The story of my life: I’m not sure what I’ve been up to, but I’m sure I’ve been busy. Part of me actually does like being busy, having a sense of purpose and achievement. But another part of me hates the part of me that over-glorifies being busy. I love writing down and subsequently crossing things off a long to-do list, but I hate feeling trapped by the list, not actually caring about the doneness of the things on the list. Who cares if I bleach the shower curtain? Or if I put away that load of laundry? It’s just as clean sitting in a pile as it is crammed in a drawer. Sometimes I’d just rather sit very still and try not to think.
That being said, I do hate seeing a garden-grown vegetable go to waste, and summer is my time of excess. I buy too many ears of corn at the market; the extra zucchini and eggplant in the garden look ignored and miffed in the August sun. But I’ve found yet more ways to cope with my feelings of ineptitude (“I can’t believe I didn’t make eggplant parmesan with homemade tomato sauce on Friday night instead of pizza!” …Um, no.) and my overflowing crisper/garden. Case in point: Luisa’s roasted vegetables, which make me feel virtuous. Peppers! Carrots! Zucchinis! Throw it all in- together. And that’s the brilliance. But really, the brilliance is that the dish is amazing up front, but then a generous scoop is fantastic in a pan with a couple of eggs for breakfast, they’re delicious cold as a salad topping, and it’s easily and tastily reheated. Check out her post here for the jist of it, or see below for my preferred ratio/mix of veggies.
The second recipe I have to share with you is one for grilled creamed corn. Do not underestimate how good this corn is, or how much fresh sweet corn a grown person can eat once it’s conveniently removed from the cob. I’ve made this with 4 ears and we both stand over the pan, scraping up the very ends; with 5 ears there is a small dish of leftovers that I try to nab for lunch before N does. It’s a perfect accompaniment to anything grilled, as you grill the ears for 8-10 minutes while it’s heating up on high; then put your meat on, and let the corn rest while the main event is cooking. About 15 minutes before your other grilled goods are ready to be eaten, slice the corn off the cobs and 5 minutes in the pan delivers a slightly spicy, tangy creamed corn with a hint of charred summer goodness. It’s like sunshine in a pan. With carbs. And dairy. Win-win.
My preferred method for cutting corn off the cob: balance the ears on a small upside-down bowl that’s placed inside of a larger flat-bottomed bowl or baking pan (picture here is an 8×8 pan). You elevate the corn so you can cut all the way down the length of the ear without hitting the side of the dish with your knife blade, but you still catch almost all of your corn nibs! Another great idea: use a bundt pan if you’ve got one. You’re welcome.
Grilled Creamed Corn
Originally posted in summer 2010; updated and with new pictures
5 ears fresh sweet corn
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour (I use a generic gluten–free AP mix)
2/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. aleppo pepper flakes (or red pepper flakes)
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Shuck the corn and soak for at least 5 minutes, up to 1 hour. Heat your grill to high. Place the corn on the grill with the length of the slats, so the corn nestles in between the grill slats. Grill for 2-3 minutes until the bottom is partially charred and then turn the cob about a quarter of the way; repeat on all sides of the corn, which takes approximately 8-10 minutes, but be sure to keep an eye on it and turn when needed. Remove from grill and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, cut the corn from the cobs. Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium heat; whisk in the flour and allow to cook for about 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Increase the heat to medium high and slowly pour in the milk and buttermilk, whisking constantly to form a roux. Once the milk is all in and there are no clumps, stir in the corn, salt, and spices. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes on medium high heat, stirring almost constantly, crushing some of the corn against the bottom or the sides of the pan with a heavy spoon. Serve warm. Excellent reheated as well.
Summer Veggie Confetti (or, Mixed Roasted Vegetables for Summer)
Serves 2-6, depending on how much you like your veg
Directly from Luisa at The Wednesday Chef, though I like a slightly different ratio of summery veggies, as follows:
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic (I use 1 tsp fermented garlic paste)
1 medium tomato
1 medium potato
2 small zucchini or summer squash (I like one yellow and one green)
1 small eggplant
1 bell pepper- any color (Luisa calls for red or yellow, but I actually really like a green pepper, or a mix of red and green)
2-3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher or crunchy salt (less if using table salt)1 tsp. dried herb/spice blend- I like an equal mix of dried basil, sage, thyme, and red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 375 F. Quarter the onion, then slice thinly. Mince or crush the garlic. Dice the remainder of the vegetables into 1/2 inch to 1 inch pieces, not letting any one piece get to be much bigger an an inch. Toss veggies in a 9×13 baking pan, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and herbs, and carefully mix to combine (careful not to crush the tomatoes too much). Roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring twice- once after about 25 minutes, and again 10-15 minutes later. Gorge. Feel virtuous for eating so many veggies. Repeat.