corn

Corn Shuckers I’m Sorry, So Sorry

by Anne Maxfield on August 12, 2019

Public corn shuckers out there, I owe you an apology.

One of my biggest summer pet peeves is watching, or trying not to watch, people shucking corn in the supermarket.

And I say supermarket because at most farmers’ markets they wouldn’t let you do it.

Recently I got 6 ears of corn to make a corn salad. The recipe (which was amazing and will post soon) called for the corn to be shucked and grilled.

No problem. I did my usual grab of 6 ears of corn—shaking my head at the peepers and shuckers  — and went home to make the dish.

Accidental Locavore Corn on the CobAbout the second ear it hit me—I almost never shuck raw corn. Our two favorite ways to do corn are to toss it on the grill or pop it in the microwave. With either method it’s shucked after it’s cooked. There is still a bit of a mess, but the silk comes out easier and the cob can be popped out of the husk.

But when the corn is raw—oh baby what a mess!

By the fourth ear I was flashing back to childhood when the kids and the corn would be tossed outside so the mess would be in someone’s backyard.

After all six were done, I vowed that next time I was joining the other supermarket shuckers because it made such a huge mess!

Accidental Locavore CornThe other thing you should know about me is that I hate doing floors. Don’t know what childhood trauma I suffered, but brooms and vacuums are the enemy. I’ll scrub a toilet or polish silver way before I’ll tackle a floor.

So, after all the work shucking, I’m now faced with getting bits of corn silk off the floor where it’s hiding under the butcher block and stuck in all the grout lines.

Now I owe all the supermarket shuckers an apology. The next time I’m making this recipe (and there will be many next times) I’m joining you around one of the giant trash barrels, where we can all make a mess and there will be someone to clean up after us!

However, if you’re one of the people who peel back the husk and reject the ear, or even worse, shuck an ear and toss it back, you’re still on my s**t list.

Don’t waste food.

 

 

 

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16 Top Tips For Shopping a Farmers’ Market

by Anne Maxfield on May 27, 2019

Accidental Locavore Farmers Market Produce As we start to get into peak farmers’ market season, here are my top tips for making the most of your market trip:

accidental-locavore-farmers-market-haul16 Top Tips For Shopping Your Farmers’ Market:

  1. If you want something special or the best selection, shop early
  2. When you find a farmer or stand you like, ask for a card. That way you’ll always know who has the perfect tomatoes.
  3. Bring bags, both big and small. A plastic box is always handy for carrying precious berries
  4. Bring cash, small bills and change
  5. Leave kids and dogs at home if at all possible
  6. Park bikes
  7. Give yourself time to cruise the market and then go back to make purchases
  8. Ask the farmers for advice and don’t forget to admire all their hard work!
  9. Even if you’re in a hurry, hand money directly to the person behind the counter. Don’t leave it on the counter or wave it in their face.
  10. Don’t shuck corn. Corn in the husk stays fresher, gives you more cooking options and is actually easier to shuck once it’s cooked.
  11. As tempting as it is to squeeze the tomatoes, if you don’t buy it, it will end up like a water balloon by the end of the day.
  12. Ask to taste something, but take the box you tasted it from if you’re going to buy it.
  13. Try something different. If you’re not sure what to do with it, ask the farmer.
  14. Be clean. Don’t leave trash or coffee cups on the counters.
  15. Wash everything when you get home. Store in clear containers or bags so you’ll see it and use it.
  16. Enjoy! There’s nothing better than food straight from the farm.

accidental-locavore-farmers-market-lettuceAny tips you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’d like a sheet to print out, click here. Accidental Locavore Farmers Market Tomatoes

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Corn Ketchup

by Anne Maxfield on August 27, 2018

Accidental Locavore Corn KetchupIt being peak corn season, when this recipe popped up on Food 52, I thought it was weird enough to either be great, or a disaster. It finally got cool enough to want to stand by the stove, so time to give it a shot.

