A corn cocktail and even some ice cream! Getting creative with sweet corn

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MILWAUKEE -- Nothing says summer like sweet corn -- and today we explored both the sweet and savory sides of it. Chef Alisa Malavenda joins Real Milwaukee with some corn creations you'd never even dream of.

Sweet Corn Cocktail 

  • ¼ C fresh corn kernels off the cob
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz dark rum or bourbon
  • 3 drops of chocolate bitters

Muddle/Mash corn in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until milky sweet liquid forms

Add lime juice, simple syrup ,rum or bourbon and bitters, Fill the shaker with ice and shake until frost forms on outside of shaker.

Strain liquid into a cocktail glass

Sriracha Beer Buttered Grilled Corn

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temperature
  • 3 oz IPA beer
  • 2 tsp – 1 T sriracha
  • 1 t garlic, minced
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 8-12 ears corn
  • 3 T olive oil
  • ½ C chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

With a hand or stand mixer , beat butter until it is light and fluffy.

Add the beer, sriracha, garlic and salt and beat until completely combined.

Add butter to parchment paper and roll into a log. Place in refrigerator until firm , at least 1 hour

Brush the corn with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill on all sides until lightly charred and tender, about 2-3 minutes on a side

Add the corn to pieces of aluminum foil, top with several slices of butter, sprinkle with cilantro or parsley.

Bacon Wrapped Corn

  • 4-8 ears of fresh corn, husked and silks removed
  • 2 slices of bacon per ear of corn
  • 1-2 t fresh black pepper
  • 1-2 t chili powder
  • grated parmesan cheese

Wrap 2 pieces of bacon around each corn cob, sprinkle with black pepper and chili powder

Place each ear of corn on a piece of foil and wrap twisting the ends.

Grill over med high heat for 5 minutes on each side for a total of about 15-20 minutes

Remove corn from foil and place bacon wrapped corn directly on grill to crisp bacon.

Corn Salsa

  • 3 fresh ears of corn , kernels removed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper , chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • ¼ C fresh cilantro or parsley , minced fine
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced fine
  • ½ C fresh lime juice
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Take kernels off cob and place in a bowl ( for a roasted salsa , alternatively you could spread corn kernels on a baking sheet, Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until golden and cool)

Add remaining ingredients and mix well to combine all the flavors. Let sit for at least 30 minutes for all the flavors to develop.

This is delicious on its own or with grilled meat and fish.

Grilled Corn and Sausage Kabobs ( makes 4 kabobs)

  • 2 ears of corn , cut each piece into 4 pieces
  • 1 large green or red pepper, cut into 2 “ pieces
  • 1 ring of kielbasa or smoked sausage , cut into 12 pieces
  • ½ C marinade ( recipe follows ) or you can use bottled Italian dressing


  • ½ C olive oil
  • ¼ C red wine vinegar
  • 1 t fresh lemon juice
  • 3 T parmesan cheese
  •  1 T yellow mustard
  • 2 t honey
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • black pepper to taste

Thread corn, kielbasa and peppers on long metal skewers – each skewers should have 2 corn , 2 pepper and 3 sausage.

Whisk together all ingredients for marinade, brush each skewer with the marinade and let sit for 30 minutes.

Grill over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes until vegetables are brown and tender. Make sure you turn and brush more marinade on each side while grilling.

Humitas- ( Corn and Cheese Tamales)

  • 12 Corn Husks- fresh or Dried that have been soaked plus more husks for steaming
  • 4 cups of fresh kernel corn off husk
  • ¼ cup diced sweet onion
  • ½ cup melted butter ( you could also use lard or vegetable oil)
  • 2 large eggs( separated )
  • 1/2 Cup ( approx.) Cornmeal
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 ½ C Chihuahua or  Mozzarella cheese
  1. If using dry husks – soak in water for about 2 hours. If you use fresh husks you need to blanch them. With either you need to do this step so they are pliable..
  2. Chop or puree corn kernels and onions until the are pretty finely ground.
  3. Add the melted butter, egg yolks, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cheese to the corn mixture.
  4. Mix until well incorporated and smooth. The mixture should not be really runny . Add more corn meal if it is too soupy.
  5. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold into the mixture.
  6. Make sure the corn husks are very dry when you start to assemble.
  7. Place corn mixture on the bottom part of husk , fold the long sides in and then fold the skinny end up . Leave the top open and tie.
  8. In a steamer – add water to bottom of steamer insert and have a tight fitting lid. Place humitas inside and cover with any remaining corn husks.
  9. Steam until they are firm to the touch- 30 -40 minutes depending on their size.
  10. NOTE: watch water level. – You can place a coin in the bottom of the pot to let you know if you need to add more water.
  11. Traditional to serve with a Creole Hot Pepper Sauce called Ali Criollo with the humitas

