expanding & living

‎I have no hostility to nature, but a child’s love to it. I expand and live in the warm day like corn and melons.  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

In this blogger’s humble opinion, Ralph was right on target when he penned the above phrase. No food can foster a childlike love of nature, warm days, and shared meals like corn on the cob and a wedge of watermelon can. If you, like me, are lamenting the imminent end of summer, consider giving one (or both!) of the following recipes a try to help savor the final tastes of August: for a cleverly packaged, protein-rich entree try the Mexican stuffed peppers, a recipe adapted from the always wonderful Simply in Season cookbook. Or if you seek a zesty spin on a classic backyard treat, take a bite out of grilled corn with chili lime butter. Both dishes allow one to “expand and live” in an August evening in a way that would surely make Emerson proud.

mexican stuffed peppers

4 green bell peppers (or any color you wish)
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed & minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups corn
1 can cooked black beans
1 cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup parmesan cheese

First things first: cook the quinoa.

Cut the top off the peppers, de-stem, and discard seeds. Steam whole peppers in 1 inch boiling water until tender, about 6-7 minutes. Remove peppers from water and set aside.

Get all your veggies chopped and minced and ready to go. Also, if using fresh corn (which you totally should), shear kernels off the ears; you’ll need about three ears.

In a large frypan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes, jalapeno, parsley, oregano, cumin, and salt, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add corn and black beans. Simmer 10 minutes more.

Add your cooked quinoa. Place peppers in oven-proof dish so they stand upright. Stuff  peppers with vegetable, bean, and quinoa mixture.

Sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Garnish if you’re feeling jazzy. Serve proudly.

grilled corn with chili lime butter

6 ears of corn (still husked)
1 stick of butter, softened
Zest & juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or more, to taste)

Soak the ears of corn in water for 15 minutes (or more) before grilling.

Place ears on the grill for about 15 minutes. Every so often, rotate them using tongs so that all sides are cooked evenly. Your goal is to get the outermost husk nicely charred.

While the corn is grilling, prepare your butter. Add the lime zest, lime juice and chili powder to the butter.

Mash the mixture until evenly distributed. Depending on your taste for heat, you may want to add more. I’m a pansy for spiciness yet I still thought the butter could have used a tad more than 1/4 teaspoon (as my mother would say, feel free to use your nursing judgement).

When the corn comes off the grill, carefully (it’s HOT) pull back the husks and snap off the ends. Slather generously with butter. This process turned out to be messy, thrilling, and nearly burn-producing, so use caution.

Serve proudly.

the dinner

This Sprout Diaries dinner happily coincided with my friend and housemate You-Sun’s visit to Grand Rapids. The meal–enjoyed on the patio despite an uncomplaining You-Sun’s relentless allergies–signified a celebration, as meals often do. With glasses of white wine and rainbow plates, we (along with the parents) celebrated the upcoming commencement of our senior year, the close of a rich summer, and my final evening of worrying about the GRE (I’m happy to report I finally took the thing yesterday). The lime-y kick of the grilled corn met rave reviews and the stuffed pepper appropriately left us stuffed.

A word about the peppers: in order to enjoy the dish in full,  you’ll eventually have to cut into the charming, edible vessel and ruin the aesthetic. But don’t worry; that’s totally okay. It still looks quite pretty.

Happy corn consumption!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Looks wonderful – I love corn and ours will be ready to Pick in about a week. Can´t wait!

  2. rosemar says:

    Hi Claire. I made those stuffed peppers for dinner and they were divine! I kind of sighed at the fuss of steaming the peppers and stuffing them, but it was worth it; made a nice presentation and seemed more like a complete meal. I am enjoying this site so much, you are doing a nice job with pictures, commentery and education. also liked that grad school article from slate. Tho….just because he is articulate doesn’t mean he is right about everything. Hope that gave you some tough questions to ask of the programs in boston. traveling mercies to you. Rosemar

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