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how to freeze sweet corn

mmm corn

Dad plants sweet corn for all of us every year, staggered a week or two apart so we have sweet corn for longer. I don’t know exactly how far apart; I’m sure someone will read this and correct me since I seem to get something wrong in every post.

getting the silk off, a stack of corn, another stack by the stove, and corncobs with the corn cutter

It’s like when there’s a story in the paper that you were part of or know everything about. You read the article, and you find one thing reported incorrectly, then another, and another, and you come away wondering why you bother to believe anything you read or hear on the news ever.

cooling the just-blanched sweet corn!

Sweet corn is one vegetable that you want to freeze yourself if you can get hold of some fresh in season, because frozen store-bought just isn’t the same. Now, this isn’t true for all vegetables, as Mom and I concurred the other day. Yes, we talk about this kind of thing. We’re boring. We agreed that green beans, on the other hand, are pretty damn awesome frozen from the store. But sweet corn? Not so much.

no, she is not high

linda's using the kickass corn cutter

So get to a farmer’s market or a roadside stand right quick, get yourself some just-picked sweet corn, cajole a partner — you really, really want to do this with a partner — and set aside a few hours to freeze sweet corn. Read more on how to freeze sweet corn…

what to do with fresh blueberries

What *I* like to do with fresh blueberries!

I have a confession to make.

I cannot bring myself to bake or cook with fresh berries.

Why not? Their season is so short, it seems such a waste to transform them with heat, when frozen berries will do the job just as well. And you can whip out frozen blueberries in the dead of winter, anytime.

But fresh berries in the dead of winter? You know they’re out of season, so they’re being shipped thousands of miles, and hey! *snaps fingers* we’re trying to eat more local here. In that process of being shipped across continents, they’re losing freshness and flavor, and won’t be worth much fresh anyway, in my opinion.

Why not practice a more seasonally-aware cuisine? Gorge on fresh when it’s available, and freeze or preserve once you’ve gotten sick on fresh blueberries. (Tomorrow I’ll be freezing blueberries, and show you how, which is hardly necessary, as it’s so damn easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before.)

In the spirit of practicing a more seasonally-aware cuisine, we’re now eating 99% blueberries and sweet corn. Ha ha.

13 ways of looking at a blueberry

Simple, as usual, is better. There are approximately 3 general ways to go with fresh blueberries. First is sweet, and mixed with dairy and/or grains. Second and third are savory, in salads or salsa.

We’ll get the obvious out of the way first. Read more on what to do with fresh blueberries…

June 25, 2009 in soup / chili2 comments

chilled corn and coconut soup

chilled corn and coconut soup

The only cold soup I’ve been a fan of is gazpacho, and I haven’t had it in years because I can’t find any place around here or any recipe that makes it the right way, with bread.

Other than Sevilla-made gazpacho, spooning a cold pureéd liquid into my maw just has never been a thrilling thought. What’s the point? It’s cold, drippy, and lacking texture.

This corn and coconut milk soup from June’s Martha Stewart Living, however, has me rethinking that position a bit. I realized a chilled soup does indeed have a reason to exist, and that’s as an appetizer or side dish. A chilled soup is never going to make the center of a meal, but with a salad or sandwich, or if you have people over and you’re feeling fancy, soups like this fill a niche.

And the simplicity of this particular recipe helps. The only fussy part is straining the soup after pureéing, and I learned the hard way that the straining does need to be done, unless you like gumming on detached corn kernel hulls (yum!).

This chilled corn and coconut milk soup is rich, punctuated by diffuse heat from the jalapeño, and tempered with some balancing tang by a bit of lime juice. Permeating it all is, of course, the sweet aroma of corn blended with the oh-so-subtle base of coconut milk.

Best of all, however, is the cool palest green color the soup takes on from the jalapenõ. I feel like I’ve had a dip in the pool just looking at it, calmed and refreshed. I used white-kerneled corn and encourage you to seek it out if you want the same pale green; yellow corn will make the soup pale yellow.

Corn is ready or nearly so in the warmer parts of the country, and we’ll have it here in a few weeks. In the meantime, frozen corn works just dandy in this.

Have a cup of this with a loose-leaf lettuce salad lightly dressed with vinaigrette, or, when entertaining, as a prelude to a fish main course, such as asian salmon on quinoa. It will pair well with a sandwich on hearty whole-grain bread, too. Read more on chilled corn and coconut soup…

black bean and couscous salad

black bean and couscous salad

Ohnoes. A pantry meal — in June!

It may be spring — almost summer — but the garden’s getting a slow start around here. A very wet spring kept us from planting until late May. We’ve already burned past the asparagus and rhubarb, and strawberries are due any day now, but normally at this time we’d have lettuce and radishes at the very least.

But it was not to be. The radishes are just about big enough to snack on, but there just isn’t a lot going on yet. I’m not in the mood for hot, heavy, stick-to-your ribs food now, though, so I turned to a main-course salad and dug out this black bean and couscous salad recipe.

Couscous is one of my favorite pastas/grains. I like whole-wheat couscous (obviously!) and it’s one of the whole-grain products that doesn’t seem any different from non-whole-grain variety. It isn’t even prepared differently; perhaps a touch more water or broth when making it, but it turns out fine without such watchfulness. Couscous also pairs amazingly with beans, and I’m partial to black beans. A lot of which goes to explain why I enjoy this salad so much. Read more on black bean and couscous salad…