Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tonight, I'm feeling Corn-y

Earlier in the week, I was generously given 5 husks of organic corn. Instead of making the usual corn on the cob, I wanted to make the most of the fresh sweet corn. With such a bounty of yellow kernels, I found a recipe for corn stuffed tomatoes and shrimp tacos with corn salsa (from a July 2010 issue of Light & Delish).

I, of course, loving to make changes where (I think) I can to make a dish healthier, took my own liberties with these recipes. According to the audience I was serving (Ali and Steve), the changes were a success!

The following recipes are the exact version that I made:

Corn Stuffed Tomatoes

2 1/2 C fresh corn kernels (raw)
1 C cooked brown rice
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
6 medium vine tomatoes

Total Time: about 60 minutes (including rice cooking time)
Start by cooking brown rice. In a medium pot, combine 2 1/3 C water with 1 C brown rice. Bring to boil. Turn heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Fluff with fork.
After rice has finished cooking, combine all ingredients in a large bowl (with the exception of the tomatoes).
Slice off and gut inside of the tomatoes and fill with corn mixture.

By not cooking the sweet corn and just placing the kernels into the mixture, there was a perfect crunch (along with the peppers and onion) to the soft texture of the rice. The lemon juice brought out the sweetness in the vegetables and added the perfect tang. The fresh cilantro and cumin brought out the natural flavors in the other ingredients but added flavors that made the dish complete. I loved this dish and it also got high remarks from Ali and Steve.

Shrimp Tacos with Corn Salsa

Corn Salsa
1 C fresh corn kernels
1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted petite diced tomatoes
1/3 C red onion, diced
1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh lime juice from 1 lime

Over high heat, cook corn kernels until corn is lightly charred, about 2 minutes (using fresh corn). Add tomatoes and onions and cook for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the juice of 1 lime and cilantro.

Shrimp Taco
8 corn tortillas
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
fresh lime juice from 1 lime

Total time: 30 minutes
Heat oil, garlic and cumin in skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp is cooked through ( (should look pink), about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Toss with lime juice.
Warm tortillas by placing them on a warm skillet and flipping once or twice over medium heat until tortillas are warm, about 15 seconds.

A couple years ago, I made this dish for my family, but I think this time I fixed my mistakes. It is much easier (and cheaper) to use fresh shrimp instead of buying frozen shrimp. The first time I made this dish a couple years ago, I used frozen shrimp (which I forgot to devein before cooking). By using fresh shrimp, it was much easier to devein and peel.
If I were to make this dish again, I would have bought better tortillas. I bought 99cent tortillas, which seem to break apart easily and had a gritty texture.
The shrimp were delicious and went perfectly with the warm corn salsa.

The combination of corn stuffed tomatoes and shrimp tacos with corn salsa went perfectly together because they shared similar flavors, but were also different in their own respects. The fresh corn tastes way better than frozen in these dishes. The fresh corn gave the dishes a sweet taste that could have other wise been bland and boring. Overall, both dishes were given high remarks by my dining companions.

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