Category Archives: corn

Broiler Tofu with Roasted Corn Mixture

IMG_1630

Friends, I have a new way to cook tofu that does not involve frying it (!). Don’t worry, I’m not going too crazy—it’s still tossed in soy sauce and put over high heat with some oil—but this time in the oven.

Plus, after all that meat at Christmas in Montana (roast beef, smoked ham, scallops (brought by me from Maine), meatloaf with pork and emu, elk, venison, lamb…) I needed something a little more my usual style. Although I am intending to buy half a pig or something similar with Christmas money (thanks, grandparents!).

It’s January (happy New Year!), so you are officially allowed to begin using up the contents of your freezer. Which may include corn (straight from the cob to your freezer) and tomatoes. And, maybe your roommates are kind enough to get you a mushroom starter bucket for Christmas, so you have a fresh supply of oyster mushrooms. Handy.

Year-end is habitually a time for reflection, resolution, and anticipation. True also in the food world. We’ve been imagining foods of the future for a while now, that still have yet to come to pass, like a food pill (sure, Soylent, you’re getting there). But maybe instead we’ll go back to our ancient roots and renew some old grains, like millet. At least we made some progress globally in 2015 regarding changing diets, and feeding the world… and we’ve got more changes, like more female farmers, to look forward to.

And some food of our own, too. You can even pretend this is healthy (okay, it probably is healthy, depending on your health stipulations) and contributing to that New Years’ diet, too, if you want. Don’t give up deliciousness or you won’t stick to your goals!

I did this with the broiler but I suspect it would be just as effective in a very hot oven, and possibly more efficient. I recommend cooking the tofu in a separate pan from the veggie mix because the tofu might otherwise absorb the excessive moisture produced by the tomatoes, diluting the soy flavor (and preventing crispiness, a real travesty).

Broiled tofu with roasted tomato, corn, mushrooms
Tofu (about 1/3 lb per person I find sufficient)
Soy sauce, a few tablespoons
Vegetable oil, a few tablespoons (separated)
Corn (frozen is fine, about 1 cup)
2-3 tomatoes, chopped (frozen or canned is also fine, if you can chop them)
Mushrooms (a large handful)
Balsamic, a dash
Coconut oil, a spoonful, if desired
Salt/pepper
Garnish: cilantro and feta

Cut up the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes. Sprinkle with soy sauce and oil in a shallow roasting pan, toss lightly, and put under the broiler. Broil for 10 or so minutes, flipping occasionally, until dark golden and crispy.

Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and mushrooms and toss with corn, a little more oil, balsamic, coconut oil, and salt. When tofu is done, or if there’s room, put in a shallow pan under the broiler and cook the same as the tofu, 10 or so minutes until golden, flipping occasionally. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Toss the tofu with the veggies (lots of tossing we’re doing here), then crumble feta on top and sprinkle with cilantro.

Advertisements

Corn Salsa Salad

corn salsa salad

Corn! How exciting. And so many ways to eat it. Raw on the cob, raw off the cob, roasted, grilled, in a tart or pancakes… or in salsa. Or a salad.

I’m calling it a salsa salad because it could be either. I was happy eating it as a meal but it would also make a good potluck dish or topping for tacos or in a burrito. It takes approximately five minutes to throw together so you’re in luck if you’re running late to a party or to your empty stomach.

Corn gets a lot of flak (which, by the way, is different from flack, a person who deflects criticism. Although someone receiving a lot of flak might need a flack) in the media these days for being one of the single crops causing America’s obesity epidemic, either in the form of syrup in everything, as animal feed contributing to suffering, or because it’s often a GMO. There was a fascinating piece about corn wars with China in the New Republic the other day, reflecting the importance of research money, the power of corporations, and the grandness and challenge of trying to feed a political world. You may also be interested in “How corn made its way into just about everything we eat” from the Washington Post. Or checking out the picture in Vox about the evolution of corn (and other crops). Humans are good at making things work for us. Corn also plays a significant role in sustainable ag of the future, especially where it was native and there are still people to uphold its traditional uses and growth patterns.

