Recipe Spotlight: Celebrating Some of Florida’s Fall Bounty

Fall lasts about three days in our neck of the woods, or so it seems. One day the crepe myrtle has its leaves, a couple of days later it’s just berries for the birds.
We are lucky though that three of our delicious fall crops last a long time. Squash, sweet corn, and tomatoes are here until May or June. It’s like they go north in the hot months and come back just in time for the snowbirds.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]
All these tasty morsels are easy to prepare, don’t cost a fortune in season, and are healthy. What more could we ask for? Oh, and they look pretty.
Cooking corn is usually a big job— strip the ears, fill a huge pot with water and bring it to a boil— all for a few minutes cooking. This year, try your microwave.
Arrange the ears on a damp paper towel and zap them. Depending on the power of your oven, one ear should take about 90 seconds. Six ears should go eight to nine minutes. Wrap the hot ears in a towel for five minutes, then strip off the husk and silk. Cut the kernels off the cob and stick them in the fridge for later.
Since we eat first with our eyes you can’t go wrong with a palette of red, yellow, and green. Put a Central Florida spin on the simple Italian caprese of tomato and mozzarella cheese. Make a circle of slices of fresh tomato separated by slices of mozzarella cheese, like always, and slide in slices of unpeeled zucchini. Then drop corn kernels in a halo around the outside. Garnish with Florida-grown basil and balsamic vinegar livened with a little orange or tangerine juice.
In a hurry for a dinner the kids will like? Tacos fill the bill. Instead of lettuce on the meat or beans use a quick-to-fix mixture of corn, chopped zucchini and tomato with cilantro and onion.
Southern succotash uses corn, lima beans, and tomatoes, but you could try a variation with zucchini as well as the beans. It won’t take any longer to cook, either. Use canned beans if you like.
Cook two cups lima beans in salted water until they are tender. Drain. Or use canned beans. Add six medium tomatoes, peeled, diced and drained; two cups cut-up okra (fresh or frozen); three tablespoons butter, and three cups corn kernels. Cook slowly for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in one cup of diced squash. Cover and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
Frying tomato slices intensifies flavor and changes the texture. Fry some corn kernels in butter and a touch of curry powder. Top the tomatoes with sautéed corn for an interesting side dish with chicken or pork.
Corn makes an interesting and tasty addition to your favorite chili recipe. Raw kernels will cook as the chili simmers the last few minutes.
And to feel like a kid, cut squash into spears and dip them in ranch dressing.
column by TRENT ROWE, Food Editor

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