Corn Ketchup

  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

Using a grater, grate the corn into a large bowl, getting as much corn and juice as possible (about 2 1/4 cups). Save the leftover corn cobs for your next batch of corn chowder.

Heat the peanut oil in a tall-sided, medium sauce pan over medium-low heat and gently cook shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, the coriander, and the allspice until just beginning to brown. Stir in ginger and cook for another minute. Add corn, coconut milk, and water and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook another two minutes.

Pour mixture into a blender and let it cool briefly while you wipe out the pot. Blend until very smooth, strain through a fine mesh strainer, and return to pot. Discard solids.

Turn heat to medium-high and add vinegar and brown sugar to corn mixture. Cook, stirring often to keep the bottom from sticking and burning, until mixture is thick—like ketchup (mixture will thicken up when it cools). Turn off heat, stir in lime juice, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve as you would with ketchup and enjoy!

My verdict: Much like the lobster roll potato chips, blindfolded you wouldn’t guess that corn was the basis for the ketchup.

Which brought up the question, what is ketchup? According to Wikipedia “Ketchup is a sweet and tangy sauce typically made from tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar, with assorted seasonings and spices. The latter vary by recipe, but commonly include onions, allspice, coriander, cloves, cumin, garlic, mustard and sometimes celery, cinnamon or ginger.”

The other question we had, was what to do with it? After a couple of days in the fridge, it was much thicker than traditional ketchup and the flavors of the ginger and spices were slightly more pronounced. It wasn’t enough to make a difference in the burger I tried it on.

The good news is that unlike the tomato stuff from a bottle, I know what went into it, the bad news is that I think there’s a lot of better things to make with a few ears of corn. What do you think?

 

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The Best Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

by Anne Maxfield on July 16, 2018

Accidental Locavore Corn on the CobCorn has to be one of the great foods of summer.

There’s nothing like a great ear of corn, with a smear of butter and a dash of salt.

But how do you cook it?

Used to be you just shucked it* and tossed it in a pot of boiling water, but now we have options.

Here are some of the ways I do corn:

  1. The easiest and quickest is the microwave. Cut the stem end of the corn close to the cob, peel off the outer layer or two of the husk, and microwave for 1-2 minutes an ear, depending on the size and number of ears and the strength of your microwave. To see if it’s cooked, peel back a little of the husk. It should have lost its opaque luster and the kernels should be bright and almost shiny.
  2. My favorite way to cook it? Simply to toss it on the grill, husk and all. We often just put it on when the grill is heating up and let it roast over on a corner, while grilling the rest of the meal. You’ll want to turn it occasionally, but not too often, as it’s better when it gets a little browned in spots.
  3. Recently, there were a lot of comments on Facebook about cooking it sous-vide. This method is not quick, or easy (and requires special equipment), but people were raving about how good it was, so I tried it. Not impressed, but the corn was the very first local corn so it may have been the culprit. If you want to try it, husk the corn, seal it in a bag with a pat of butter, and sous-vide it at 183° for 30 minutes. I might give it another shot later in the season, but for now it’s the grill or microwave.Accidental Locavore Corn for Sous Vide
  4. Shuck and toss in a pot of boiling water (good for a crowd, but not my favorite method), cook for 10 minutes and serve.
  5. For any of these methods, if you really want to show off, take a blow torch to the corn after it’s cooked and shucked. This is a trick I learned from my friend Kerry at Cafe Miranda. It browns the kernels, making them taste like popcorn, and will either scare or impress all of your guests!

What’s your favorite way to cook corn?

Accidental Locavore Corn*Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to shuck corn after it’s cooked? This is a not-so-subtle nudge to those who insist on shucking it before buying it, a habit I hate! Pick some good-looking ears, put them in a bag (silk ends first, so you don’t rip the bag), take them home and then you’ll have options and fresher corn when you decide to use it.

 

 

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