As high as an elephant's eye

For readers under 50, this blog title is a reference to a song from Oklahoma with a line "the corn is as high as an elephant's eye" It's July and the farm stands have corn. Almost as much cause for celebration as Independence Day. Corn is always best eaten on the day it is picked which is why I only buy it in-season and at farm stands, preferable ones that have coolers or can keep in the shade. As soon as corn is picked the sugar in the kernels begin to turn to starch, thereby losing sweetness. As soon as I get it home I put it in the refrigerator to keep it as sweet as possible.

When it comes to cooking corn, there seem to be a variety of ways, from hi-tech microwave to low-tech grilling. One microwave way to cook it is to leave the ears intact but to cut off the stem end up to about the first or second circle of kernels. After microwaving one can grab the ear and squeeze it out the bottom. Very nice not to have to shuck and deal with the silk, but not many ears fit in my microwave and I am never sure how long to cook it. I am more than satisfied with plain boiled corn. Corn needs very little cooking, just enough to heat it through. Too much cooking and those sugars turn to starch and the sweetness is lost. My tried and true method is to shuck the corn and drop it into a pot of salted boiling water. I let it cook, uncovered, for just 2 minutes. As a child I always slathered it with better and salt but now I seem to prefer it unadorned. By the end of summer when the kernels are bigger I might leave them in the boiling water for 3 minutes.

Sometimes I actually have a some leftover corn. The following day I will use a handy gadget I have for removing kernels and make a corn salad. Mix the corn with chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber, diced pepper and any other veggie you would like to add. I like to dress it with oil and lime juice, salt and pepper, some smoked paprika or chipotle chili powder, and cilantro for a southwestern feel.

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