Ideas, advice, and what to make now from the Chowhound community and CHOW editors.
There’s nothing quite like superfresh summer corn, but corn you freeze yourself when it’s at its peak runs a close second. “Will it be as good as fresh? No. Will it taste great in the middle of winter? YES,” says dct.
Some hounds blanch corn before freezing it. dct blanches, cuts it off the cobs, spreads it on a baking sheet, freezes, and then packs the frozen kernels in freezer bags. kizil freezes blanched corn still on the cob by shocking the ears in ice water to cool them quickly, wrapping each one in plastic wrap, and then packing them together in freezer bags.
Niki in Dayton simply cuts the corn kernels off the cob and freezes them raw. “Tastes great, and seems to be just a bit crisper than blanched,” she says. Allice98 says she knows people who “don’t blanch, don’t take off the cob, don’t even take off the husk. They just put the corn right in a bag and freeze that way for on-the-cob corn.”
If you do decide to cut the corn off the cob, greygarious shares her method: Stick the pointy end of the ear onto the center tube of an angel food or Bundt cake pan, then slice down, and the kernels will all be caught in the pan. Holding your knife at a 45-degree angle to the counter, start cutting at the point end of your knife, sliding it toward the handle as you cut downward. This way you don’t need to apply much force, and the knife just glides through.
Board Link: Corn on the Cob: how to freeze?
The fried chicken sold by one street vendor in Bangkok is especially crunchy, juicy, and delicious, and the Atlantic has the recipe. The chicken has an amazing crust, according to Spot, who adds, “Everybody dug it.”
“I had never made fried chicken with rice flour before,” says F Schubert, “and I was amazed at not only how crisp it turned out, but how sturdy it is—it doesn’t easily detach while frying like buttermilk/flour batter sometimes can. The coating also seems to seal in the heat and juices. Twenty-five minutes after it came out of the oil, it was still piping hot and juicy inside. Even the breast meat.”
“The marinade is the batter is the coating for the fry,” explains wrisjarrett, author of the Atlantic piece. “When you leave overnight, the chicken absorbs much of the liquid, and you’ll get a stickier batter, and more crunch.”
The recipe calls for cilantro roots and stems; Asian and Hispanic markets often sell cilantro with its roots attached, say hounds.
Board Links: Soi Polo style Thai Fried Chicken
Bangkok fried Chicken
Celebrate the flavor of summer corn in a new way with this fresh corn polenta. Grated raw corn kernels and their milky liquid are transformed by a few minutes over low heat. “Darn if this isn’t the loveliest stuff,” says rworange. “It really does have the look and texture of a light fluffy polenta with a wonderful fresh corn taste.”
rworange cooked hers without the called-for butter, and says, “While butter ups the flavor, starting with a nice fresh ear of corn makes it unneccesary.” The light flavor would pair well with delicate seafood such as lobster or scallops, but a bit of grated cheese renders it “swell … really, really swell,” she raves.
Board Link: Fresh corn polenta
Watermelon rind pickles are an old-fashioned specialty, but they’re not the only way to enjoy this oft-wasted part of the fruit.
PandanExpress says her mother slices the inner rinds thinly (discard the green outer shell) and stir-fries them with garlic, salt, and soy sauce. “It ends up tasting like a pickled vegetable,” she says. “Delicious.” madkittybadkitty adds a bit of ground pork and cut-up shrimp to her stir-fried rinds.
madkittybadkitty also chops watermelon rinds and adds them to salsa, or shaves them and tosses them with either a mint and yogurt dressing or sesame noodles. Pei slices them paper-thin and marinates them in a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and water.
Board Link: Water melon rind
Chilled soups are a light, refreshing option during warm weather. Lots of puréed vegetable soups are tasty cold; sparkareno makes broccoli soup and enjoys it heated or cooled.
Cucumber and avocado are popular flavors for chilled soups. ceekskat loves this creamy cold cucumber soup, and karykat’s favorite is cold avocado corn soup with cilantro oil. “You don’t really know the corn is there or that it’s been grilled,” karykat says, “but it adds an elusive something. Incredibly good.” “This was absolutely terrific,” concurs DGresh, noting, “This is an elegant and impressive company dish.”
KiltedCook enjoys Bobby Flay’s chilled white gazpacho as a starter, or even for dessert, while sparkareno likes this pear soup at room temperature.
