Returning home from travel abroad is filled with a mixture of emotions, but for me its mostly a difficult withdrawal from the constant state of heightened senses and new, challenging experiences that make travel exhilarating and addicting. While my family, friends, job, and boyfriend anchor me to Chicago, in another life, perhaps, I would have joined the foreign service, the expat teaching circuit, or found some other excuse to keep moving on to the next city or continent.
To counter this impulse to flee, there needs to be a conscious effort to bring the travel state of mind home with me - to pursue new experiences that might be just around the corner from my apartment, or sit and enjoy the three-dollar-an-ounce cortados at the local coffee shop down the street. I also need reminders that there are definitely valuable things the States offer that I can't get in Europe. What are they? Sushi and Mexican. With the exception of a 150-year love affair that the French have had with Japanese culture that had produced a good number of sushi establishments in Paris (but why would you go?), and the bizarre kebab-taco joint I stumbled across in Heidelberg (a college town), these two foodstuffs are what I come home craving the most.
So seeing that corn is about "knee high by the fourth of July," I roasted some and satisfied my hunger for some south-of-the-border spice. The recipe is a more refreshing, lighter version of the rich Mexican esquites in that it has a yogurt-based dressing that produces a spicy/cool flavor combo. Hold the tomatoes, add some crumbled queso fresco, and use sour cream instead of yogurt if you want something closer to the real deal. It works as a side, but I usually just have it as a meal. Plus, its a freakishly cheap recipe when corn is in season, which is always nice after two weeks abroad...and a daily $3 cortado addiction.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
- 4 large ears of corn (or 5 smallish)
- 1 roma tomato, small dice
- 1 jalapeno, small dice
- 1/2 small red onion, small dice
- 1/4 cup roasted red peppers from a jar, small dice
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. coriander
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Husk and clean each ear of corn, rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
While the corn roasts, chop and prep all your vegetables. Combine in a large bowl.
Add the yogurt, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.