3 Ways to Grill Corn Perfectly this Summer

Raise your hand if you can’t resist corn on the cob !  Not only is this vegetable fun to eat, it’s usually super cheap in the summer season – I just bought a dozen plump, juicy organic ones at Whole Foods for $3 total! Making corn on the cob on the grill is super easy; it’s a must-have at our house for backyard barbecues and casual entertaining. You know it’s on my menu for all the big summer celebrations including Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and our big family reunion!    jennifer grilling cornThere are three main ways to cook a whole ear of corn on the grill, and I’m going to run you through them. But, first, you’ll want to find the freshest corn possible for the yummiest result. Corn sugars undergo enzymatic reactions after ears are picked, slowly converting into less tasty, mealy starches. So, the fresher the corn, the sweeter – all the more reason to make friends with your local farmers.

3 Ways to Grill Corn Perfectly -- the perfect side dish to any backyard BBQ or summer celebration!

Method 1 – Cook Corn in Husk

 Grilling an ear of corn in the husk is so simple and mess-free – the end part of the cob serves as a handle as your peel back the husk dig into the steamed kernels. Notice how I said “steamed” – that’s because this method actually uses water from all the parts of the corn to steam it into tenderness – the grill just serves as the heat source. If the corn is fresh, it won’t need a pre-soak in water. However, if the husk looks a bit dried out, soak the entire ear of corn in water for about 10 minutes before grilling.

How to: Simply place corn directly on the coals or grates of your grill or campfire (heated to about 400F degrees) and cook for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until tender (peel back husk if needed). The outside will be blackened, but inside it’s pure perfection. Peel back the husks; remove the silks and butter and season to your preferences. If you want to get fancy, you peel back husks without taking completely off, remove silks, butter and season and then pull back up the husks before grilling. But, I think this makes it too complicated (and the butter tends to drip out!)

Method 2 – Foil-wrapped

Grilling your corn wrapped in foil is a handy-dandy way to prepare it if you don’t want family and friends to be dealing with charred, messy husks. Again, you are actually steaming it with this method.  Plus, you can easily oil, butter or season your corn before cooking and the toppings won’t drip out . . . and you don’t have to deal with mess and logistics of setting out these perishable condiments if you have a large crowd.

How to: Shuck corn toss away silks and husk. Wrap the corn in heavy duty aluminum foil, with or without flavorings like butter, herbs, salt, pepper, grated cheeses, etc.  Grill right on top of hot coals, or on a grill grate set, turning a few times, about 10 – 15 minutes

Method – Naked

This is my favorite way to prepare corn on the grill because I like the nutty, smoked flavor that a bit of charring on the kernels brings. However, this method is not “steaming” like the other ways to grill corn, so the final result is not quite as juicy and, it can’t be cooked directly on coals. But, I feel like this is how we do it down here in Texas and it tastes so good — yeehaw!

How to: Pull back husks and remove completely or braid and tie off for a decorative effect. Pull away most of the silks – the remaining will burn away on the grill! Cook corn over a medium-hot grill (about 400F degrees) for about 10 to 15 minutes, rotating frequently to prevent burning and encourage all-over light charring. In the last few minutes you can brush with a flavored olive oil and sprinkle with herbs or do that while still warm before serving.

Grilled Corn with Ancho Vinaigrette is a southwestern inspired side dish for your next bbq or summer celebration.

I love serving my grilled corn with slightly spicy-sweet Ancho Vinaigrette – you can get my recipe here:

CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.

I’ve also been known to grill waaaaaaay to much corn and I’ll shear off the kernels and use in recipes like my Cali-Corn-ia Shrimp Pizza!

cooking light cornAlso, check out Cooking Light’s collection of in-season ideas for Cooking with Corn.

So, how do you usually make your grilled corn – foil, husked or naked? Also, do you use those little stab-in handle thingies or just eat right out of hand? Got any corny jokes? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette

This post is sponsored by Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, however the recipes, opinions and enthusiasm are all my own!

