September 15, 2015

Sweet Corn Heaven

by Toni Leland

Yellow and white sweet corn
Having lived in both Connecticut and Ohio, I've come to anticipate this time of year when sweet corn comes on the market. None of that over-the-road, tired stuff for me! This year, local sweet corn is available on almost every main road, at the weekly farmer's markets, and in some of the independent grocery stores that buy locally. Love that!

Corn is the leading field crop in the United States and, not only feeds us and our livestock, provides alternative fuel for our automobiles. Here in Ohio in the middle of the "Corn Belt," corn is only second to soybeans as highly valuable agricultural crops. Picture three million acres of corn! That's a lot of yummy eating, but forty million bushels of corn produces 110 million gallons of ethanol and that's thought for the future of our transportation needs.

Nothing tastes better than fresh-from-the-field sweet corn on the cob, drizzled with butter or olive oil, and fresh black pepper. But even though I could eat a couple of ears a night for the duration of the season, corn lends itself to some other delightful dishes too. I love to make soup, and my Chicken Corn Chowder is especially refreshing for a late summer supper. Try fresh corn in this Fiesta Corn Salad for a unique flavor treat. Come fall when the outside temperature allows us to once again turn on our ovens, my mother's Corn Pudding can't be beat as a side dish with chicken or meatloaf.

Take advantage of this wonderful crop right now while it's at the peak of the season.  Enjoy!

Chicken Corn Chowder
Serves 6

1-1/2  lbs  boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2  cup  chopped onion
1-2  cloves  garlic, minced
3  Tbs. butter or margarine
1  cup  chicken broth, preferably homemade without salt
1  tsp.  cumin powder
8  oz  shredded Monterrey jack cheese
2  cups  fresh corn kernels
4  oz  canned mild green chilies
1  med  tomato, chopped
2  cups  regular or fat-free half & half or evaporated skim milk

Sauté the onion, garlic, and cumin powder in the butter or margarine, then add the chicken and stir until pieces are opaque.
Stir in the chicken broth, the corn, chilies, and tomato. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked.
Add cheese and stir until melted.
Add cream or evaporated milk and heat slowly. Do not allow to boil.

Corn, black beans and onion southwest saladSouthwest Corn Salad
Serves 6

15 oz. canned black beans
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 medium tomato, diced
1 Tbs Splenda (or sugar if you prefer)
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder (or to taste)
3 Tbs lime juice

Drain and rinse beans. Combine corn, beans, bell pepper, onion, and tomato in a bowl.
Mix cumin and Splenda, sprinkle over vegetable mixture and stir well.
Pour lime juice over, stir again, and cover tightly.
Refrigerate overnight. Stir before serving.

Note: Cooked-from-scratch dried black beans can be substituted for canned; use 1 cup of the cooked beans.

Dorothy's Corn Pudding
Serves 4
Corn pudding with sweet corn

2  cups  fresh corn kernels
1  Tbs. sugar (or Splenda)
2  Tbs. butter
3/4  cup  bread crumbs
6  oz  can evaporated milk
1  med  egg

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter or spray a 1 quart casserole.
Beat the egg and stir into the evaporated milk. Set aside.
Mix corn, sugar, butter and add to casserole.
Pour milk/egg mixture over.
Sprinkle bread crumbs over top
Bake for 40 minutes, or until pudding is set.

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