Sunday, July 11, 2010

a gigantic pile of corn husks is just out of view

That and this scene are sure signs it's SUMMER!

Though, arguably, these images are also pretty convincing:

Miguel cooling off in the mist outside the LBJ Library

The world's cutest baby — to whom I'm a pseudo-aunt — after her first swim

I stuffed myself with cherries, and now it's time to do the same with peaches, corn and tomatoes. I made this protractedly named Shell Pasta With Corn, Tomato, Caramelized Onion and Basil for the first time three summers ago after finding it at Not Eating Out in New York, and since then it's been the first corn-and-tomatoes recipe I cook to ring in the season.

I have the recipe saved in my e-mail and found in the thread this excited note to my brother, written after I'd first had it for dinner. I hope you won't think less of me.
"this was so delicious when i made it the other day, i was actually shocked. the trick is getting a fresh ear of corn (which is like 30 cents!) and shaving off the kernels with a knife. the day i made this, i had been to h-e-b three times for separate things, so when i got home with my ear of corn and unhusked it to find a dead worm (!!!) burrowed into the top of it, you know what i did? you betcha. i whacked that end off and used the rest. i was tired of waiting in line at h-e-b, and i sure wasn't going to go back for trip #4. he probably died a nice death though. the corn was really sweet."
I'd also included this equation made up of Cathy Erway's photos to prove how easily he too could enjoy such a meal.

This recipe is seriously magic, and it must be in the caramelized onions. There's no garlic! There's no cheese! (OK, I added cheese. Parmesan never hurt anything.) It also has the fabulous step of stirring in a blob of butter at the end. I felt pretty smart when i remembered to scrape the back of my knife down the stripped corn cob, a trick for getting the last bit of that sweet, milky corn goodness into your meal. But I was getting ahead of myself because a moment later I dumped out all the pasta water, forgetting the step to save a cup or so.

Still, it turned out well. And it felt like a bit of a rescue recipe — I haven't been in the mood to cook for a few weeks now. In fact, I'd had the ingredients for this pasta sitting around since the beginning of this week but hadn't felt up to slicing and chopping. Even as I've been reading My Life in France and longing to taste buttered-up fish in a tucked-away spot in Paris, I hadn't ventured into the kitchen. This summer humdinger brought me back. More to come!