By Ken De Laat
I like zucchini as a food. I really do. Like it steamed, like it sauteed, like it in this tasty pasta dish LSC Lil is masterful at creating and even like the bread (particularly the chocolate version my soon to be daughter-in-law Abi makes).
But they can be too much of a good thing as any gardener who has underestimated their production prowess can attest. For many years I held the theory that if one left a window open in a parked car in early August for more than 7 minutes a grocery sack of zucchini would appear in the back seat.
Thus, when putting in this year's gardens we remained prudent in planting what is perhaps the most prolific member of the squash family.
Three plants. Far apart. And each was rather small having been started from seed and nurtured through the early spring weeks.
In mid July we were delighted when the first couple of nice sized beauties emerged.
The next day I spotted one well hidden and slyly camouflaged and it resembled a green whale. Two days later a group of emerald colored logs appeared out of nowhere. Since then they have been shooting out repeatedly in all sizes.
So zukes have been dominating the menu at N3 World Headquarters and Monarch Midwifery.
On Saturday Lil hollowed out a pair and created a stuffed log-like version with a splendid grouping of eclectic ingredients and we steamed some fresh from the garden green beans that survived the Rabbit Wars of Redwood Drive.
And it was Opening Day for sweet corn.
I had put off knocking down my first ear of the year. Being a huge aficionado I used to jump on it early if a batch arrived in a local venue from Indiana since their version is probably second to Michigan home grown.
Not a real close second, mind you, but second nonetheless.
But this year I wanted to wait. I wanted the first corn to be the right one.
And while my Michigan maize merchandisers are many I recalled scoring a sackful from Morrison Orchards around mid season last year and maintained fond memories of its role in the meal that followed.
So it was on to the Maple Island farm where I procured a dozen from the always affable John and Kathy Morrison while we chatted a bit about things that matter and I loaded up the cache of corn as well as a peck of peaches that arrived home short a couple since they looked really good and I was hungry.
But back to the corn.
For one who eschews the imitation variety that arrives all year from Florida or Cali scoring the first ears of the year brought more than a shade of excitement and while the hours waiting for dinner seemed to pass ploddingly the time finally arrived. While Lil was working her epicurean magic with the zukes et.al. I prepared a few ears and we retired to the deck to dine.
It was a bit on the young side which always has its own special flavor and when I sunk teeth into it the experience delivered that familiar yet new kind of vibe and hit my hypothalamus with authority.
It was sublime.
While recognizing that not all feel the same about the absolute royalty of bipeninsular agriculture, when it comes to the menu at N3WH&MM, corn will be making frequent appearances over the coming weeks
And leftovers (extra ears are prepared solely for this reason) will be serving as a straight from the fridge snack to be enjoyed at any time, a taste acquired from my late father who mentored me on the pleasures to be had from cold corn.
There are likely to be frequent forays to the Morrison farm in the coming weeks. But when this magical run of harvesting ends so will my indulgence.
Because while being frequently made aware of ways to freeze it and on occasion being advised by others that the Cali and Florida corn found off season is ‘not that bad’ …
My deep regard for sweet corn doesn’t allow for anything but the real deal.
“Sex is good but not as good as fresh sweet corn.”- Garrison Keillor
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