Sweet summertime and the easy, breezy days take me away to a time when I cooked outside in 90 degree heat next to a cooking fire hefting large clay cooking vessels and balancing smaller birchbark and wooden bowls at the same time, in leather regalia, and thought nothing of it! Not superwoman, yet I realized this is what our ancestors did every day, all seasons.
I want to tell you about a method for cooking corn that I discovered online. In this video I happened upon, a man took two ears of unshucked corn and put them in the microwave for eight minutes. Then he removed them with gloved hands and cut about an inch off the stem end and grabbed the silk end. He shook the whole ear and a perfect silk free ear came out. I had to try it and I did.Iit works, and the result is delicious. I had also cooked two ears at the same time on the stove; they didn’t have half the flavor of those cooked in their husk. Good ‘ol corn…so many ways to cook it. I love it grilled, too, with flavored butter and some chili heat.
Corn has been dated older than 5,000 years in North America, yet it didn’t migrate from Central America to the Four Corners area until around 1200B.C. Once corn farming took off in the southwest, it drew more and more people to the area.
Herbed Butter for Corn
These recipes are based on 8 ears of corn with 2 ears each person a serving.
1 cup butter, softened
1 clove garlic, fine minced
2 tablespoons each: chive, tarragon and cilantro (finely minced)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper if desired
Incorporate ingredients into soft butter and brush onto corn before and during grilling.
Lemon and Herb Butter for Corn
1 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground chili powder
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper if desired. As above, incorporate ingredients into the butter and brush onto corn before and during grilling.
Freeze any leftover flavored butter.
1 dozen eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup corn kernels
4 ounces chopped green chilies
1-1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
6 8-inch soft flour tortillas
Salsa and sour cream as optional garnishes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Put tortillas in oven to warm while you heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the corn and green chiles for a couple of minutes.
Add the eggs to the pan and stir gently until the eggs are the way you like them. Remove from heat, stir in the cheese and remove tortillas from the oven. Spoon about ½ to 1 cup of the egg mixture onto a tortilla. Top with a little salsa and sour cream if desired. Fold burrito and devour.
Note: Even though it is cooler in the mornings, you still may not wish to heat up the oven. Heat the tortillas in the frying pan before you saute the corn and chiles and keep them warm in foil or on low in a toaster oven.
Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author of three books: New Native American Cooking, Native New England Cooking and A Dreamcatcher Book. She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.