There is so much to love about May! The weather is warmer, daylight lasts longer and backyard patios, porches and pergolas are prime party spots for good friends and great food. I don’t know about you, but my go-to cooking method from early spring well into the fall season is grilling. Whether I’m entertaining company or it’s just the family, my trusty grill is this mom’s solution when it comes to whipping up creative, healthy and quick meals. Grilled Chicken, Corn & Jicama Salad with Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce Vinaigrette

I will grill anything and everything.  I get fired up for grilling the gamut . . . meats and seafood to fruit, veggies and dessert (mmmm, banana boats)!  Today, I’m sharing a recipe for Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chopped Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette that relies on one of my secret weapons when it comes to grilling and barbeque – Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Sauces, Marinades and Rubs.

Grilled Chicken, Corn & Jicama Salad with Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce Vinaigrette makes a hearty meal for your backyard cookout, picnic or potluck.

grilled corn in hand squareGrilled corn and chicken are the stars of this simple grilled salad recipe – Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub gives just the right amount of seasoning to poultry and vegetables without being overpowering or too spicy for my kids to eat. This is the original rub of Stubb’s fame, crafted by the legend himself at his original Texas Bar-B-Q joint — “It all starts with good rub.”

Stubb's Chicken Spice Rub

To dress this chopped chicken salad that also features jicama and avocado , I’ve created a simple barbecue sauce vinaigrette that is a bit spicy, a bit sweet – and certainly fun to eat! Using Stubb’s Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce is my not-so-secret shortcut to prepping this dressing in mere minutes. Of course, this BBQ sauce with hints of brown sugar and chipotle peppers is also excellent used in the traditional way to drizzle or douse on everything from baby back ribs and burgers to pizza and sweet potatoes.

Barbeque Brisket Skillet Nachos will satisfy a crowd!It’s also the sauce I use in my Brisket & Bean Skillet Nachos. I love that Stubb’s Bar-B-Q sauces get their bold flavors from real, wholesome ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.  Also, you’ll find absolutely NO (none, zip, nada) high-fructose corn syrup in these quality condiments.

Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, maker the No. 1 brand of barbecue sauce, rubs and marinades in the the country, is located right here in Austin, Texas — so I can head over and dive head-first in a vat, if I want!  But, these barbecue “helpers” are also sold in 85% of grocery stores nationwide — so, run out and getcha some!

Stubbs Grilled Chicken Corn Chop Salad

Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette is such an easy grilled recipe and the perfect fixin’s for a potluck or picnic – whether for Memorial Day, a graduation or any summer time celebration. You can also make it the night before, the dish is delicious served cold and the vinegar and lemon juice in the dressing help keep the avocado fresh for up to a day in the fridge. If you want to enjoy as a side dish or vegetarian meal — just omit the chicken and dig in!

What have you been tossing on the grill lately? Any big weekend plans for Memorial Day — a race, a party, a picnic? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Rub uncooked chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and rub with 2 tablespoons Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub.
  2. Heat charcoal or gas grill to approximately 400 F degrees and grill chicken approximately 15 – 20 minutes, flipping once, or until cooked through and internal temperature reads 165F degrees.
  3. While chicken is cooking, rub corn cobs with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub.
  4. Place corn on grill with chicken and grill for approximately 10 minutes, rotating occasionally, or until turning tender and browning in spots.
  5. Remove chicken and corn from grill and let rest for 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
  6. Chop chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. Slice corn kernels off the cob. Add both to medium bowl along with jicama, red onion, red bell pepper and avocado. Set aside while making dressing.
  7. To make dressing, whisk Stubb’s Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce together with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey and pepper.
  8. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
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Complete BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Jar! #FullnRichFlavor

Life got you jumping like grease on a hot skillet? My schedule is sizzling (that’s a good thing), but I’m often so busy that forgetting to eat (or grabbing something bad right before bed) could be a real issue if it weren’t for my three teen boys asking “what’s for dinner” as soon as we roll in from after their school activities. Geeze, all I want to do is take a quick nap.Birds Eye Vegetables and Farm Rich Smokehouse make it easy to get a nap before dinner!

