Summer is here, with hot days and sometimes very cool nights.

It seems like summer evenings can often be the best part of summer. One such evening is just around the corner at The Corkscrew Saloon in Medina. Chef Ryan Marino is hosting a very special dinner, which he is calling the Patriot’s Bourbon and Cigar Dinner, on July 25. This dinner is special because part of the proceeds benefit Fallen15.org. Combine that with Chef Marino’s always-impressive dinner event menus and drink pairings, plus a few fine cigars, and you have a very good summer night!

Fallen 15 is a nonprofit created to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism. During their events, they celebrate the lives and service of our fallen warriors who selflessly gave to our nation. In addition, through camaraderie programs, they inspire others to come together in support of our service members and military families left behind.

Corkscrew Saloon will have a guest speaker for the evening, Sgt. Major Kevin Colwell, a U.S. Special Forces Green Beret who has served with distinction in combat.

I have a huge respect for our U.S. armed forces and all who serve to defend our freedom. I also have a great deal of respect for the absolute, over-the-top quality of Corkscrew Saloon’s menus at the events I have attended. Each and every one has exceeded my expectations. This one, I am sure, will be no different.

First course is a Buffalo Trace crafted cocktail. This will be followed by seared scallops with house tomato butter, paired with 1792 Bourbon. Third course will be smoked tri-tip steak paired with Eagle Rare Bourbon. Fourth course will be hatch chili and chicken corn chowder paired with Weller’s Antique Bourbon. Fifth course will be Marino's famous bread pudding with bourbon vanilla sauce paired with Blanton’s Bourbon. A Blanton's representative will be on site, too.

The evening will also include two fine Deployment Cigars, one of which is a Blanton’s Infused Deployment Cigar. The Deployment Cigar Co. donates one cigar for every 10 sold directly to military support groups to put into a care package that goes into the hands of a soldier protecting our freedoms. Great food, paired with fine bourbon selections and a few nice cigars that also benefit our troops on a cool summer night. I believe I am in!

The event is by reservation only and has limited seating, so I recommend calling the restaurant now to reserve your spot if you are interested. Cost is $135 per person. The event begins at 6 p.m. and will be held in the Carriage House behind Corkscrew Saloon, overlooking the beautifully-landscaped lawn, patio and pond. Call 330-725-0220 to make a reservation.

Elote, a.k.a. 'Mexican Street Corn'

With Ohio sweet corn season coming upon us fast, I wanted to equip you with a new recipe. They say that street food in any culture is always a good thing. While I enjoy just pure Ohio sweet corn, no butter needed, I sometimes like to make it fancy when entertaining by making Mexican street corn, known as "Elote" in Mexico.

This is done by pulling back the husks, tying them with butcher's twine and grilling the corn on your grill or in a cast-iron pan. Cook it until it has many charred kernels, about 10 minutes, then add the toppings. One recipe I found uses 6 to 8 medium ears sweet corn, husks removed and tied back.

The mix for spreading on the corn after it is grilled is 1/2 cup Mexican crema, or sour cream, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup minced cilantro, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, to taste, 2 teaspoons lime zest, from one lime, and 2 tablespoon lime juice, from one lime.

Many recipes add 1/3 cup grated cotija cheese (substitute feta if you can’t find cojita cheese). Sprinkle with chili powder, cilantro and lime at end and serve on a platter at the table. Presentation, as always, is the key. There are many variations of this and even some prepared spices that can be found in stores or specialty shops like Nibble in Medina.

Grilling the corn brings out the nutty flavors and caramelized kernels maximize the sweetness. This smear on the corn gives you sweet, salty, savory, nutty, creamy and tart all at once!

Happy summer!

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