Aji Criollo :

  •  4 Jalapenos
  • 6 T Water
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ C Minced Green Onions
  • 2 T Cilantro

Puree Peppers and 2 T water with the salt in a blender.

Combine the puree with the green onion, cilantro and remaining water. Stir to mix.

Leftover Grilled Corncakes with Blueberry Compote

  • 1 ear of leftover grilled corn, kernels removed
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • ¼ corn meal
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/8 t salt
  • ½ C milk
  • ½ C buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • butter
  • blueberry compote ( recipe follows

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk wet ingredients of milk, buttermilk, egg and extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until it is just combined (lumps are ok) and you do not want to over mix. Gently fold in the corn kernels.

Melt one t butter in a pan over low heat so butter doesn’t burn, turn up heat and add a ladle full of pancake mix to skillet. Cook on first side until you see little bubbles forming on surface(about 2-3 minutes) flip and cook until golden on other side another 2 minutes. DO NOT PAT DOWN - you want to keep them fluffy. Keep the cakes warm in a low heat oven while you make the rest of the batter. You can serve these with maple syrup, put blueberries in the pancakes or make a quick blueberry syrup

 Make the blueberry compote:

  • 6 ounces blueberries (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 cup blueberries, the granulated sugar, water, and lemon juice to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until berries burst and liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup blueberries. Let cool.

Corn Ice Cream with Salted Caramel and Toasted Peanuts

  • 4 ears of corn, kernels removed , but reserve cobs
  • 2 C heavy Cream
  • 2 C whole Milk
  • ¾ C sugar
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Remove kernels off cob and then cut cobs in half. In a large saucepan , add kernels and cob halves, Add cream, milk, ½ C sugar and salt. Bring mixture to almost boiling point , but do not boil. Let cool and steep for 2-3 hours. Discard cobs.

Working in batches, puree corn mixture in blender until smooth. When all the mixture is pureed, return to a saucepan and bring back to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from stove.

Whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ C sugar. temper egg yolks by whisking 1 C of corn mixture into egg yolk mixture. Return the mixture back to saucepan with rest of mixture and cook over medium low heat , whisking constantly until custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the custard through a sieve, pressing down on all the solids, discard solids. Put Custard into an ice bath and refrigerate for  at least 2 hours or over night.

Pour mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze until firm at least 3 hours or overnight.  Serve with caramel cream and chopped toasted peanuts.

For Salted Caramel :

  • ¼ C sugar
  • 2 T water
  • 1 C heavy Cream
  • ½ t flaked sea salt

Add sugar and water to medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the syrup turns golden. Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly add the cream. Be careful as the mixture will spatter. Return to a medium heat and continue to cook and stir until the mixture is smooth. Strain into a heat proof bowl and add salt , stir and then chill

This ice cream is also delicious with the blueberry compote and also used for blueberry or strawberry shortcakes.

Tips and Tricks

  • Tip: For removing silk off cob- use a small brush or clean tooth brush
  • Tip: For removing kernels off corn: use a Bundt pan and stick small end of corn in hole of Bundt pan to stabilize. Run knife along cob and kernels will drop in bowl part of pan for no mess.
  • Tip: For cooking: never use salt in the water- use sugar and lemon juice to bring out the natural sweetness of the corn and keep it tender
  • Soak corn with husk in cold water until ready to cook on the grill. It will steam first inside the husk and stay tender
  • Soak ears with husk in cold water for 15 minutes. Cut ¼ “off the thick end of corn – microwave on medium high for 4 minutes and the husk and silk will slip right off the ear.
  • Tip: For storage Try to eat corn as soon as possible and keep in coldest part of refrigerator so the sugars don’t turn to starch too quickly.