24.8.06

The Simple Joys of Summer


For us, Summer consists of mostly simple meals. Fresh produce, prepared to bring out its true flavors, with only minimal cooking involved. Fresh herbs and spices abound, and meat, most oftentimes grilled, takes on more of a supporting role than being the center of the dishes on our plates.

Chicken palliards, or chicken breasts that have been pounded to a mere 1/4"- 1/2" thick (a great stress reliever!) and flavored with a sprinkling of a myriad of spices and a bit of extra virgin olive oil, has become a favorite of mine. Best about them is that they can act as a perfect canvas for whatever cuisine you're craving. So in a reversal of my usual way of thinking, I've been deciding on my side dishes first - whatever vegetables looked most beautiful and full of flavor, or that needed to be used up, lest their delicious natural sugars begin turning into starch or they not be caught at the peak of their flavor.

This particular evening, I wanted to use up sweet, succulent summer corn. There's a vendor at the Farmer's Market who brings huge piles of corn in on the back of his truck every week when it's in season. It usually disappears by noon, so if I can get there early enough, I always stop there first. We decided on a Mexican theme for dinner to go with the corn, pounded and grilled our chicken (I left the chicken and the spice mix up to LB this time, so I don't know what he put in it), and I took that delicious corn, placed it on a baking sheet and roasted it, husks and all, for half an hour in the oven at 350 F.

Now, I love corn on the cob. But for some reason, I love corn even more when it doesn't get stuck in my teeth and require me have to floss them; so I always cook it on the cob, and then cut it off - it just tastes better that way! Once the corn was cool enough to handle, I husked it (corn cooked this way is easily de-husked because the silk and husks dry out), cut the sweet kernals off, added just a touch of butter, about 1/2 tsp of chili powder, salt and pepper, the juice from half a lime, and about a 1/2 tsp. of zest as well...so I guess you could call it Chili-Lime Corn. I had seen various renditions of it from various places...this was just mine. It was excellent, and the corn flavor still shone brightly through and went perfectly with the chicken, and the fresh heirloom tomatoes draped over it (drizzled with just a touch of olive oil). You could even add a bit of chopped cilantro to the mix, although I only garnished with it. Ahhh...the simple joys of summer food!

12 comments from you:

Anna said...

I made something very similar to this corn side dish last night! The zest is a neat addition - I will have to try it next time. I added chopped cilantro and thought it went very well with the corn. Good to have you back :)

UnGourmetGal said...

What a beautiful plate you made, the colors are so vibrant! While I love corn on the cob with nothing but a pinch of salt and pepper, you're chili-lime version is calling my name. Extra lime for me.

cookiecrumb said...

May I be the first to moan?
mmmmm

michelle said...

Anna, great minds think alike! (and perhaps graduate students do as well!). It's good to be back too...I've missed this part of my life.

Ungourmetgal, why thank you! I like it that way too - we've been having corn so often lately (I'm a sucker for corn) that it's nice to throw in something different sometimes!

Cookie, awwwww....

Nerissa said...

You made my mouth water looking at the pic. I'm sure it's SOOOO good. I love corn on the cob but only got ONE feed this summer!!!! That sucks. But it was so good that maybe it's better to not have a less sweet, juicy cob to ruin the memory.
You asked before when the school year started for me. The day after labour day, babe. It's coming up ALL TOO SOON! *sigh* I love my kidlets but beginning of the year is always a b**** with all its refiling and retyping, etc etc...

vlb5757 said...

I hope that you know that my farmer's market made $$ off of us this past weekend. After reading this about corn, I had to had some. Since the squirrels ate all of ours, I had to find some some where else. It sure is good no matter it!

Cyndi said...

I used to eat THREE ears in one sitting when I was growing up - my parents couldn't believe it. I grill my corn out of the husks now, since I like some the kernels browned, but cutting it off before I eat it is something I hadn't thought of. I agree - it would make eating it so much easier! I sure wish there was a farmer's market nearby.

michelle said...

Hi ladies! I'm in Colorado visiting with my family. I'll be back on Sunday!

Nerissa, I like the way you think, although I wish I could send you some of my corn! Best of luck on Tuesday, dear, with all your preparing and then kidlets themselves!

Vickie, I hope you liked it then! This is what I was making when we were chatting away on the phone! Always good to support the farmers :)

Cyndi, Thanks for stopping by! You could do this with the corn on the cob too - grill it like you do, then add the goodies into the butter (I would guess that would be easiest) and slather it on!

Tanna said...

I tend to think meat should be considered a side dish and the veggies should be the main all the time. Love this plate you've done!!! Great corn ideas!

Natalia said...

Looks like the perfect summer meal Michelle. Especially that corn, yum!

I'm glad to see you posting again because I wanted to tag you for the 5 Things to Eat Before You Die meme. What would go on your list?

Natalia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
michelle said...

Tanna, me too! Thanks for the compliments.

Natalia, Thanks! It's good to be posting again too, albeit a bit of a transition! I'll get to that meme soon. Thanks for the tag!