Sunday, September 8, 2013

Three Sisters Skillet

Fall is my favorite cooking season. Apples, pears, squash, chestnuts. Plus, well into the season, leftover summer harvests of corn and beans and tomatoes and greens.

Beans, corn, and squash are known in the Americas as the "three sisters." I've always liked the combination, and I love the name. I come from a family of three sisters. Whenever I make three-sisters anything, I think about my own sisters, how we are so unique and different and very much ourselves, and yet we go well together.

Don't ask me if Rebecca or Christina is the butternut squash, if I am the spicy corn, or who is a bean.

Point is, you should make this skillet, especially if, like me, you love the gorgeous colors of fall, the flavors of fall, the autumnal smells and sounds and scurrying squirrels.

Three Sisters Skillet.

Three Sisters Skillet

I had some leftover Spicy Corn, so that's what I used. If what you have is plain-old corn, I'd suggest adding some diced chiles, a bit of minced garlic, and some extra seasoning to this skillet. 

Make this in a deep, wide skillet with high sides. It's kind of like a skillet-stew. And feel free to add complementary flavors, such as diced apple, onion, red bell pepper. 

1 large butternut squash, peeled, chopped and roasted*
1 1/2 cups cooked red kidney beans (or one can, drained and rinsed)
2 cups Spicy Corn (or 2 cups of plain corn kernels, plus some diced chile and S&P)
salt & pepper to taste
Cooked white rice

*To roast the squash: coat the chopped squash with a good amount of olive oil, I'd say at least 1/4 cup, plus some salt and pepper. Roast on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in a 400-degree oven, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until tender and golden brown. 

Put everything except the rice into the skillet, and heat over medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, or until steaming and flavorful. Add small amounts of water if things start looking dried-out like autumn leaves. 

Serve over rice. That's all! 

Look, mom, the leaves are beginning to turn!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Spicy Corn

The best decision I made this year, food-wise, was to plant fresh chiles.

Refreshing chiles in ice water. 

I harvested so many last week that I have been giving them away. I harvested so many that I have been using them in and on everything I eat. I harvested so many that I had to refresh them in ice water this evening, before using a bunch in this spicy corn and then roasting the rest.

I warn you, people: you probably want to step off. I have been eating jalapeno-stuffed olives, stirring diced fresh chiles into hummus, sprinkling them on everything, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My mouth is constantly on fire, which is how I like it. 

You do not want to get near this. 

If you grow and harvest and eat fresh chiles, be prepared for dragon breath. If your lover picks on you for it, dump 'em. They don't love you.*

Diced fresh chiles.

Tonight, I decided to finely dice a bunch of mixed chiles--four or five jalapenos-and-whatever-the-other-long-skinny-chile-is--and make some spicy corn.

Corn cut fresh off the cob. 

I cut the kernels off of five ears, tossed them with the diced mixed chiles, added salt and pepper and a few good glugs of olive oil, and stuck it all under the broiler.

Fresh corn & chiles: a perfect couple. 

I broiled the corn-and-chile mixture for 10 or 15 minutes, stirring often. When I decided it was done, it was pocked with brown spots and smelled like heat. Spicy heat. My eyes stung. My lungs burned.

Step off. 

I then squeezed the juice of a fresh lime over everything, sprinkled it with sliced scallion, and stuck it all on a few tostadas with some black beans and salsa verde (yes, more heat). 

I was going to call this "salsa," or "salad," or "side dish." But it's really all of those things, or none of them. It's whatever. This is simple summer food, from the garden and the farmers' market, that sets your mouth afire and makes your tummy happy. 

*Disclaimer: this is not a blog that purports to give relationship advice--wise or otherwise--except sometimes about you and your dog.

Hot dog.