Corn Relish

2 09 2010

Corn relish preserves a taste of summer

Every summer when I was a kid, my mom would make homemade pickles. By the end of August it became a ritual and her amazing dills, bread-and-butters, chow-chow and sweet pickles would last us through the winter.  It was quite a production and the house would smell of spices and vinegar before everything was sealed into mason jars and put into the cold room for the winter.

Preserving has become a bit trendy in the past few years as people re-discover how delicious and economical homemade pickles and jams can be.  I’ve been wanting to try it but unfortunately I don’t have anywhere to store the finished product. However, this week I had some leftover corn on the cob and decided to try my hand at making some corn relish.  I worked out a recipe that produces a small batch so I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to store it.  However, if you’d like to make a larger batch for canning, the recipe can be multiplied (see below for a link about safe canning procedures).  This relish is especially delicious on grilled sausages and hot dogs.

Corn Relish

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes about 4 cups

  • 1-1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons prepared (yellow) mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups raw corn kernels, cut from about 5 cobs
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1/2 a large pepper)
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons cold water
  1. In a large sauce pot, add vinegar, white sugar, brown sugar, salt, prepared mustard, dry mustard, celery salt, turmeric and red pepper flakes.  Whisk together and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
  2. Once the vinegar mixture has come to a simmer, add the corn, celery, onion and diced peppers.  Stir to combine and reduce heat to medium-low.  Gently simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. In a glass mixing cup or mug, whisk together flour and water until fully combined and free of lumps.  Pour flour mixture into the relish mixture and whisk well.  Turn the heat to medium-high and simmer the mixture until it begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  4. Let the relish cool and place into jars.  It will keep in the fridge for about a week. If you want to can the jars to store, you can follow these instructions for safe canning procedures: Canning Pickles.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers

26 07 2010

Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers, made with fresh corn and sweet summer peppers.

When I was a kid, one of my favourite soups was corn chowder.  My mom made it using canned creamed corn, green peppers, onions, potatoes and milk.  It was simple, delicious and comforting.  I took the basic concept and dressed it up a little with fresh corn and added some red peppers, a hint of jalapeno, some garlic and fresh thyme.  It’s a great way to use up corn on the cob and can be a summery starter or a hearty meal on its own.  You can add some protein such as shellfish, chicken or ham if you’d like.  It can also be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock in place of chicken in the base. Serve the chowder with fresh bread or biscuits.

Click here to get the recipe from Suite 101.com: Corn Chowder with Bell Peppers.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Farmers’ Market Report – July 8th, 2010

8 07 2010

Zucchini blossoms are a rare and delicious summer treat.

Welcome to my first Farmers’ Market Report for Summer 2010!  The markets are at their peak for the next couple of months and this week’s offerings did not disappoint.  In fact, growing conditions in Southern Ontario have been so good this year, there were a few surprises.  Here is a rundown of some of this week’s highlights:

Corn

Corn has arrived at Ontario markets earlier than usual this year.

I was a bit stunned to see the first local corn at the markets already.  Speaking with some farmers, I learned that’s about two weeks earlier than normal this year.  I bought six ears to experiment with, crossing my fingers the quality was going to be decent. The ears were on the small side but the kernels were very tender.  It wasn’t as flavourful as I’d hoped but because it’s so early, I’m sure later harvests will be sweeter. My favourite way to eat corn is boiled, rolled in butter and then topped with salt and pepper. However, if you’re looking for something more elegant, try my recipe for Corn with Red Pepper and Herbs.

Peaches

Like corn, peaches are also early this year.  I didn’t buy any this week but we’ve been having a heat wave so hopefully that bodes well for upcoming weeks (peaches love hot, dry weather).  Peach Tiramisu is an elegant, no-bake dessert that showcases fresh peaches beautifully.

Apricots

Apricots were abundant at this week's market.

I often find raw apricots kind of bland with a bit of a mealy texture but the ones I bought today were pretty tasty.  They had a nice sweet-tartness to them so I ate a few out of hand.  I chose ones on the smaller side but the farmers were selling larger ones as well.  Apricots are ideal for both sweet and savoury recipes; why not make some Spicy Apricot Glazed Grilled Shrimp?

Herbs

Fresh herbs were in abundance this week including basil, mint and dill.  I keep an herb pot during the summer for day-to-day herbs but if I decide to do any large batch pickling or pesto, I’ll head to the farmer’s market to buy large amounts at a good price. To make use of summer herbs, check out my recipes for Pesto Sauce and White Bean Dip with Fresh Herbs.

Summer Squash

Pattypan squash and baby zucchini.

I have a feeling that zucchini are going to take over many gardens this summer, judging by the number and size of them at this week’s market.  Many of the yellow and green zucchini on display were already getting a little big for my taste (smaller ones tend to be less watery and are better for most recipes).  Pattypan squash were also abundant this week. You can make the most of summer squash by making Zucchini Pie with Fresh Basil or a moist Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting.  I was also excited to find zucchini blossoms at a local grocer this week.  They are fragile and rare but will occasionally turn up at local markets.  To use them, try my recipes for Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms.

I discovered another summer squash this week that I was not familiar with: vegetable marrow (see photo below).  I asked the farmer about them and learned that they are very similar to zucchini and are often stuffed with a ground meat mixture.  It seems to be a popular vegetable in England.  You can find a recipe for stuffed vegetable marrow here: Recipe for Stuffed Marrow with Sausage Meat.

