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Butter and cream bring days-old corn to the table

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  • Jamie Rahm
    Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2001 FAST LANE Butter and cream bring days-old corn to the table By SARAH FRITSCHNER The Louisville Courier-Journal When agriculture
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1 5:01 PM
      Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2001

      Butter and cream bring days-old corn to the table

      The Louisville Courier-Journal

      When agriculture dominated our lives, family cooks were challenged to
      use a whole lot of one food quickly -- canning green beans or
      chowchow, making cabbage into sauerkraut, eating blackberries at
      every meal.

      When they couldn't keep up, they learned to use foods in various
      stages -- green tomatoes and red; baby green beans and green beans
      strung on a thread and dried.

      Our modern food supply allows us to buy what we want when we want it
      and to never have any leftovers, except, of course, when we overbuy
      or our family and friends bless us with excess garden produce.

      A victim of the corn-police, I have never dared cook corn that was in
      my possession for more than 24 hours. Friends and farmers would pass
      me corn they'd just picked, and I knew to get it home and to cook it
      as quickly as I could.

      But then there was the time I overbought, my family made other plans
      and I was stuck with a dozen ears of corn that had languished in the
      refrigerator a week or, ahem, more.

      Rather than compost the entire bunch, the tightwad prevailed.

      With a generous lump of butter and a little thin cream, this aging
      corn became a wonderful side dish for grilled chicken. Browned in
      butter first, then simmered and restored to juiciness in milk, this
      shriveling corn made an amazing comeback. Add as much butter as your
      conscience allows.

      Fast Lane list: Fresh or frozen corn, whole milk or half-and-half,
      chicken pieces (your preference), Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco,
      garlic, tomatoes or cantaloupe.

      Old corn

      You can use the freshest possible corn for this, but it's a recipe
      designed for corn that was picked a few days ago and might have lost
      some of its sweetness or corn that's gotten a little old on the stalk
      before it was picked.

      8 cobs fresh corn (or substitute 2 cups frozen)
      1/4 cup butter
      Dash salt
      Dash pepper
      1/2 cup half-and-half, more or less

      Cut the corn from the cob into a large bowl.

      Melt butter in your heaviest skillet set over medium heat. Add corn,
      a little salt and pepper and increase heat to high. Cook, stirring
      often, until the corn begins to brown (adjust heat as necessary to
      keep it from burning).

      When some of the corn has browned, add the half-and-half and stir to
      get up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and
      simmer 5 minutes. Add more cream or a little milk if your liquid
      boils away before the corn has cooked, but corn should be served on
      the dry side.

      Serves 4.

      Serve with deviled grilled chicken or meat of choice.

      Deviled chicken

      2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
      3/4 teaspoon salt
      1 teaspoon Tabasco, or your favorite hot sauce, to taste
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      Chicken pieces for 4 (such as 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves)

      Combine all the ingredients in a zipper-style plastic bag and set
      aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, or refrigerate all day or

      Heat the grill or heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wide skillet.
      Cook chicken on the grill until done -- about 10 minutes for small
      boneless breast halves, up to 40 minutes for bone-in dark meat,
      depending on how big the pieces are, how cold your chicken is when it
      goes on the fire and how hot the fire is.

      Or, brown the chicken on both sides in a hot skillet.

      Serves 4.

      Serve with fried corn and sliced tomatoes or cantaloupe.
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