But, that’s when the panic can start to set in about making nutritious and flavorful dinners, knowing I don’t have anything simmering all day in a slow cooker or thawing and ready to throw on the grill. I don’t want my boys to be one of the estimated 20 percent of Americans who eats at least one fast food meal a day in the car. But, now I can get my nap and still make quick flavorful dinners in a snap thanks by keeping fresh produce and healthier convenience foods on hand like Birds Eye® Flavor Full vegetables and Farm Rich® Smokehouse high-quality, high protein cuts of meat. Both of these time and sanity-saving products are recipe ready, straight from the freezer.

BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Jar

I have a super quick and easy recipe to share today for BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Jar – it’s hearty yet nicely-balanced, perfect to serve my whole passel of hungry boys in under 15 minutes!  All the yummy things you’d find on a barbecue dinner plate – like corn, coleslaw, beans, smoked chicken and pickles are piled up with love in a glass mason jar.

Birds Eye Vegetables and Farm Rich Smokehouse make last-minute dinners easy!

Another perk of these healthy flavorful dinners in a jar is that they can be eaten on-the-go and in the car (gasp)!  Just layer them up warm (or reheat premade jars) and the kids can eat them right out of the jar on the way to or from tutoring, sports games, band practices or what-have-you.  When done, screw back on the lid and deal with the “dishes” when you get home.  This quick and easy dinner recipe can also be prepped and eaten cold – it’s actually quite good on top of a bed of lettuce!Layer this BBQ Chicken Dinner in plastic cups for easy tailgaing!

If you need a comprehensive tailgate recipe or hosting an outdoor hoedown or some other fall-season festivity, these BBQ Chicken Dinners can be assembled in plastic glasses – guests can still see the beautiful layers of barbeque ingredients, but clean-up is super easy-breezy. Complete Barbecue Chicken in a Jar, perfect for tailgaing and outdoor parties.

Making a healthy, balanced meal like these Barbeque Chicken Jars does not have to be difficult if you have products from Birds Eye® and Farm Rich® Smokehouse. The high-protein, high-quality meats from Farm Rich® Smokehouse can be prepared in minutes; the hours of flavor-infusing smoking have been done on your behalf!  I also appreciate how Birds Eye Flavor Full vegetables deliver the flavor my family wants (Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli and Barbecue Sweet Corn) with the nutrition they need. Find both these brands in the freezer aisle at Walmart.

For a limited time, earn $0.75 on Birds Eye Vegetables and unlock $1.00 off one Farm Rich® Smokehouse product with Ibotta while supplies last. Note: If you haven’t used Ibotta, you have to download the app available on iOs and Android. Before you shop, be sure to unlock the rebates for both Birds Eye Vegetables and Farm Rich® Smokehouse. Then, shop! Buy the products that you’ve unlocked at major retailers. Finally, verify your purchase by scanning your barcodes and submitting a photo of your receipt!

