Deus Ex Machina

I feel like I am in a trance. A dreamlike state where everything just goes according to plan. A whirlwind of events that were all well conducted, fluid and graceful and without error. In retrospect, everything was gold-hued and warm-toned, gilded in a surprising amount of good fortune. That’s how my last few weeks have been – there is definitely some sort of deus ex machina at work here.

After being engaged for 2 years, we finally celebrated our engagement – a 160+ people party held in my parent’s backyard. By all accounts, it had the potential to be a crazy, disorganized event. At 160 people, it’s bigger than some weddings. But thanks to early planning, frequent communication between all the stakeholders (aren’t I such a great management consultant?), lots of time spent on personalized DIY-ing, and purposeful execution, the event went without any major hitches. And it was fun and beautiful:

Collage

I also helped out at a number of events last month with Vo Floral Design – I cannot compliment these girls enough. They are magicians with flowers. If anyone in the Bay Area has an event that needs a lovely touch, I highly recommend reaching out to VFD. They always go above and beyond what’s required. As an intern I’ve learned so much and as a future bride, I can totally appreciate what these girls go through for their brides.

Collage

My weekends have been pretty busy as you can tell. I also (quietly) celebrated my 26th year and also (quietly) closed on a house. Yes, after a year of searching and about 10 rejected offers later, we officially have a home. We couldn’t be more thrilled (or more in debt!). I never thought it would come to this – up to now, the market seemed just unrelentingly impossible, but there must have been a bit of divine intervention, because here we are! I can’t wait to blog from my new kitchen and give you a photo tour after we decorate. Until then, here’s a great summer staple. Grilled corn on the cob – delicious as is, but easily transformed in countless ways. I detail three ways below.

Tray

Corn on The Cob

Ingredients
Corn cobs, husks and silk removed
*alternatively, you could leave the husks on and remove after grilled, but I find it’s faster this way

Directions
Over a hot charcoal grill (gas grills just aren’t ever as good), place de-husked corn cobs and grill, rotating often to ensure an even brown. The kernels will blister and you may even get a few too-dark ears, but I swear, there is a ton of flavor in that char. Overall, the cooking process should take about 10 minutes per ear. Once the kernels of corn are bloated and swollen with steam and heat, remove to a plate and prepare to dress with the following toppings.

Grill

Grilllllz

A la Cafe Habana
If you’ve ever been to Cafe Habana in NYC, you will know exactly what I’m talking about – the pinnacle of hot summer days in the concrete jungle are made special by spicy, sweet, buttery cobs of corn from Cafe Habana washed down with a tall lemon-limeade.

Ingredients
4 ears of corn, grilled
2 tbs butter, very soft
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 c grated cotija
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
small handful of cilantro, leaves and tender stems minced.
a few wedges of lime to serve

Directions
In a small bowl, combine the butter and mayonnaise. Spread mixture over the still hot ears of corn, then generously sprinkle on the cotija and the cayenne pepper to taste. Top with cilantro and serve with a wedge of lime.

Elote

Cajun Corn on the Cob
This Cajun corn relies heavily on a strong spice mix – the Cajun trifecta of powdered garlic, powdered onion, and paprika. Of course, some cayenne, oregano, thyme, and fresh cracked pepper are thrown in for good measure. You can easily sub this with a store bought blend (like Emeril’s Essence or McCormick’s Cajun) and it would work just fine.

Ingredients
4 ears of corn, grilled
2 tbs butter, very soft
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano or dried thyme or both (both is obviously better)
tiny dash of cumin
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Directions
Combine butter with all the spices. Use a brush and spread over the hot ears of corn. Alternatively, to get those cajun flavors deep into the corn, go ahead and spread the butter spice mixture over RAW ears of husked corn. Wrap in tin foil, then cook over the same charcoal grill until kernels are cooked through. As the kernels cook, they will absorb the salt and those spices, so you’ll feel the tingly all the way through the juicy cob.

Vietnamese Corn on the Cob
In Viet Nam, grilled corn is served by street vendors who serve out of a little stall or those yoke baskets surreptitiously suspended on the shoulders of stooped Vietnamese women. I take a bit of poetic license with this recipe, as it incorporates some of the elements found in that street food but with a twist.

Ingredients
4 ears of corn, grilled
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs butter
3-4 sprigs of green onion, green and whites thinly sliced
2 tbs crispy fried shallots, store bought or homemade

Directions
In a heat proof bowl, place vegetable oil, butter and thinly sliced green onion. Heat in microwave on high heat for about a minute or until the onion is fragrant and wilted, but still green. Do not over heat as the onion will brown. Slather this scallion-oil mixture over each hot ear of corn, then top of sweet crispy shallots. The shallots give this texture and sweetness, while the oniony scallions give a bit of bite and richness.

Corn

If you can’t find crispy fried shallots at your local grocery store, you can home make them by simply deep frying the shallots twice. The first fry will be a low/slow heat at around 300*F for about 8 minutes to achieve a golden brown color. Place on a towel lined plate to drain. The second fry will be a quick/hot heat at about 375*F for no more than a few seconds to achieve that crisp texture. Enjoy.

I feel that my summer truly has been guided by the hand of God (no soccer/World Cup reference intended) – it’s been just too blessed, too fortunate, too perfect. Is this even real? Feels like a dream. I hope your summer has been going well so far – hopefully blessed in sunshine, kissed by the sea, and covered in the juices of summer’s ripest harvest. Until soon readers,
AnhD

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One Response to Deus Ex Machina

  1. Pingback: Valentine | Confessions from the Cookie Jar

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