Archive for August, 2010

I’m as Corny as Massachusetts in August….

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

 
The Augusts of my childhood in Hawley, Massachusetts, were golden, both literally and figuratively.
 
The landscape was filled with the bright yellow of sunflowers and the duller yellow of hay. The sun seemed to shine every day as we swam and swam and swam.
 
And corn was consumed every single evening—just before all the neighborhood children rushed from the dinner table to engage in a spirited game of Kick the Can.
 
I loved corn then. I still do. The act of eating it takes a certain amount of deliberation. With its lovely long rows of kernels, this vegetable stretches on like a perfect summer day or evening.
 
The freshest corn (and of course we ate and eat only the freshest) is sweet and not starchy, purchased the day of its picking at the farm on which it grew.
 
Most of the time I still serve corn as I my mother did when I was young. I quickly boil or grill it and add butter, salt, and pepper.  

I’m a lot less lavish with the butter than I was as a child, of course; in fact, sometimes I omit it altogether.

 
Once in a while I feel the urge to get go beyond straight corn, particularly with leftover kernels.
 
My mother’s favorite use for leftover corn is in succotash. She loves to combine it with cranberry beans (those whitish beans with pink stripes that appear in farm stands and stores only at this time of year). As soon as I find some cranberry beans, I’ll post her recipe.
 
Meanwhile, here is one of my current favorite ways to use leftover corn kernels. It combines the corn with another iconic August food, the tomato.
 
However I eat it, the texture and flavor of corn always take me back to those August days and nights of my childhood when time stood still, children played and laughed, and the landscape glimmered with yellow.
 
This post is my own contribution to the Loving Local Blogathon, taking place from August 22 to 28 as part of Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week.
 
Hosted by this very blog with help from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Mass Farmers Markets, the Blogathon celebrates the flavors of the Bay State and raises awareness of the bounty all around us. 

It also raises funds for Mass Farmers Markets, a charitable nonprofit organization that helps farmers markets throughout Massachusetts. Please support this worthy cause if you can; here’s the donation link.

 
Loving Local Corn Fritters with Salsa Fresca
 
for the Salsa:
 
Ingredients:
 
3 medium farm-fresh tomatoes or 5 plum tomatoes
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped (white part plus some green)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
the juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
 
Instructions:
 
Core and chop the tomatoes. Using a slotted spoon, move them into a medium bowl. Discard the remaining juice or use it in soup. 

To the bowl add the peppers, onion, garlic, and cilantro. Stir in the lime juice and salt. Allow the salsa to sit at least 1/2 hour so the flavors can meld.

 
for the Fritters:
 
Ingredients:
 
1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (if you want plain traditional fritters, omit this, but I like the hint of spice)
1/2 cup (generous) grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 egg
chopped parsley and/or cilantro as desired
2 cups leftover corn kernels
peanut, canola, or even olive oil as needed for frying
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
 
In a bowl thoroughly combine the flour, the baking powder, the salt, the pepper, the cumin, and the cheese.
 
Whisk together the milk, the oil, and the egg. Add the herbs if you are using them. Stir this liquid into the flour mixture. (A few lumps are just fine.) Stir in the corn.
 
Pour oil into a frying pan until it just about covers the bottom of a frying pan when you swirl it around to distribute it. Heat the oil until it is about 350 degrees. (It will shimmer!)
 
Pop spoonsful of batter into the hot oil.
 
Cook the batter quickly, turning as needed, until it is golden brown. Do not crowd the fritters in the pan! They will be idiosyncratic but lovely. Add a little more oil if you really must for frying.
 
When individual fritters are ready drain them on paper towels and store them in the warm oven until all the fritters have been cooked.
 
for Serving:
 
Ingredients:
 
fritters (see above)
salsa (see above)
sour cream or crème fraîche to taste
 
Instructions:
 
Top each fritter with a spoonful of salsa and a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche. 

Serves 4 to 6.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider taking out an email subscription to my blog. Just click on the link below!

Subscribe to In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens by Email.

Day Four (Wednesday)

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

 
Here are today’s entries in the blogathon. (I hope to add my own tomorrow. Last night’s recipe testing needed a little tweaking!)
 
Betsy at A Plateful of Happiness recalls a rainy day at the Lexington Farmers Market. (She also highlighted the blogathon in a post on Monday, which we missed!)
 
Megan at Delicious Dishings touches on technology and her favorite market while preparing a salad with lemon-basil dressing. 

Jeremy at Basic Eating introduces readers to a nutritious plant called Lamb’s Quarters.

Kathleen of Parlez-Moi Blog proves that home-grown (or farm-grown) dyes are the best with her gorgeous family recipe for pickled eggs with red beets and onions.

Teresa of Farm Share Stories throws together a cozy, vegetable-filled corn chowder.

Suzanne of Locavore in the City uses the summer’s tomato bounty to concoct a pasta-less lasagna.

Catherine of Pursuing Domestic Goddess-ness ponders her weekly CSA share.

Hannah of Strawberries and Tomatoes recounts her excellent night in the kitchen (hint: tomatoes are involved!).

Meggin of Happy Valley Locavore muses on the changes in the weather–and the season.

Deb of The Other Woman Cooks pays tribute to her grandmother–and her garden–with stuffed eggplant.

Frances of Plate to Plate concocts some quick cherry tomato pickles, just in time for martini hour.

