A cascade of candy, showering down from the blue sky, into the waiting hands of some of our favorite children in the world. Danny had patiently helped each child, from youngest to oldest, to take a whack at the blue-shark pinata hanging on the swing in our yard. Somehow, the birthday girl thwacked the blow that broke it open. And then Danny finished it by making the candy rain.
Squealing giggles on the slip and slide.
Watering the garden in the early morning, watching the patient slow turn of the sprinkler as it moves side to side. And in the afternoon, walking through to see the squash has grown again.
The bags of groceries we bring home are 2/3 full of produce. I unload thick zucchinis, fat raspberries, pattypan squash, cucumbers for pickling, and more corn.
Late evenings, the sun still lingering in the sky at 10. The kiddo won’t go to sleep until it’s dark. I can’t blame her. At least she knows how to sleep in now.
Dinner on the back deck, every night. Breakfast and lunch too.
Friends staying in our guest room, one after the other, with only a few days in between visits.
Blackberry picking in our own backyard.
Picnics at the beach, watching Lucy race across the sand to waiting friends, and talking with our feet in the water.
Blueberry buckle. Homemade peach jam.
Long mornings together before Lu goes to school. We’re painting outside on the porch, reading another book from the stack that’s always growing, hitting the t-ball again.
Friends gathered on the lawn with us, talking while we watch our kids run to play in the woods together.
Did she grow again? Somehow she’s taller than she was last night.
This is the summer here, right now.
Last year, we traveled most of the summer, speaking at conferences, promoting our book. There will be a time we’ll need to do that again (next spring). But this summer? I don’t want to miss a moment of the Pacific Northwest in July and August. Summer. Summer is here.
CORN ON THE COB WITH LIME BUTTER AND COTIJA CHEESE
One of my favorite flavors of summer is roasted corn on the cob. I won’t eat corn on the cob any other time of the year but summer, not because I’m a food snob but because it only tastes good in July and August. Olive oil, salt and pepper — that’s all I need. However, for a slightly more decadent treat, we’ve been making corn with lime butter and cotija cheese.
This is a Mexican street food. Someday, I want to go to Mexico and eat this. In the meantime, here. It doesn’t have to be complicated: a little butter, some cojita cheese, some cayenne pepper, some lime. (I’ve seen recipes using mayonnaise instead of butter. Not for me.) Because there’s a chef in this house, he took an extra step to make this corn extra good. By making an emulsified lime butter, Danny intensified the lime taste. This also ensures that there was lime butter leftover for another batch the next day.
Eating this corn — with lime juice dripping on my fingers, a bite of cayenne pepper, the cool creaminess of cotija cheese — makes these summer evenings complete.
4 ears of corn on the cob, shucked
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons water
juice of 2 limes (about 1/8 cup)
8 tablespoons (1 US stick or 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup cotija cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon cilantro (optional)
extra limes, to taste
Roasting the corn. Heat the oven to 450°. Coat the corn with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put the corn in a roasting pan or skillet and slide it into the oven. Roast, tossing the corn in the pan occasionally, until the kernels are tender to the teeth, about 15 minutes.
Making the lime butter. Set a saucepan on high heat. Put in the water and lime juice. Bring them to a boil. Take the pan off the heat and drop the pieces of butter, one by one, into the pan, whisking after each piece goes in. Whisk the butter and lime water together, vigorously, until all the butter has been added. The final butter should be creamy and hold together, coherently, If the butter separates at all, use an immersion blender to emulsify them again.
Finishing the corn. Pour the lime butter into the skillet with the corn. Flip the corn around to coat. (You might not use all of the butter. It depends on your taste. It saves nicely in the refrigerator for another batch the next day.) Give everyone at the table an ear of corn.
Top with cotija cheese, cilantro, cayenne pepper, and extra lime juice, if you wish.