Cornography: It’s an Addiction

It's legal, hot and local. Plus, a local food challenge you don’t want to miss!

Photos by Leah Lizarondo

My name is Leah and I’m addicted to corn. In fact, I love hardcore corn. Yes, my spell check is working.

Hardcore corn is the real stuff. That is, non-GMO corn. It's hardcore because it's hard to find. You don’t just pick up this corn from any establishment. Unfortunately, most of the corn available out there is genetically modified. The Center for Food Safety estimates that up to 85 percent of the corn produced in the U.S. is genetically engineered. Some say that the jury is out on why that's not ideal, but if you ask me, I like my food as close to the way nature made it as humanly possible. So when I find hardcore corn, I stock up my stash.

The end of August, sadly, is the end of the peak of corn season. I always like to send local corn season off with a salvo and do it up a bit. Do it up with some awesome fixins. Yes, it's amazing with just butter and salt, but have you had it Latino-style? No? Well, then now is the time to go beyond the usual routine and spice it up a bit.

And what better occasion to up your corn quotient than Labor Day Weekend? For some of us, this is the last big grillfest of summer. A weekend of food with friends. And corn is more fun with friends. In fact, the first time I had Latino-style corn again after moving to Pittsburgh was with my food exchange group — a weekly food co-op where we cook for a crowd and exchange the fruits of our labor. It's amazing and you can read about it more here.

This corn recipe is all about the grillin’ and fixin’ – try it this weekend and um, as the saying goes, kick it up a notch.

  Grilled Corn, Latino-Style

  • 8 ears of fresh corn, husks tied back and silk removed
  • 3 T melted butter OR Earth Balance Soy-free OR olive oil
  • 1-2 t Chopped habanero (optional)
  • 1 t Chopped garlic (optional)
  • 3 T vegan mayonnaise (I like Follow Your Heart Soy Free)
  • 3 T freshly grated queso anejo, cotija cheese, queso fresco, Parmesan or Romano cheese OR a vegan substitute: I typically just mix together cashews, nutritional yeast, salt and a little garlic powder – put it in a grinder
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 1 T paprika
  • 2 limes – cut into wedges
  • Cilantro (optional)

1. Preheat grill to medium.
2. Peel back the husks of the corn without removing them. Remove the silks and recover the corn with the husk. Soak in large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.
3. Make the butter – mix together the softened butter, garlic and habanero until well combined.
4. Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Unwrap corn and brush with the garlic/habanero butter and/or mayonnaise. Sprinkle with the cheese, paprika and chili powder and squeeze with lime. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, to garnish.
5. Season with salt and pepper.


September is harvest season and The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” campaign is celebrating LOCAL FOOD MONTH.

I would love for you to show your support for our local growers by telling the world about why you love your local farmers’ market and/or your local farmer.

And just by doing some farmer PDA, you and your favorite date can get a chance to go to SAVOR Pittsburgh’s TWO evenings for culinary competitions next week! Restaurants participating include Meat & Potatoes, Verde, Tamari, Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen, Habitat Restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel and The Porch at Schenley, among many others. You get to taste all the entries! And party all night! How awesome is that? I’m one of the judges of the competition along with local food greats Rick Sebak, Chris Fennimore and Marlene Parrish.

Details on The Brazen Kitchen CLICK HERE – it's super easy! Do IT!

Categories: Brazen Kitchen