JOPLIN, Mo. —
Corn is the third most important crop in the whole world, with Missouri ranking 10th in the U.S. in production.
It’s cholesterol free, and it’s a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. It’s also high in antioxidants. Whether you like it fresh, frozen, whole kernel creamed or on the cob, it’s a family favorite.
Even if we can’t bite the kernels off the cob, how many of us love the taste of corn on the cob so much we go to the trouble of taking a knife to the cob? I don’t think mashed potatoes are complete without a spoonful of corn on top.
The tassel at the top of the sweet corn stalk is the male flower, and it releases millions of grains of pollen. Some of that pollen is caught by the corn silk of the ear, which is the female flower. There is one piece of silk for each kernel of corn. An average ear contains 500 to 800 kernels, arranged in an even number of rows, usually 8 to 16.
One thing I’ve never done is count the rows of kernels on a corn cob, but maybe I’ll have to do that this year.
Don’t forget the processed uses for corn, including cornstarch thickeners, corn oil, sweeteners, animal feed and ethanol. There are some who argue that corn has been genetically modified and therefore it can’t be good for us, but you have to decide that for yourself. Either way, there’s no denying the importance of corn.
Ed Scorse, of Joplin, had a cookbook, “A-maize-ing Recipes and Other Corny Stuff,” in which he had inscribed “Merry Christmas 12-25-12.” He was planning on giving it to me in December. Since it’s closer to corn season than it is to Christmas, and he, like me, would probably forget by December where he had put it, he went ahead and gave me the book. In addition to the great corn recipes Ñ some of them award-winning Ñ and the corn facts, there’s also information about the Corn Palace, an 1892 Moorish-style castle in
Mitchell, S.D. Ed said each year, the corn, native grasses and grains that decorate the outside of the Corn Palace are replaced to celebrate the harvest. Sounds like it’s worth the trip to South Dakota.
There’s a page of corny jokes in the cookbook, and that’s a good name for them. Here’s a riddle with an obvious answer, considering the title of the book: With what vegetable do you throw away the outside, cook the inside, then eat the outside and throw away the inside? Yep, it’s corn. The cookbook also offers several corny facts. For example, did you know that a typical bushel of corn contains about 82,800 kernels, or that the United States grows 48 percent of the world’s corn? This is a great book and one I will use often.
Here’s a tip: To cut the corn off the cob, place the ear of corn in the opening of your Bundt pan. Slide your knife down the ear, and the kernels will fall into the pan.
Good things from last week included lunch with my friend, Lori Langerot, at El Cinco de Mayo, on the corner of Seventh Street and Florida Avenue. The chips and salsa were so good, I almost overdid it on them and barely left enough room for the rest of my lunch. But, thankfully, I was able to eat the enchilada, and I’m glad I didn’t miss out on it. Also, kudos to my sister-in-law, Dianna Finley, for providing cupcakes for my grandson Atlas’ birthday dinner. He usually goes with a John Deere theme, but this year he gave her the challenge of camouflage. Dianna came up with the idea of placing yellow, green and brown batter inside the cupcake cups, so as to look like camo when we took a big bite. It was much better than anything I would have been able to come up with, and it was the perfect ending to a fun evening.
All of today’s recipes are from my newly acquired corn cookbook. The casserole cooks super-fast in the microwave, and it’s a one-dish meal. Mixing corn and broccoli for a side dish is a favorite among many people, and the cracker addition to this baked dish gives it extra flavor. For dessert, whip up the cornflake treats for something a little different from rice cereal treats. I hope you have a wonderful week and happy eating!
Sausage wild rice and corn casserole
1 1/2 cups wild rice, cooked or prepared according to package directions, set aside
1 1/2 pounds lean Italian sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups corn
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese
In a large skillet, fry the sausage, onions and peppers. Remove from heat; drain and transfer to microwave safe dish. Add the corn, soup and rice. Stir in parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Microwave on high for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add cheese. Microwave on high for 5 more minutes. Serves four.
Corn state broccoli bake
1 (8 ounce) package Chicken in a Biskit crackers, crushed
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (15 ounce) can cream-style corn
Combine cracker crumbs and butter, reserve 1/2 cup for topping. In a bowl, combine broccoli, both cans of corn and remaining crumbs. Transfer to a greased 2-quart dish. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minute or until lightly browned. Serves six to eight.
1/2 cup white Karo Syrup
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups cornflakes
Blend sugar and syrup together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off heat; stir in peanut butter and cornflakes. Mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.
Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.