I’m not used to summer rain. I’ve experienced it, here and there–spattery showers in the green Northeast, fast-moving tropical cloudbursts in Central America. But it’s not part of the rhythm of my life. I’m used to summer in the Bay Area as dry, yellow, a little hard, with stiffly moving breezes. Not the quiet humid trickle we’ve been having lately.
This is June rain, and it feels weird–simultaneously soft and heavy. The clouds outside say soup and a blanket, but the stickiness on my skin says lemonade and a humming fan. It’s been making it hard to cook, when I come in from outdoors wiping sweat from my forehead, but within minutes I’m shivering at the gloom in the sky. There’s so much gorgeous produce at the markets, that needs so little done to it, and yet the weather is tricking me into wanting hot meals.
So here’s a compromise: a warm summer succotash, with zucchini and cherry tomatoes and corn-off-the-cob, with edamame and sweet onion, with big shards of parsley and ribbons of quick-fried ham. Everything gets quickly and simply cooked, until the tomatoes barely slump and the corn is just this side of raw. It’s a potpourri of summer textures, all sweet-crunchy and beany-soft and squash-squishy and tomato-juicy. Of course, this being a summer vegetable dish, it really shines with the freshest and best ingredients you’ve got–farmer’s market fodder, for sure. If you wanted to substitute fresh shelling beans (or favas, or limas) for the edamame, I’m sure you could; they might need a little longer cooking, but I’m sure they’d be lovely.
This is the kind of meal I make for the rain–warm and meaty, but with all the freshness of the warm season. (Now give me back my dry hard sunshine.)
This is kind of a half post, so I apologize in advance.
I’m headed out on a business trip tonight, and my jaunty little personal laptop is staying home this round. So there will be no blogging until I get back. There are some other reasons I’m holding off on a bigger post–I’ll elaborate the next time I show up here–but for the time being, here’s a recipe to hold you over.
I don’t have a good photo for this one, because I was using my dad’s iPhone camera and I apparently shake like a palsy patient every time I press the shutter button. But the recipe itself is worth sharing. Trout, mild and pale and buttery, gets dredged in seasoned flour and pan-fried until golden, then served with a kicky corn and pepper relish on top. Good, simple, nourishing in a slightly upscale kind of way.
And with that, it’s off to pack.
And now…from diabetes to cornbread. (How’s that for a segue?)
After a chilly, dry winter, the rain has finally arrived in Northern California. This is the kind of weather that fleece blankets were made for. Sam has been begging me for weeks to make chili, and it finally felt like the weather gods were giving me a directive.
But with chili this good, we needed something to mop the bowl. And my trusty cast-iron skillet felt due for a baking workout. Helllllooooo, cornbread.
Guys, I have to apologize. I am about to be a tease.
Just as corn season is ending, I’m showing off a fresh corn recipe. And not just any fresh corn recipe, but one of the most magical and confoundingly delicious things I’ve made in a very long time.
It’s a pudding made from corn–and nothing else.
I know, right?
Northern California is slipping into a late-summer lull. I love this time of year, when the sunlight loses a little of its edge and people begin to dig in their heels against the long slow downhill slide to fall. These are the kind of days that were made for napping under an open window. (Screened, of course. This is also bonanza time for bugs.)
It’s a fabulous farmer’s market time. There’s still a glut of stone fruit and berries and colorful tomatoes. Corn is everywhere; fresh herbs are plentiful. But there are also the unexpected summer treats, the ones that sit patiently by while everyone gorges on peach cobbler and tomato-mozzarella salad. There are seasonal ingredients that I’ve never tried before, but have intrigued me for years.
Like zucchini blossoms.
This week has been INSANITY. Sheer, near-unmitigated insanity. So, instead of something eloquent and carefully-crafted, here’s a soup I made up.
This is the perfect example of what happens with a bunch of odds and ends and a lot of time on my hands. I had shrimp shells in the freezer, left over from my last lemon-caper experiment. I had a powerful hankering for a bowl of soup with pesto on top. And I had a germ of an inspiration, thanks to a video about Tex-Mex chowdah.