“You CANNOT leave before you buy some of this Mirai Corn!” Ellen blurted out while giving me a good, tight hug, her 8 hour shift at Providence Produce in Waxhaw, NC, just ending as I arrived. This statement is what real friends say when they know you cook, and that you love buying good stuff.
The corn she speaks of is indeed divine. Sweet like the earth, plump and juicy, and nearly flawless to the eye, Mirai Corn was only available from this market for 8 short days.
Ellen is a foodie (more like a food-nurturer) like me, and she carefully tends to the local produce like a mother hen. Because she expects to see my purchases beautifully plated and deliciously prepared there is no grab and go. My shopping here must be intentional.
“Of course, that’s why I’m here!” When I saw the sign they were carrying the ‘ears of gold’ I nearly missed the driveway as I made the sharp 90 degree turn onto the gravel parking lot already brimming with passionate corn-silk-seekers.“I will tag your photos. Be sure and send them to me!” She adds as she disappears into her car, cheeks exquisitely tinged with the beautiful dirt that only comes on real, local produce.
Because I’m kinda known for my photos and not just my recipes, I make sure my camera battery is charged before I even start getting my kitchen in order. ‘Mis en place’ is essential but I must ‘photographier ma nourriture quand c'est fait!’ The food deserves it.
Now, here's why I titled the post Fusion of Flavors. There are so many different regional culinary themes in this dish. American, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern. And why not? No one owns a flavor combination. And 'yummy' is yummy no matter what. Knowing that this sweet corn deserved the finest preparation, I used one of my favorite recipes for Corn Pudding from Southern Living. Tee’s Corn Pudding is rich, luxurious, and puts the flavor of corn right in the spotlight. Southerner’s just get that it’s about the ingredient. And when you have something sweet it needs to be paired with something that won’t cover the sweet, just accent it. Something that also combines the best of summer without anything being too obvious.
Now for the chicken. I’ve long combined both herbs and golden raisins when making meat patties, especially rosemary -- often a characteristic of Mediterranean cooking – to keep the excitement going during the meal. And when I added cream, parmigiano reggiano cheese, and a kick of garlic, I was well on my way to a meal with quite a foreign accent!
But wait. There’s more! I also had to buy the gorgeous graffiti eggplant and heirloom tomatoes they HAD for sale. When preparing them I was inspired to add some cinnamon and chili flakes, (Turkish comfort food spices!) which brought out the perfect heat and helped you taste this compote of vegetables at the top of your palate, leaving the rich umami of cream and chicken for the rest of your mouth to savor. Hot, sweet, spicy, creamy, rich. All those flavors were there in force!
By garnishing it all with fresh basil, I had added the crowning touch to a dish that wasn’t sure where it was from but was happy to cross all the culinary lines. I do know it became an ode to the entire world. Because your foodie friend(s) and fresh ingredients deserve nothing less.
RECIPE: Rosemary Raisin Chicken
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.