I am into corn in a big way. I eat little Del Monte cans of whole kernel sweet corn straight from the tin with a spoon. If I weren’t so keenly aware that it’d be very weird, I would even offer it to guests as a dessert. (“Annnnd to cleanse your palate, a can of corn with a spoon in it! Wait, where are you going?”)
Luckily, there are more socially acceptable ways of feeding your guests (and yourself) corn instead of just eating it from a can like some kind of animal that has access to a can opener.
What better time to partake in corn than in the summer, when sweet corn is at its golden peak and ahem, really, really cheap?
I sometimes become incredibly homesick. I don’t know if it’s so much that I miss Texas, but rather that I just miss all the things that were a given back home. I knew where to go to get my favorite broccoli pasta, where to go to get a good banh mi, where to go to get the perfect fajitas, and so on. All the things I miss are decidedly food-related; even the people I miss have some kind of food memory attached to them — Niko Niko’s with Jessica, sushi with Meredith, dim sum with my siblings, and you get the idea.
The ultimate food memories, of course, are linked to my mom. I was one of those lucky kids who always had a homecooked dinner every night, something I definitely did not appreciate enough back then. That’s a major perk to having restauranteurs as parents, I tell you what.
BLUEBERRIES BLUEBERRIES BLUEBERRIES. The best berries (second only to the blackberry) and whenever they’re in season, I stock up with pints and pints of it. The best way to enjoy blueberries is to shovel them into your mouth, without shame or decorum. But another excellent vehicle for blueberry delivery, if you need to eat in a manner that is more socially acceptable, is the blueberry galette.
Golden, crispy crust and sweet, warm blueberries oozing out here and there — what’s not to like? Better yet, if you’ve got as much of a delicate hand as a herd of cattle, fret not because galettes are supposed to look messy and wild. It’s rustic.
The downstairs apartment is apparently undergoing renovation, so as I write this, my floors and walls are shuddering from all the banging, thumping, and mysterious mechanical sounds that make me think maybe a Transformer is trying to build boat with its fists in good ol’ #203. Good grief.
Anyway, that has nothing to do with cornbread. I don’t even have a clever segue planned. Speaking of boats… No. Nothing of the sort.
But cornbread! You’d think having grown up in Texas that I’d wax poetic about how Southern cornbread is unbeatable and that these Northerners just don’t get it right, and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But you’d be wrong. I grew up eating a lot of the stuff when I lived in Houston, and I loved it then as much as I love it now. But up until recently, the best cornbread I have ever had was from a barbecue joint in Seattle. I mean, the actual barbecue was… not exciting. But the cornbread! Holy shit!
And now that experience has been dethroned by the little slices of cornbread heaven I had in… Vancouver, Canada. I know. But I had another Texan with me and we both agreed that this was the best cornbread, A+ cornbread, 5 stars, 10 thumbs up. So obviously, this is now a true fact: delicious cornbread can be found anywhere. Even in your own home!
Turnips. No one gets excited about them. Whenever someone says they’re bringing turnips to the company potluck, no one shouts “AWESOME!”, and approximately zero spontaneous rounds of high-fives break out. Turnips just don’t elicit the kind of yearning that vegetables like potatoes do. Turnips don’t even grace pre-packaged vegetable platters like carrots and celery, nor are they used as ornamental garnishes in fancy salads like radishes. Poor turnips.
But why? Why is it neglected and so often overlooked? Turnips, after all, are packed with vitamins, are entirely edible from bulb to leafy greens, and may I say, they’re even a little bit sexy.
So shapely, oh myyyyy.
But most importantly, they are tasty. That is, as long as you stick with wee, tender little bebbeh turnips.
I don’t know why, but I get Bon Appetit in my mail every month. I’m guessing it must have been some kind of promotion when I spent too much money at Williams-Sonoma, but it’s also possible that I subscribed late at night whilst tipsy, like how I woke up once after a night out to find that I had drunkenly signed up for Amazon Prime. I mean, out of all the things one could do while inebriated and on the internet, these things are certainly not the worst.
Also, it is very clear that I lead an incredibly exciting life. Be jealous.
Most of the time, none of the recipes in BA really interest me because I’m not cooking for 4+ people or willing to spend time and money on special harissa ground by nuns or whatever. But I came across a recipe for a wild rice salad in the summer 2014 issue, and it cried out: “Hey! Make me!”
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is just basic instructions. But aren’t those the best “recipes”? When something is so easy to do that you can just rely on your own intuition to make something delicious? Even when your intuition sometimes leads to disastrous results, like when it was all “You should totally ask that guy out!” when in reality, no, you should have never asked that guy out, never.
I love spring onions. The first time I ever had them was at a friend’s lake house where her boyfriend threw some onto the grill and served them up wonderfully charred but otherwise unadorned. I still think about those from time to time (you also have fond food memories, don’t lie to yourself) — who knew that little onion bulbs could make such a big impression?
One of the vendors at the farmer’s market last weekend had a beautiful basket of spring onions, so of course I brought some home. I don’t have a grill, but figured roasting them along with some leftover carrots and potatoes would be just as good. And it is.
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw this Smitten Kitchen post:
It was for the Leite’s Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, but I initially mistook the chocolate chips for blueberries. When I found out they were not blueberries, I was disappointed. While I’m sure Deb’s chocolate chip cookies are wonderful, my brain latched onto the idea of a blueberry-studded cookie. I mean, why not? Why not put blueberries into a cookie?
So I did.
One of my standbys, especially when little baby potatoes are available by the bucketful, is this warm pesto-inspired potato salad. The little bitty potatoes and French (or green!) beans are briefly boiled, then rinsed into cold water to make sure they stay firm and wonderful instead of disintegrating into a mushy mess. Briefly boiled, so that when the temperature rises you don’t make things worse by running that stove for too long.
I’m not a big fan of pickled things. That puckering sour, vinegar flavor isn’t one that I particularly enjoy, and I’ve been known to methodically extract all evidence of pickled carrots from my banh mis and run away from anyone who even tries to put relish on my hot dogs. Those monsters.
But there is one big exception to my pickle aversion: pickled peppers. I feel like the vinegar in pickled peppers helps make them a sweeter and the heat more tolerable, and pickled peppers sliced reeeeally thin make a great accent to rich, fatty foods (like the aforementioned hot dogs). In this case, I pickled some jalapenos just to use in my Texas-style kolaches.
Make these about a month out from when you’ll want to use them, though these have been sitting in my fridge for three months and are still plenty happy. Also, I usually throw in whatever fresh herbs I happen to have around, which means a sprig of rosemary here and some garlic chives there, though I’ve kept it out of the recipe for you. Just know that’s an option! I’ve also used white vinegar instead of white wine vinegar before and they still came out delicious.