It was beyond fun to have Jessica in town a couple of weeks ago. Even though I wish she were still here, we did an excellent job making the most of our time together (as she so perfectly described in her cobbler post). Cooking on Saturday night was a definite highlight and even planning the meal was fun. Jessica, ever generous, offered to let me post the recipe for the grilled corn and halloumi salad we made, even though she gets all the credit for finding it.
I loved absolutely everything about my visit with Laura and Ed in Springfield–getting a glimpse of their everyday, reuniting with their sweet pup Tenley, tasting some fave local tastes (a super slim burger, a Route 66 diner club sandwich, a perfect chocolate+vanilla swirl cone that I got all over myself, and a peach bruschetta I’m still thinking about especially stand out), finally seeing their gorgeous house, eating dessert twice before dinner, tagging along for La’s weekly trip to the farmers market, talking and talking and talking, watching the carefully DVR-ed premier of Bachelor in Paradise, and laughing til I cried at least once a day. But one of the very best parts of the visit was cooking together. And if I do say so myself, we put together one heck of a dinner. Laura boiled perfect little fingerling potatoes with thyme and butter, Ed grilled deelish steaks, and Laura and I tried a really knock your socks off new to us salad (that she’ll blog about soon!) and put our own blackberry spin on my very favorite peach cobbler.
This post will be a quick one because Jessica is here! In Springfield! From Brooklyn! She’s only here for a couple of days, so I don’t want to waste a second of time that could be spent chatting, laughing, or eating custard (we accomplished all three in her first day in Illinois, but one can never have enough of any of those things). I had to share this recipe now, though, because we’re in the too-short sweet corn season and this is possibly my new favorite way to eat corn: as a pasta sauce.
When Laura and I were together last week, one of the (millions!) of things we talked about is how hard we sometimes find weeknight meal planning. And not even large scale let’s figure out the whole week meal planning, but the much more basic what’s for dinner tonight?!? question. We marveled at how our mothers managed to just DO IT, seemingly without the angst that we both feel sometimes. We talked about the weird combo of things that make planning tricky, and did some brainstorming about what can make it easier. One of the things that definitely helps me is having a growing roster of simple weeknight dinners that don’t require too many ingredients or take very long to cook, that I can decide to make in an afternoon and shop for quickly on the way home. Shrimp is the star ingredient in several of our favorite dinners like this, and I’m very happy to add another to the list: hot honey shrimp.
I’m currently on vacation at my parents’ house in Virginia, practicing the arts of doing nothing and eating a lot. Ed and I always plan our vacations around food and this week has been a spectacular ongoing feast. My dad kicked off the week with his juicy, smoky bbq pork shoulder. Topped with a vinegar-based sauce and creamy slaw, it was as good as anything we’d find on a dusty Carolina back road. Ed and I provided dessert, an over-the-top s’mores pie. Imagine a grahammy cookie crust filled with 7 Hershey’s bars and a whole container of marshmallow creme topped with more marshmallows and graham cookies. It was sweet and very, very s’mores-y. Will I make it again? Probably not, but it was fun.
As I’ve said many times before, I’m a recipe person. Especially the first time I’m making something, my preference is absolutely for a nice tidy list of ingredients and instructions that I can follow to the letter. I’m highly envious of folks, like my husband, who can just follow their instincts and create something delicious without a recipe. So I’ve been interested in the trend for “not a recipe” recipes I’ve seen floating around lately, like Bon Appétit’s Cooking Without Recipes series and Food52’s new (Not)Recipes app. I like reading them, and I like looking at them, and I like wondering if a more narrative less list-y approach *really* makes something not a recipe…but nothing pulled me to deviate from my recipe love until I saw a Bon App post titled, “Got a Can of White Beans? You’re Halfway to Dinner Tonight.”
I wrote at length a couple of years ago about my adventures with Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good cookbook. The book has remained a favorite for times when I’ve needed healthful dinner ideas, but there’s one recipe I’ve gone back to again and again just because it’s tasty: the Mexican Green Goddess Dressing. It’s pourable summer: bright, tangy, and a stunning shade of green. I love it as a dip for veggies and as a salad dressing. Oh, and it happens to be vegan.