As drought conditions worsen over the U.S. Corn Belt, the price of corn has steadily risen. Right now corn at local farmers markets is not only available, but is fresher and cheaper than retail grocery chains. Stock up and don’t hesitate to freeze the kernels for future use.
The freshest corn possible is needed for the making of Maque Choux (it's Cajun and pronounced mock-shoe). Capturing the "corn milk" is an essential ingredient for this dish to be creamy, so very fresh corn is a must. After cutting the kernels from the cob, scrape the cob with the back of the knife over a bowl to catch all the liquid that is released from the scraping and catch the bits and pieces of the remaining kernels. This stuff is liquid gold!
Save your bacon grease and keep it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in your refrigerator. Bacon grease is a delicious way of seasoning your food. Lard is the second richest food source other than cod liver oil for vitamin D.
Recent scientific data has shown that animal fat is not the leading source of heart disease and weight gain. Sugar is the leading culprit!
Bacon fat takes a long time to digest and does not cause an insulin spike. Bacon grease is better than all those oils we cook with like corn, vegetable, canola, peanut, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower and grapeseed. These oils are high in omega 6. While omega 6 isn’t bad for you and is essential to health, it is important to keep a one-to-one ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in our diet. We typically don’t balance this with omega 3 (wild fresh salmon) or a supplement. This uneven balance can cause inflammation and early aging.
Maque choux can be spicy or not. It’s up to you. This is a healthy, fresh summer side dish that’s sure to please everyone.
4 Tablespoons of bacon grease
4 ears of corn – I used white because I think they are sweeter than yellow
1 cup of onion, chopped – I used red because that is just what I had on hand
½ cup of celery, chopped fine
½ cup of red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 large jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, finely diced - OPTIONAL
3 Tablespoons of fresh whole Thyme leaves
6 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of fresh tomatoes, diced with the juice – I used Golden Jubilee tomatoes (they are orange)
1 cup of green onions, finely sliced
Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
Scrape the kernels from the cobs. Using the back of the knife, scrape the cobs over a bowl to catch the corn milk and the bits & pieces of the remaining kernels. Set the ‘milk’ aside. Heat the bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn kernels, onion, celery, red bell pepper, jalapeno, thyme leaves and 1.5 teaspoons of kosher salt. Cook for 15 minutes and stir occasionally. Add the tomatoes with their juice, garlic, reserved corn milk and cook for about 10-15 minutes until it reaches a stew like consistency, stirring occasionally. Season with more kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Just before serving, toss in the green onions.
Submitted by Pam Reich Hopper
Editor's note: We've started a new column titled "What's Cooking in Peachtree Corners" which will be filled with recipes from the community. Do you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share with your neighbors? Submit it to the editor (that's me, Judy.Putnam@patch.com) for consideration. Of course, you'll get credit for your creation - so don't be shy, dig out your family-favorite dishes and send them in. And add the story behind the recipe - if there is one.