Most notorious corn is not that which we eat, but whatever is grown for animal feed or biofuel. Sweet corn, the kind we’re used to consuming, is not a large part of the corn production in the U.S. It is instead a happy contribution to summer, and perhaps to your next meal.

Corn Salsa Salad
3 cobs of fresh sweet corn
2 scallions
1 zucchini or summer squash
Olive oil
1/2 lime
1 large tomato
Cheddar
Hot pepper or a dash of chile sauce

Shuck the corn, and cut the kernels from the ears. Chop up the scallions and the zucchini.

Heat up a little oil in a pan over high heat, then add the scallions, zucchini, and corn. Stir frequently until soft, squeezing in a little lime halfway through; the corn should get toasty in the high heat and the scallions will wilt. Chop up the tomato (and pepper if using) in the meantime, and grate the cheddar. Put the corn in a bowl with more lime, the hot sauce/pepper, and the chopped tomato, then add the cheddar and mix it all up. Toss with a little salt too, to taste. Serve over rice, with beans if you like; an avocado would also definitely not be amiss. Good hot or room temperature, but best eaten fresh.

Corn Cakes

corn cakes

Possibly also known as corn fritters. The jury’s still out on that distinction (or I just haven’t consulted the right court)—I incline towards thinking of fritters as rounder and more fried and cakes a little flatter.

In any case, it isn’t corn season yet but fortunately I still have corn from last season in my freezer. And now that all the fresh vegetables are coming up (salads with EVERYTHING) I feel comfortable using up the tasty foodstuffs frozen away. And I need space in my freezer anyway to make room for the buckets of pesto that summer shall endow.

The possibilities for local food feeding all of us, by the way, are growing. Which is great, because “local”  (i.e. less commodity-based) farmers tend to follow more sustainable practices, which is helping decrease global malnutrtion.

And we sure do have some great local products! I favor using a mix of cornmeals here, as in most corny delights. Helps vary the texture. Similarly to pancakes, these are flexible, and take new additions and flavors quite well (within reason). Chives are fabulous, as are most green onion-types. Or you can go the other way and add a little sugar, maple syrup, or top with molasses.

corn cakes batter ingredients

Corn cakes
1/2 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal, mixed varieties
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
Chives or scallions
1 tsp baking powder (soda if using yogurt or buttermilk)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup hot water, supplemented with yogurt, buttermilk, or milk as desired
Vegetable oil for cooking

Mix the dry ingredients (including corn kernels and chopped chives) in a bowl. Stir in the hot water and let sit for a few minutes, then mix in the egg. Adjust liquid as necessary so the batter spreads enough in a pan.

Heat up a flat pan with a good bit of oil (more if you want to make actual fritters), and put the batter in the pan like pancakes. Cook for a minute or two then flip and cook again. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

I enjoyed mine with a balsamic reduction and a large salad; they take other sauces nicely too—tomato, vinegar, mushroom…

corn cakes batter

SK’s Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini

P1010278

I have made this a few times now—I discovered the recipe last summer—and I’m kind of obsessed. The combination of vegetables is fantastic and a galette (which is like a pie but more rustic: a pie crust just folded over the filling rather than in a pie pan) is somehow tremendously exciting, not to mention beautiful.

P1020654

The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, no need to repeat it here. And if you haven’t checked out the rest of her site before you have a fun few hours (/days) ahead of you, Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite cooking blogs and probably one of the most famous.

P1020661
Cooking down the veggies so they don’t make the crust soggy
P1020672
Check out those gobs of fat! Makes it nice and flaky (although I think this crust would be perfectly acceptable with a little less butter)

I brought this to a potluck last weekend and it was well received, as it has been on previous occasions. Yum yum yum.