Friday, July 24, 2009

Now & Later Receipes--Grilled Corn Has a Second Act as Salad

Besides outdoor grilling, days at the beach, fried chicken, ripe tomatoes, and ice cold watermelon, corn on the cob is one of the great markers of summer.

When I was growing up, my mom loved to search out road side stands that sold fresh corn. She'd buy a grocery bag full and we'd feast on boiled corn with slabs of melting butter, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper.

I still enjoy corn that way, but now more often than not our corn on the cob comes to the table grilled not boiled.

Shucked and drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and pepper, then turned on a grill until lightly browned, the naturally sweet kernels are sweetened even more by caramelization. Yumm.

For a snack, nothing is better than an ear of corn pulled from the refrigerator. But there's more that can be done with those grilled ears of corn. Cutting the kernels off, they can go into a chopped salad and move from side dish to entree.

And on hot days, that's another marker of summer--putting meals on the table with as little effort as possible.

Now: Farmers' Market Fresh Grilled Corn on the Cob
Later: Grilled Corn and Chopped Vegetable Salad

NOW: Grilled Corn on the Cob

The most important part of this recipe is the corn itself. The fresher the corn, the better the taste. When you're picking out corn, select ears that have green husks and golden silks.

Yield 4 servings plus left-overs (which you will need for the LATER recipe)

Time 15 minutes


8 ears of corn, shucked, silks removed, washed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and pepper


Preheat the grill.

Break the ears in half or cut into 3" lengths. The ears you're saving to make the salad can be left whole. Pour the olive oil onto a large plate. Season with sea salt and pepper. Roll each piece of corn in the oil.

Using tongs, grill the corn on all sides until lightly browned. Remove from the grill and serve hot.

LATER: Parsley-Corn Chopped Salad

The salad can be prepared ahead and refrigerated but is tastes better if served at room temperature.

Yield 4 servings

Time 15 minutes


3-4 ears of grilled corn
1 large bunch Italian parsley, washed, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, skin on
1 tablespoon yellow onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, washed, peeled, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and pepper


Put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and reduce by half over a low flame. Set aside to cool.

Using a sharp knife, cut off the kernels and put into a mixing bowl. Stick the garlic clove on a skewer or the point of a sharp knife. Char in a flame so the skin burns off. Brush off any bits of burnt skin and roughly chop the garlic.

Add the charred garlic, parsley, and onions to the mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Transfer to a serving dish.


Instead of using a raw carrot, grill a carrot cut into slabs 1/4" thick; dredged the slabs in seasoned olive oil and grill until lightly browned; let cool and chop into pieces the same size as the corn kernels; add to the salad

Grill asparagus dredged in seasoned olive oil, then chop into pieces and add to the salad

Quarter cherry tomatoes and add to the salad

Add 1 cup cooked couscous

Add 1 medium sized avocado, peeled, roughly chopped

Add 6 medium sized shrimp, washed, peeled, deveined, and grilled, roughly shopped

Crumble 3 pieces of crisp bacon on the salad and toss

Shred 1/2 cup turkey or chicken breast and add to the salad

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Now and Later Meals - Rosemary Fried Chicken and Chicken with Fresh Vegetables

Growing up, my mom liked to make fried chicken from scratch. Always an efficient cook, she would make more than we could eat, knowing that we enjoyed the left-overs.

At night we'd have fried chicken with mashed potatoes and peas with butter. The next day when we'd go to the beach, she would pack up last night's fried chicken, throw in some biscuits with a jar of honey, a bag of carrot sticks, and a big jug of iced lemonade.

After my sister and I would get tired of splashing around in the water, we'd dry off and sit on our blankets, contentedly munching away on our fried chicken. To this day, whenever I eat fried chicken, I flash back to those days on the beach.

Now: Rosemary Fried Chicken
Later: Chicken with Farm Fresh Vegetables

NOW: Rosemary Fried Chicken

Few eating experiences are as satisfying as biting into the salty-crunchy outside and reaching the sweet, moist meat underneath. To cut down on calories I remove the skin and use the lightest flour dusting I can.

Soaking the chicken in buttermilk overnight tenderizes the meat and helps adhere the seasoned flour.

Yield 4-6 servings with left-overs (which you will need for the LATER recipe)

Time 45 minutes cooking, marinate the chicken overnight in buttermilk


2 whole chickens, washed, cut apart, skin removed if desired, wing tips, bones, and skin reserved to make chicken stock
1 quart buttermilk
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 quarts safflower or canola oil


When you cut up the chicken, separate the two parts of the wing and cut the breast meat off the bone. Keep or discard the skin as you wish. The breasts can be left whole but will cook more evenly when cut into strips or tenders. The legs and thighs can be cut in half if you have a heavy chef's knife.

Toss the chicken pieces with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Put the pieces in a container, add the buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of the rosemary, stir, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Using a wok or deep frying pan, heat the cooking oil to 325 - 350 degrees or until a piece of parsley browns immediately when dropped in the oil. Before you begin cooking, prepare your counter. Have a slotted spoon or an Asian style strainer ready. Lay two paper towels on top of a piece of brown grocery bag paper on a large plate.

Reserve 1 teaspoon of the rosemary to use just before serving.
In a brown paper bag mix together the flour, sea salt, pepper, rosemary, cayenne (optional), sugar (optional), and onions (optional). Remove one piece of chicken at a time. Shake off the excess buttermilk, drop the piece into the paper bag with the seasoned flour, close the top of the bag, and shake. Repeat with all the pieces, assembling them on a plate or cutting board.

Cook the chicken in batches. Gently drop each piece into the hot oil, making sure it doesn't touch the other pieces so each one cooks evenly.

Turn over when browned on one side. Remove when golden brown and drain on the paper towels. The pieces will cook quickly: chicken tenders (breast) 2-3 minutes; wings 7-8 minutes; thighs & legs 10-12 minutes.

Just before serving, lightly dust the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of rosemary, sea salt and pepper.

If you are making deep fried vegetables like onion rings or broccoli florets, they cook even more quickly: thick rings cook in 30 seconds, thin rings in 5-6 seconds; broccoli in 30 seconds. Soak the vegetables in the seasoned buttermilk for a few minutes, then process like the chicken pieces.

LATER: Chicken with Fresh Vegetables

Since the chicken is already cooked, all you're really doing is cooking the vegetables and reheating the chicken. As the chicken cooks in the liquid, the breading will thicken the water, creating a deeply satisfying gravy.

Yield 4-6 servings

Time 30 minutes


All the left-over fried chicken pieces
2 carrots, washed, peeled, roughly chopped
10 brown or shiitake mushrooms, washed, thinly sliced and chopped
1 large broccoli, washed, crowns removed, stems roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, skins removed, finely chopped
4 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and pepper


Saute in the olive oil over medium-low heat the vegetables until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper. Add the fried chicken and water. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve in bowls with a portion of chicken, vegetables, and gravy in each. Cooked rice can be put on the bottom or steamed spinach.