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Thumb_2806584460_8a6cafc5e2Root Source: Sweet Corn

Thumb_2806584460_8a6cafc5e2Root Source: Sweet Corn

what you should know The most widely grown crop in North America, corn is used in the manufacturing of everything from aspirin to batteries to latex paint. Nevermind all that. When corn is straight off the stalk and at the peak of its perfect sweetness, some consider it to be even better than sex. best by Corn doesn't stay fresh long and should be eaten within 2-3 days after being picked. Look for green husks and juicy kernels. Unlike tomatoes, corn's sugar-to-starch conversion is slowed by refrigeration, so you can keep it in the fridge. call us corny When did corny become an insult? If you ask us for corny recipes, you aren't likely to get something "trite, dated, unimaginative." siblings In pre-Columbian North America, corn was grown alongside squash and beans. The trio was known as the Three Sisters. toppings Corn is one of the most popular pizza toppings in Japan. Spot the cob and other unique toppings dancing in this ad. what you need For a detailed history of corn on our continent, read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. These corn holders will save you from scorched fingertips. These corn holders will spare your fingertips and make you laugh. Want to save time in the kitchen? Get a corn stripper. This informative book gives kids a peek at how corn is grown. (Despite its name, Children of the Corn is not kid-appropriate.) what you do Corn salsa is incredibly versatile. You can pile it on top of meat, mix it into green salad -- or just eat it by itself. For a seafoody twist on the classic corn chowder, add crab. Combine three seasonal vegetables to make this fresh summer salad. Grilled steak with pepper and corn relish over crostini is a killer combination of crunchy, crisp, and tender. Creamed corn is kid-friendly (even for kids who have braces). Cilantro's soapy flavor makes the corn in this ragout taste even sweeter. Why bother boiling? Grill your corn with thyme butter. Featured: You can't go wrong with these colorful corn and broccoli calzones. Congratulations to reader Elizabeth Skipper who submitted the featured recipe for this week's Root Source Challenge!

Thumb_445484199_a6fb96eaf2What does emulsify mean?

Thumb_445484199_a6fb96eaf2What does emulsify mean?

To emulsify means to bind two things together that don't naturally bind, like oil and vinegar. In order to make the combination work, you need an emulsifier, a bridge substance. Common emulsifiers include eggs (to bind oil and lemon juice for mayonnaise) and mustard (for vinaigrette). To emulsify, you'll need a whisk, blender or food processor. When a recipe doesn't call for an emulsifier to bind, say, a vinaigrette, whisk the oil and vinegar into a temporary emulsion just before serving. Reference: What makes a mustard "Dijon"? Reference: Homemade mayo: worth it? Recipe: Shallot-mustard vinaigrette Recipe: Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette (Kalyn's Kitchen)

Thumb_marjoram-oreganoMarjoram vs. oregano

Thumb_marjoram-oreganoMarjoram vs. oregano

Marjoram is oregano's calmer, sweeter fraternal twin. Oregano = zesty + peppery + lemony. Marjoram = delicate + floral + round. The two are often used interchangeably but if you get up in their mix you'll see some big differences. Want to test the difference? Get a fresh sprig of marjoram and a fresh sprig of oregano. Tear an oregano leaf in half. Hold it up to your nose. Smell that piney resin? That jolt? It's sharp, isn't it? Almost one note. Okay, wait a few minutes, then do the same thing with the marjoram. Smell the complexity? The spice is still there but it's perfumed, heady. Almost soapy. (If you use too much of it, that soapiness can take over a soup or sauce.) So, can you use one in place of the other? Sure. If you use oregano when a recipe calls for marjoram (or vice versa), the flavors of the dish won't be wildly different. Still, we like to honor and explore the subtle character differences between the two. Try some of our marjoram recipes or oregano recipes on Cookthink.

Thumb_870691047_df077bc740What makes a tomato an heirloom tomato?

Thumb_870691047_df077bc740What makes a tomato an heirloom tomato?

An heirloom is a thing handed down from generation to generation. Is an heirloom tomato then a tomato plant that's been handed down from generation to generation?  Sort of. An heirloom tomato is an open-pollinated tomato whose seed grows "true to type" -- meaning, if you plant Cherokee Purple seed, you're going to get Cherokee Purple plants. From generation to generation, that seed will stay true (and so, you could argue, the plant gets "passed down"). Some heirloom tomatoes have, in fact, stayed within one family and so are heirlooms in the truest sense of the word. Other heirloom tomatoes circulate widely. The term "heirloom" was applied to tomatoes (and plants in general) to distinguish traditional varieties (and techniques) from the F1 hybrids of modern seed industry. Seed from an F1 hybrid plant reverts to something in its parentage and so does not stay true from generation to generation. Through years of selection, some hybrids have been "stabilized" or "dehybridized" so that their seeds are true to type.  As Phelan from points out, , so the distinction between "hybrid" and "heirloom" is more about age (old vs. new) and hybridizing technique (classically bred vs. GMO).  Speaking of age, an heirloom is an old thing. How old does a tomato have to be before it's an heirloom? It's debatable. Some say that to be an heirloom, a tomato must have originated before 1940, when the hybrid seed business began to take off. Others insist that you can't put a date on a label that has more to do with technique than time. To get in on the debate about what is and isn't an heirloom, check out Gardenweb's Growing Tomatoes forum. Recipe: Tomato recipes at Cookthink Resource: The National Gardening Association has an solid introduction on open pollination versus hybridization. If you're looking for hard-to-find heirloom varieties, try the Seed Savers Exchange. Story: Gary Ibsen named one of his open-pollinated tomatoes after Julia Child. Read the story here.

Thumb_572440916_f83ef03bb2What exactly is feta cheese?

Thumb_572440916_f83ef03bb2What exactly is feta cheese?

Feta cheese is the most famous Greek invention since democracy. Traditionally made from sheep's (or goat's) milk, commercial producers now also use cow's milk to make the bright white, rindless cheese. Feta is cured and stored in a salty whey brine and has a distinct tangy taste and crumbly texture. Feta is made by draining curdled milk in molds or cloth bags. It is then cut into slices, salted, and these days, packed in whey brine-filled barrels or plastic tubs, although the best feta is salted and aged rather than drowned in brine. The flavor and level of moisture in the cheese depends on the cheesemaker. Feta-like cheese is now made in many parts of the world. In Europe the cheese is produced from Bulgaria to Denmark and France. But authentic Greek feta is now protected in Europe with an AOC designation of origin label, like Champagne or Bordeaux. Real feta must contain at least 70 percent sheep's milk and be made using traditional methods and in just seven regions of Greece. Feta cheese sold in the U.S. does not have to comply with these rules.