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Bless Your Spoon: When one veggie goes out, another is ready

This time of year, we’re blessed by gifts of the ground – one tasty vegetable or fruit coming in right after another. Today’s recipes are all about fresh corn. I enjoy using vegetables in different ways, and corn is only limited by one’s imagination. Whether it’s baked into breads, included in salads, mixed in a burger, or served as a side – corn makes its way onto any summer, southern menu.

As a traditionalist, I appreciate my southern culinary heritage. I often think of foods we enjoyed most during summer when gathered with family. One visual memory is a large skillet simmering with fresh creamed corn. That’s the way we ate it as kids – fried, creamed, cooked fresh, or eaten right off the cob.

Corn’s delicious no matter how you prepare it. Today’s recipes are a few old-fashioned methods of cooking corn, along with a few new recipes. The salad selections are similar – you can choose the combo you like best. Creative cooking has me tasting one of the salad mixes in various dishes – such as filler for tacos, burritos, quiches, omelets, frittatas, and more. Versatility plus some.

Isn’t this the way the Lord blesses us – when one door closes, another door opens? When one season ends, another season begins.

And when one vegetable goes out, another delicious veggie comes in.

SOUTHERN PAN-FRIED CORN

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

¼ cup light cream

5 ears fresh white corn kernels (2 cups)

1 finely chopped green pepper

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. onion salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine oil, cream, corn, pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper. Spread out in bottom of heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned on bottom. Reduce heat to low. Cook until corn is soft. Adjust seasonings to taste. Yield: 4 servings.

OLD FASHIONED CREAM CORN

2 Tbsp. melted, salted butter

5 ears of fresh corn kernels (2 cups)

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3/4 tsp. sugar

Water

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Evaporated milk

In a pot, add melted butter, fresh corn, salt, pepper, sugar, and just enough water to cover.  Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes and stir occasionally. Before corn is done, add cornstarch for thickening. Add enough milk to make it creamy. Adjust seasonings to taste.

CREAMED CORN

2 tbsp. salted butter

1 Tbsp. bacon drippings

5 ears of fresh corn kernels (2 cups)

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup sugar

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

¼ cup cream or whole milk

In a saucepan, melt butter and bacon drippings. Add corn, salt, sugar, and enough water to cover. Cook 20 minutes or until tender. In a bowl, combine flour with milk. Stir into corn mixture. Bring to a boil while stirring, and then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings to taste.

CORN DUMP CASSEROLE

16 oz. fresh corn kernels

16 oz. fresh creamed corn or canned

8 oz. sour cream

1 stick melted, salted butter

1 box white cornbread mix

Green chilies and diced, cooked ham (optional)

½ chopped red, green, or orange pepper (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a mixer bowl, combine fresh corn, creamed corn, sour cream, melted butter, and cornbread mix. Stir to mix well. Fold in chopped chilies and ham or other favorite options. Dump into a well-greased 9×9 baking pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until edges are brown. Cool on rack.

TACO BEANS-GREENS-CORN SALAD

15 oz. rinsed, drained, black beans

2 ears fresh corn kernels

1 chopped tomato

4 cups mixed salad greens

1 peeled, seeded, sliced avocado

1 seeded, sliced jalapeno pepper

2 cups broken tortilla chips

½ cup crumbled Mexican cheese

½ cup fresh salsa

Fresh cilantro

In a bowl, combine beans, corn, and tomato. Drain well. Line serving platter with salad greens. Spoon corn mixture over greens. Arrange avocado and sliced pepper over corn mixture. Top with tortilla chips, cheese, and salsa. Drizzle with dressing. Top with cilantro.

Dressing for Fresh Corn Salad

1/3 cup sour cream

¾ cup buttermilk

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

1 Tbsp. lime juice

2 minced cloves garlic

1 Tbsp. chili powder

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, buttermilk, cilantro, chives, lime juice, garlic cloves and chili powder. Toss with salad before serving.

CORN – AVOCADO AND TOMATO SALAD

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. minced garlic

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 ears fresh corn kernels

1 pint quartered grape tomatoes

1 seeded, red, or yellow bell pepper

1 Tbsp. seeded, minced, jalapeno peppers

15 oz. rinsed, drained black beans

½ cup diced red onion

2 peeled, seeded, diced avocados

¼ cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)

Chopped fresh cilantro

Season to taste

In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, salt, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Set aside. In a bowl, combine corn, tomatoes, peppers, black beans and red onion. Pour the olive oil mixture over the corn mixture and toss lightly to mix well. Dice avocados and add to lime juice. When ready to serve salad, fold the avocados and cilantro into the salad. Season if needed.

