Corn Chowder • Romaine with Cherry Tomatoes, Croutons, and Blue Cheese • Levain Rolls • Strawberry Sponge Cake
I had the most pleasant half hour yesterday. I came home from work (i.e. walked back from my parents’ house), and my kids wouldn’t let me in the house. Harper brought me a glass of wine, Poppy brought me the Nintendo Switch, and I got to sit out on the front deck and play Animal Crossing, knowing that there was a surprise cleaning project happening inside. The temperature wasn’t too high, and there was a soft wind making a soothing sound in my neighbors’ trees, cooling me down even more.
Then I realized that the lovely wind was why we had a Red Flag Warning starting that night, and the thought of go-bags and evacuation routes crept into my head. Pop! went the happy bubble. Is that just how the world is these days? Happy moments existing amidst the threat of chaos and destruction? My mom was talking to a friend yesterday; the friend was so happy because she got to spend ten days with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, who she’s hardly seen since the pandemic. The only reason that they decided to risk the Covid-spreading visit was because the family had been evacuated from the path of the CZU Wildfire. This is how we live now, weighing the balance between flames and germs.
(Luckily, my happy moment returned when I went in the house for the “grand reveal” and saw how clean the bathroom was. Not just surface clean, but reorganized. Instagram-worthy towel shelves! An under-sink cabinet where you can actually find what you’re looking for! Seeing parts of the counter that I haven’t seen for six months!)
I guess the best thing we can do is do our best to pay more attention to the happy moments, while working to fix the problems at the root of all the chaos and destruction. I certainly hope that your Tuesday dinners are one happy moment in the middle of your week.
First up on the menu tonight is corn chowder, and I’m not sure dinner gets happier than that. Thyme and bay leaves complement the corn flavor, cornmeal and blended corn kernels thicken the soup, and cashew cream enriches it. There’s a garnish of fresh cream for those who also want a traditional dairy enrichment.
We are so lucky to have amazing cheesemakers right in our county; the blue cheese in today’s salad comes from Point Reyes. And the Persian cucumbers are from my parents’ backyard. My mom planted them at my request; we love Persian cucumbers, and they’re $4/pound at the farmers’ market. The plants are incredible producers, and there are more cucumbers than we can eat. Luckily, I’ve started cooking for you guys again—my mom’s cucumbers were in last week’s gazpacho, too.
Dessert is a very summer-y strawberry cake. A layer of vanilla sponge cake, then a layer of sugared strawberries (so the cake gets soaked with strawberry juice), and a final topping of vanilla whipped cream. Fresh, light, and fruity, the perfect summer dessert.