Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Better than Ethanol

Have you had sweet summer corn yet? It's July already you know, and the old farmers in their almanacs tell us to expect corn "knee high by the fourth of July." I expect corn to be at roadside stands, in tail-gate-down pick-up trucks when you pull into parking lots, and freshly husked still on the cob in a pot of boiling water on the stove.

The corn in the garden is tasseling, as you can see, not grandly like a field acres thick but sparsely singular against the dark shapes of the Leland Cypress, and in scraggly rows like a back yard with frequent groundhog visitors. Give it time, we may get a few ears yet.
Speaking of corn… For the fourth of July I plan to make a red “Cheating Chillie” and some Blue Corn Bread. Would you like to make some too?

Blue Corn Bread
2 cups blue cornmeal (try your local organic foods store)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar (or ¼ cup honey)
2 Tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup (8 Tablespoons) hormone free butter
2 cups organic skim milk
2 beaten free-range extra large brown eggs

Combine the “wet” ingredients then add the “dry” stirring together. Lumpy is okay. Actually lumpy is better than perfectly blended because over-stirring will make the bread rubbery. Pour into a greased pan – I use a lasagna pan – and bake in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.

While that’s baking get your biggest pot, the one that’s as tall as a spaghetti noodle. Mine’s a silver shade of stainless-steel or aluminum, my mom has one exactly like it, the given name for these is “the big silver pot.” In your big sliver pot dump two cans of kidney beans (or one of the bulk size cans) one of those giantly huge jars of salsa (I think it’s ChiChi’s brand?) and two cans of Tutterossa tomato puree. Plus some ground chili powder to taste. Isn’t that easy? If you’ve remembered to turn the burner on to medium-high under your pot, by the time the cornbread is out of the oven your chillie will be burbling away and ready enough to serve. It’s actually better the second day but don’t worry, there’ll be plenty to find that out for yourself. I usually have leftovers for a week, and you know, I don’t mind that at all.

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