Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sweeeet Corn and Other a little family wisdom!

The other day I was in the grocery store shucking some corn over the trash bin, and a lady asked me how I cooked corn. She said, "You boil it, I guess? I've been grilling it and I don't have much luck with that." I replied that no, I don't grill it or boil it, I microwave it....and she looked so puzzled that I had to explain. After doing so she asked me HOW to pick out the best cobs, so that the corn would be sweet and tender, and not tough and stringy. After that conversation, I thought that maybe I ought to blog these simple cooking and selecting tips, because maybe not everyone knows about this stuff.

I was blessed to grow up in a family with 2 grandmothers who were wonderful cooks, who had raised their families during the depression (the one in the 1930's, not the more recent "recessions"). Having done that gave an added dimension to their cooking: Both of them could turn out a delicious meal at almost no cost. Picking out the very best of the season was second nature to them. Both Bessie and Rosie had it down to a science! Here's a picture of the two fabulous ladies, at the my parents wedding reception. That's Rosie on the right and Bessie on the left, flanked by my parents:

Notice the champagne! This was a party all the way! And don't my parents look young and glamorous?? However, I digress....Here is the first rule of thumb that the ladies passed on to me, regarding fresh veggies and fruit: The heavier the fruit, the better, the lighter the vegetable, the better. Now, remember, technically tomatoes are fruit, so the heavier the better, and this rule does not really include starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, beans, and corn. "Lighter is better" especially applies to leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, kale etc. If you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. A light apple would probably mean it did not have much moisture in it, so therefore not too juicy. A heavy head of lettuce would mean it has a big center core, and not as many tender leaves.

Back to corn...for the best tasting corn, you want smaller rather than larger kernels on the cob, with no visible sign of drying. I like to cook it in the microwave, in about an inch of water with a little sugar sprinkled into the water. Adding salt at this point will toughen it. Pick a wide shallow dish with a glass lid, preferably.
Put the lid on and microwave it for 6 minutes. Remove the pan, rotate the corn so the other side is immersed and cook for about 3 - 6 minutes more, depending on how much corn you have in your pan and how strong your microwave is. I promise you will produce sweet, juicy delicious corn on the cob, just the way grandma used to serve it. Hey, and before you think, NO WAY did her grandmothers have a microwave, YOU ARE RIGHT, but hey, we all grow and learn, don't we? And what they did teach me was how to cook!

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