Sweet Corn & Bean Salad and Rosewater Lemonade

 

After taking my washer apart and painstakingly repairing it (yes, me, all by myself) – which took a total of about 6 hours hot food was not welcome – I needed cold and refreshing!  Enter the cold black bean and corn salad…with a  glass of homemade rosewater lemonade!  Lemons, corn and sweet red pepper compliments of Brewers Organics!

holly bean

Rosewater Lemonade

•6 cups water

•2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)

•1/2 teaspoon salt

•1 tablespoon rosewater

•1 cup sugar

Makes one half gallon

And the Sweet corn and Black Beans…

 1 15oz. can of black beans

1 large red bell pepper

2 large ears of organic sweet corn

1 avocado (ripened, but firm)

1 lime, juiced

1 tsp. rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. adobo seasoning*

Remove the husks from the sweet corn and, using a chef’s knife, cut the whole kernels off of the cob.  Rinse the kernels under cold water, drain, and set aside.  Dice the red bell pepper and dice the avocado and set aside in separate bowls.  Cook the black beans over a low-medium simmer and, after about 5 minutes, add the corn and simmer over low-medium heat for another 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on the corn and beans to ensure they do not cook beyond the point of being firm.  Once they are done rinse them under cold water.  After everything has cooled gently mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, adding lime juice (to taste) as the last step.  Additional ingredients you may want to consider are cilantro and queso fresco sprinkled over the top upon serving.

*adobo seasoning:  you can purchase pre-mixed or make it yourself as a fresh adobo seasoning with a ratio of olive oil (2), salt (2), pepper (2), rice wine vinegar (1), garlic (1), mexican oregano (1), and cumin(1).

The Case For Organic Corn and Organic Corn Products

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It’s sweet corn season and we often times get questions like “Why in the world is organic corn so expensive?” Or, isn’t corn bad?  Well, there is a big difference between organic corn and conventional corn. And about GMO’s well, we are glad you brought the subject up! To weigh in on the subject is one of our resident food bloggers, with a little info on GMO corn and how to avoid GMO’s in our food source.

 

Written by Food Blogger Christine Fontanin:

 

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is an organism (i.e. plant / food product) where DNA from one organism is extracted and introduced into the DNA of a completely unrelated organism.  This is not a hybrid.   The unknown long term effects of GMOs are not completely known, but are quite controversial in the scientific and natural-minded community. In 2012, 88% of corn grown in the United States was genetically modified (USDA).

 

GMO corn has been genetically engineered to kill insects by creating its own pesticides (Bt toxin) and so that you can spray it with Round-Up (i.e. glyphosate herbicide) and it won’t die it…. totally freaky.  I’ve personally grown corn and I know how susceptible it is to bugs.  You can go to bed with beautiful rows of corn growing in your garden and wake up with it being totally decimated from caterpillars.  I also have seen Round-Up used on weeds and know how utterly effective it is at killing.

 

The Bt Toxin in the GMO corn is ingested by the insect when it takes a bite of corn.  The toxin binds to the digestive tract of the insect and pretty much puts holes in its digestive system.  This allows the bacteria (e. coli etc.) from the insects guts into its blood stream and kills it from sepsis (University of Kentucky Agriculture).  Since the Bt toxin in GMO corn is genetically engineered into the corn (i.e. this is not a spray application on the outside of it), the toxin resides in every plant cell and tissue of the corn all the time.  You won’t be able to wash it off, instead you eat it.  Round Up (glyphosate herbicide) has been claimed by several scientists to be associated with a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers (Entropy).  Roundup and other toxic synthetic chemical pesticides are banned in certified organic farming.  Organic farmers cannot knowingly plant GMO seed.

 

Simply put, GMO corn freaks me out.  GMO soy and GMO sugar is a close second.  The reason being is that corn, sugar and soy are in the vast majority of everything you buy in a box. The latest reports are that insects and weeds are becoming resistant to the GMO corn anyways (Yale), but Monsanto is hard at work creating new and stronger varieties of GMO corn to repel these now “superbugs.”   At some point, I feel like something that is so toxic to other forms of life may very well be toxic to all forms of life; including humans.  The fact that you can buy 12 ears of conventional corn for $1.00, but 1 ear of organic corn is at least $1.00 is telling.

 

Beyond the obvious corn, corn chips and corn tortillas, here is just a partial list of products that contain GMO corn or GMO corn products such as corn syrup, corn starch and baking powder (usually leavened with corn starch).  Love your tortilla chips?  We do!  Just switch to blue corn chips instead cooked with sunflower oil (as of now, blue corn is non-gmo).  Even conventional meat isn’t free from the GMO stream. Enjoying your steak?  Chances are, unless it is organic or grass fed, the cow was fed with GMO feed.  Even Cheerios, one of the first foods given to many babies is made with corn starch, so it is most likely a GMO food.  The only true way to best avoid GMO corn and corn products are to (1) buy organic and (2) stay out of the center aisles at the grocery store. In the produce department the only known GMO items right now are corn, soybeans (also known as edamame), and some versions of zucchini.

Gloria’s 4th of July Eats: Grilled Corn, Pasta Salad and Patriotic Fruit Skewers

 

I hope everyone had a fun, safe and happy 4th of July!  We had friends and family over for a cookout and spent all afternoon hanging out in the yard together after the parade and before heading off to fireworks.  Since I was the hostess this year, I wanted to do something fun and creative.  This was the first time I received blueberries in my Brewer’s Organics produce box and it was perfect timing to do something red, white and blue!  We also cooked our corn on the grill and made pasta salad with my organic cherry tomatoes.

How to Grill Corn:  Leave husks on (but cut off the silks on the top) and soak in the sink or a bowl of water for at least 30 minutes.  Drain them and throw them right on the grill!  It usually takes about 15 minutes to cook.  I used a rectangular serving dish with a lip around it and put melted butter in it.  We just pulled back the husks, dipped in butter, sprinkled with salt and enjoyed!

corn

 

Gloria’s Pasta Salad: I prefer to use colored rotini noodles when I make my pasta salad.  I love adding things so it’s really colorful.  I do not actually measure the veggies when tossing this together, but just add enough to make it look even.  While the pasta is cooking (I used the whole box), prepare the veggies.  Drain the pasta in a colander and run under cold water until it is no longer hot.  Put in a large bowl; add Zesty Italian salad dressing and then veggies.  You may need to add more dressing at the end depending on how strong you like it.  To top it off, I add some grated parmesan cheese, basil leaves from my garden and a few whole cherry tomatoes.

Veggies I used in the pasta salad:  green pepper and cherry tomatoes (from my Brewers Organics box), yellow and orange peppers, onion, black olives, and a few chives (from my garden).  I also added some summer sausage.

pasta salad g

Red, White and Blue Skewers: This was my patriotic dessert this year.  I had a bunch of skewers and wanted to create something that resembled a flag (without having to bake a cake or turn the oven on!).  I cut strawberries in half (to look like triangles), had a bag of marshmallows and my Brewer’s Organics blueberries.  For the first few skewers, I put a strawberry on first, then marshmallow, strawberry, then topped it off with blueberries.  When I had enough to look like the blue stars section of the flag, I finished the rest with just strawberries and marshmallows.  You could substitute bananas for the marshmallows if you’d like to use all fruit, but we were outside all afternoon I didn’t think they’d stand up to the heat.  And who doesn’t love marshmallows in the summertime!

fruit skewers