Sunday, September 07, 2008

In Season: Corn!

Is there anything better than fresh, local corn? Well, anything better at this time of year, anyway?

I mean, Hood strawberries are amazing. But they're around forever compared to the Northwest corn season. A couple of weeks and it's over. I crave corn's crunch, the milky sweet juice that explodes out of the kernels when they pop in my mouth, the satisfying pick-it-up messiness of buttered corn on the cob. Man, that's eating!

As for grilling, we've done it in the husk, with the husks turned down (what a mess!) and then last night we just husked them and threw them on the grill with a brushing of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Simple and easily the best. A little char on the outside, slathered with butter (or, in Dave's case, margarine) and gnaw away.

Now I just need to go buy a bunch, cut the kernels off and pack them in the freezer to pull out for corn chowder, cornbread and corn salsa this winter.

Easy Cornbread
Adapted from The New York Times Magazine

1 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
2/3 c. sour cream*
2/3 c. milk*
2 Tbsp. butter, melted*
1 egg
1/3 c. green onions, chopped
1/3 c. corn kernels, fresh or canned
1 3/4 c. cheddar cheese, grated*

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking power, salt and cumin and blend well. In a separate bowl, add sour cream and milk and blend well. Beat in melted butter and egg. Add liquid ingredients to cornmeal mixture and blend well. Add corn, green onions and cheese. Blend thoroughly. Grease and flour baking pan (I use a Pyrex pie plate) or muffin tin. Pour mixture into pan or tin and place in oven. Bake 25 min. or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Options: Red pepper flakes and chopped jalapeno peppers can be added for a little heat and makes this fantastic with chili.

* For the lactose intolerant, substitute Lactaid milk, Tofutti tofu sour cream, margarine and whatever cheese your milk-averse person can tolerate. Dave does fine with extra sharp cheddar.

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