Vegetable marrow are similar to zucchini and are delicious stuffed.

Cucumbers

My husband loves cucumbers and often eats sliced cukes with a dash of salt and pepper as a snack.  They also add a fresh note to sandwiches and salads.  A crisp Asian Summer Slaw makes a great no-cook dinner.  Some of the stalls were selling dill alongside baby cucumbers – one-stop shopping for pickle makers.  Pick up some smoked salmon to make a Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad that is accented with fresh dill.

Cherries

Both sweet and sour Ontario cherries were abundant this week.  While sweet cherries are imported from the U.S. each spring, sour ones are harder to find.  My grandmother had a sour cherry tree in her yard so they were the only kind we ever had when I was growing up.  They’re not very good raw but once cooked and sweetened, they have a tartness that is addictive.  For a classic sour cherry pie recipe, check out this one from Epicurious.com: Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust.  If you have sweet cherries, why not make a Cherry Clafouti with Almonds or a simple Cherry Almond Bread?

Asparagus

I was told that this is probably the last week for asparagus this year.  Usually by the end of the season, asparagus is starting to look tired but not this year.  The stalks were thick, robust and vibrant.  This was an exceptional year for asparagus and I enjoyed it in a variety of dishes.  Check out the Asparagus Archives for some delicious ideas ranging from Sesame Noodles with Asparagus and Mushrooms to a rich and decadent Roasted Asparagus Lasagna.

Until next week,

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Corn with Red Pepper and Herbs

10 08 2009

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It’s corn season again!  It’s one of my favourite vegetables so I have fun experimenting with various ideas during its brief season. While corn-on-the cob with butter, salt and pepper is a classic that’s hard to beat, sometimes the menu calls for something a little more elegant.  Sweet roasted corn with red pepper, crispy herbs, brown butter and a hint of heat makes a tasty dish that pairs well with grilled meats, seafood or vegetarian dishes.  You can also toss the corn with pasta for a quick and delicious main course.  Click here to read my recent article for Suite 101.com: Corn with Red Pepper and Herbs.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Corn Scallop

15 10 2008

Corn scallop is classic comfort food.  I recently made it for Thanksgiving dinner and it was a hit.  It’s quick and easy to prepare and can be assembled in advance and baked when guests arrive, allowing you to focus on other last-minute tasks.  I was fortunate enough to find some local corn (likely the very last of the season) but you can easily use canned or frozen corn if it’s no longer available fresh in your area.  It’s an appropriate dish for both summer and early fall.

This makes quite a bit of casserole, about enough for 10 as a side dish, assuming there will be other vegetables and side dishes as well.

Corn Scallop

Makes about 10 servings as a side dish

(VEGETARIAN)

  • 14 fl. oz. (398 ml) can creamed corn
  • 2 cups corn (about 3 cobs of roasted, grilled or boiled corn)
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups crushed unsalted soda crackers (1 sleeve of crackers)
  • 1 cup grated swiss cheese (Emmental, gruyere, etc)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Butter a casserole dish and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and stir until well combined.
  3. Pour mixture into casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes to 50 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and it’s starting to brown.  
Variations:
  • You could add some chopped jalapenos or other hot peppers to spice it up a little.  
  • If you’re serving non-vegetarians, it can be adapted into a heartier main course by adding some chopped ham or bacon.

Bon Appetit and Enjoy!

Corn Scallop.  Not the most elegant looking dish but tasty nonetheless!

Corn Scallop. Not the most elegant looking dish but tasty nonetheless!





Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

7 08 2008

 

Corn is one of my favourite vegetables.  The season for fresh corn is very brief in Canada so during the few weeks it’s available, I eat it as often as I can.  Simply roasted or boiled corn on the cob with butter, salt and pepper is a classic but it’s also wonderfully versatile as an ingredient in salads, pasta sauces or soups.  I developed this recipe as a way to showcase a few summer ingredients that we can only get for a short time so enjoy it while you can!   It’s also an excellent way to use up any leftover cooked corn (if there ever is such a thing – which is not too often in my house!)

Corn and Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Makes approximately 4 servings as a side dish

(Can be adapted to be VEGETARIAN)

Salad:

  • 2-1/2 cups cooked corn, cut off the cobs (approximately 4 cobs)
  • 4 rashers bacon (optional – omit for vegetarians)
  • 10 to 12 mini tomatoes (such as cocktail, cherry, grape, etc.), cut in half
  • 3 Tablespoons red onion, cut into a fine dice
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, cut into a fine dice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil leaf, for garnish
  1. Cook bacon until crisp.  Crumble into pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add tomatoes, corn, onion and red pepper to bowl.  Drizzle with basil vinaigrette (see recipe below) and toss to coat.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with a basil leaf.

Basil Vinaigrette:

  • 4 Tablespoons neutral oil (such as canola or safflower)
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil (*see tip on how to chop basil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt

*Tip for cutting basil leaf: Take a few large basil leaves and roll them up together very tightly, as though rolling a cigar.  With a sharp knife, cut through roll in thin strips.   Chop up strips into smaller pieces.

  1. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.  Use on corn salad or other summer salads.

Bon Appetit and Enjoy!

corn-tomato-salad