Roasted Corn with Ancho-Chili Butter in an Outdoor Kitchen
Ever since we bought our rooftop abode in Kelowna a couple of years ago we have been talking about having an outdoor kitchen installed on the north side of the patio. I like to cook and thought it would be nice to have an additional kitchen outdoors that would be handy for entertaining, perhaps informal cooking classes for friends, food photography or just for us to have fun with it.
Finally this summer we got around to making inquiries and found Gareth from Mode Concrete (http://www.modeconcrete.com/) who owns and operates this leading company in the Okanagan designing and installing outdoor kitchens among other things concrete. Gareth came over to look at the space, discuss the equipment we needed for our style of cooking and consider the overall design. Gareth and I hit it off immediately and had fun thinking this project through together. I told him about my blog so he knew I liked to cook and needed a good design and high quality appliances. A couple of days later he emailed me drawings of the proposed design. He proposed a 12 foot long kitchen with a fridge, a grill, two gas burners and a sink. The counter space allowed for two work areas, one between the burners and the sink and one next to the grill. The design allowed for storage below the grill and the sink as well as a few drawers for storing smaller items. We discussed the choices for the front and sides of the cabinetry and settled on river rock, to match the river rock along a couple of other areas on the patio. This was to be the first river rock kitchen for Mode Concrete and Gareth seemed just as excited about it as I was. For the countertop we chose a black slate tile that nicely offset the grey tones of the river rock and the silvery stainless steel of the appliances. Gareth was fun to work with and made good suggestions about the placement of the appliances to allow for more work and storage space in the outdoor kitchen. Then we discussed the appliances. Mode concrete offers a selection of high end outdoor appliances and on their recommendation we chose the Luxor line. Luxor is a US manufacturer of high end stainless steel products using high grade steel that is necessary in this cold climate where the appliances have to withstand low temperatures during the winter (now that I have cooked with it I can say it is a fabulous product).
Once we settled on the design, appliances, finishings and price we signed a contract and Mode Concrete provided us with a time-line for completing the project. Gareth promised to have the kitchen fully installed within two weeks and I must admit that in my mind I thought yes… sure… Amazingly enough, he was right on target and within two weeks I had the kitchen fully installed and functioning. As he told me from the beginning, they were on time and on budget. Mode concrete managed the entire project, including ordering the appliances, hiring and supervising trades, installing the frame and appliances and even did a demo on how to use the appliances when the kitchen was ready. I was impressed, and hence this endorsement in this post (nothing to disclose, it was a straight forward business deal).
Now that I have the kitchen I am still getting a couple of extra things made that will personalize it and make it even more user friendly. One thing is a butcher block cart on casters that can be moved around and will be useful as an extra work space or maybe for cooking classes demo (if ever) and the other is a long stainless steel shelve to be built above the counter along the entire length of the kitchen. I think the shelve would be handy for storing a few small items and display kitchen “stuff”. I like having beautiful kitchen items on display and this would be a perfect place for it. Why not?
So the first item I cooked in the new kitchen was corn. As you know I cook only vegetarian so steaks were not on the menu. This is corn season in the Okanagan and roasting corn seemed like the perfect fit. I bought a dozen cobs from my favourite corn vendor on a local farm (Byrns Rd.) anticipating leftovers cobs (only 3 of us for dinner). I planned to later scrape the roasted kernels off the leftover cobs to make a roasted corn salad. Stay tuned. I flavoured the corn with Ancho Chili butter and plan to experiment with other flavourings in the next few weeks.
Note: if you want to prepare ahead you could microwave the corn for 8 minutes or so to begin the cooking and finish it on the grill before dinner.
1 dozen cobs of corn
Paprika – chili sprinkles
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened)
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine butter with remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow flavours to set. Bring back to room temperature before using.
Paprika-Chili for sprinkling:
1/2 cup Spanish Paprika
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Combine all ingredients, store in an airtight jar. Keeps well.
Remove husks from the corn cobs and clean any lingering “hairs”.
Place corn on a baking sheet and brush with the room-temperature chili butter. Brush the butter over all sides of the corn.
Sprinkle a little salt and if you wish also freshly ground pepper.
Heat the grill to medium-high setting.
Place the corn over the hot grill and cook until blackened in spots. Keep turning the corn until all sides are nicely grilled.
As the cobs are ready remove them to a cooler corner of the grill.
You can continue to brush them with the chili butter as they cook.
Serve with salt and paprika-chili blend.