Monday, April 14, 2008

Corn Week

This will be a redemptive post. I finally am back on the vegetable wagon, and feel that I fully gave this week's vegetable a proper run. Busy or not, there's no reason not to find time for consistent vegetable preparation and consumption. So this week I had some fun with corn. Its really a very versatile vegetable. You can eat it, use it as a grain, make mazes from it (surely nothing surpasses the entertainment potential of corn stocks/husks), and there are rumors that it might be the next big alternative energy source. Yep, its a fine time to be corn in America.

I started the week with some corn on the cob. I never really understood just how troublesome it is to eat corn off the cob. Is there a strategy that doesn't seem to jam it straight into your gums? Certainly, a post-cob-snacking flossing was in order. Then again, I had some cooked corn off the cob, and it just didn't seem as good by itself or even with butter. Perhaps there's something to having to work for your food.

I tried a couple experiments with sweet corn things, which seemed like a good idea, but was not ultimately that successful. I operated under the syllogism that 1) I like sweet things, and 2) I aim to like corn, so 3) sweet corn dishes will be delicious. I had some corn fritters (which also fit the so often true premise that 4) things are better fried), but found them lacking. I also made some sweet corn muffins using both corn meal and canned corn (though one friend insisted it tasted more like pineapple). These were a mistake from the start. Not only did they start a small fire in my oven (which, okay, I can't entirely blame the corn muffins for) but they ended up soggy and squished. Actually, this again might not be the corn muffins fault, as potentially the reason they were soggy and squished is because I tried to take them on a trip and left them in the trunk of my car under a heavy bag prior to consuming them. Nevertheless, the fact remains that no one I offered them to would eat more than a bite and even the ducks we tried to feed them to were unimpressed.

But on to more successful ventures! I made a pretty decent corn chowder during the week. I have a soft spot for things that can be chowdered, and corn seems to work nicely in this capacity. I also made a pretty good corn salad. Basically it was fresh corn cut off the cob mixed with some oil, apple cider vinegar, a little salt and pepper, and a lot of chopped fresh basil. It was excellent cold, and I feel would be a good, refreshing picnic food. After all, the picnic season is upon us, for those who enjoy the simple pleasure of eating outside.

I'm a little wary of next week's vegetable, but after finding corn to be a little easy, I think I may be ready for a challenge of sorts.

Next week: asparagus!


Susan Thompson said...

I may have reached the end of the line as far as contributions that I can make. I didn't grow up in a family that ate asparagus and I've never tried to cook it myself. I did have a delicious chicken salad once or twice with a couple spears of asparagus on top. I'll check back here with hopes of getting some ideas and encouragement to improve my own asparagus-eating habits.

Anonymous said...

Very amusing post! Plus corn with basil is something I would never have thought of. I'll try it.

Don't forget that tomato-asperagus salad! Just chop up cooked asperagus and raw tomato. The dressing is plain yogurt, some dijon mustard, a little lemon juice and grated parmesan. Note: is does not keep well.

Of course the classic is with hollandaise sauce. Proving once again that the bad stuff sure tastes good. You might try making your own mayonaise. It is totally different from store-bought and the making process is really magical.

Do not eat any canned asperagus product! I don't know about frozen.

Roasting asperagus is sort of trendy now. Also, I watched Martha Stewart make creme of asperagus soup once. It looked like a lot of trouble -- but also tasty.


Baryka said...

Susan, again - I have no advice for you, but I am glad you are back with your blogging! :)

Elaine A. said...

That corn salad sounds yummy!

I LOVE corn on the cob in the summer - it's SO good!

Good luck with asparagus - I have a good recipe if you want one...