July means only one thing in Indiana….FAIR TIME!! Counties all over the state are gathering their best tractors, animals and 4-H projects to showcase everything that living in the heartland encompasses and dreaming of blue ribbons.
The hard work of all of these animal owners and their dedication of trying to be the best in their class is amazing.
The pigs are polished. The cows are cuddled. The bunnies are buffed. The horses are hugged. The children are clapping. The pies are primed. The canned goods are cooked. The quilts are queued up on the wall. And the snacks are on sticks!
I like going to the fair to support my community and see their talent in action. I’ve entered the cross-stitch division in the past and even took home a few ribbons….but the thing that gets me through those gates every year is the food.
My favorite is a corn dog smothered in mustard and these potato chips spiralizer from 1 whole potato. If I’m “dining” with someone, it is great to share an elephant ear or big bag of freshly popped kettle corn. (I have also been known to come home with cotton candy.)
Every year there is an “it” food (maybe we could call it the grand prize winner of fair food fare). I’ve seen everything from a deep-fried Twinkie to a chunk of cheese fried in bread to deep fried Oreos. (Hmmm, frying seems to bring in the crowds.)
Things that are easily carried in one hand while you munch on them seem to be the most popular. Think snow cones, those giant turkey legs (where is the rest of the turkey) and pretty much anything on a stick!
One of the more popular dishes that has been popping up at fairs lately is “Mexican” corn (elotes). Simply stated, it is a cooked ear of corn, smeared in mayonnaise, squirted with lime juice, sprinkled with cilantro and finished with chili powder and a crumbly Mexican cheese like cojita.
It is truly delicious but I can’t handle walking and eating something that involved. Corn on the cob is a challenge for me as it is but tossing on all those extras just means I am picking corn out of my hair and bra for the next week instead of just for the night.
Luckily, mobility of the meal isn’t really a necessity for eating at home…it just needs to taste good. It was like I heard a bell ring when I thought “Hey, I’ll just take the corn off the cob and deconstruct my elotes.” (It was like one of the those bells that ring when you are testing your strength at the fair.)
The trick was coming up the right proportions of corn to mayo to cheese so your first bite says guilty fair pleasure. (Another guilty fair pleasure is doing the guess your weight/age game….apparently I look younger and fatter than I actually am!)
Easily summed up (because there really isn’t a recipe), I boiled my husked corn. (Everyone has their favorite method. I go with the put the corn into boiling water, cover, return to a boil and then remove from heat and let sit for another 5 minutes.)
While the corn cooked, I made the sauce.
For each ear of corn, I mixed 1 TBSP EACH of mayo, cilantro and parmesan (sorry…I couldn’t find a Mexican crumbly cheese) in one medium bowl.
I added lime juice to taste (for me it was about 1 tsp lime for each ear of corn).
When the corn is done cooking, remove the kernels in separate bowl.
Slowly, start to drizzle in some of your dressing. You may not use all of it.
You want the corn lightly coated not dripping in sauce. (Okay, you may want it dripping…I won’t judge you.)
Place in individual serving bowls and sprinkle with a little chili powder or even better Tajin. Serve with a slice a lime.
If you’ve never had elotes, I would still say you need to try the “authentic” version…on the cob…walking around with your friends at the fair. And after you have it, you will understand why you might want a bowl-elotes instead.