Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rain, Rain, Rain

Wow, one wonders how much longer the unusual precipitation pattern is going to remain. We are already way above normal and more rain is on the way. This has been a boon to some things in the garden, and a bane to others.

Sweet corn, which we just started picking this week, has done far better than we had hoped. Tomatoes, on the other hand, have suffered. Nevertheless, we have been able to pick enough veggies every day to feed two people quite well. Besides corn and tomatoes, we are harvesting cucumbers, parsley, basil (by the ton, it seems), tarragon, chives, peppers and zucchini. With these and the garlic, leeks and potatoes we have stored, creating healthy, delicious meals is a snap.

Whenever I have plenty of sweet corn, one of the recipes I like to turn to is fried corn. This traditional summer staple can be made in as many ways as there are cooks, and it never fails to please. I am guessing it is based upon the Native American dish, succotash, and that variations have accumulated over the years.

Fried Corn with Zucchini

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
Fresh corn kernels, cut from two ears, about 1 1/2 cups
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy cast iron skillet and sauté the onion until it is translucent. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown on the bottom. Add the zucchini and continue to cook, stirring and tossing to prevent sticking, until the squash begins to brown and most of the corn has browned lightly. Remove from the heat, stir in the tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately as a side dish.

Fried corn goes particularly well with seafoods that have a touch of sweetness, such as scallops, shrimp, and lobster, and with pork. For a vegetarian meal, pair fried corn with a bean dish.

Don't forget to listen every Saturday morning at 8:00 for "Garden Talk" on WKVL AM 850. I'll be there, along with Dr. Sue Hamilton and Andy the Garden Guy, to answer your gardening questions.

Check out Dr. Sue's article in this week's Knoxville News Sentinel.

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