Posted by: ktzefr | July 1, 2011

Fresh corn, squash blossoms, blackberries…and a few memories

I got to the Friday farmer’s market early this morning and brought home a beach bag full of goodies.  I was looking at the spilling-over-the-top baskets of white corn when one of the farmer’s came over, stripped back a shuck, and offered me a taste.  Raw corn?  Now, I grew up in the country in Kentucky and we had fields of corn every summer.  I helped plant it and gather it and eat it, but it was always cooked as corn-on-the-cob or that wonderful creamed corn my mom made with bacon grease and milk and butter. 

I took a bite!  It was amazing.  I would never have imagined that corn could taste that good without being cooked.  I bought a dozen ears.

White Eastern Shore corn from Virginia

I’ll fry the bits of bacon, add the corn, plop in a chunk of butter, and then thicken it all with milk (heavy cream?) and cornstarch.  A pinch of sugar and salt?  Pepper? 

Ahhh….the market also had just-picked (at sunrise today, perhaps) squash blossoms.  The squash blossoms and plump yellow tomatoes reminded me of Mexico, of yellow salsa and the rich taste of crispy flowers right out of the pan.  I’ll slice these tomatoes with a little olive oil and balsamic…a few basil leaves from my herb garden.  The blossoms?  Easy.  Dust with Gold Medal Wondra flour, dip in an egg bath, then back into the flour with a little salt and pepper and slide gently into hot oil in the wok.  We have to be ready to eat these the minute they’re done.

Squash blossoms and yellow tomatoes

 

Dessert?  I have a choice between peaches and blackberries and I go with the berries.  The peaches need another day or two to be really ripe and the blackberries need to be eaten now.  With cream or ice cream?  A tart or a cobbler?  Something easy…

Bisquick comes in handy for quick and easy and yummy desserts that involve fruit.  I’ll make biscuits, heat a few of the berries with sugar just long enough to make a thick, lumpy syrup, and then layer half a biscuit, a chunk of butter (not margarine, for goodness sakes), the hot berry syrup plus a handful of fresh berries, the biscuit top — and melted butter?  ice cream?  whipping cream?  Doesn’t matter.

Ripe blackberries

 

When I was growing up we used to go into the hills every summer to pick blackberries.  Early morning was best before it got too hot because we had to wear long sleeves, long pants (with rubber bands around the ankles to keep out the chiggers), and hats.  We ate berries in the patch, but had to make sure they didn’t have spiders or other creepy-crawly things on them.  We had to always be on the lookout for snakes.  The most dreaded was a copperhead.  I don’t recall ever seeing one but heard lots of stories about them.   Back at home we practically bathed in alcohol, but still found a few chigger bites the next day.  Still, it was worth it!  My mom made blackberry cobbler and dumplings and jam.  She canned berries in quart jars and we had blackberries all winter.   For me these plump, juicy berries from the Virginia farmer’s market are full of Kentucky memories. 

Better exercise, get in another mile or two of walking, before I turn on the stove…

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