As corny as North Carolina in July

This is the time of year when it likes to rain fast and furiously late every afternoon, followed by steam rising from the ground. Looks as if  we should be searching for a lost city of the Incas among the kudzu and blackberry tangles.

I remember spending two weeks in Aspen long ago and in a galaxy far, far away where similar storms blew up every afternoon. But summer nights in Aspen were cold and starry. Here’s they’re warm, hazy and echoing with happy katydids.

Our daily showers, though, meant the sweet corn pollinated, even in this month’s hellish temperatures. I am going to focus on that this morning, not on the fact that lightning apparently knocked out our air conditioning during yesterday’s storm.

We’ve enjoyed “family” corn this week — starting with Silver Queen on the cob at last Sunday’s 90th birthday lunch for my husband’s Aunt Vera, followed by sauteed cabbage and corn in balsamic vinegar and Deborah Madison’s corn souffle.

We’re having friends for supper on Saturday (let’s hope it’s below 90 in here by then!) and we’re going to grill our own Golden Queen (I think it has a bit more “tooth”) the way Eric F. remembers it from his mission trip to Mexico where the street vendors sold individual ears grilled with mayonnaise, cheese and chili pepper.

The version I found at looks as if it replicates what Eric describes with such gusto, and I’m going to use reduced-fat mayonnaise and/or a combination of that and low-fat sour cream. Possibly this will keep me from falling face-forward into my mother’s mac ‘n’ cheese made with Cabot’s Seriously Sharp Cheddar. I doubt it, though. The best part of her dish was always the bread crumbs tossed with butter-topping and now that we’ve got panko bread crumbs, there’ll probably be no stopping me.

Cheese on the cob

1/2 cup mayonnaise or mayo and sour cream combined

5 ears corn — shucked and silked

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Chili powder to taste

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare grill or heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a thin layer of mayonnaise on corn kernels. Sprinkle corn with cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper. Wrap each ear with foil and place on the grill or in the oven. Turn occasionally and cook for about 10 minutes on the grill or 20 in the oven. Serve warm.

I’m thinking about skipping the burgers altogether — after all, who needs meat when you can have a cheese coma?



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