There was head to head competition at my house recently - or should I say ear to ear competition. I was issued a challenge and I can't think of a better song for the occasion than this one. Originally written by Arthur Smith in 1955, this instrumental was brought to everybody's attention when it was used in the movie Deliverance in 1972. It hit the radio waves and I remember it being played almost non-stop. I've never even seen the movie but I know this song! Let the challenge begin!
A couple weeks ago I was minding my own business when, about dinnertime, I got a call from my oldest grandson, who is 5 years old. He said, "Grandma, I wanna have a corn race!" An immediate smile spreads across my face at the determination in his voice. "Oh you do, do you?" I reply. "Yeah! Daddy says you can eat more corn than me! But I think I can eat more! I wanna race when we come visit!" After warning him that I could eat a whooooole bunch of corn, the corn race was set.
A little story backfill is required here. You see - my corn-eating prowess has been made somewhat of a legend - by my husband. Ever since our children have been old enough to hold a little nubby ear of corn in their chubby little hands, he has told them about our first corn-on-the-cob meal together as husband and wife. We were married in August - the height of corn season - so the "event" took place very shortly after our marriage. We had been given some corn and, having grown up growing corn in our family garden, I knew exactly how to prepare it. The whole dozen stacked high on the platter, my husband and I sat down to our meal. I can't remember what else was served. When there's corn-on-the-cob I see nothing else. It is my all-time favorite vegetable.
We blessed our meal and I began eating. Well, my husband would say I started the "inhalation process" or "feeding frenzy." Whatever. Needless to say, it was a sight for a new groom to behold as his little bride proceeded to whittle each ear of corn down with minimal air intake in a surprisingly short span of time. At one point he says that I stopped to look at him and there was corn all over my face. One of those freeze-frame moments for him, I suppose. I like my corn. Alot.
Soooo - when my grandson called with his challenge, I'm sure that the story of grandma's corn-eating had just been shared at the next generation's dinner table. Being a spunky little guy, it's no surprise to me that a race was the first thing that came to his mind.
When they came for their visit, we first jumped in the pool and he showed me all of his special dive moves - the penguin, the whale, the shark, you know, the usual. I showed him my chin-ups from the diving board - which he immediately copied.
After working up an appetite, it was time for the corn race.
Getting down to business.
Keeping an eye on the competition!
The smile of sweet victory!
He won - 5 - 3!
And what were the victor's first words upon winning?
"Next race is gonna be beans!!!!"
Oh my goodness, how I love this little guy!
For the Great Corn Race of 2012, I made an herbed butter. I love the special house butters that restaurants serve with their breads. In culinary school, we learned how herbed butter blends can really accent dishes. Want to know what that special flavor is on steaks? Often, a dab of herb butter is put on a steak as it comes off the grill. It melts down into the juicy meat and just ramps up that flavor. This butter blend would be especially good on chicken and fish - not just veggies! And let's not forget about pasta!
Parsley Parmesan Butter
makes 1/2 lb.
2 cubes unsalted butter
1 shallot, loosely chopped
1 handful of fresh parsley
1/4 c. grated Parmesan, I used the Kraft canned this time
salt, to taste
In a food processor, add all ingredients except salt and process until well-combined and smooth. Taste and season with salt, starting with 1/2 t. and pulsing to blend after each addition.
When you have the desired amount of salt, scrape the butter mixture out onto parchment paper or wax paper then roll into a tootsie roll formation. When set, you will be able to slice and serve it.
To keep it from getting a flat edge, I hung my roll from the shelf in the freezer by a paper clamp.
In 20 minutes it was ready to slice. Of course, if you don't care if it's in a sliceable state, then simply take it from the bowl of the food processor into a serving bowl. But I like the presentation of the slices myself.