What night of the week is craziest for you? How do you deal with dinner with only a few free minutes? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Birds Eye®, and Farm Rich® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FullnRichFlavor  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Layer this BBQ Chicken Dinner in plastic cups for easy tailgaing!
BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Mason Jar
Print Recipe
Make a complete BBQ Chicken Dinner in 5 minutes, layer ingredients up in a jar to eat on the go, at a football game, tailgating or other outdoor parties.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Layer this BBQ Chicken Dinner in plastic cups for easy tailgaing!
BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Mason Jar
Print Recipe
Make a complete BBQ Chicken Dinner in 5 minutes, layer ingredients up in a jar to eat on the go, at a football game, tailgating or other outdoor parties.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Instructions
  1. May be served warm or cold. To prepare warm, heat beans, corn and chicken in separate containers according to instructions on packages. Skip this step if preparing cold.
  2. Using 16-ounce glass mason jars or 12 - 16 ounce "squatty" clear plastic glasses, layer ingredients in each container in this order, starting at bottom -- approx 4 oz beans, 2.5 oz corn, generous handful rainbow slaw, 2 tbs. dollop of ranch dressing, 3 oz chicken and 2 tbs. dollop of BBQ sauce.
  3. Skewer pickle slices and grape tomatoes together on toothpick and add as garnish. Serve immediately.
  4. May be prepared cold and stored in refrigerator (with lid or cover) for up to 3 days.
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CaliCornia Shrimp & Avocado Pizza for Labor Day

CaliCornia Shrimp Pizza is a quick and easy meal solution made on Naan bread or pre-made crusts.

Even though the calendar has turned to September and I still am getting acclimated to our back-to-school routine, it certainly feels like summer every time I step out the door. Officially, it IS still summer until fall arrives on September 22nd and no one can stop me extracting every last kernel of enjoyment from the season.   On these last warm-weather weekends, my family will eat our dinners al fresco, practice handstands barefoot the grass and usher in the autumnal equinox with our final trips to the lake.

Handstand at Lake

A fantastic outdoor meals for the end of summer or Labor Day weekend is CaliCornia Shrimp Pizza – this quick, easy and amazingly tasty pizza reminds me of the sunshine state with a laid-back vibe and showcase of Mother Nature’s best bounty. Succulent roasted shrimp, sweet corn and creamy avocado slices blend with melted fresh mozzarella and ranch dressing (I used OPA! by Litehouse™ Greek Style Yogurt Ranch Dressing). A crispy yet soft and chewy crust is easily “made’ with Naan bread or pre-baked crusts. Other convenience items like frozen shrimp and a southwestern roasted corn blend with peppers (found in freezer section), means I spend less time making meals and more time with my feet up on the chaise lounge recovering from the long run or workout of the day. And, if I’m lucky I can get one of personal pizza deliver guys (my sons) to deliver me a piece so I don’t have to move another muscle!

CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.

 

What are you eating during this long holiday weekend? Taking any dips in the ocean, lake or pool? Do tell! Share in the comments below! XOXO — Jennifer

 

CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.
CaliCornia Shrimp Pizzas
Print Recipe
Enjoy these quick and easy shrimp pizzas from the grill for a relaxed weekend meal -- naan bread or pre-baked crusts save you time!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.
CaliCornia Shrimp Pizzas
Print Recipe
Enjoy these quick and easy shrimp pizzas from the grill for a relaxed weekend meal -- naan bread or pre-baked crusts save you time!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Instructions
  1. Heat oven or gas grill to 400 F degrees.
  2. In small bowl, toss together thawed shrimp with olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper.
  3. Place shrimp on rimmed baking sheet and heat up in oven for4 to 5 minutes. Or, skewer and heat up on grill for about the same amount of time, taking care not to overcook. Remove shrimp, but leave oven/grill on.
  4. Spread each crust with approximately 2 tablespoons of OPA Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing, reserve remaining to drizzle on top of finished pizzas.
  5. Place slices of mozzarella on pizza and sprinkle with about ¼ up of thawed corn blend. Top pizzas with roasted/grilled shrimp.
  6. Place pizzas in oven or on grill with lid closed and heat up for another 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and edges are turning golden brown.
  7. Remove pizzas and top with sliced avocado and drizzle with remaining OPA Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing.
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East-West Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute

Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute packed with loads of veggies and bold umami taste - TheFitFork.com

Food science nerd alert – I’m talking about umami again. You know, our fifth taste receptor, the newfound “delicious essense” those Japanese waxed so poetically about in the 20th century.  It’s all about the high concentrations of glutamates and nucleotides found in certain foods and how combing these foods creates a meaty, savory crave factor that is just really hard to describe in words. In fact, research has shown that pairing up glutamate and nucleotide rich ingredients magnifies their joint umami effect up to 8 times as much.  I’ve found that using a few umami-rich ingredients in healthier recipes is an easy way to create an amazing and indulgent-seeming eating experience.

