CSA Sweet Corn with Lime & Chili Butter

19 09 2012

I have to say, I think my favorite part about making this meal was the frequent and terrifying discovery of giant green corn worms, curling themselves up inside these ears of corn, only to throw themselves into my lap whilst husking.

This is the first time my CSA farm has grown corn, so it was slightly experimental. Some cobs were fine, others, worm devastation. I won’t hide the facts. I was near to tears by the end, gingerly peeling off each layer of husk, like it was a temperamental time bomb. I dislike bugs.

Cut to way too long of a time later: Corn is husked, all corn worms are sent to hell, we can then proceed. This recipe will leave your kitchen smelling amazing, and c’mon, hot buttered corn with a bright lime kick and a mellow spiciness; this is the stuff dreams are made of. I served it with some green beans sauteed with butter and fresh herbs, plus some leftover tofu. Corn is super cheap right now so stock up and get going on this recipe. You will love it.
Sweet Corn with Lime & Chili Butter
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

4-5 corn cobs
3 oz. butter
2 tbs. olive oil
3 small red chilis. seeded and finely chopped
2 tbs. lime zest
2 tbs. lime juice
2 tbs. cilantro, chopped

Remove the husks and silky threads from the corn. Wash well, then using a heavy knife, cut each cob into 1-inch. slices.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chili to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and 1/4 cup water. Add the corn, then cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the corn is tender, shaking the pan frequently.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the cilantro. Serve hot and with plenty of napkins.

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Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions

18 01 2012

My mother eats quinoa for dinner pretty much every day of the week. She’s one of those Dr. Oz health-conscious types; clinging to every word he says about wheat berries, fish oil, whatever it may be. Now I know these things are great for you, but I don’t need it indoctrinated into me by some television health guro who resembles a cross between grown-up Eddie Munster and a legit vampire.

Anyways. Quinoa. It’s a dinner staple for her. Quinoa with a green and a protein; the blandness meal on the planet. In truth, it has made me loathe quinoa. I think of it as the flavorless, boring mans meal. It tastes like air and it makes me envision myself being trapped in┬ásome cruel hell of having to eat the same food every day. I would rather be shark bait.

I came across this recipe while looking for a way to use up some leftover scallions and decided to give the ancient grain a chance, and ya know, I actually liked it! Quinoa adds a lot of body to the soup and I can imagine it adding it to pretty much any kind of veggie soup. The broth is flavored using just┬áthe quinoa cooking water, but emits a real smooth and earthy flavor, very similar to a chicken stock. The tangy feta and sweet pops of corn make every bite a flavorful surprise…in your mouth!

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

3/4 cups quinoa, rinsed well
2 tbs. olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chili, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 bunches scallions, including an inch of the greens, thinly sliced into rounds
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 lb. feta cheese, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for about 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir. Add the cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the quinoa, spinach, corn and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the chopped egg and some more crumbled feta.