Wake Me Up When September Ends: Denial of Summer Growing Season Ending Charred Corn Salad

“Don’t you love New York [i.e. Los Angeles] in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I’d send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

-Meg Ryan (sort of) in, “You’ve Got Mail”

Things that excite me about September:

  • Not being socially shunned for drinking hot coffee
  • Festive legwarmers and boots
  • Soup, Stew, Chili, and every other warm, hearty comfort food

Things that are the opposite of exciting in September:

  • Pumpkin mania – Thanks, Starbucks for killing my soul by offering Pumpkin Spice Lattes in 95-Degree August Los Angeles weather
  • The implication of everything becoming serious again, i.e. school beginning for those still doing that sort of thing and work vacation time elapsed with no end in sight until Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • The end of the summer growing season

I love so many things about autumn, but I’m definitely attempting to ignore summer being over like a parent dealing with a bratty child….which is not unlike how decent human beings treat ratchet girls at the club…..I digress.

This recipe is ridiculously simple. Twenty minutes gate-to-gate simple. Use-up-the-last-summer-corn-before-it’s-too-late-you-fool simple. Seriously, go make it. Slice some avocado on top of it, while you’re at it.

Charred Corn Salad

  • 4 Ears of Corn, Shucked
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1/2 Small Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Jalapeno, Diced
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro

Brush the corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before grilling over Medium-High heat for 12-ish minutes, i.e. until charred all over.

Meanwhile, let the onion sit in the lime juice for 10 minutes to mellow out the flavor. After 10 minutes have passed, add the maple syrup, jalapeno, and 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Once the corn is charred to your liking, remove from the cob and toss with the dressing you’ve just made. Tear the mint, parsley, and cilantro leaves – because chopping is too much damn work when you’re hungry – and add the torn leaves to the corn mixture to your liking.


I’m Bad at Puns: Fried Tomatillos with Apple and Ham

There are good work days and bad work days. There are healthy meals and unhealthy meals. We are constantly in the liminal spade between these extremes, which is all the more reason to have meals in one’s arsenal to bank on. This is one of them. It will suit your cathartic need to cook out stress after a bad day, satisfy your sense of adventure by letting you try something new in the kitchen, and it includes a form of bacon. What more could you ask for? (Besides to not have a vegetarian come for dinner…..sorry kids. Then again, leave the ham off and this is a lovely vegetarian dish.)

In case you haven’t figured it out: today was a bad work day. Food improves circumstances. Tomorrow is another day.

Life goes on.

Plus this meal is delicious.

My directions are going to be very blunt/direct, because this plate of food is more complicated than what I normally make, and I don’t want to throw you off your A-game with my sassy directions. Trust me though – it’s money. Make, eat, and love it in good health.

Fried Tomatillos with Apple and Ham (and Jalapeno-Cilantro Aioli) – Adapted from Iron Chef Jose Garces’ recipe in Food Network Magazine

For the Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped ham
  • 1 gala apple – cut into matchsticks (Also, please google search how to do this and tell me, because I spent way too long slicing these damn apples.)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 green onions – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives – finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary – finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme – finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the Tomatillos:

  • Medium tomatillos (as many as you’ll eat) – husked, rinsed, and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground tumeric
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Jalapeno-Cilantro Aioli:

  • 1 cup cilantro – chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper – chopped and seeded
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lime’s worth of juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Kosher salt and pepper  to taste
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat the Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium-high heat. Cook the ham until golden, remove, and drain.

Toss the apple, vinegar, honey, green onions, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper together and set aside.

Soak the tomatillos in the milk while mixing the flour, cornmeal, parsley, mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, tumeric, salt, and pepper.

Heat two inches of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or regular vegetable oil) over medium high heat (turn the heat down accordingly, depending on how fast the tomatoes fry up). The oil is ready when it bubbles around the handle of a wooden cooking spoon.

Dredge the tomatillos in the flour miture and fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a paper towel, and sprinkle with salt.

To make the aioli, blend all aioli ingredients listed above except the Extra Virgin Olive Oil until smooth, then add the oil and blend again.

Top the tomatillos with the apple mixture, sprinkle with the ham, and drizzle the aioli on top.

Eat while listening to “Mondo Bongo” by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros