Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Contest of the Cob

Dee...and Sickly in the background

My friends and family gathered for a perfect evening of California BBQ just before I left. In the planning of the meal my brother James and I started a discussion concerning our favorite techniques for grilling corn on the cob. He insisted that the ONLY way to grill corn was with the husks on, but I find that getting the char directly on the kernels adds that added yumminess from the grill...and so became “The Contest of the Cob”.

The Contest of the Cob-JSP

James’ version began by peeling the husks off down to just the last couple layers and trimming the tip of the ear off. He then placed them on a medium heat grill and cooked to desired finish (to be honest, I don’t know how long it was. I was busy mixing cocktails and prepping other dishes). In the meantime, he cut sheets of wax paper and added dollops of butter to later be used to wrap around the ears. He removed the corn from the heat and set them aside to cool a bit before peeling back the husks and removing the silks, cut off the end with the husks and placed the ears in the prepared waxed papers wrapping them like a Tootsie Roll candy and allowing the butter to melt and seep between the kernels.
My version of grilled corn came from a variation on a recipe I discovered from Master Griller Bobby Flay (hence the instant superiority over my brother’s corn). I did sway a bit from Chef Flay’s specifics but the result is what I was going for. 

The Contest of the Cob-SJA

I started by removing all the husks and cleaning the corn completely of silks, trimming the tip but left the stem intact. Placed the ears directly on the grill and cooked turning occasionally to spread the grill marks over the corn. I usually cook the corn for about 10 minutes but I trusted James to tend to the grill and I think he gave me the char I was hoping for. While the corn was cooking, in a small bowl I combined butter and garlic and set aside. As soon as the corn had cooled enough to handle I sliced the kernels from the cob over a large bowl using an upside down ramekin as a lifted base to cut on. I then mixed in the butter, garlic and a splash of fresh lime juice for a refreshing bite.
None of the diners were willing to go on record for an official vote but I had been telling them that no matter the outcome I was going to be declared victorious since it is MY blog. Although, I’ve decided to be gracious and call “The Contest of the Cob” a draw to be challenged again at a later date.
This post includes photo taken by me, my brother James S. Pinder and my sister Justine Coordt.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Who’s hungry for more?

In less than a week I will leave my sunny corner of the California Central Coast Wine Country for a grand new plan at The French Culinary Institute in New York City. It’s a food lover’s dream program, of technique, exploration and classic cooking knowledge that only a few ever realize.

After a time in the kitchens of the school I will move on to create the dishes served in L’Ecole, the restaurant of The French Culinary Institute. It’s a dining experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Truffled Macaroni & Cheese at L'Ecole
Smoked Octopus with Warm Harissa Potato Salad