Live Fire Beef at the Salt Lick - TheFitFork.com

There was so much umami going on at the beef-centric Live Fire event I attended this week at with friends from BeefLovingTexans.com), I wish I could have taken all of you to this meat extravaganza at the famous Salt Lick in the Texas Hill Country.  Did what I had to do as a food blogger and made all the rounds to taste meaty, marvelous dishes from chefs from all over Texas. It’s amazing how versatile beef is – not only are there a zillion cuts to choose from (I even tried tongue), beef can be served up to conjure up a fond memories. Over the night, I felt like I had been at grandma’s house getting a hug from comfort food ( with the pimento cheese grits with burnt ends brisket) to being on an exotic vacation (with the Thai NY strip satay with green mango salad).

Essential Umami Ingredients to Stock your Pantry  - TheFitFork.comFind out more about umami from this past blog post, no need to rehash it all here. I’ve also curated a handy collection of essential umami pantry staples for Mode.com, check that out too! Some of the first foods people mention when asked about umami are steaks, mushrooms, red wine, fermented sauces and aged cheeses. It’s true, all these are delicious pairing. However, did you know that as far as vegetables go, mushrooms don’t have a monopoly on umami. Lot of other veggies are high in umami, including sea vegetables (like kelp), mushrooms, corn, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, winter squash, green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard and kale.

Check out my vegetable-packed recipe for  East-West Shishito Pepper, Mushroom  and Corn Saute. Almost all the ingredient are umami-rich and it tastes super “meaty” just on it’s own – but I’ve used as a topping for brisket tacos and steak, and it was pure heaven.

Umami-Rich Mushrooms, Corn & Chile Pepper Saute - TheFitFork.com

Umami-Rich Mushrooms, Corn & Chile Pepper Saute - TheFitFork.com
East-West Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute
Print Recipe
This easy saute of mild peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions will rock your socks off with bold umami taste! Great as a vegetarian dish but also fantastic atop a steak or beef taco.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Umami-Rich Mushrooms, Corn & Chile Pepper Saute - TheFitFork.com
East-West Shishito Pepper and Mushroom Saute
Print Recipe
This easy saute of mild peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions will rock your socks off with bold umami taste! Great as a vegetarian dish but also fantastic atop a steak or beef taco.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in large skilled over medium-high heat.
  2. Add peppers and onion and saute for 2 minutes, or until softening.
  3. Add thawed corn and mushrooms to pepper mixture and continue to saute for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add soy sauce and stir until vegetables coated, cook for about 30 more seconds.
  5. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve as a side, on a salad, steak or taco.
Recipe Notes

This easy saute of mild peppers, mushrooms, corn, and onions will rock your socks off with bold umami taste! Great as a vegetarian dish but also fantastic atop a steak or beef taco.

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Black Bean, Avocado & Corn Salad + Stability Ball WOD

We had a busy but wonderful family weekend, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet! Saturday we celebrated my oldest son’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor – whew, he made it!

The Family -- Yup, I'm a Boy mom times three!

The Family — Yup, I’m a Boy mom times three!