Kate at Village Veggies gets creative with zucchini chocolate-chip cookies.

Kimberlea at Lighter and Local uses the ingredients she has in the house to make a peach-cardamom crisp.

Betsy of Bits by Bets inspires parents and kids with an easy way to get servings of fruit. Betsy’s previous post (which we missed) helps families turn garden zucchini into … crab cakes.

Lara of Good Cook Doris! explores farmers markets and also links to some of her colorful market-inspired recipes.

Day Three (Tuesday)

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

 
Here are today’s additions to our virtual feast:
 
For Monday (but we only just discovered it!), Pure Wellness Amy profiled the veggies and eggs available at Riverdale Farm & Garden and Shady Pine Farm.
 
For Tuesday Amy returns to sample the bread and tomatoes at Daily Bread Bakery Cafe and Shivick Farm.
 
Hannah from The Bitch Stopped Cooking goes a little wild with summer-squash sloppy joes.
 
Kel at More Cupcakes! makes Spanish tortillas from her CSA box.
 
Elizabeth at On Tap for Today remembers a beloved childhood book as she makes blueberry crisp. 

Happy Valley Mama talks shares a few tips she has learned at the farmers market in Northampton.

Megan at Delicious Dishings chows down on everybody’s favorite summer treat, watermelon.

Kathleen at Parlez-Moi Blog dips into green tomatoes and comes up with not one but three recipes!

Molly at Wicked Cheap in Boston lists local farmers markets and suggests ways in which readers can save money while shopping.

Jillian at (Mis)Adventures with Food raves about her all-purpose hodgepodge couscous salad.

Jeremy at Basic Eating discusses the much maligned purslane–a summer edible he can find five feet from his doo!

Catherine of Pursuing Domestic Goddess-ness shares the perfect summer way to cook her CSA cabbage.

Hannah at Strawberries and Tomatoes relishes her own homegrown tomato festival.

Day Two

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

 
Some of these actually went up last night–but I didn’t find out about them until this morning!
 
Rob of Baked Orchard shares a delicious slideshow of the Copley Square Farmers Market.
 
Theresa of Farm Share Stories provides non-recipes for a lazy summer day courtesy of her farm share.
 
Jackie of Wicked Domestic recounts a visit to Greenfest 2010–and the produce stalls at Boston’s Haymarket.
 
Tara of Happy Valley Mama previews her MULTIPLE posts for the week.
 
Hannah of The Bitch Stopped Cooking discusses some of the tomato and squash dishes she may make this week–and ponders her husband’s possible reaction to them. (Hannah, go for the summer squash sloppy joes!)
 
Kathleen of Parlez-Moi Blog provides her recipe for a spicy, local fish stew.
 
Kimmy of Lighter and Local talks about her visit to the Newburyport Farmers Market–and describes what she has been doing lately with her produce. The potato and squash savory tart looks particularly tempting. 
 
Megan of Delicious Dishings talks about her haul from the Union Square Farmers Market in Somervile. Warning: do not read this post if you are hungry! 
 
Bargain Becky returns with a look at her yummy home garden. 
 
Disposable Aardvarks displays charming locally oriented bento lunches. (This post actually went up Sunday, but we only just saw it!) 
 
In Monday’s post, Disposable Aardvarks sings the praises of tomatoes and shares vegan tomato recipes
 
Caroline and Tim at the Kitchen Garden Journal write about the end of summer and the slower delights of the colder seasons. 

Catherine of Pursuing Domestic Goddess-ness recalls picking peaches and raspberries at Tougas Farm in Northboro.

Catherine also leads readers through the joys and terrors of large-scale tomato canning. 

Jillian of (Mis)Adventures with Food provides a colorful red cabbage recipe designed for non-cabbage fans.
 
The Boston Globe‘s Green Blog spreads the word about the blogathon–and about Farmers Market Week!
 

Diane and Laura of New England Bites visit Johnson’s Roadside Farm Market in Swansea. 

Bits by Bets provides both an overview of the week and tips for keeping kids happy while picking berries.

Welcome to the Feast

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

 
Farmers’ Market Week has arrived–and delicous posts are already beginning to trickle into our LOVING LOCAL blogathon!
 
I’ll list the blogs as I learn about them each day. And of course links will also be archived on our Loving Local blog.
 
Remember, the blogathon raises funds for Mass Farmers Markets, a charitable non-profit organization that helps farmers markets across the Bay State. To donate, please click here.
 
And now (drum roll, please!)………  TODAY’S POSTS!
 
Helen of Beyond Salmon began the blogathon with her chilled tomato yogurt soup. (Actually, Helen posted early because she is due to have a baby this week. Talk about locally grown!)
 
Sheila of Pen and Plow Farm ruminates on high-fructose corn syrup, farmers markets, home gardens, and soup kitchens.
 
Bargain Becky provides a virtual tour of the Weymouth Farmers Market. (She really does love local–and she loves saving money, too!)
 
Pure Wellness Amy provides a look forward to her posts about farmers markets this week–AND later a look at the goodies she and young Peter found at a Worcester farmers market.
 
Kate of Village Veggies leads readers through the process of making Down and Dirty Tomato Sauce from her garden haul.
 

For something completely different Peter at New England Folklore tells a creepy tale about a New England barn in August 1928.