By Lori Rodgers –
Southern Springtime Supper
When I contemplated favorite springtime meals, I remembered being about 12 years old watching my mom stand at the stove, scraping corn on the cob into a pan that was simmering with the fragrant milky goodness of freshly picked corn. That’s what I love about food…it brings us together. Today, my mom is a young 86 and I cook for her. The roles have reversed, and the circle of life continues to spin. Below is her recipe for one of the simplest, yet tastiest comfort foods I have yet to encounter. She hasn’t found her recipe box due to our recent move and that didn’t matter. She knew it by heart. Along with the corn she would fry up some pork chops and cook freshly snapped pole beans seasoned with salt pork. (Yep, I grew up in the south, so did mom.) I have “lightened up” those two items but have not changed the creamed corn one iota. It’s worth every forkful!
Peggy Jean’s Creamed Corn
10 ears of freshly picked corn
½ stick of butter
Salt and pepper
- Husk and rinse the corn, being sure to remove all the corn silks. I like to use a vegetable brush. Be gentle! You don’t want to puncture the delicate kernels. Pat dry.
- Place a large saucepan on the stove and turn the heat on low. Using a sharp knife, scrape off just the outer skin of the corn as you hold it over the pan. Repeat the process taking off a thicker layer of kernels each time. Work in circles and after three or four rotations all of the corn should be removed from the cob. Repeat with each ear of corn. This process will release a milky white liquid along with the kernels which will begin to simmer as you continue to scrape.
- Once all of the corn kernels are in the pan, add 2-3 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper to taste (my favorite step!), and continue to cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Do not over cook.
Rosemary Mushroom Pork Chops
I discovered Spice Island’s Rosemary Garlic grinder bottle years ago and it is my “go to” seasoning, perfect with so many dishes including these chops. I select loin chops with lots of pink flesh, bone in, sliced not too thin and not too thick. As I mentioned earlier, I prepare them a bit differently than my mom did when I was growing up. She floured the chops and fried them in about 4 inches of oil. Tasty but not too healthy. I have to say, I think my version tastes better! And it is certainly friendlier to your waistline.
4 pork loin chops, bone-in
1 pound slice portobello mushrooms
*Rosemary Garlic seasoning
- Heat equal amounts of butter and olive oil, about one tablespoon of each, in a large saucepan.
- Season one side of the chops with the freshly ground rosemary garlic seasoning and add to pan when the butter and oil mixture begins to bubble. Brown on one side, season the other side and flip.
- As the second side begins to brown, add the sliced mushrooms. Add a bit more butter and olive oil if needed and grind some additional rosemary garlic seasoning on top.
- Continue to cook on medium heat and allow mushrooms to brown while being careful not to overlook the chops. Depending upon their thickness, 10-15 minutes should be just right.
*Note: If you don’t have the Rosemary Garlic spice grinder, you can make your own combo using fresh or dried rosemary, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
Green Beans Almandine
Always one of my favorite vegetables, green beans are a natural fit with garlic and slivered almonds. Served with the creamy yellow corn and browned chops and mushrooms, your table will be the epitome of spring!
1 pound fresh green beans
½ cup slivered almonds
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
- Rinse beans and snap off the ends. Boil for 5 minutes and drain immediately. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic begins to brown.
- Add the green beans and almonds, stir occasionally and cook for 4-5 more minutes until almonds just begin to brown and the beans are heated through. Serve immediately.
Tri-color Asparagus Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
Spring has sprung and asparagus is a definitive spring veggie. There are three primary colors of this healthy treat. I recently found beautiful pearly white asparagus in a local produce market. I plan to cruise the weekend Farmers Market for purple spears. Asparagus has a relatively short shelf life. I always give it a sniff before purchasing. If there is any odor of over-ripeness, keep looking.
2 pounds of a mixture of green, white and purple asparagus (spears should be of similar size for uniform cooking)
1 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
½ cup high quality olive oil
½ cup Crème Fraiche
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup toasted, crushed pistachios
- Blanch the asparagus spears by immersing in boiling water for 40 seconds. Drain immediately and place in a bowl filled with ice water.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by processing the raspberries in a food processor or high speed blender. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds and return to processor. Add the vinegar and orange juice and blend. Keeping the motor running, add the oil in a fine stream. Process until smooth. Add the crème franchise and process one more minute. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain, pat dry and arrange the asparagus spears on salad plates, alternating green, white and purple spears. Drizzle with the raspberry vinaigrette and top with crushed pistachios.