Why I love summer

July 2, 2013

Kate's plate. I drank white wine with mine. Heretical, I know. Sue me.

Kate’s plate. I drank white wine with mine. Heretical, I know. Sue me.

See plate above.

The steak, now, is no slouch. It’s Mountain Pastures prime tenderloin, tenderly conveyed from Hot Springs to Paragould and gently stashed in my friend Kate’s freezer. It’s tender and flavorful and marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a couple of hours before being grilled to medium rare perfection, if I did do it all by myownself.

However, it plays second fiddle to the stars of the show — summer veggies.

I availed myself of the ASU regional farmers’ market in Jonesboro this afternoon. While the entertainment aspect is absent, or was this afternoon, the produce selection is as good as the market in Hot Springs. I scored peaches, blackberries, corn, yellow squash, zucchini, onions, cucumbers, and probably some other stuff I’m not remembering. Oh, and heirloom tomatoes — Cherokee purples, and Sunburst, I think she said the other variety was. And basil; two bucks got me a big handful.

So tonight, we had steak,  creamed corn, warmed-up green beans and potatoes from the other night (the beans came from Kate’s friend Laura’s garden), and capreses. It lacked only fried okra to be perfect, but I didn’t see any okra at the market. Of course, had I had okra, the steak would have been entirely superfluous, instead of merely halfway superfluous, witness the fact I ate only half of it.

BTW, this gig works right well. I cook. Kate cleans up. I personally think I have the better end of the deal.

This corn, y’all. If there is anything better than early summer fresh corn, I don’t think I want to know what it is. I don’t think I could stand it.

I bought a dozen ears for four bucks, and it was a fine buy. They’re small ears, and they could have been filled out just a tad more, but then they wouldn’t have had the almost impossible sweetness of young corn. Such corn should be treated gently, with a minimum of prep. I cut the kernels off, not very close to the cob, and then scraped the cobs to get the “milk.” I planned on four ears, and added two more, because, well, they were small.

I melted a third of a stick of butter and put the corn kernels in the skillet. Let them saute for a few minutes, added a bare minimum of salt and pepper, and a third of a cup of cream.

Just call me Paula. And don’t ask me if I ever used the N-word. I’m 58 years old and I grew up in the South, OK? Life was what it was. I grew out of it, thankfully.

Anyway, the corn. It cries for the accompaniment of fried okra and sliced tomatoes. Since they didn’t have any okra, though I did get some at the last Hot Springs market I attended before I left., I made do with Cherokee purple tomatoes topped with mozzarella, and it was fine. But the corn itself — well, it’s the essence of summer, that’s all. It’s sweet and creamy and it would probably be just about as good if I had made it with a minimum of butter and water instead of the cream, because, well, the corn is enough in and of itself. I can’t help it. I love corn, a genetic trait that has passed down to my children, who can eat their weight in it. Child B, on one notable occasion, ate three sizeable helpings of corn and complained because the skillet was empty, asking her step-grandmother, “Why didn’t you cook more?, and step-grandmother saying, “because that was the biggest skillet I have, and it was full.”

Which is the only reason for not cooking more corn. I mean, I cooked six ears, and we ate it every bit. Scraped the skillet. Now, yes, they were small ears. But still….I can’t help but feel like it’s fattening a pig on corn.

Well…just call me a pig. I do love me some fresh corn.

Anyway. I have found a farmers’ market. I can make it through the next month, until I find out where I’m going to be, in which case, I’ll find a farmers’ market there, too.  Because I have to have me some fresh veggies. I’m sure you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em agree.





3 Responses to “Why I love summer”

  1. Whitney Reynolds Says:

    There’s no Farmers Market close to me (as I don’t drive). But I’ve NEVER cooked with fresh herbs (basil, etc). I wouldn’t know where to begin, but MAN would I LOVE TO TRY!

  2. kayatthekeyboard Says:

    Get Jay to take you to the Memphis downtown farmers’ market one Saturday. Get you some plants of basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, maybe dill and mint. Use rosemary whenever you cook anything with beef. Oregano and thyme go in any tomato sauce/Italian prep. Basil on any salad, especially if it has tomatoes.

  3. Jason Stark Says:

    The “Delta Market at Worthington Park” is in it’s third or fourth year. It is struggling and needs as much support as possible before it turns into a crafts flea market. Started by the Main Street WM program with cooperation from the WM Chamber of Commerce the operations are now fully under the WMCOC. Finding consistent vendors has been the biggest drawback. Lack of vendors creates an emptiness that puts off the consumer which in turn disappoints the vendors…. and on and on with the vicious circle.

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