Grilled Corn (Mostly Vegan)

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My parents used to host weekly “Gilmore Girls” dinners for my sister and me on Monday nights.  The dinner has nothing to do with actually watching Gilmore Girls; we simply derived the term from a regular plot occurrence on the show Gilmore Girls in which the character Lorelei Gilmore enacts a deal with her parents that they would pay for Rory’s education with the unflinchingly rigid stipulation that she and Rory have dinner with Lorelei’s parents each and every week.

We started referring to our weekly dinners as “Gilmore Girls” dinners.  Though no education (or blackmail to attain said education) is involved.

Anyway, we recently re-started what I hope will be a semi-regular “Gilmore Girls” tradition.  At the most recent inaugural dinner, my parents prepared a remarkably veg-friendly menu (courtesy of their brand new gas grill) that included wonderful things like eggplant and basil salad, grilled Portabella mushrooms and the like.  The highlight of the dinner, however was the grilled corn-on-the-cob.  The original corn-on-the-cob meal included smoked paprika, garlic aioli and Manchego cheese.  Mmm.

Tonight, I decided to re-create that recipe tonight with a few tweaks to make it even more veg-friendly.  This was the perfect side to some veggie burgers and broccoli cranberry slaw I picked up from Fresh Market.  It didn’t hurt that organic corn was 2 for $1.

I ended up making the corn mostly vegan, switching out butter and mayo for Earth Balance mayo and butter.  I couldn’t seem to give up the cheese (yet again); however, if you want to make this recipe vegan, just take the cheese out.  Also, in lieu of a charcoal or gas grill, I used a grill pan on medium high heat that seemed to work just as well!

Grilled Corn-On-the-Cob (w/ Garlic Aioli, Smoked Paprika and Aged Cheddar Cheese)
Grilled Corn
4 ears of corn, husked
4 tablespoons of Earth Balance butter, melted
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1) Pre-Heat grill pan on medium-high heat.
2)Husk the corn and wash thoroughly.  Set aside in a baking dish or plate.
3) Melt 4 tablespoons of Earth Balance butter. Brush melted butter on each ear of corn
4) Season with salt and pepper if desired.
5) Place each ear of corn on the grill pan on medium-high heat for 13-15 minutes.  You will have to rotate it every few minutes to make sure each side grills evenly.  I like to cook them until they char slightly on all sides so this takes a little bit longer.
6) Remove from grill when ready and set aside.

Simple Garlic Aioli
2/3 cup of Earth Balance Mayo
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/3 cup of olive oil
Juice from 1 lime (I wanted to use lemon but I only had fresh lime on hand.  It worked just as well!)
Fresh Italian leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  If you have a food processor or blender, blend them together for a smoother, creamier sauce.

Now you’re ready to assemble!  Spread each ear of corn with a dollop of garlic aioli, dust each with some smoked paprika and finally top with some shredded aged Cheddar cheese.  I’m on a budget, so I skipped the Manchego this time, but I did buy some lovely 4 year-aged Cheddar cheese that worked pretty well.  Again, if you want this completely dairy-free, simply skip the cheese or use veggie shreds.

Voila!  The perfect summer side dish.  The grilled corn is fairly versatile so I plan on experimenting with other flavors (I want to try and use some cilantro and coconut bacon in future recipes… I’ll let you know what I end up trying!)

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