CORN-BLACK BEAN SALAD

2 lbs. fresh corn kernels

15 oz. canned, rinsed, black beans

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

1 ¼ cups diced red peppers

2 chopped jalapeno peppers

1 cup chopped fresh scallions

On a large sheet pan, roast corn in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes or slightly golden. Chill in refrigerator. In a large bowl, combine black beans, tomatoes, red peppers, jalapenos, scallions, and chilled corn. Toss with dressing.

Dressing for Corn-Black Bean Salad

¾ cup fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 diced fresh avocado

In a bowl, combine lime juice, olive oil, sugar, cilantro, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add diced avocado and gently toss. Toss with salad before serving.

CORN-GARBANZO BEAN BURGERS

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ cup fresh corn kernels

1 cup chopped onion

2 tsp. thyme

1 can rinsed, drained, garbanzo beans

1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs

¼ cup uncooked, instant oats

3 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

5 tsp. yellow cornmeal

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

In a non-stick skillet, in oil, saute corn, onion and thyme until onion is transparent. In a food processor, combine corn mixture, garbanzo beans, breadcrumbs, oats, cornmeal, salt, and pepper. Pulse 10 times or until combined but still chunky. Divide into 8 portions and shape into ½-inch burger burgers. Dredge in cornmeal. In a non-stick skillet, heat oil, and cook burgers 5 minutes on one side. Turn over, and cook 4 minutes on the other or until golden. Serve with tomato and corn spread or on a bun with favorite condiments.

Tomato-Corn Spread

5 fresh tomatoes

2 peeled, diced shallot

3 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp. fresh basil

3 tsp. oil

4 diced green chilies

1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels

Salt and pepper to taste

½ juiced lime

Minced fresh cilantro

In a food processor, combine tomatoes, shallot, garlic, basil, oil, chilies, and corn. Salt and pepper to taste. Process until well blended. Fold in lime to blended mixture. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. For extra flavor, add more chilies to basic recipe.

CHALUPAS

6 whole-wheat tortillas

14 oz. canned black beans

1 ½ lb. shredded beef, pork, or chicken

1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels

16. oz. diced fresh tomato

1 diced avocado

Grated lettuce

1 ½ cup fresh tomato salsa

8 oz. crumbled white Mexican cheese

cilantro

Heat tortilla according to pkg. instructions. Lay flat on a cookie sheet. Beginning with a base of beans, add meat, corn, tomato, avocado, and lettuce. Top with salsa, cheese and cilantro.

SOUTH OF THE BORDER CORN

8 ears of corn

Water

Chicken broth

Premium mayonnaise

Shredded parmesan cheese

Shuck the corn and save the leaves. Boil corn in a 2 to 1 ratio of chicken broth and water (twice as much chicken broth) for 30 minutes. Spread entire corn cob with a light spread of mayonnaise. Sprinkle entire cob with shredded or grated parmesan cheese. Place cobs back in leaves. When ready to eat. Heat in a 350-degree oven until warm. Yield: 8.

CORN-VEGGIE CASSEROLE

16 oz. fresh corn kernels (2 cups)

16 oz. cooked green beans

8 oz. drained, sliced water chestnuts

½ cup chopped onion

Can of undiluted cream of celery soup

8 oz. sour cream

½ cup grated cheddar cheese

32 crushed Ritz crackers

1 melted stick salted butter

In a casserole dish, layer in order the green beans, corn, water chestnuts, and onions. In a bowl, mix soup and sour cream. Spread mixture evenly over top of vegetables. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top. Mix melted butter with crushed crackers. Spread crackers over top of casserole. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serves 10

SILVER DOLLAR FRESH CORN CAKES

2 beaten eggs

1 ½ tsp. cream

1 Tbsp. Wesson vegetable oil

16 oz. fresh corn kernels

1½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

Whole milk

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add cream, vegetable oil, and corn. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Stir in just until mixed. If too thick, add a little milk. Pour spoonfuls of batter on a heated and greased pan. When top bubbles, turn pancakes and brown other side. Yield: 12 pancakes.

JAM FILLED CORN MUFFINS

2 beaten eggs

½ cup Wesson vegetable oil

1½ cups buttermilk

3¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 ¼ cups yellow cornmeal

5 tsp. baking powder

½ cup sugar

1/8th tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. salt

1 cup fresh corn kernels

½ cup strawberry jam

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add oil, milk, and buttermilk. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir just until moistened. Fold corn into batter. Pour into greased 12 muffin tin and fill almost completely. Press a tsp. of jam down deep into middle of batter. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Leave in pan and allow to cool. Yield: 12 muffins.