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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Shuckin’ Corn While We Still Can

By Sherrie Norris

We’ve just enjoyed some of the season’s sweetest corn, right out of the garden of family friends whose generosity shines through this time every year. As I mentioned before, we haven’t planted corn for a couple of years, mainly due to the way the raccoons and deer love to devour and destroy our crop. We’ve tried all the suggested tips to deter them, but none have worked for us.

But, thanks to others, we’re not missing out on one of our favorite garden goodies.

If the weather forecast is correct, I’m thinking this might be a good time to pick the remainder of your corn — and anything else you have left in your garden — before Hurricane Florence makes her appearance this week. It’s something we all need to take seriously, even here in the mountains, where we could receive damaging winds and rain.

Corn is one of the most popular crops in America, and especially here in The High Country. It has played an important role in America’s culinary history and was a mainstay among native Americans. It is the source of many favorite dishes, including corn bread, chowder, fritters, pudding and so much more. It can be used fresh, dried or ground into meal and used in cereal and snack foods. Dried, hulled and treated, it becomes hominy, which can be cooked in stews or ground into a course meal known as grits. (I can’t bear hominy, but I love grits. How does that happen? )

Of course, one of the most popular varieties of corn is popcorn, dried and heated until it puffs into one of America’s favorite snack foods. Corn also provides fuel (ethanol) and important secondary products like corn oil, cornstarch, corn syrup — and a few other liquid products well known around these mountains.

Let’s see what we can do with a little corn in the kitchen this week.


Roasted Corn On The Grill

Select tender, young sweet corn.

Remove large outer husks; turn back the inner husks and remove silk. Spread corn with soft butter. Pull husks back over corn and place on grill, about 3 inches from hot coals; cook 20-30 minutes, turning frequently. Serve at once with salt, pepper and butter.


Simple Microwave Method for Corn on the Cob

1 to 3 ears of corn, husk on

Place corn in the microwave, still in husk. Cook in microwave for 4 minutes. Corn will be very hot, so be sure to use a kitchen towel or pot holder to remove it from the microwave. Cut off the bottom of the corn, stem end. Corn will slip right out of the husk and silk.

Note that every microwave is different, so you may need to experiment with the settings. If this timing over cooks the corn in your microwave, reduce it to 3 minutes the next time. You will never boil it in the pot again!


Corn Casserole

2 ½ cups cream-style corn

5 Tbsp. flour

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

¼ cup melted margarine

¾ cup milk

3 beaten eggs

Mix corn and flour with wire whisk. Add other ingredients and mix well. Bake in a buttered dish for 1 hour at 325 degrees.


Cornbread Casserole

4 cups coarsely chopped onions

¼ cup butter, melted

1 cup dairy sour cream

1 cup shredded cheese (divided)

1 ½ cup self-rising corn meal

2 Tbsp. sugar

¼ tsp. dill weed

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup cream-style corn

¼ cup milk

¼ cup oil

Dash hot pepper sauce

Sauté onion in butter until tender; remove from heat. Add sour cream and ½ cup cheese to the sautéed onions; set aside. Stir together corn meal, sugar and dill weed. In small bowl combine eggs, creamed corn, milk, oil and hot pepper sauce. Add all at once to corn meal mixture, stirring just until blended. Pour batter into greased 9-inch square pan. Spoon onion mixture on top of corn meal batter. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 25-30 minutes.


Easy Baked Corn

2 cups fresh or frozen corn

¾ cup water

1 Tbsp. low-fat margarine

1/3 cup diced onion

1 cup fat-free cream cheese, cubed

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

Boil corn in water and drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking liquid. Sauté onion in margarine until tender; add cooking liquid, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Stir in corn and blend well. Turn into baking dish coated with cooking spray and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.