June 2020 Challenge - Corn

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I agree - as much as I would like to use Pine Nuts I simply can't afford them. I made garlic scape pesto with dry roasted sunflower seeds. I tested them and had no reaction to they are a new go to for me. I'm going to try Pepitas sometime just to see if they make me bubble, or not.
 
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I had two ears of corn leftover from the weekend - Hmmmm . . . what to do? Well I have onions and Jalapeno peppers, had some okra in the freezer and fire roasted tomatoes in the pantry. Okra, Tomatoes and Corn of course!!! Started with bacon then added my veg, thyme and fresh parsley and well it's just like I remember my grandma making. Served with crispy roast chicken and some very crispy russet potato.

 
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I had two ears of corn leftover from the weekend - Hmmmm . . . what to do? Well I have onions and Jalapeno peppers, had some okra in the freezer and fire roasted tomatoes in the pantry. Okra, Tomatoes and Corn of course!!! Started with bacon then added my veg, thyme and fresh parsley and well it's just like I remember my grandma making. Served with crispy roast chicken and some very crispy russet potato.

Looks good - I'm a fan of okra though some aren't. I hope you put that jalapēno in.
 
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Pasta Corn Carbonara w/ Lobster and Crab.

Interesting dish here with NO eggs. ... The creaminess of the corn makes the carbonara.

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I would have loved to use fresh corn, but it's just not available here yet. I used fresh-frozen white sweet corn and a small can of creamed corn. I blitzed it up in the food pro until it was really creamy. The original recipe calls for it to be strained through a sieve, but I didn't want to and all of my dishes are "homey". The pasta choice was "bow-ties". This time I used pancetta. I sizzled it up then added a nob of butter along with the minced shallot and garlic. I then sizzled that all up together. Almost everyone goes in the boat. The parsley is condimentary ... kinda like the celery salt on a hot-dog. The juice of the lemon that gave up that zest is also in the mix along with the chopped scallions. I didn't think much pasta water would be needed ... but it took almost two(2) cups for a nice creamy sauce. It's good to fold everything together gently to save the crab and lobster from getting beat into pulp. The Red Lobster roll on the side is a corporate proprietary recipe ... so I can't tell you. ... Just follow the directions on the box and you'll be fine. It's served with a white wine, a Torrontés varietal. I do have white wine glasses but I went with the fabled "blue-tape" glass for french fries. I almost went with more of the prosciutto crisps ... but overkill only goes so far. ... I hope you like this dish.



"... We work in kitchens. ... It ain'te rocket surgery.".
 
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Stuffed chard leaves with toasted sweet corn - cornbread with sardines - roasted aubergine salad with corn and green peppers

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This month's topic is just amaizeingly inspiring for me (I couldn't resist the pun, haha). Immediately as it was announced, I thought of Turkish Black Sea coast and this is precisely the place where today's dishes will come from. It came in handy, in fact, as I had already been planning to make some basturma for some time and this gave me the impetus to actually do it. Basturma is dried beef in a spice crust (photo below) and hails from the Caucasus and Anatolia. So I set off to making it and now it's ready to be put to use.

The eastern Black Sea region of Turkey is quite different from what one usually thinks of when one thinks of Turkey, it's very heavy on corn, fresh anchovies, leafy greens and hazelnuts. Yesterday I toasted some sweet corn on the cob in the oven and used those to make corn meal for the bread (see below), reserving some kernels for the chard stuffing. So the chard is stuffed with basturma, toasted sweet corn, toasted hazelnuts, herbs and cheese. The cornbread is made with the sweet corn meal plus some extra regular corn meal, fresh chopped sardine fillets (I couldn't find anchovies), herbs, tomatoes and jalapenos. The salad is just roasted aubergine, green peppers, boiled corn, parsley and dill. I really liked the aubergine-corn contrast. Some minted and iced ayran to drink with it.

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My dinner the other night. Pretty simple, hardly a challenge winning dish, but it is something I'd thought we'd see more of this month.

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A 20 ounce ribeye and a couple ears of corn. The steak was salted about 10 hours before cooking, set uncovered in the fridge. Sous vide at 124F for just over an hour with a little garlic powder added. While the steak was lounging in the culinary hot tub, the corn went into cold, moderately salted water to soak for about an hour.

