‘An Ode to Corn’
Last night was the fourth night in a row that we did not have kale.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t like kale. Kale has its tasty uses (see yummy recipe at the end of this post for proof). It’s just that I love corn. Which is what we had last night–yes–for the fourth night in a row. I’m not talking Niblets here, people. I’m talking fresh-from-the-farm-stand corn-on-the-cob corn.
It would be hard for me not to love corn. After all, I grew up in the Midwest right in the heart of Corn Country. My Grampa Henry grew corn. My mother spent her summers detasseling corn. My dad spent his working in a plant that processed Green Giant MexiCorn.
Now I understand that there are a heck of a lot of kale-lovers out there. Enough that there are rumors of a Kale Shortage. Honest. See New York Times article for proof:
But hey. Have you ever heard of a kale-eating contest? When was the last time you’ve joined a lively debate over the best kale-cooking methods? Have you ever rushed to the farm stand early to snag the first kale from the kale field? And, speaking of farm stands, when was the last time you were over at someone’s house for a cookout and a fight broke out over whether Round Swamp or Balsam Farms has the best kale?*
*I vote for Balsam Farms. They not only have the best corn, but a blue-eyed dog named (you guessed it) Blue:
Now just because I love corn doesn’t mean everyone in my Personal Family does. While the Dude can polish off six ears at a sitting without breaking a sweat, the Child apparently did not inherit the Corn Gene. Actual text exchange from this weekend:
But we will forgive her. And keep her in the family. Maybe she’ll grow into Corn. But then again, maybe not. She doesn’t (gasp) like tomatoes either.
But back to corn. I’m going to let you in on a secret, Folks. Which is the Best Way Ever to Cook Corn:
- Shuck corn (better yet, get dinner guest to shuck). Put shucked ears in big big pot.
- Add a little sugar (if you can’t get your corn from Balsam Farms). Fill pot with water. Cover pot.
- Bring pot to boil. When it boils, turn heat off; keep lid on. Refresh gin-and-tonic.
That’s it. I promise. I know there a lot of you out there, my own personal brother Scott “Sweet Corn” Henry for one, who swear by soaking-in-the-husk-and-grilling and suchlike methods. And my own Grampa Henry, who advocated bringing a pot of water to boil and then picking the corn. (Nice if you have your own corn to pick; otherwise impractical at best). But I swear: If you turn the heat off right when the pot starts to boil and leave that lid on, by the time you can wrangle everyone to the table your corn will be perfect.
I’m getting hungry now. I think there’s a nice cold leftover ear in the fridge calling my name.
But a promise is a promise. Here’s one for the Kale Lovers, just in time for fall (which I consider the end of Corn Season and the beginning of Kale Season — that is, if kale has a season.) It’s a really tasty White-Bean-and-Kale recipe from the late lamented Gourmet Magazine, by way of epicurious.com:
I’ve made this soup a zillion times. I’ve used farm-stand kale (Yes, Balsam Farms sells it.) I’ve used frozen kale. I’ve even used that pre-washed kale that comes in plastic boxes for salads. It’s all good. I leave out the sausage, but I do use ‘real’ beans, the kind you need to soak overnight. (Which isn’t difficult. Trust me, if it were difficult I would not be doing it. I hate difficult cooking.)
Feel free to share, as well as any other tasty recipes you might have secreted away — along with your hoard of stockpiled emergency kale.
(Oh–almost forgot: cool cornfield shot courtesy my talented friend John Gicking.)
This just in from my good friend Ruth, from the website (kalettes.com) for a brand-new soon-to-be-terribly-trendy vegetable called ‘Kalettes’:
The inspiration behind Kalettes came from a desire to create a kale type vegetable which was versatile, easy to prepare and looked great. The result is a truly new vegetable with fantastic flavor which combines the best flavors from brussels sprouts and kale, resulting in a fresh fusion of sweet and nutty.
Amagansett, New York. September 2014