Or, if you prefer to keep things simple, try CHOW’s easy gazpacho recipe.
Board Link: great cold soup recipe?
Chowhounds have divergent views about whether to peel beets before or after cooking, and how to go about it.
Some hounds who prefer to peel beets after roasting or boiling use two paper towels to rub the skins off and protect their hands from staining beet juice. Will Owen dons a pair of yellow latex kitchen gloves. Rubbing the beets “with a rubber-clad thumb works better for me than a knife,” he says. When he’s done, he washes his glove-clad hands with dish soap to clean off the juices. Even if you use a knife, cheap surgical gloves will protect your hands from stains, while dishwasher-safe cutting boards will do the same for your counters.
MGZ peels beets before roasting because he likes the caramelization that occurs and doesn’t want to lose it. He finds a vegetable peeler makes quick work of the job. jsaimd peels them after roasting in the winter, but in the summer, she peels them first, then slices them and cooks them on the grill, in a skillet, or in the toaster oven. “Only takes 15 minutes and doesn’t heat up the house. You still get caramelization you don’t with boiling/steaming,” she says.
And if you cook pretty golden or chioggia beets, hounds point out, there are no red juices to stain your hands.
Board Link: Best way to peel fresh beets…
Tomatillos are a tangy addition to many Mexican and Southwestern dishes. They’re frequently used for salsas. Bakersfield Hound roasts them with an onion, a serrano chile, salt, pepper, and some olive oil at 375°F for 50 minutes and blends it all into a salsa that’s great in tacos and omelets. goodhealthgourmet halves them and grills for a couple of minutes on each side to make a smoky salsa.
amazinc uses grilled tomatillos in pozole: Brown 1-inch cubes of pork, add stock and canned hominy, and simmer until pork is tender. Add chopped grilled tomatillos and heat, then serve topped with chopped tomatoes, jalapeños, and onion. “With corn or flour tortillas, you will have a pozole to make you weep!” he says.
AmyH is a fan of this corn and tomatillo soup, and Sue_B recommends layered chicken enchiladas with tomatillo-cilantro sauce and turkey-chipotle chili. You can also try CHOW’s Chicken Chile Verde.
Board Link: tomatillos
Jam, jelly, and preserves are great for adding flavor to breakfast foods, sweets, and meat dishes.
Jam enhances muffins. geminigirl makes jam-filled muffins by putting some batter in the muffin tin, placing a bit of jam on it, and covering with more batter; bake as usual. Val likes these jam muffins, in which the jam is stirred into the batter. For dessert, these raspberry oatmeal squares are good made with any flavor jam, says maplesugar.
Jam is great in sauces or marinades for meat and chicken. Melt it and mix to taste with good vinegar, or with stock and drippings from roasted meat, and use as a sauce. domestikate combines apricot preserves, whole grain mustard, and garlic to glaze pork chops on the grill; othervoice marinates pork chops in orange marmalade, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger; and BeefeaterRocks likes peach-mustard pork chops.
More ideas for using jam:
• Mix into plain yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta, or oatmeal
• Use to flavor milkshakes or smoothies
• Use to fill rolled crêpes or thin, plain omelets
• Add a bit of apricot jam or orange marmalade to butternut squash soup
• Stir into herbal or fruit-flavored tea to sweeten
• Combine with oil and vinegar to make salad dressing
Board Link: Help! Multiple open jars of jam and jelly!
Steel-cut oats are a step up in the oatmeal department. They “have a kind of flavor and personality that rolled oats just do not have,” says LauraGrace.
alanbarnes starts by toasting the oats dry over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the color starts to change and they become aromatic, then adds three times as much water as oats, and simmers slowly for half an hour. By toasting the oats, “you’re not completely transforming the flavor, but definitely adding significantly to it,” he says. “It’s like the difference between toast and plain bread.” mobirose toasts the oats in a bit of butter, then cooks them in water and milk.
LauraGrace cuts down on the cooking time by bringing the oats and water to a boil the night before, then removing from the heat and covering; return to a boil in the morning and cook until thick. She also cooks a large batch on the weekend, and reheats it for breakfast during the week. “The stuff reheats like a champ!” she says.
Some hounds bake with steel-cut oats, too. They’re “killer in bread,” according to Fritter, and greygarious substitutes them for half the rolled oats in oatmeal cookies for a nutty chew.
Board Link: I bought a can of Irish Oats-now what?