Days We Will Miss

August 13, 2008

One night last week, while Kevin was off at a pre-season NFL game, my sister and I fashioned a two-person family dinner. It was more of a girls night in, but we called it family dinner out of habit. We threw together a salad—Ali had requested something salad-y and fiesta-ish—of grilled corn and vidalias, multi-colored tiny tomatoes, avocado and ribbons of romaine, all bound up in a cool, creamy chipotle-lime dressing. We sat on the deck and ate, watched the sun set, let the wind whip our hair, curled our feet up under us on our chairs and, as sisters are known to do, talked well into the evening.

It was a really nice night and one when I felt really present. It was the kind of the night that made me think: I will miss nights like this. Nights when it’s light for a couple hours, even after work; when the produce is so fresh and bursting with summer that you barely need to cook to experience a delicious dinner; when I’m lucky enough to have my sister live only a mile away; when we get to be together, just the two of us. Be it the inevitable arrival of autumn, busy schedules, or moves, I know these kinds of nights are precious and I did my best to savor it.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

On the food side of things, I can’t help but gleefully think about roasting and braising again and I’ve entertained more than one daydream about Brussels sprouts and gourds. But my summer to-cook list is still deliciously, enticingly long. I waited weeks, months, for the tomatoes that now practically spill out of bins at the farmers’ markets. I need to try not to rush them out in favor of fall’s first Honeycrisp apples. Because these days—days of sweet corn, fresh herbs, fuzzy peaches, juicy tomatoes; days of salsas, grills, fruit pies and, don’t forget!, ice cream—will be gone all too soon.

So here’s to that quiet night in with my sister, to a salad simple enough to let summer’s bounty shine, and to the weeks of summer we still have. I, for one, vow to enjoy it. I’m not quite ready to turn the calendar to autumn and it’s new set of tastes. Not just yet.

Chipotle Corn Salad
Adapted from Food & Wine

4 ears of corn
1 medium Vidalia or Walla Walla onion, thickly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
1 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chives, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the corn and onion slices with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat until charred in spots but still slightly crisp, about 7 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut the kernels from the cobs and coarsely chop the onion. Add the sliced tomatoes.

In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the lime juice, chopped chipotle chiles, sliced chives and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the sliced romaine to the bowl and stir to coat the lettuce with the dressing. Arrange the dressed romaine on a platter.

Top with the corn mixture. Arrange the sliced avocado on top of the corn mixture. Garnish with chives and lime wedges.

16 Responses to “Days We Will Miss”

  1. Amy Says:

    WOW. this looks delicious! I could eat salad all summer long. It starts with the first 70 degree day in the spring and ends, well…, it ends when soup season starts!

  2. Robin Says:

    Aww, what a cute post – makes me miss my sisters!!

    Maybe I’ll be able to have them trek over here before summer ends for this salad. Mmm!

  3. […] 2008, 9:02 am Filed under: The Kitchen Sink | Tags: avo cad ohh!, me so corny, salad days, summa’ Corn salad for sisters from The Kitchen […]

  4. Rajani Says:

    lovely salad, so light, summery and crispy. i don’t have sisters but u know what i like to sit with my brother “with my feet curled up under me” and chat into the summer night. your post reminded me of how much i miss that.

  5. Lin Says:

    mmm that looks so tasty.!

  6. Maria Says:

    This looks SO good! I love summer salads! And sweet corn is so good right now!

  7. Ali Says:

    Al though this salad was amazingly beautiful and equally as delicious, I’d have to say it was the second best part of the night… I’d agree that a night alone for the two of us is rare yet definitely my favorite!

  8. Amol Says:

    It looks so beautiful…it’s the essence of summer in a bowl! I’ve made a similar salad, but with roasted potatoes as opposed to romaine (popular potluck option) that was also from Food & Wine. Also, I know it’s not for everyone, but cilantro works beautifully with these flavours. MMmm, I’m inspired to make this soon!

  9. grace Says:

    it’s as if you reached into my brain, determined my favorite salad components, put them on a plate, and took pictures with which to tease me. 🙂
    seriously, this is a slamming salad.

  10. Olga Says:

    This looks like a perfect dinner on a busy night. I might add some shrimp or chicken.
    Great colors!

  11. Aggie Says:

    That salad looks so good…what a perfect combination!

  12. Kevin Says:

    That salad looks great!

  13. Kari Says:

    OH YUM! I just saw my sister this past week too. I wish she lived close so we could have a “girls” dinner.

  14. Amy: Sometimes salad is all I will eat when it’s too terribly hot.

    Robin: Thanks! Hope you get to see your sisters soon. Thanks for posting to FP Daily too.

    Rajani: Oh, yes, a brother will work too. : )

    Lin: Thank you!

    Maria: Yes, the sweet corn. Plump and juicy and sweet.

    Ali: So glad you enjoyed! xo

    Amol: I’m in the “loves cilantro” camp, so I should definitely try that next time. Great idea.

    grace: Ha. Thank you!

    olga: Yes, a protein would pair nicely with this. Shrimp sounds lovely.

    Agie: Thank you!

    Kevin: Thanks!

    Kari: It’s such a luxury. I’m glad you got to see your sister recently though.

  15. melissa Says:

    Made this tonight for just me, myself and I. Loved it. Thank you!!

  16. melissa: Oh good! Thanks for reporting back.

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