Learning Life | Last call for summer produce recipes

I had a corny time in August.

This year I finally bought, boiled and froze my own sweet corn, instead of just taking some of my mom’s corn. I bought three dozen ears at the Bucyrus Farmers Market from Witter Produce – a great bargain at $2.50 for a dozen. I’m glad I couldn’t fit more than three dozen in my bag because I was the “lone shucker.”

By myself, I shucked all three dozen — 36 ears of corn. I had a lot of motivation to keep me shucking; I love DIY projects and my husband missed out on summer sweet corn, so I wanted to make sure we had some in the freezer.

One of our favorite corn dishes is something we call “corn bake.” It’s something that most people have probably made or eaten. The dish consists of one can of creamed corn, one can of kernel corn (or summer corn from the freezer), one egg, small container of sour cream and a box of Jiffy corn meal. We mix it all together and put it in a casserole dish. The size of the dish determines thickness – sometimes we make it thick and sometimes thin. Typically at a medium thickness, it takes about 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven, or until cooked through with edges beginning to turn a light brown or golden.

Another summer favorite of mine is fried green tomatoes. After eating fried green tomatoes about every other week this summer, I think I finally perfected my recipe. I used Chi-Chi’s sweet corn cake mix, which is a fine corn meal that my mom gave me. When that packet was empty, my Jiffy mix worked just fine. I mixed Wildman’s Chef’s Seasoning — a mix of spices including paprika, onion and garlic — with the cornmeal. I tried to cut thin slices of the green tomato, but they didn’t always turn out to be even in thickness. The slices were covered in all-purpose flour, dipped in egg, then dredged in the corn meal and seasoning mixture. I used a medium-sized pan and canola oil. Since my slices were not even in thickness, my frying times varied. I just kept a close eye on the golden brown/light brown color of the batter. Nothing beats a home-cooked dinner with fried green tomatoes and corn on the cob accompanying the main meat dish.

I have many dishes on my recipe bucket list to try for this fall. Fall brings so many wonderful flavors and smells. I’ve made a pumpkin roll in the past, but I’d like to perfect it and maybe try other recipes. I’ve never used fresh pumpkin in cooking, so that is on my list. I’d like to venture into the world of butternut squash – roasted and in soup form.

With fall comes the holiday season, starting with Halloween. This year I may finally live in an area where I will have trick-or-treaters! When I was in college, I thought I lived in an area where I would get trick-or-treaters. I bought packs of juice boxes and decorated them with construction paper to look like Frankenstein, ghosts and pumpkins — and then, no kids came. I drank all of the juice boxes. This year, I'm near a bus stop and at least five kids live on my street. At least I always get good candy and treats that I also like!

Courtney (Keenan) Moody is the community content specialist at the Mansfield News Journal. She is a 27-year-old newlywed who is “learning life.” Courtney writes about learning something new and life skills. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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