For as long as I can remember, corn has been one of my favorite summertime foods. As a kid, I loved to sit on the picnic table in our backyard shucking ear after ear of the patchwork white-and-pale-yellow Olathe sweet corn my mom would bring home by the bushel. Later I’d slather it with butter and salt and sink my teeth in the way my dog attacks a meaty beef bone.
When I got my braces in fifth grade, I learned to eat corn on the cob one row at a time to minimize the hardware-cleaning process (corn was officially forbidden by the orthodontist, but I really think I outsmarted him on this one; don’t ask about my Milk Dud incident). I always thought eating something as nutritious as a fresh vegetable — especially since I loved it so much — was worth it.
Last night I went out with some girlfriends for a little spa treatment and I turned a few heads when I pulled out my own little travel mani and pedi toolkit, packed with all the essentials including my non-toxic nail polish and nail polish remover. After all, an eco-girl doesn’t have to be less fabulous to be eco-chic.
Take a look around your house. See anything there that, with a little processing, could be turned into fuel to run a car, or even an airplane? If you’ve got ears of corn in the fridge, you might be thinking about those. Maybe you’re even eyeing the sugar jar. But wait. Crank up your imagination. Take a gander at the following things that, once tossed out, can become the inputs for new sources of fuel.
As much as I love wintry comfort foods like pot pies and stew, I can’t help but be happy in the warmer months when I see watermelon, zucchini, tomatoes (organic, non-tainted ones, natch) and other summer produce come into season.
Soft-skinned summer squash have an edible rind and a sweet, mild taste that is perfectly accentuated with a little butter. Look for them at your local farmers’ market. If you can’t find summer squash, substitute green or yellow zucchini.
1 tablespoon butter, plus more to taste
3 small summer squash, such as yellow crookneck, diced
Kernels from 2 ears of corn
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley