are you outta your mind?!

That's what I thought when I first saw this dish. It was the Summer after I graduated from College. I was nannying for an amazing family before heading off to grad school in the Fall. I got lucky, really lucky. Not only did I get to spend my days playing with two of the cutest little girls but I also got to work for an incredible woman who also knew a thing or two about cooking! 

One night after work we were talking in her kitchen over a glass of rose. My first rose in fact! It was bright, crisp, and perfectly chilled for a warm summer day in Seattle. She started throwing together all the classic ingredients to make bruschetta. Heirloom tomatoes, red onion, minced garlic, fresh basil... and then she started chopping up peaches. PEACHES?! This woman was out of her mind, gross! I love peaches, don't get me wrong, but peaches in a completely savory dish? It didn't seem to fit. Not wanting to be rude, I took what I thought would be my courtesy bite. HOLY MOLY was my mind blown!!! The peaches somehow took on their savory role ten fold. Juicy like a tomato but bright and a little more fleshy. It made all of the other flavors burst. 

This was the first moment I realized you should never judge a dish by your perception of a food. Who says peaches can't be savory? With that, I STRONGLY urge you to try fresh peach bruschetta, you won't regret it! 

fresh peach bruschetta
1 baguette
2 tomatoes diced
1 ripe peach
1 clove of garlic finely minced
½ a red onion finely diced
~15 fresh basil leaves
3 T. olive oil
salt + pepper 

Set oven to broil. Slice baguette and place on baking sheet. Toast in oven until perfectly golden and crunchy. 

In a separate bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and toss. Place heaping spoonfuls over sliced bread. Enjoy! Could it be any simpler?!

improv style:
don't have any peaches on hand? nectarines or fresh apricots would be a great substitution. you can even use frozen peaches if they aren't in season. i wouldn't recommend the canned kind though, too sugary! you can leave out the onion if you're not a fan of raw onion. be warned though, i'm not a raw onion fan either and i think it's fantastic in this application. just make sure you finely chop it! you can use any kind of tomato...  heirloom, cherry, roma, vine ripened... you get the idea. you could even skip the bread and serve this over some grilled chicken breast or toss it in with some fresh pasta. mmmmmmm! 


summa summa summer time!

I've been bad, really bad. I't's been almost a month since I posted, I'm very sorry! With vacations and friends in town I found myself so busy. If I told you I had the most amazing 3 weeks would you be able to forgive me? Because I did. My cousin got married in Tahoe and I was able to spend an entire week in a cabin with 25 family members. It was a mad house of amazingness! I got back and the very next day two of my favorite people came to Chicago for a 5 day visit. It's been a welcome but busy Summer so far!

For me, nothing says Summer like corn on the cob and watermelon. I don't even like watermelon but for some reason it warms my soul. It's one of those foods that shows up for a few short months but leaves memories for a lifetime. Corny? I know... but it's so true! I LOVE Summer! 

Lately I've been making this fabulous Summer Corn Pasta. I can't get enough. I've made it 3 times in the past month. Considering I've been gone for a good part of that month I think it says something about the dish. It's not too heavy, its both sweet and savory, has lots of fresh Summer corn and hits the spot every time. I highly recommend it!

Summer Corn Pasta
yields 6 servings

2 ears of fresh yellow or white corn
1 sweet yellow onion (I prefer walla walla but any will do)
3 T. butter or olive oil
8.8 oz - 1 package pappardelle pasta
8 oz mascarpone cheese
¼ c. parmesan cheese
¼ c cognac or bandy
¼ - ½ c. pasta water
salt + pepper
basil + parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Get a large pot of water on the stove and set the burner to high. In the meantime, cut the kernels off the corn. Once you've finished, don't discard the cob! There's a lot of great starches in there that will help flavor and thicken the sauce! With the back of a knife, firmly press down the spine of the cob to extract the pulpy juices. 
Reserve the pulp from both cobs and set aside. 

Next, slice your onion in half and thinly slice it. You can chop it if you prefer but I really like the way the slices look.

In a skillet, melt your butter or oil. Then add in your onions. You don't want to caramelize them, just cook them until they start to get transparent. When that happens, add in your corn kernels and cook for another minute. Add cognac and corn pulp to the pan and let cook for an additional minute (until some of the cognac cooks off). Add in your mascarpone cheese and stir until it's melted and incorporated with the other ingredients. Once this happens put your pasta in the water and cook until al dente (a little bit of a chewy bite to it).

Transfer pasta right from the pot to the pan. It's ok if some of the water gets into the sauce. You're going to add more pasta water anyway. Once pasta is in the pan give it a few good stirs or tosses with tongs. Add in little by little the pasta water. You want it to be a rich, thick sauce but not gloppy. The starches from the corn and from the pasta water will help thin out the mixture but keep it rich and thick at the same time. Finally, add the parmesan cheese and salt + pepper to taste. Garnish with basil and more parmesan cheese if you like. Also, if the sauce starts to thicken up too much, just keep adding more pasta water until it reaches the consistency you prefer.

improv style:
if you don't have fresh corn, you can definitely use thawed frozen corn. you won't get the corn pulp but the sauce will still turn out just fine. you can use shallots or yellow onions if you don't have sweet onions. Even red onion would be pretty in this! as always, you can leave the booze out. i think cognac brings out the sweet flavor of the corn! also, use your favorite pasta type. no need to go out and buy a special type, any will do!