I can’t believe it is already the 4th of July!
I haven’t had my usual rhythm of recipe developing, cooking, and snapping picks of recipes between my book coming out (thank you, thank you for all the messages about buying one or receiving one in the mail, such a joy that there are so many people reading it this summer!), this pregnancy fatigue, kids home from school that I am just drinking in, and my desire to eat nothing but watermelon, cherries, and good bread with good cheese. (Not a bad summer menu at all). So in these slow, lovely days, I thought I would share with you a few of the things I am loving right now.
We are up north at our condo in the White Mountains, but before we left we headed to the beach with friends and watched the fireworks. Now we are jumping in rivers (the kids not me) catching up on reading and blogging (me not the kids) and will head to beautiful Echo Lake here in North Conway for swimming and picnicking later today. And I brought up corn for dinner, so hoping to turn it into this:
This Mexican Street Corn was made my by sister last weekend and it is the best thing I have put in my mouth. Leftovers should be cut off the cob and mixed with the creamy sauce made from crème fraîche, lime juice, and seasoning, which is how I first had street corn at a Mexican restaurant, served in a bowl, lavishly dolloped onto the tacos I was eating. I can’t adequately express how much I dream of a bowl of this with all those smoky, creamy, citrus salty flavors. You can find the recipe she used by Tyler Florence at The Food Network here.
1. Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton –
I am spending our vacation week reading this memoir about the Chef of Prune restaurant in NYC and her Souther Roots. A chef friend of mine recommended it to me (and the next book below). On top of being an amazing chef (you can catch her on The Mind of a Chef Season 4) she is a phenomenal writer to boot. There is something about the allure of southern food that is so fascinating, but this one transcends even that into a universal food experience. From the description on Amazon: “The constant thread running through this patchwork tale, which culminates with the opening of her New York City restaurant, Prune, is Hamilton’s slow simmering passion for cooking and the comfort it can bring.” Amen, sister.
2. Since I am on a Southern kick, I am also reading slowly this huge book, Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard:
This book, which I have just started to get into, is epic, a masterpiece filled with stories of Deep Run, an area in Eastern North Carolina. It is part memoir, part cookbook, and the recipes are organized by ingredient and dish type. Her recipes are seriously the most interesting combos, so inventive, and it is driven by her use of things grown around her. Her restaurant Chef and the Farmer opened because her family told her that if she would come back to her home in Kingston, North Carolina, they would buy her a restaurant, and she has since put her hometown on the culinary map. You can also find her on TV, on PBS series A Chef’s Life. It is so interesting to see how she treats the south the way foodies treat regions in France or Italy, with the local ingredients prized and cherished. No matter that their local ingredients are pork, shrimp, corn, blueberries, and peaches. A far cry from truffles and wine and olive oil. But her recipes include Blueberry BBQ Pork, Cheesy Grit Fritters (yes, please), and Charred Spring Vegetables with Creamy Scallion Dressing and Hushpuppy Croutons (I have to make this: stay tuned as it might be worthy of its own blog post).
With sections titled ‘An Ode To Seasoning Meat’ and ‘How to Can in a Hot Water Bath’, Howard is my favorite kind of cook: the kind who shares all her secrets, like you are cooking right next to her. She is all heart and passion and obsession, and no pretense.
3. These sandals from Target:
I can’t even tell you how much I love these! They are so so comfortable – my pregnant self might have walked around StoryLand, an amusement park up here in the mountains, for 4 hours yesterday and they were a dream. (I then had to take a 2 hour nap, but that is not the sandals fault).
4. Watermelon Everything.
(photo from The Minimalist Baker)
I keep telling friends that my cravings of things I am missing this pregnancy are tied for a margarita and a nice, long run. But I can have lots of watermelon, so I am eating my fill. I am sharing this recipe for a Watermelon Margarita from the Minimalist Baker as it only has 3 ingredients (watermelon, lime juice, tequila) because I can have it if I make it with only the first 2 ingredients. Yay.
5. Salmon Everything.
(photo from Gimme Some Oven)
These babies have been craving good fats (like salmon and avocado) and really averse to bad fats (like french fries). Good job, babies. The sweet and smoky combo of Honey and Grainy Mustard is my favorite way to prepare it and this recipe from Gimme Some Oven is super easy and quick.
6. Avocado Everything:
I love it with just salt and good olive oil on it, but this Caprese Breakfast Toast is a combo of my summer favorites. So many light flavors, so little time.
7. If you have any corn that doesn’t get snatched up by your Mexican Street Corn obsession, this Corn, Tomato and Basil salad is my most favorite summer recipe to have in the fridge.
(photo from davidlebovitz.com)
David Leibovitz’s has long been one of my favorite food writers (his book My Paris Kitchen and The Sweet Life of Paris and food blog are classics, and he is so much fun to follow on Instagram). But even though he has lived in Paris for so long and has a background in baking and patisserie, this all-American salad is one of my favorite recipes of his.
Ok, I’m off to pack up a picnic for the lake. Happy 4th, hope you are enjoying beautiful blue skies and lots of friends and family. Happy Eating!