When it comes to vegetables, my preparation methods feature a lackadaisical approach that I sometimes wish I could apply to other areas of my life. Miniature cucumbers get eaten straight from the crisper, while cherry tomatoes are consumed from a bowl on the counter. Since there are few chores that frustrate me more than peeling vegetables, potatoes are always cooked with their skins on and unless we happen to get "real" carrots in our CSA box, I buy pre-peeled baby carrots. Occasionally I feel guilty about the premium I'm paying for carrot convenience, but there are many foods that I put lots of effort into (spaghetti sauce, oatmeal bars, lots of bread, homemade dinners almost every night, and the eight gallon-sized bags strawberries in the freezer). Life is too short to waste time with unnecessary chores you hate.
Another vegetable that gives me the periodic twinge of guilt is corn. Minnesota is prime sweet corn territory, and in late summer roadside stands selling large quantities at cheap prices pop up along our commute home. Since I spend the winter eating lots of frozen vegetables, it would make sense to buy corn in season and freeze it. But the very idea of cutting all those kernels off the cob gives me visions of a corn-strewn kitchen and aching shoulders. So instead, I eat my fresh corn right off the cob and buy large bags of generic frozen corn throughout the colder months. In accordance with my lazy philosophy of vegetable preparation, we usually just microwave frozen corn and eat it plain, but I needed a more inspiring side dish to complement the Fajita Zucchini Rice Bowls I served my in-laws on a recent visit. This recipe, adapted from Real Simple, was perfect, with a mild spiciness from the poblano peppers and a citrus punch from fresh lime juice. As an added bonus, since corn wasn't in season yet, I had no shame about admitting my frozen shortcut to my father-in-law.
On the off chance that you are more ambitious than I am when it comes to corn processing (I applaud you), a 16-ounce package of corn is about 2 1/3 cups of kernels.
Adapted from the Real Simple recipe by Dawn Perry
Serves 4 as a substantial side
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 poblano peppers, seeded and cut into quarter-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 16-ounce package of frozen corn, thawed (about 2 1/3 cups kernels)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and tilt to evenly coat. Add peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the skin on the peppers is starting to blister and the onions are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until corn is warmed and garlic is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and serve.