The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

July 11, 2012

Cheryle Finley: Fresh corn a cause for celebration

JOPLIN, Mo. — Each year about this time, I’m anxious to get fresh corn on the cob. I’ve been fortunate this year to get some really nice ears, courtesy of my brothers-in-law, Brent and Ed Scorse. Sometimes it can be a guessing game as to whether or not the corn you choose at the store or roadside stand will be any good to eat.

While there’s no guarantee of taste or quality for corn on the cob, here are a few ideas from ehow.com to help you in your choices.

First, pick ears that are full and solid. Feel them to be sure they are completely filled out. The bottom of the ear where it has been broken off should be as green as the shucks. If it’s already brown, the corn is at least two days old. Select ears with lots of fresh-looking silks sticking out of the husks. The more silks there are and the lighter they are, the fresher the corn.

You want corn that hasn’t been exposed to direct sunlight after being picked, but this one is a guessing game. There’s really no way to know. If there’s not an open sample on display, partially pull back a husk and look at the corn. You are looking for rows of corn that are evenly spaced. If you pop a kernel of corn with your thumbnail, the juice will be milky if the corn is fresh.

Once you have your corn home, cook it as soon as possible, preferably the same day.

Most importantly, don’t salt the water. Doing so will make the corn tough.

There’s a couple of ways to cook the corn to ensure it’s done just right. Bring a pot of unsalted water to a boil, drop in the corn, cover the pan, then bring back to a boil.

Cook 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the freshness of the corn. The fresher the corn, the less cooking time required.

Covering the pan helps cook the corn more evenly because it will float and bob around in the pan and not be completely covered with water. It also speeds along the water to boiling again.

Another option is to place the corn in boiling water and remove it when the water starts to boil again. The corn has to be really fresh for this method, so if you are lucky enough to have corn in your backyard, you can’t go wrong picking it and immediately cooking it this way.

The last thing I do to the corn on the cob is slather it with butter and enjoy several ears at each setting. I enjoy it so much that I can make a meal of just the corn. I hope you are enjoying good corn on the cob, too.

Here’s my final cooking in my car update: Last Friday I preheated a cookie sheet in the dashboard of my closed-up car, then put slice-and-bake chocolate chip cookies on the hot pan.

In about two hours they were done, and they were much better than the previous attempt with no preheating. They looked pale by normal standards but tasted just fine. Now I’m wondering if a little battery-operated fan would turn my car into a convection oven.

I’m not going to try it, but it just might work.

We had Mexican night for my daughter Sarah’s belated birthday dinner. I fixed six or seven different dishes using chicken, ground beef and sausage Ñ quite a smorgasbord.

One new recipe I tried and really liked was the tastes like chile rellenos from my “Fix It and Forget It” cookbook. I bought a large can of chiles and adjusted the ingredients accordingly to fill my Crock-Pot about half full. I used diced tomatoes with garlic instead of stewed and found they worked great.

From “Cooking the Costco Way” comes another recipe for Mexican night. I think the taco casserole is best with ground beef, but maybe that’s because I find it more traditional.

From the same cookbook comes a super-easy and super-good dessert. Be sure to buy enough brownie mix for a 9-by-13-inch pan because a smaller mix won’t work.

Have a wonderful week and happy eating!

 

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