Archive for July, 2010

July 26, 2010

Grilled Mako with Spicy Cilantro-Lime Chimichurri

Have you ever been to Beach Haven, New Jersey? It is exactly what its name suggests: a skinny strip of summer cottage rentals, local-owned pancake houses, ice-cream parlors and surf shops sandwiched between long strips of beach and bay. I know this because only a few short hours ago I was there, taking it all in.

I went down to Long Beach Island to visit a good friend (who is also a professional dancer and actress), and to see her perform  in what ended up being the singularly most enjoyable theatre production I have ever seen. (Truly, my face hurt from smiling so much at the end of the performance.) It was a spectacular show, and wonderful to spend time with her.

What little time I had with her, that is: between performing two shows a day and an additional four or five hours rehearsing and preparing for the upcoming production, my lovely and talented friend was quite the busy bee and did not have a whole lot of time to spend with me. So in the hours I wasn’t eating lunch with her and the rest of the cast between rehearsal blocks, I had plenty of time to myself.

I spent most of my solo hours at the beach, gladly reveling in the hazy ocean breeze, the relentless sunshine, the feel of white-hot sand underfoot and the gasping shock and slap of cold ocean when it all got to be too much to bear.

And let me tell you, there is little better than escaping this sticky cycle of sun-and-sea for an air-conditioned mid-day lunch break… only to go back out there and do it all over again.

Perhaps the only thing better is hanging up your towel at the end of the day, drinking down a few sweating glasses-full of ice-water, and sitting down to seafood for dinner.

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July 22, 2010

Creamed Corn Chowder with Summer Onions and Bacon

I know I know, I KNOW.

It has been far too long since my last post.

It’s just that summer is in full swing, which means that my weekends are now spent taking trips: bus rides home to go to the beach and laze around in the hammock and train rides to visit my brother to drink home-brewed beer on his roof and help him chickensit a gaggle of rowdy hens and take a leisurely stroll down what Dickens declared to be the most beautiful street in America. Add to that the fact that during the work-week when I am actually here in the city I am trying to take advantage of all of the free outdoor movies and live music in the parks, and finally going to physical therapy (all cooking and no running makes me a very cranky girl), and maybe sort of also looking at apartments and, well… you get the idea. It’s been a bit hectic.

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July 7, 2010

Cool as a Cucumber

It’s the middle of summer — the days are hot and humid and stretch on for hours, seemingly endless, until finally they melt into those high summer apricot and lavender skies — and I can’t get enough of it.

I love the feel of the sun, the smell of the air and the water; the coconutty smell of sunscreen. I love ducking into the air-conditioned bus to escape the muggy, oppressive heat of Manhattan and heading home for weekends of beaches and hammocks and local wine. But perhaps more than anything, I cherish this season that brings wave after wave of lush new produce. Each week, it seems, a new crop sweeps into the farmer’s markets; a new jewel-toned addition to the summer palette of bright yellows and reds, deep purples and creamy greens.

chilled cucumber soup 1

Now I don’t like to play favorites with my vegetables, but there is something magical about the arrival of sweet corn, those perfect little rows of velvety pearls that turn buttercup yellow with a little heat and pop in sweet little bursts between your teeth…. Um, wow.

So when last week I received a report from my darling mother that the corn was in early this year — that it was already flooding farmstands by the bushelfull, well in time for Fourth of July festivities — I was thrilled. And I wasn’t the only one. I could tell from the tone in which my mother gave this report that she was pleased as punch with herself for being the bearer of such wonderful news.

In the days leading up to the holiday weekend, visions of sweet corn chowder danced through my head, distracting me from paying attention to things like my job, conversations, crosswalk signs…. I simply could not WAIT to get home and into a big kitchen with a huge armload of corn and some fresh milk.

There was, however, just one problem: it was really, really hot last weekend. Really hot. Like, record-breaking, haven’t-seen-temperatures-like-these-since-nineteen-ninety-nine hot. And despite the fact that my parents are far less stingy with the air conditioning than I am, the thought of simmering a chowder on the stovetop for a few hours sounded like the very last thing I wanted to be doing.

Have I ever told you that I am a firm believer that when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade? Or lemon bars (and share them with me)? Or that when one door closes, another one opens? Because I am a firm believer in both of those things.

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