Sunday, June 13, 2010

Have You Really Thought About Corn?

At the market yesterday, I was reminded of one of the reasons why I like summer. The corn is starting to come in. State by state, it arrives in Detroit until finally, the corn is from local farmers. Right now, we're finding Florida corn, but soon it'll be the corn grown in Georgia, then South Carolina, etc. You get the picture. My market finds help me count the days and weeks of summer. I get really excited once I see Ohio corn, because Michigan corn is not far behind.

One of my favorite uses of corn is to make a salsa that can be eaten independently with tortilla chips, or served over something like fish, grilled eggplant, or even grilled steak-like portabella mushrooms. The best way to make this dish is with fresh corn that's gently boiled for about 5 minutes and then cut off the cob with a sharp knife.

Rudee's Corn Salsa
6 ears corn on the cob
4 roma tomatoes
fresh cilantro
vidalia or other sweet onion-diced small
jalapeno pepper
lime juice
french sea salt (or other coarse salt)

Cook 6 ears of corn in rapidly boiling, salted water for about 5 minutes or so and then plunge the corn into ice water to cool and halt the cooking process. Cut the corn from the ears using your sharpest knife. Don't discard that boiling water need it to peel the tomatoes.

Choose 4 ripe (but firm) red roma tomatoes and make a shallow x on the bottom of each tomato with the tip of a paring knife. Plunge them, one at a time, into the boiling water. Wait 10 seconds, retrieve the tomato and stick it into ice water to stop the cooking. Repeat until all 4 are done. If you've done it right, the peels should come off easily starting from the 4 corner spot where you made an x. Peel them all then dice them and put them into a bowl with the corn.

Dice 1/2 of a large vidalia onion or all of a medium sized and put this in the bowl. Red onions are pretty in this dish, but are strong, so adjust accordingly.

If you like your dishes spicy, you may use all the parts of a finely diced jalapeno pepper. If you like things milder, remove the seeds and veins and then dice and add to the bowl.

Mince the cilantro well and add 1 to 2 tablespoons to taste. Cover the whole thing with a sprinkle of salt and the juice of one to two limes (do it to taste).

This was the most requested dish to bring to potlucks at work, but we've hardly touched the surface of how flexible corn can be.

For instance, you can pop your corn and then douse it in butter and salt and snarf it down. When you get thirsty from eating that salty corn, you can brew a beer from corn to dilute your sodium levels in a tasty way. While eating your popcorn and drinking that beer, you can watch Bill and Jo try to outrun the tornado in a cornfield in the movie, Twister. Worried about the future of fossil fuels? You can fuel a vehicle like my Flex Fuel Ford Escape with corn. Though ethanol is cheaper than gas at the station, it burns faster and is ultimately more expensive. The nice thing for me is that if we run out of refined gasoline, I have other options. You can even knit with yarn made of corn. I prefer wool, but if you like knitting with corn, who am I to stop you?

Interestingly, corn can be used to take your own life. I don't think Jack Kervorkian knew this, but my own mother certainly did. It was Labor Day weekend in 2006 when my brother, who has a particularly awesome "corn guy" who deals on the weekends near his home, showed up at my mother's house with an enormous amount of the most delectable corn I've ever had. Apparently, my mother agreed. When she got up to get her third or fourth helping of corn, I remember asking her what she thought she was doing. "Mom," I said, "you're going to pay for that." I think her precise words were, "I don't give a damn, it's so good." And it was. Good. Several days later, she was gone after she developed her last bout of diverticulitis and a bowel obstruction from the corn. Corn is a no-no for those with diverticular disease and my mother routinely developed bowel obstructions when she ate the no-nos. So you see, you can suffer death by corn.

Today I'm using this flexible vegetable in yet another way: as an icepack. My favorite frozen veggie to use is peas, but the peas I have in the freezer are there so I can make a tuna noodle salad. The corn was handy when I was attacked by my laptop as it fell off the ottoman last night. My injury was compounded by the dog stepping on the same foot. I'm not sure if I broke a bone, or just bruised the delicate area, but the corn has come in handy, yet again. So has the Motrin IB which, surprisingly, contains cornstarch. Who knew?

What's your favorite way to use corn?


Miss 376 said...

The boys did popped corn this week, they love it

CT said...

oh my! what a post! LOL! and what diverse ways of looking at corn!my whole family loves corn, and I'm certainly gonna try that Salsa!

oh my! death by corn! it sounds so... unexpected (I suddenly had a The Godfather-like vision of being stabbed to death with a corn cob.... shudder!)

ow! and ouch! do you feel better now????

Silliyak said...

The picture would have been perfect if your feet had corns on them.

Gail said...

Sound like a great recipe. I love corn, never thought of all its uses.

Sorry about the loss of your mother.

You left one important one out...White Lightening!

Stephanie V said...

Oh, yes, we wait for the march of the fresh corn, too. It'll be a while before ours is ready, though.
Funny you posting the salsa recipe - I just finished making the same one for our family dinner tonight.

ari_1965 said...

Sorry about your foot. I would like to compete with you again regarding injuries. But I've got nothing but an enormous bug bite just at the edge of my hairline.

I love corn salsa. Your recipe sounds good.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i love ALL corn. just bought some today!

smiles, bee

Anonymous said...

I pop mine and use Emeril's Essence. Nothing like a little Bam to spice things up!

Here is another. Use the cobs to sob up the oil in the gulf...

The "Corn Man" opens the last week of July...


Devon said...

I can't yet be sure, but I'm thinking my favorite way to eat corn is Rudee's corn salsa! It sounds great!

I'm thinking salmon sitting on a bed of salad greens with Rudee's corn salsa. Now if someone would just come over and begin cooking?

Devon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quiltluver said...

Ouch! Sorry to hear about your foot. As my father would say trying to make me laugh when I hurt myself as a little girl, "did you break the laptop?" (it never worked then either) I love Michigan sweet corn too!

Dawn-Rene said...

How about decorations? There are always the Fall type stuff with corn stalks and colored corn on the cob. But somewhere in South Dakota there is a place called the Corn Palace, an entire building outfitted with corn to create a 'mosaic' of suprising detail. I think the exterior is changed every year too. Quite pretty.

Lisa L said...

I love fresh corn. So sorry it took your mom's life! Whoa..SBO's are not pretty..

Ruth said...

got to watch those suicidal laptops that are planning on taking you out as well

The Crusty Crone said...

I use to love the top of the corn season because you could get them for $0.10 an ear. Big family, little money so this was a deal for us! Well, for me.

I use to always consider corn on the cob a little special. Not my kids. "oh no... not corn on the cob", whiney babies. But it just meant more for me.

laurie said...

OW. are you better?

i used frozen peas when i smashed my head on the steering wheel once. you'll read that scene in my book.