If you have ever had an obsession with a particular food, you know how exciting it can be to savor every bite (or kernel, in my case) of it. I have had an undying love for corn since I was a child – plain or as an integral component of recipes. Here are three of my favorite picks for the hallmark vegetable of summer that, with the availability of frozen corn and canned corn, can be enjoyed all year round.
From canned corn to fresh corn and more
As a child I was absolutely fascinated by canned corn! It was a random fascination, I realize. But an obsession that must have come from my rebellious side, since my mother believed (and still believes) that all processed food was harmful. Since corn in a can arrives in the unnatural state of being already cooked and each kernel already picked, she deemed it “gross.” I can still recall being seven years old and going to other people’s houses to eat and on the table would be a glorious bowl of canned corn! I had to go to great lengths to control myself and not scream with excitement and shove the entire bowl in my mouth! The taste was sweet and the kernels had a nice little juicy pop in my mouth. It was just delicious! As I got older, my love of canned corn grew. Sure, I ate corn on the cob, but it pained me because I could not pluck the kernels off the cob as fast as I could eat canned corn with a spoon! The obsession lingeredâ€¦ Finally, when I reached college, I realized I could buy all the canned corn I wanted and eat it with abandon and without my mother staring at me in horror! In addition to corn, I fell in love with Goya products – especially Salsita Plenty Hot with Jalapeno Chiles. I realized one afternoon that the bottle label said to try it on popcorn. I did and enjoyed it immensely. And that lead to me throwing the green stuff on my canned corn. The bond was instant! I had fallen hard for canned corn with hot sauce.
Reasons to love corn
Lately I’ve been trying to pin point why corn is one of my favorite foods? What I’ve come up with is that it is one of the most real American foods. After all, the Native Americans grew it and the pilgrims ate it. In addition, corn just naturally accompanies grilled meats and a mouthwatering myriad of other entrees. It also stands for great versatility and perseverance – corn is produced on every continent in the world except Antarctica. Also talk about consistency, an ear of corn has about 800 kernels and 16 rows. Now some might say corn is the leader of the Evil Empire since high-fructose corn syrup (the processed sweet syrup made of corn that is added to just about everything you can think of bread to condiments to drinks!) is implicated in the growing obesity problem in America. However, the message is clearâ€¦. leave well enough alone! While corn syrup is a no no, corn in its intended state is a beautiful delicious thing. I’d like to say that my palate has matured since my little girl days of pigtails or even my young adult days in college, but you can still catch me enjoying a can of corn with hot sauce for lunch at my grown up office! The big difference now is that when canned corn is on sale, my mother will cave and actually buy me a case!
Recipes with Corn
Spicy Corn Salsa Muffins
Makes 12 muffins Nothing like corn in the morning, serve these hot and spicy muffins warm with a little butter on top. Ingredients:
1 cup of cornmeal
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup milk
1 cup of your favorite salsa
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 teaspoons honey
1 cup of corn
1 jalapeno, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and grease a 12-cup muffin tin. 2. In a small bowl, mix corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, salsa, butter, honey and egg. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Add corn and jalapeno or chili sauce. 3. Evenly divide among the muffin cups and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Spicy Feta Sauce
Serves 6 This is a superb side dish to serve with burgers or hotdogs to give your summer BBQ parties a spicy feta flair. Ingredients:
6 ears corn with husks
1 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of chile flakes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice and zest of a lime
Salt to taste Directions:
1. Pull the husks back on the corn and remove the corn hairs. Pull husks back down over corn and soak in a pot of water with for about a half an hour. 2. Preheat grill to medium. Remove corn from the water and shake off. Grill until husks are slightly brown all over, turning occasionally, for about 40 minutes. 3. While corn is roasting, mix remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. When corn is done, remove the husks and put a small amount of sauce on each ear. Serve immediately with the rest of the sauce on the side.
Corn and Black Bean Salad
Serves 6 to 8 This is a versatile salad that you can customize to your tastes. Add more or less of the ingredients and, if you are like me, you’ll add more corn. Ingredients:
1 can of black beans, rinsed, drained
1 can of corn, drained
1 red onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce
1/2 tablespoon salt Directions:
Mix black beans, corn, red onion, peppers, and cilantro together in a large bowl. To make the dressing, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, black pepper, chili garlic sauce and salt in a second bowl. Add dressing to bean mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for about an hour or overnight to let the flavors develop. Serve chilled.
If you are like me and can’t get enough, try these recipes with corn:
Grilled Skirt Steak with Avocado Corn Relish