And, Sunday, we got together with my mom (and dad) to revel in Mother’s Day. While you might think your mother is “best,” mine really takes the cake – and the corn salad! And, with that corniness out of the way, I’m excited to be sharing her family-famous Black Bean, Avocado & Corn Salad recipe. Yeah, yeah – your mom makes something like this . . . but my mom makes it better!

southwestern black bean salad

Black Bean, Avocado & Corn Salad Recipe

  • 2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
  • 2 (15.5-oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped*
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Place frozen corn on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir to coat and then spread out in single layer. Roast under broiler for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring once, until starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

In large bowl, place beans, chopped bell pepper, chopped onion, quartered grape tomatoes, minced jalapeno, chopped avocado, chopped cilantro and cooled corn. Add remaining olive oil (1/4 cup), lime juice, vinegar, chile powder and cumin; stir until all ingredients are coated.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Use as a side dish, topping on salad or relish for chips and tacos. Serves 12.

*Recipe can be made ahead, even overnight. However, for best results, do not peel and chop and mix in avocado until ready to serve.

Stablity Ball Workout

 

If you need a quick workout for this Monday morning, check out the Stability Ball WOD I created for CorePower.com.  I often use the stability ball to make basic exercises like push-ups, crunches, and squats exponentially more challenging. Because the ball is never completely still, I have to work my muscles much harder to find the balance. If you need further instructions for each specific move above, head over to Core Power to read my blow by blow.

Gone Grilling | Spice-Crusted Tenderloin Steaks and Street Corn with Chipotle Garlic Butter

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - ribeye filet grilled corn

It was a glorious day of grilling at our house last night, the aroma of succulent beef and sweet corn was drifting across the backyard thanks to an unseasonal but oh-so welcomed breeze. At one point I heard the neighboring carnivores come out of their caves to make whining, whimpering noises, but sorry folks, only enough meat to feed my famished five. Maybe next time I will invite YOU over for Spice-Crusted Tenderloin Steaks and Street Corn with Chipotle Garlic Butter!

cuts of tenderloin

If you like a lean yet tender steak that doesn’t need much fussing, you’ll love my favorite cut of beef– tenderloin (flat iron steak is a close second). Before processed and carved into steaks, this long chunk of meat sits beneath the ribs near the backbone. The muscle does very little work in the life of a cow, that’s why it’s the tenderest cut available – it practically melts in your mouth! Sometimes, with all the interchangable names that are used for beef cuts, it can get confusing to understand what you are purchasing. The diagram above shows how the muscle is further butchered into the various products we buy at the market or order off the menu.

Steaks ready to hit the grill, rubbed with flavorful spices.

Steaks ready to hit the grill, rubbed with flavorful spices.

Because this portion of beef is so tender, there is no need to use a marinade. Instead, I use a homemade spice rub to create a flavorful crust that seals in natural juices. Since I had the grill already fired up for steaks, I decided to cook the whole dinner out on it. The kids voted for street fair style corn, the summer treat that smells so yummy roasting and is extra fun to eat.  Really, I can’t even tell you how good this meal was, not a leftover scrap in sight!

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - grilling corn

 

Spice-Crusted Tenderloin Steaks and Street Corn with Chipotle Garlic Butter

For Chipotle Garlic Butter:

  • ½ cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced chipotle (with adobe sauce from can)

For Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or “regular” chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 6-ounce tenderloin steaks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ears corn, unhusked
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Directions

Prepare the compound butter first, so it has time to set up while corn and steaks are cooking.

In small bowl, mix together softened butter, cilantro, garlic and chipotle peppers (using a bit of the adobe sauce).  Transfer to ramekin and stick in the refrigerator to firm up while the rest of the meal is grilling.

Next prepare rub by combine all ingredients for rub in a small bowl or zip-top bag. Shake or stir well until thoroughly mixed.

Lightly brush both sides of each steak with olive oil. Press in approximately 1 tablespoon total of rub into both sides of steak. Let sit for 15 minutes.

While steaks rest with the rub, start preparing corn. Pull down outer husks on ears of corn to the base, taking care to rip them all the way off.  Pull off silk from each corn ear and discard. Pull husks back up and set in large tub of cold water mixed with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 – 12 minutes.

Pre-heat grill to 400 F degrees.

