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Friday, July 22, 2016

Savory Corn Pudding


One sign that we are well into summer is the appearance of pick up trucks full of fat ears of corn at familiar corners around town. Sweet corn season has arrived!

So we buy the first dozen, grilling them to perfection. Then we buy some more because that first dozen was so good. Now we might just microwave one or two for a quick lunch--husk, cover, and microwave for about 3 minutes for a single ear, maybe 5 or 6 minutes for two. A vegetable stir fry is nice, and some more grilled corn.

And then we realize that we bought more than we really are prepared to eat in the next day or two. Now what do we do with all that extra corn?

We can blanch the corn and freeze it. Out of all the great sites out there with the easy instructions on how to do this, here is one of my favorites:

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/tastiest-way-preserve-sweet-corn

You can also just cook some extra ears while the grill is hot or while the water is already boiling. Cut the corn off the ears while you are cleaning up and you'll have fresh corn ready for the rest of the week. 

Ready for something like this savory corn pudding. It may not be the traditional corn pudding your family serves every Thanksgiving, but it's a nice creamy summer dish that with the bonus of microwave preparation--no heating up the oven on a sweltering day. 

With the eggs, cheese, and milk, this is a good, vegetarian, main dish; served with a salad and fresh fruit, it's a complete meal. Of course, it also works as a hearty side dish to go along with fried chicken, cole slaw, and watermelon.

It's also great to take to a pot luck, though do remember that it is an egg-based dish. As such, be sure to watch how long it stands out of the oven or refrigerator. 



Savory Microwaved Corn Pudding

1 medium onion, chopped (I prefer red onions for color contrast)
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 T olive butter, bacon fat, or oil
1/4 c yellow corn meal (optional)
2 c fresh, blanched corn or 12 to 16 oz thawed frozen corn--don't drain
3 eggs
1/2 c milk
1 to 1 1/2 c grated mozzarella (or cheddar)
seasoning salt and black pepper to taste (start with about 1 t salt if using oil, 1/2 t salt if using bacon fat)

1.  Saute the onions and peppers in the oil or bacon fat, until the onions are just starting to turn golden. Stir in the corn and corn meal and remove from heat.




2.  In a well-oiled 1 1/2 quart casserole dish, beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper; add the grated cheese and mix until well blended.
3.  Fold the corn mixture into the eggs and cheese and stir until well blended.
4.  Cover lightly and bake in microwave at medium (power level 6 or 7) about 6 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir, making sure that the center (which is likely still quite liquid) and the edges (starting to firm up) are well mixed.




5.  Return to microwave and continue cooking, uncovered, at medium power for about 4 to 5 more minutes. To test, insert a knife in the center; if there is no batter adhering to the blade when you pull it out, it will be done.
6.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving. serve with salsa and/or hot sauce if desired.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 5 to 6 as a side.









Some added thoughts:

While I generally use olive oil or canola oil for sauteeing, this dish benefits from the added flavor of either butter or bacon.
I have fresh peppers in my garden right now, so that is what I used. However, you could substitute fresh peppers as hot as you'd like or you could substitute a 4 oz can of diced green chiles for the bell peppers.
The corn meal gives a bit more corn flavor and body. If you prefer a creamier pudding, this can be omitted.



A meteorological note:  Local news sources have been telling us that maybe there is a relationship between some current record breaking warm days and the high percentage of land here in our area given over to corn and soy beans. It's a phenomenon know as "corn sweating" and you can read more about the impact of humidity given off by a field of corn on dew points here:

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/07/22/feeling-sweaty-minnesota-blame-corn-crops

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