My Summer Vacation, and a Summer Pasta Recipe
Posted on Aug 23, 2011 | 20 comments
I feel like a kid, sitting down to write my first assignment at the start of a new school year. Pulling out a fresh notebook and clean pen, I carefully write my heading: What I Did on my Summer Vacation. Except it's been more than a while since I was a student, let alone in elementary school. But being a freelancer and having a husband in medical school has its benefits, and that (at least briefly) is a return to summer vacations. I scrambled to hand in articles ahead of time so that I could enjoy every minute of our precious time. And that we did.
If I tell you that I was busy every minute that we were home, you might not believe it. But New York is no small town and having an entire lifetime of friends and family and favorite places there means there's lots to do. Of course I ate my way through the city, having soup dumplings in Chinatown and Tibetan food followed by Indian desserts in Jackson Heights, pizza in the West Village and Katz's in the Lower East Side. I went to the Union Square and Grand Army Plaza farmers' markets, the Essex Street Market, Eataly. There were lots of barbecues, brunches lovingly prepared by my mother-in-law, a seafood feast created just for me by my father. I drank a lot of beer, but good beer that is evidence of the success of the craft brewing revolution. And I consumed more than my fair share of iced coffees, with Stumptown being my greatest disappointment and Jack my new champion.
I had falafel at Mamoun's, too. Not as transcendent as anything in Israel, but pretty good.
Of course in between eating I did other things as well. Had picnics in the park (oh wait, that's eating!), visited MoMa and the Met, saw a friend's play, attended a wedding barefoot on the beach, went to lots of movies. I took a week long cooking class at the Institute for Culinary Education, and a four-day food photography class through the International Center for Photography (more on both of those later, an entire post each, I promise). Most importantly I was reminded, not that I needed any reminder, that I have the most incredible friends and family on the planet.
We went to Vermont and Massachusetts, too. Nearly two weeks we spent swimming and sunning, hiking and running, visiting farms, breweries, creameries, wineries. That, too, deserves it's own post. I'll just be a little behind.
And now we are back in Israel. We arrived Sunday, at the end of three days of tension, misunderstandings, and rocket attacks. Yet I've realized that this, too, is home. And I'm happy to be home.
Everything is in that disarray that comes when you've just returned from a long trip, exhausted from travel. Suitcases and clothing litter my floor. I can't bring myself to unpack just yet, so there everything is. The contents of our bag spill over with all the goodies we've brought from home: jam from my favorite cafe in Saratoga Springs; goat caramel, maple syrup, and even wine from Vermont; our favorite salad dressing and granola bars; fancy bitters for cocktails; more mundane things like contact solution and toothpaste.
It's on nights like this that we all need something quick but nourishing, light but satisfying. And it's the end of the season when summer produce is at its finest, corn so sweet and tender you barely need to boil it and tomatoes so vibrantly fresh I could eat nothing else. So I threw together this quick summer pasta, happy to be back in my own kitchen, even happy to see my own barely functioning stove with its two working electric burners.
Summer Pasta with Corn, Tomatoes, and Spinach
Yield: 4 Servings
1 pound spaghetti
5 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed (about 4 cups kernels)
200 grams spinach (about 7 ounces)
3 cloves garlic
3 large tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving some pasta water, and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the corn and cook until slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the spinach and garlic. Toss to combine and cook until spinach is just wilted. Remove from the heat and stir in the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the spaghetti and toss thoroughly with tongs. Add a splash of pasta water and Parmesan and toss again to combine. Add a bit of olive oil if needed and red pepper flakes if desired. Serve with additional Parmesan for grating.