Pull corn out of water and shake off water. Set corn, with husks still up, onto grates of grill. Cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until kernels are tender. Rotate ears once during grilling.

After corn has been started for about 5 minutes, throw steaks onto the same 400 F degree grill. Cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of the steak reads 135 F degrees. Let rest for 5 – 10 minutes; steaks will continue to cook on the serving platter and ultimately reach 140 to 145 F degrees (medium).

To serve, place a pat of Chipotle Garlic Butter on the husked ears of corn and center of steak.

Serves 4.

Bumper Crop Boogie | How to Blanch and Freeze Summer Vegetables

The sun-drenched colors, the succulent flavors; summer vegetables make me want to dance! In my opinion, a person can’t have too much of a good thing when it comes to summer season vegetables. But, often in the warmer months, even though I don’t have my very own garden, the produce bin in the fridge runneth over. When I see a sale on corn for under a quarter a cob, I can’t pass it up. When my parents bring me surplus zucchini from their urban community garden, I welcome the windfall. I can’t pass up a farmer’s market or roadside stand without pulling over to check out the local selections. You get the idea and it’s inspired a ton of great recipes, like my Green Chile & Pork Stuffed Zucchini.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com summer veggies

This week, I had more veggies on hand than my family could scarf down in a week. So, rather than sit there and watch them wrinkle and rot, I decided to take a few extra minutes and prep the abundance for the freezer. Not trying to go all Little-House-On-The-Prairie on you but “putting up your vegetables” for the winter, or whatever time of year, is a great way to reduce needless waste (did you know 40% of America’s food goes uneaten?) and enjoy the fresh flavors of the season later.

Getting your veggies ready for the freezer is easy; the main point to remember is that most vegetables (except for herbs, green peppers and, in my opinion grape tomatoes) will need blanching. Blanching is just another term for par-cooking vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time. The process of blanching stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color, texture and vitamins. The type of vegetable and how big of chunks it is cut up into (if at all) dictates the amount of time to blanch. The University of Colorado Extension Services has some good tips on how to prepare, blanch and pack your veggies for the freezer.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - tray freezing veggies

How to Prepare a Jumble of Fresh Corn, Zucchini and Grape Tomatoes for the Freezer

  1. Husk and remove silk from corn.
  2. Rinse grape tomatoes and set aside. I skip blanching and put my grape tomatoes straight in freezer.
  3. Slice zucchini into 1/2 inch slices; cut slices into quarters.
  4. Boil large pot of water.
  5. Add corn and blanch (boil) for 5 minutes.
  6. After 1 minute, add zucchini and blanch for 4 minutes along with corn.
  7. While veggies are blanching, prepare a big bowl of ice water.
  8. Remove zucchini and corn with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in ice bath to stop cooking process.
  9. After a few minutes, remove veggies to clean towel to drain excess water.
  10. Use sharp knife to remove corn kernels from cob.
  11. Lay veggies (including tomatoes) in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  12. Freeze vegetables for several hours, until hardened.
  13. Repackage vegetable mix into zip-top bags, leaving a little bit of room at the top for expansion.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - frozen vegetables bag

Even though it might seem easy to dump blanched vegetables into a container for freezing, they’ll all end up hardened together into one big lump. That’s why tray freezing is so cool (pardon the pun) and totally worth the extra step involved. Whether you want a small portion or a large portion, you can scoop out exactly what you desire if you’ve tray frozen your vegetables before pouring into a freezer bag. Vegetables blanched and then frozen in this manner will have a life of at least 12 months in a freezer set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wondering how to cook this mix of tomatoes, corn and zucchini? Just thaw out a portion from your freezer stash and toss into a skillet that has been heated with oil good for sautéing. I like grape seed oil. Cook on the stove top for just a few minutes until heated through, but not overcooked and soggy. For flavor, toss in some garlic, chopped herbs and a dash of soy sauce. The mix also works great in other recipes and could easily be incorporated into my Crustless Calabacita Quiche!