Eating Greeneville

Farming, bartering and foraging for meals in East Tennessee.

Sweet Corn Polenta with Queso Fresco

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Put an egg on it.  Chunky sweet corn in creamy polenta.

Put an egg on it. Chunky sweet corn in creamy polenta.

We are rich in sweet corn this week on the farm.  Our earliest variety planted, Ashworth, is ready to be picked and steamed, boiled, sauteed and more!  Ashworth is an open-pollinated non GMO yellow sweet corn developed in by Fred Ashworth and marketed by Johnny’s Seeds in 1978.  Unlike hybrid sweet corn this variety is less sweet with good corn flavor.  Although I will spend the weekend, shucking and freezing corn for the winter for now I am putting fresh corn in every single thing I eat. 

CSA Basket Week 8.  Lettuce, sweet corn, beans (yellow wax, green and romano), summer squash, cucumbers (slicers and pickling), onions, carrots, tomatoes (cherry and garden peach).

CSA Basket Week 8. Lettuce, sweet corn, beans (yellow wax, green and romano), summer squash, cucumbers (slicers and pickling), onions, carrots, tomatoes (cherry and garden peach).

I really look forward to Thursdays on the farm.  It is when we decide what is going to go in our weekly CSA baskets and then harvest and assemble them.  Early on in the season you struggle to add variety, especially in that pesky lull between early cold crops and summer crops.  But by mid July it’s tough to not just throw the whole farm in there.  Beans (yellow wax, romanos, green beans), basil, tomatoes (big heirlooms and small cherries), squash, cucumbers, corn, onions, scallions, potatoes, beets, carrots, leeks and more!  My heart is full knowing we’ve provided a balanced variety of vegetables for our members and I every time I harvest I am celebrating the success of the farm this season. 

As I delve into a week of sweet corn inspired dishes, I start off with a creamy polenta.  I love adding fresh kernels of corn to corn muffins, cakes and grits/polenta. Ever threw corn and cornmeal in your waffle mix?  You should.  Ever make sweet corn ice cream.  You should.  This is a little Mex/Italian fushion right here. 

corn

Sweet Corn Polenta with Queso Fresco

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced small

1 sweet pepper, diced small ( I used a green gyspy pepper because it’s what I had in my garden)

2 ears of corn, kernels removed

1 tablespoon minced oregano

3 cups water

1 cup polenta

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup queso fresco

salt

paprika (to garnish)

cilantro, minced (optional)

egg (optional)

In a small to medium saucepan, add the olive oil, onion, pepper and corn.  Sauteed until they vegetables have softened.  Add 3 cups of water and the oregano.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Slowly stir in the polenta.  Turn the heat down to medium low.  Stir the polenta every few seconds to keep it from sticking to the pot and burning.  It will take about 10 minutes or so on the low heat to cook the polenta, maybe 15.  Taste at this point to see if it is cooked (it should be soft and not hard or crunchy at all).  When it’s cooked, throw in the butter and queso fresco and put a lid on it.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Uncover and stir butter and cheese in, salting to taste.  Serve with paprika and cilantro to garnish and if you are so inspired, put and egg on it.

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