Newsletters: 20 Oct., 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 20 Oct., 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
Last month Jackie at L&I recommended a recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables using corn and zucchini that I think must be this one. If you move quickly you still might be able to find all the ingredients.

Summer squash and corn pasta
4-6 small summer squashes, diced
5-6 ears corn, cut from cobs
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
handful cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. water
1 lb. fresh fettuccine, cooked
juice of 1/2 lemon, optional
Saute squash in the oil until tender and a little brown; season with salt and pepper. Add corn, garlic, and jalapeño; continue cooking a few more minutes. Add cilantro (reserving some for garnish if desired), butter, and water; correct seasoning. Add fettuccine and toss. Add lemon juice if corn is very sweet and garnish with cilantro.
From: Chez Panisse vegetables / by Alice Waters and the cooks of Chez Panisse. HarperCollins, c1996.

Warm spinach and squash salad
1.5 lb. delicata squash cut in half, seeded, and sliced, or butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cubed
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 t salt (divided)
black pepper
3 Tbsp. lemon juice or red wine vinegar
8 oz. spinach leaves
1/2 c toasted sliced almonds
Toss squash with 1 Tbsp. oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste, in a 12×17-inch baking dish. Bake at 400F ca. 20 min., until tender. Mix lemon juice with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt; add squash, spinach, and onions. Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil, pour over all, and toss to coat, wilting spinach. Serve immediately.
From: Yoga Journal, Nov. 2009.

Index to all blog posts.

Corn chowder

3 slices bacon, chopped
1/3-1/2 medium onion, chopped, or a generous sprinkle of onion powder
1 large or 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small can corn, creamed if available — if a small can is not available, a regular can may be used
about 2 cups milk or cream

Slowly brown bacon and onions in soup kettle or large saucepan. Stir in potato(es) and corn, and add enough water to cover. Boil gently until potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add milk, tempering it first (i.e. pour milk into a separate bowl and carefully add spoonsful of hot soup until milk is warm enough to be added to the pot without curdling). Carefully heat soup to eating temperature without letting it boil.

From Dorothy Huffman.
This was originally a clam chowder recipe, made with canned clams instead of corn.

Index to all blog posts.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.


native to: Central America
in season here: late July – September
Corn, or maize, comes in many different colors and two basic types, sweet corn and field corn (the source of corn chips, corn meal, and cornstarch, as well as animal food and ethanol). In the U.S. “corn” usually means sweet corn, that you eat off the cob with butter, salt, and other possible seasonings. In Europe, “corn” means grain in general, and sweet corn is uncommon; “maize” is more likely to mean field corn. Aren’t cultural differences fun? Corn is technically a fruit, although it tends to get lumped in with the grains, being the fruit of a grass.

So, each color of corn has its own blend of phytonutrients. Yellow corn is high in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. Corn is a good source of fiber, and it’s a kind of fiber that nourishes both the probiotics in your gut and the intestinal cells themselves. It’s also a good source of manganese, B vitamins, phosphorus, and protein. Corn is fairly high in sugar, but has a low to medium glycemic index. By regulating the speed of digestion in general, corn can help even out blood sugar spikes and drops. There have even been studies that suggest that the lectins in corn can inhibit HIV. Popcorn has fewer vitamins than sweet corn but is higher in minerals, and is one of the most popular whole-grain foods in the U.S.

Corn was first domesticated in Mesoamerica over 8000 years ago, where it was considered sacred. In the modern world, corn is less highly regarded, being the source of high-fructose corn syrup. It contains phytic acid, which can impair the absorption of minerals; this is not serious enough to be a problem in a varied and well-balanced diet but can be a concern in a more limited grain-and-legume diet.

Corn is susceptible to microbial contamination when exposed to heat, so look for corn that has been kept in the shade. While modern varieties of corn are slower to convert their sugars to starch, freshness is still an important consideration. While many people partially shuck corn and examine the kernels when selecting it, this can damage the corn; with a little practice, you can feel how full the ear is instead. Corn isn’t as bad as some vegetables when it comes to pesticide residues, but it’s still a concern; buying organic corn is also the best way to be sure of avoiding genetically modified varieties.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for yellow corn
label-style nutrition information for white corn
Authority Nutrition
Eating Well

Index to all blog posts.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Fresh Corn Frittata with Smoked Mozzarella

1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
butter or oil for cooking
1/4 cup (1 oz.) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, divided
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
5 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Saute corn in an ovenproof skillet coated with butter or oil about 5 minutes. Remove to bowl and whisk with 2 Tbsp. cheese and the remaining ingredients. Return to oiled skillet and cook, covered, over medium heat about 5 minutes or until almost set. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. cheese and broil 5 minutes or until set and browned.

Adapted from Cooking Light, Aug. 2004.

Index to all blog posts.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.