It feels sacrilegious to say it, but I don’t always love to cook. As lucky as I am to be able to go to work in my kitchen every day, sometimes mincing shallots or dekerneling corn is the last thing on earth I want to do. I wish my love of standing over a stove was an unflinching constant in my life. But sadly, I too am human, and there are very few well-loved activities that won’t go out the window when you have a class 5 earthquake happening in your head.
What’s in conflict with this is that I very rarely don’t want to eat a home cooked meal. But at times like this weekend, when I’ve been cooped up in a car for 4 hours and am generally run down, I do not want to rise to the challenge of project managing dinner. I barely want to rise to the challenge of standing.
This summer has been a downward spiral for my cooking thanks to several factors. For one, I’ve been traveling every single weekend, and sometimes during the week. This has meant full body exhaustion upon returning to my apartment. And it’s also meant an empty fridge that feels silly to attempt to fill when I’m just heading back out the door 3 days later. The second is that full body exhaustion on more than one occasion devolved into a full blown flu.
Ironically, the times that I most want to be fed a home cooked meal—when I’ve been eating out on the road or am in need of sick day pampering—are the times when I’m least likely to want to cook. They’re also the times when you feel particularly lucky to have a nice boyfriend who makes a mean scrambled egg or a mom on hand.
Yesterday the baton was passed from one to the other as I arrived at my parents’ house on Martha’s Vineyard to a kitchen counter covered in homemade marinated kale, shrimp salad, and bluefish spread. It was just the kind of summer lunch I’ve been craving, especially after a weekend that involved gorging on this.
Perhaps because the grass is always greener (especially when the grass is actually chives), but as soon as I got to experience my own Feed Me moment, all I wanted to do was cook again. After lunch I sat down by the water reading food magazines and immediately launched into a 20-item cooking to-do list for this site.
When the pendulum swings back into cooking mode, it usually happens on this island where there are so many amazing farm stands it’s all I can do to keep up. I’m particularly excited to get my hands on some Morning Glory fresh corn so I can tuck it into every dish like this and this and this.
Luckily for my cooking slump and upcoming corn experiments, I pioneered this jalapeno corn salsa recipe earlier this year when I was lucky enough to be sent some ears from the first Florida crop of the season. I’ve been saving it in the archives until the rest of the East Coast caught up. When you have delicious fresh sweet kernels, there’s no need to cook them and like in this salsa, they stand up to herbs, heat and acidity.
Check out some of my other healthy Tex-Mex dishes on HuffPo for some ideas on what to serve this with. Or just keep it on hand for your loved ones who may be as much in need of some feeding as I was.
- 3 ears sweet corn (or 2 cups kernels)
- 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- ½ pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup lime juice
- In a large mixing bowl, stand the corn height-wise and remove the kernels from the cob by running a chefs knife along the edges clockwise. Repeat with the remaining cobs and discard.
- Toss the kernels with the jalapeno, shallot, garlic, tomatoes, salt and lime juice. Let the salsa stand for at least 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, or overnight. Serve the salsa alongside tortilla chips as an appetizer or as a garnish for tacos.