Food & Drink

Sharon Thompson: Lancaster meat operation opens retail market

Kentuckians have another source for locally raised beef and pork products. Hubble Meats of Lincoln County has upgraded its processing plant to USDA-inspected status and sells meat at its retail store at 195 White Oak Road, Lancaster. Call (606) 365-4994.

The store has a smoker, which enables the plant to cook and develop products such as summer sausage.

A natural affinity

A new survey finds that Americans want natural foods grown in the United States.

Recently, a group of consumers was asked, "Which is the best description to read on a food label?" Twenty-five percent said "100 percent natural" or "all natural." Twenty-four percent said "USDA certified organic" or "100 percent organic," and 17 percent preferred "Grown in the USA."

"This looks baffling on the surface because we Americans like our bananas, oranges and strawberries year-round," said Suzanne Shelton, president of the advertising research firm Shelton Group. The firm focuses on marketing green products to mainstream Americans. "We're used to eating fresh fruits and vegetables grown out of season, including some that can't even be grown in the U.S.

"But we believe the popularity of 'Grown in the USA' reflects three important trends," Shelton said. "First, Americans are increasingly worried about food contamination, and they're concerned about water treatment and crop fertilization in other countries. Second, there is growing support for family farms and local sourcing, a trend that's gone mainstream in the last several years.

"And finally, people are concerned about the economy and job losses, so buying 'Grown in the USA' is a way to help fellow Americans. Red, white and blue is the new green."

Getting an earful

Evans Orchard, 180 Stone Road, Georgetown, is having a sweet corn festival from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 16. Call (502) 863-2255.

Cooks may buy corn for cooking or freezing. A great way to prepare fresh corn is to grill it. America's Test Kitchen recommends kicking it up a notch by slathering it with a creamy, spicy sauce like Mexican street vendors do. Here's how to re-create that flavor at home.

To achieve maximum charring without drying out the corn, the testers grilled husked corn directly on the grates over a very hot fire. Coating the corn with oil and chili powder gave it spice and prevented it from sticking to the grill. A mixture of sour cream and mayonnaise proved a good substitute for hard-to-find crema in the sauce used to coat the cooked corn in this authentic-tasting grilled corn recipe.


Mexican-style charcoal-grilled corn

Vegetable oil for cooking grate

1/4 cup regular or light mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sour cream

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves

1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

4 teaspoons juice from 1 lime

1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup) (see note)

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt

6 large ears corn, husks and silk removed

Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Arrange all coals in even layer over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate.

While grill is heating, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, black pepper, cayenne (if using), lime juice and cheese in large bowl; set aside. In second large bowl, combine oil, salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder; add corn and toss until coated evenly.

Grill corn over coals, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on all sides, 7 to 12 minutes total. Remove from grill and place in bowl with mayonnaise mixture; toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: If you can find queso fresco or Cotija, use either in place of the Pecorino Romano.