cloudy with a chance of cranky.

It's been a bit stormy around here of late.  No thunderstorms, though I wish I could point fingers.  No, the rumbling and flashes have been compliments of yours truly. 
Truly, the weather's been sort of awful.  Endlessly overcast, for one thing.  But mostly deceptive.  For some reason, I thought it was fall.  I guess the great honking V's of geese overhead and the annual back-to-school-everything and the drifts of golden honey locust leaves on our driveway fooled me.  I'm gullible that way.  I'm also mistaken.   Because it's been in the 90's all week, which is clearly not September weather.

Oddly enough, I just checked my facts, and discovered is also mistaken.  It claims the mercury hasn't inched much past the low-80's all week, which is patently false.  Maybe it's a vast dot-com conspiracy.  Or maybe it's the humidity.

It's been humid.  Wait, let me try that again.  It's been H-U-M-I-D !!!  If you could just get your hands around the air over here and give it a good squeeze, you could irrigate the Sahara.  Possibly the Gobi as well.  My car is a greenhouse.  I'm wearing my shiny nose.  Puppie paw prints on my wood floors, you'd swear a band of rogue Oompa-Loompas snuck in straight off the cotton candy line and held an all-night polka party in my family room.  Without washing up first.  Sticky, sticky, sticky.

Humidity makes me cranky.

As it is, I'm not always an easy person to live with.  I'm not awful, exactly.  I don't holler or leave piles of stuff laying around (not big ones, anyway) or own any off-limits sofas upholstered in white cashmere.  Though I did bring home a velvet chaise once. and a pair of mid-century parlor chairs.  White might have been preferable.  

Aesthetics aside, it's my quirky timing, my odd sense of scale, that can make putting up with me a little rough.  I have this knack for zeroing in on the busiest of times, and adding just one more thing.  Preferably one more epic, labor-intensive, spectacularly messy thing.  Let's call it the Christmas Cookie Syndrome.  Partly it's my baroque background, my proud motto: "More is more.  But still more is definitely, definitely better."  But mostly it's me.  I'm the toddler who throws together a little wood-block Versailles between p.j.'s and preschool, then begs to add a few more turrets, just for good measure.  I'm the eight-hours-and-counting skier who sees the moon-glowing snow and thinks, just three more runs.  I'm the Bedouin who spies the achy, sagging camel and cajoles, "Chin up!  A few more bales of straw, and you'll be brilliant!".  

Fortunately, I also have a minor in Realism, which I try to dust off every now and again.  So when I feel like this?  I know better.   

just sayin'.

                                                   Brown-Buttered Corn with Feta and Mint
Serves 4 as side dish
Adapted from Gourmet, July 2009
The original version left the corn on the cob, and turned the toppings into a compound butter.  I find corn much easier to eat off the cob, and butter endlessly better browned.  Mint was wonderful here, and a little unexpected, but basil would be equally, differently lovely.  Be sure to use a good, whole feta (not pre-crumbled; it has none of feta's toothsome texture or tangy flavor), preferably sheep's milk. I served this as a side, but I would happily call a big bowl dinner.

4 ears corn
3 Tbs. butter
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1 small bunch mint, slivered
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, set butter to brown over medium-high heat, 4-8 minutes.  Butter will melt and then bubble for several minutes, before the milk solids finally begin to turn color.  Keep an eye on the butter as you prepare the other ingredients, watching for little flecks of gold, noticing a nutty rich scent.  Once the milk solids (flecks) are amber, remove pan from stove until corn is ready.

While butter's browning, shuck corn, then strip kernels from cob.  Set the cob on end in a shallow bowl, and run a thin, sharp knife (paring or chef's) down the contours of the corn, narrow tip to wide base.  The bowl captures most of the fall-out.

Add kernels to browned butter, and return skillet to heat.  Saute over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes, until kernels are coated and browning in spots.  Add crumbled feta, and cook another 1-2 minutes, until feta melts.  Taste, and adjust salt and pepper as needed. 


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