Steak was taken out of the bag, set on a rack to dry the surface a bit. Got some charcoal going. Corn went on first.

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It went about 6 - 7 minutes over direct heat, flipped for another 6 minutes, then off to the indirect side of the grill. Steak went over the coals for a couple minutes.

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After I put the steak on, I put the lid on the grill and dashed into the kitchen to get the longer tongs, those coals ( Royal Oak lump ) were HOT! I didn't quite get the lid properly seated, the gap let too much air in and allowed a major flare up. Got a little more char than I was looking for.

But that didn't stop me.

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Plated the steak, put some pepper on it. Buttered the corn generously, also got some pepper and dusted with white cheddar popcorn salt. I swear that when I peeked under the husks when selecting the corn the kernels were nice and uniform. No big deal, still a very tasty meal.

I briefly, very briefly, considered something like this:

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I do hope to get a corn dish done and posted before the deadline, one that shows more skill and cooking ability than this simple corn on the cob. We shall see.

mjb.
 
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^^^ That is my favorite way to eat corn, except we husk the first for char on the kernels. And I love the paint trays of butter - genius!!
 
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^^^ That is my favorite way to eat corn, except we husk the first for char on the kernels. And I love the paint trays of butter - genius!!
It's just a matter of preference. Leaving the waterlogged husks on at the start basically steams the corn giving it a slightly softer, creamier texture. I often do the initial cook with the husks on, pull them off and peel it, then back on for a quick char.

There have been some seriously good looking entries so far this month. Here in Salt Lake still have 12 hours to go, and I think I have everything I need for one last offering.

mjb.
 
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Better late than never! :)

My entry for this month's challenge is a corn-based dish that I fell in love with when I was in New Orleans. Its called Maque choux. It roots are believed to have come from both Creole and Native American traditions and there is some debate over what was in the original recipe. Some say cream, which probably came from more of a French influence, while others say chicken stock is used for the braising liquid while others say that bacon fat is all that's needed. My version is more on the French/Creole side and contains both the bacon fat and cream.

Warning! This is not a heart healthy dish! lol!

What you will need (serves 4):

- 4 ears fresh corn (canned or frozen will work and ymmv), kernels removed from the cob - (be sure not to lose the white liquid)
- 4-6 slices thick cut smoked bacon, diced
- 2 Jalapeno peppers, diced, seeds and ribs removed
- 3 small sweet colored peppers, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk (if using whole milk, add beurre manie to thicken slightly)
- 1/2 - 1 cup shredded crab or lobster meat

To prep the corn, use a very sharp knife and only remove the crowns from the corn kernels. Turn the knife over and scrape the top of the blade down the cobb to remove the balance of the corn kernels. This leaves the hulls attached to the cob and improves the overall quality of the final product.

In a heavy skillet, fry the bacon until the it turns crispy and the fat renders. Strain out the bacon and reserve. Add the onion, garlic, shallot and jalapeno and saute in the rendered fat over low to medium heat until tender. Season with fresh ground black pepper. Once the onion and jalapenos are tender, add the sweet peppers and saute until they become tender as well. Add the corn, crab or lobster meat and reserved bacon until the corn begins to just turn tender. Add the cream or milk, partially cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the corn is soft. The liquid will reduce and thicken.

Garnish with fresh chopped Cilantro or Parsley and a sprinkle of Cayenne.

Left over tip: Add the leftovers to a pot of chicken stock/broth, add heavy cream and 2 diced potatoes for a very good chowder like soup. When the potatoes are soft, mash a few against the side of the pot with a spoon and stir. This goes beautifully with toasted garlic baguette.

Cheers!
 

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Okay, one more dish using corn in a couple of ways. Well three, counting corn oil.

The Players

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The two main uses of corn are the white corn meal flour for the arepas and the somewhat uncommon huitlacoche, or corn fungus, Mexican truffle, corn smut, corn truffle, corn mushroom. It is corn that has been infected with a certain type of fungus which makes it look terrible, but taste wonderful. It tastes like mushroom flavored corn, or corn flavored mushroom, whichever way you want to look at it.

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Also used a Mexican onion and some manzano chilies, or apple peppers as they are sometimes called.

