/2 c. fresh cherry tomatoes – a mixture is nice if available, such as yellow pear, sun gold, moby grape, sweet 100’s, black cherry, etc.
- 2- 3 tbsp. EACH finely chopped fresh mint, basil and chives
- 1 serrano chili pepper, finely minced, or to taste
- juice of one fresh lime
Gently mix, and serve at room temperature.
2. Corn and Feta Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Roast Potatoes and Chipotle Gravy – the corn is lightly pan roasted in this recipe, bringing out a nutty, amazing richness
- 7 small to medium red potatoes
- 2 tbsp. olive or other quality oil
- salt and pepper
- 6 large poblano or pasilla chili peppers, roasted, skinned and seeded
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 2 c. fresh corn kernels
- 1 c. minced onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 c. bread crumbs
- 3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 c. organic sour cream
- salt and pepper
- 1 recipe Chipotle Gravy (see below)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Wash and quarter potatoes, rub with oil, salt and pepper. Roast in baking dish for 25 minutes. Occasionally turn potatoes as they are roasting.
Meanwhile make filling: saute onion in oil over medium high heat until golden, add corn, turn heat to medium low, and, stirring frequently so the corn sugars won’t burn, continue cooking until corn is slightly brown. In medium bowl, crumble feta cheese, add bread crumbs, corn-onion-garlic mixture, sour cream, salt and pepper. Fill peppers with stuffing.
GF Chipotle Gravy – makes about one quart. Note, for this recipe, you will most likely have about 1/3 the gravy recipe left over. Reserve it to pass for guests, or save for later. It is excellent with all types of southwest style recipes, of course.
**If you are a gravy maker from way back, and like to thicken with roux – I used to, too, before my gluten free days. To make a flour/oil thickened gravy, saute onion and garlic in 1/4 c. oil, then when beginning to brown, whisk in 3/4 c. unbleached flour, turning heat to medium low, and let roux develop, whisking often, for 5-6 minutes. Pour in water and rest of ingredients (minus cornstarch), and simmer until thickened.
- 1/2 c. minced onion
- 4 good sized cloves fresh minced garlic
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/3 c. organic corn starch
- 1 quart water
- 1/4 c. wheat free tamari, or to taste
- 1 tsp. minced fresh, or pinch dried thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. minced fresh or dried sage leaves
- 1/8 tsp. white pepper or ground mixed peppercorns
- 1 – 2 (to taste) minced canned chipotle pepper (smoked jalapeno in adobo sauce)
Saute onion and garlic in oil over medium heat in heavy sauce pan until beginning to caramelize, golden brown. Add water slowly then whisk in remaining ingredients, simmer until thickened.
Arrange stuffed peppers in pan with par-roasted potatoes. Ladle gravy over peppers and potatoes, cover, and bake an additional 20 minutes.
For the chowder:
- 4 – 5 medium red skinned potatoes, small dice (I used the red pontiac heirlooms from this year’s garden)
- 4 c. sweet corn kernels (fresh cut off the cobs – Luscious bi-color organic from the garden)
- 1-2 roast serrano, jalapeno or other chilies, skinned, seeded, finely chopped – to taste
- 1/2 c. minced fresh chives
- 5 c. or so corn cob stock (use your stripped corn cobs. Place cobs in sauce pot, just barely cover with water and boil 20-25 minutes. Remove cobs.)
- 1/2 c. half and half cream (or almond milk, soy milk)
- pinch salt (I recommend not oversalting this chowder so your sweet, sweet corn flavor can really shine)
- freshly ground pepper
Into the boiling corn cob stock (minus the cobs!) add the potatoes. Boil 15-20 minutes, add corn, continuing to boil. Reduce heat to medium, pour in cream or milk, add chives and seasonings. Stir, then allow the soup to simmer until potatoes are very soft and corn is tender, about 20-25 minutes more. Puree about 1/3 of the soup in a blender or food processor. Add back into soup on the stove, blend well, taste, adjust seasonings if you like, and serve.