Friday, June 15, 2007

Some "Exotic" Flavors

This past week we tried a few new things, and ended up with some flavors I hadn't really used a lot of in the past. The first is pan-roasted corn, but with some cumin added to give it a New Mexican taste.

Santa Fe Roasted Corn

4 ears fresh corn
½ cup chopped red bell pepper (other colors will do-I used yellow this time because it was all I had)
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels of corn off the cobs and into a large bowl. Heat a nonstick skillet until fairly hot. Pour in the corn kernels all at once,. They will start to brown in the hot dry skillet, thus roasting the corn. Stir occasionally to roast the corn evenly. When about half the kernels have taken on color, add the bell pepper and green onion. Cook for another 4 minutes and add the cilantro and cumin. Continue to stir and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

I decided that this is a fantastic way to eat roasted corn - no standing over the grill outside, and it's already cut off the cob so it's easier to eat. The flavor is almost as good as if it were done on the grill. The next time I cook corn this way I'll try it without the cumin, and add some butter, and I bet it'll be wonderful!

To go with the corn, we cooked some fish on the grill - and tried a wet rub that was in the last Cooking Light magazine. While this was very tasty, I don't believe it was better than my Korean Barbecued Fish, which has similar flavors. I wish the flavors were more intense, I guess.

Korean Barbecue Wet Rub

¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 cloves garlic , minced
Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Rub on fish, steaks, pork, or dark chicken just before grilling.

On another night, I tried a chicken recipe with some pork chops. I've started to do that lately, as I realized that a lot of the sauces and coatings I use with chicken can do just as nicely with boneless pork. The main difference is that the pork doesn't come out as tender - boneless pork seldom does unless you try brining or slow cooking. So we just accept that it'll be a little chewier than chicken.

This recipe would qualify for a 30-minute meal - and it's very simple. The flavor is divine, and makes enough sauce to serve over rice or couscous.

Pork Chops with Apple Cream Sauce

4 boneless pork chops, 1/2 to 3/4" thick
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried parsley

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the pork in oil for 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Combine the apple juice, lemon juice, rosemary, salt and pepper; pour over chops. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Combine cornstarch and cream until smooth; stir into cooking liquid in skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add parsley. Serve with rice or couscous.

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