The Process

First off the the corn flour was slowly added to a couple cups of warm, salted water. Mixed by hand until a soft dough formed.

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Once a nice smooth ball of dough was done, it was covered with a damp paper towel and left to hydrate for a while, about half an hour or so while the filling was made.

The onion and the chilies were diced and sauteed in a pan with some corn oil, seasoned with Mexican oregano and a bit of salt. Once those veggies were softened the huitlacoche was added.

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Trust me, it tastes better than it looks!

The dough was formed into balls about the size of a lemon, then flattened into patties. These were deep fried in corn oil at 350F.

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On the way to golden brown and delicious!

The Product

Once cool enough to handle, cut a patty almost in half and filled it with the corn truffle mixture. Cherry tomatoes and avocado on the side.

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That deep fried arepa, which is not the traditional way of cooking them, was very similar to the deep fried corn meal mush I posted earlier. Nice crispy brown outside, soft and smooth inside. The filling was good, it has been a while since I used manzano peppers, they were hotter than I remember, I had earlier thought of using some ground pork as part of the filling, but decided to go strictly vegetable. And I ended up with a pretty tasty sandwich!

Of course, needed to wash it down with something.

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Victoria is a nice, light amber Mexican lager in the Vienna style, paired well with the spicy corn truffle arepa.

mjb.
 
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Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who entered this month. This challenge has given me a lot to think about and I've certainly learned a lot of new things to do with corn.

Here's my summary of the highlights with links to the entries:

teamfat teamfat , after some trial and error came up with some great looking crispy fried corn mush. Top marks for perseverance here. It looks delicious.

teamfat teamfat 's final entry cleverly used corn in three ways in deep fried deep fried arepa stuffed with a corn and huitlacoche. I would really love to try this recipe. Coincidentally I recently ordered some huitlacoche which is not easy to find here and so I was pleased to see this way to use it.

slayertplsko slayertplsko gave us a Slovakian take on polenta, with sour cream added at the end instead of butter and parmesan, and garnished it with some beech-smoked bacon. I loved the background/history of this. It was a lovely accompaniment to some plumptious stuffed peppers.

slayertplsko slayertplsko also entered a fascinating dish of stuffed chard leaves with toasted sweet corn - cornbread with sardines - roasted aubergine salad with corn and green peppers. This dish from the Turkish Black Sea coast surprised me at each turn, with corn running through every element in combination with unexpected ingredients. Once again an informative background to the dish was included - plus the basturma was home-made.

mike9 mike9 entered Corn, black bean and Rotel tomatoes salsa . This was a lovely colourful salsa. For dessert there were some very pretty mini corn muffins with berries. mike9 mike9 also entered Okra, Tomatoes and Corn which I liked, as I'm a great fan of okra. Finally there was a very pretty summery seafood salad. I'm now craving a seafood salad!

Iceman Iceman entered a Mexican Italian fusion dish: Orecchiette with Roasted Corn Pesto & Prosciutto Crisps with great step by step photos here and it looked delicious. A very 'original' recipe in my book.

Also a Pasta Corn Carbonara with Lobster and Crab. Once again some excellent step by step photos. This was a clever take on carbonara using corn in stead of eggs as the creamy element - an inventive dish. Top marks for originality Iceman Iceman !

harpua harpua entered Coarse polenta with poached egg and parmesan and a lovely runny yolk! And no, I'll never tired of runny yolks!

sgsvirgil sgsvirgil made a delicious looking Maque choux. Coincidentally I’ve been chatting about Maque choux on another forum so it was great to see it being made here. I've only recently heard of this dish and its on my 'must do' list, particularly as I love seafood.

My final verdict:

Close run between Iceman Iceman and slayertplsko slayertplsko whose dishes both delighted and surprised me. In the end I'm choosing slayertplsko slayertplsko as this month's winner because of the unexpected flavour combinations based on knowledge of traditional cuisine - really excellent work.

It over to you slayertplsko slayertplsko to choose the next theme.
 
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Wow! Thanks everyone for the kind words and to morning glory for picking my entries. Also, congratulations to all of you, there were many great posts this month, the choice must have been tough. :)

I will post the new challenge as soon as possible.
 
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