Why is it just when gardens and farmers markets are getting at their best the summer is almost over? At least that’s true for Colorado.
But there are still a few weeks to enjoy Olathe corn — and this year I think it has tasted even better. Today I offer you a tip about a handy gadget that makes cutting corn off the cob a breeze, and a couple of recipes to use those kernels in.
The gadget: a Kuhn Rikon Corn Zipper.
I first saw this equipment used at a cooking class at Garden of the Gods Club, where Nicholas Arnold, executive chef, was raving about how much easier it is to cut the kernels off the cob using it. Usually you use a chef knife to cut the kernels and they notoriously (and annoyingly) fly every which way. Using the corn zipper the rows of kernels come off like a long yellow ribbon. And, they fall right into the bowl instead of all over the floor and cabinet top. It’s a dandy gadget that you won’t want to be without once you give it a try. I found mine at Chefs retail store, 5070 Centennial Blvd., for $11.95.
Since I now can easily cut kernels of corn off the cob, I went hunting for some recipes using fresh corn. The first one I tried, Baked Corn in Sour Cream, came from The Junior League of Denver’s “Crème de Colorado” cookbook. Of course, I had to add a spicy twist. I added three chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
Here’s a tip for what to do with the remaining chipotle peppers: Process them and drop them by teaspoonfuls onto a wax paper-covered shallow baking sheet. Freeze the pepper globs, and then peel them from the wax paper and store in a freezer bag in the freezer. The next time you want to spice up a dish, toss in a couple of the frozen pepper balls.
The second recipe I tried, Olathe Corn and Yellow Squash Soup, came from chef John Broening, who contributes weekly recipes from his restaurant Olivéa in Denver for the Denver Post. Many of you will remember Broening as one of Colorado Springs’ star chefs when he ran the kitchen for the defunct Primitivo. He offers a recipe for Curry Powder, but also suggests that it can be purchased at Savory Spice Shop, 110 N. Tejon St.
Now here are those recipes to get you started using up the last of this year’s corn supply while having fun with a new corn zipper.
BAKED CORN IN SOUR CREAM
Yield: 6-8 servings
2 tablespoons each butter
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
6 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob
6 slices crisply cooked bacon, drained and crumbled, divided
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in onion and sauté until transparent. Blend in flour and salt. Gradually stir in sour cream until mixture is smooth. Add corn and peppers, heating thoroughly. Stir in half the crumbled bacon.
3. Pour into greased 2-quart casserole and top with remaining bacon. Bake 30-45 minutes.
“Crème de Colorado cookbook,” by the Junior League of Denver
OLATHE CORN AND YELLOW SQUASH SOUP
Yield: 3 quarts
4 tablespoons each cumin seeds and coriander seeds
1 tablespoon each mustard seeds and turmeric
1 teaspoon each cinnamon and cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon minced gingerroot
8 ears Olathe corn, shucked, corn cut off cob, 4 cobs halved, reserved
8 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1. For curry powder, in skillet over medium heat, toast cumin, coriander and mustard seeds until fragrant. Transfer to spice grinder and blend until smooth. Mix into other spices and place in covered container until ready to use.
2. For the soup, in heavy-bottomed 6-quart pot set over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onion and a pinch of salt; stir well to coat with butter. Sweat 10 minutes.
3. Add gingerroot and sweat 1 minute. Toss in corn and squash and a pinch of salt. Sweat about 10 minutes. Add white wine and simmer 5 minutes. Add corn cobs, bay leaf, chicken broth and water. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes.
4. Cool soup slightly. Remove cobs and bay leaf, then blend soup in batches, adding some of the curry powder and sour cream with each batch. Blend until very smooth. Serve hot or cold.
John Broening, executive chef of Olivea and Duo in Denver, and contributor to the Denver Post