I like problems to always have solutions. It’s that feeling of closure and evenhandedness that come with tackling your newest obstacle, being the creative and driving force behind change or putting something to rest that needed to lay down a long time ago that is so gratifying. It’s inspiring and challenging to ask those questions that went unasked, manoeuvring the unknowns that come with it, and appreciating the self-growth that come with allowing yourself to explore new situations. We were created to interact, and sometimes we try and avoid the less challenging aspects of this, when we should remember that one of the most liberating things is to let go of our preoccupations and accept even the less comfortable aspect of life.
Because we are challenged by life in all ways, large and small, one almost fluttered past me the other day, as I was comfortably engaged in a relaxing, well-worn routine. Which one of us hasn’t shucked corn and deftly peeled back the leaves and silk, discarding it to the side? I am certainly guilty of it, essentially my entire life. As I was feeling in a particularly creative mood that day and food waste has always been an integral issue for me to which I am always looking for solutions (How can I put to use every…last…bit!?), it struck me that perhaps those soft, fluid strands enveloping the cob - corn silk – were something that could be used and not wasted. Well what a great question that was! A little research later and I had discovered that my long-term habit of corn shucking had been throwing away one of the most nutritious parts of the corn. Corn silks are the stigmas of the female flowers of the corn plant and a wonderful fiber that act as a diuretic, improving the kidney function, lowering blood sugar and toning the bladder. Also known as zea mays, corn silk is a natural herbal remedy, traditionally brewed as a tea, that has been around for a very long time.
Another solution to an often overlooked ‘problem’ that only humbles me to realize how many opportunities there are out there to continue to learn from the little things in life. And I was happily munching on these little guys in no time, after a quick and neat presentation had them incorporated over this colourful raw and crunchy big bowl of deliciousness below. This is one of my favourite salads, full of fresh flavour, enzymes and necessary vitamins. The toasted hazelnuts, fresh sprigs of rosemary, raw, sweet corn and crisp vegetables, marry this incredibly fresh and healthy salad and make it a filling lunch or side at dinner. It won’t take you longer than 15 minutes to make either.
crisp corn silk salad with rosemary + hazelnuts
serves 1 as a main dish or 2 side dishes
1 ear of corn, husk + silk still intact
1 1/2 cups raw red cabbage, chopped
3/4 cup raw cauliflower, finely chopped
3/4 cup raw broccoli, finely chopped
1/3 cup raw hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
scant 1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1. Toast the hazelnuts in an oven or toaster oven at 300°F for 10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant.
2. Carefully peel back the husk of the corn, gathering the corn silk and gently pulling it away from the bottom of the cob. Chop the bunch in half and set aside. Pull apart the rosemary leaves from the stem.
3. Stand the bare ear of corn on its bottom and use a long knife to slice the corn off the cob, working from top to bottom, and rotating the cob until you’ve reached every side. Combine the loose corn, rosemary, hazelnuts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and red onion in a bowl.
4. Dress the salad with the salt, pepper, olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Toss to combine and serve!