Cooking without a Recipe {pasta with tomatoes and corn}

Found this waiting in my drafts folder, because I never typed up a little blurb to go with it.  I made this without a recipe.  It was a dream.  Make it fast before summer escapes.  And cook more without using recipes.  I always wish I did.

pasta with corn and tomatoes.

To make pasta for 6 (or a hungry 4), you will need:

  • a pound your favorite spaghetti-esque pasta strands (ours is a local brand of either fettuccine, which we used here, or tagliatelle)
  • kernels from 3 ears of corn (raw is fine, cooked is too)
  • a whole bunch (pint?) of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I used about half a point of two types)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil.  While you’re waiting for that to happen, make the sauce.  Heat olive oil in large skillet.  I used almost enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  When oil is hot, add garlic and saute for 2 minutes, until fragrant, but not brown.  Add tomatoes, and give things a stir.  Let tomatoes cook until their skins start falling apart and the smell is so good you can’t believe your luck.  When they’re looking good and bright, add corn kernels and stir things around for another minute or two, and remove from heat.  Hopefully by this point, your water is boiling.  Since I used fresh pasta, it takes 2 minutes to cook.  Rather than drain it when it’s done, I used tongs to transfer the pasta to the skillet with the sauce.  The reason for this is that I didn’t want to give up the pasta water.  As I used the tongs to turn the strands of pasta with the corn and tomatoes, the mixture, despite all that olive oil, became a bit dry.  And I had that whole big pot of pasta water left!  Did you know there’s a whole bunch of flavor in there?  I dipped a glass measuring cup in the pot and came up with about a half cup of pasta water.  I dumped it in with the sauce, and kept tossing.  I ended up adding about another 1/4 C of water until the sauce was the right consistency for me.  I dumped an individual portion in a bowl, and because you know me by now, you already know that I grated a giant heap of Parmesan on top.

On Haters and Roger Federer

Seth Godin, blogger extraordinaire, recently posted It’s Not About You.  Seth.  Thank you.  I am going to keep this post front and center in my mind forever more, but especially as the calendar keeps turning and the frequency with which I need to check my work email increases.  I work with (for?) some folks who are not afraid to express their discontent, and I have a tendency to take their comments personally.  But it’s not about me.  This is liberating.  And I love it.  It’s not about me.


When I watched the Wimbledon final this year, the commentators were talking about how Roger Federer is unique because he’s one of only a handful of (tennis) players who loves to win more than he hates to lose.  It took me a minute to wrap my head around that idea.  He isn’t driven by a need to prove everyone wrong, he’s fueled by his own love of the game.  I love my job.  I totally and completely love it.  And I’m going to spend the next 179 days celebrating just that.

Around Here


Around here I am sprawled out on “my” bed after a day spent packing up our old house.

Around here my husband (and all of Twitter) is immersed in Every Simpsons Ever.

Around here Wooden Nickels just took my old Lilly skirts and dresses and created about a zillion pillows for our new house.  I cannot wait to get them there!

Around here I am remembering how much I love the start of a new year.  Here’s to freshly sharpened pencils and brand new planners.

Around here Olivia Pope reigns supreme.  I don’t love love Scandal, but I can’t stop watching.  I wish it was about working with other clients more than it was about Liv and Fitz, but then again, it’s not like I can turn it off either way.  I don’t think I’ll watch the new season live though, I think I’ll wait till it’s on Netflix and BINGE.

Around Here I have stacks of books just waiting to be read, including the new Rainbow Rowell.  Hoping I can carve out that time and keep my summer habit going strong.

Around here Paper Source is my best friend.  Name an occasion and I have bought a card for it in the last 6 weeks.

Around here I have some new Project Life goodies I want to play with.  Most of my supplies are in storage, so we’re talking about memory keeping the way Becky intended–with photos, her cards, and a pen for journaling.  Here’s to telling the stories I want to tell from this summer.

Around here I cannot get enough iced tea.  And Arnold Palmers.  And Starbucks Peach Green Tea Lemonade.  But we’ve been over that already.

Around here my mother-in-law is making sure we eat like kings and queens each day.  I’m starting to forget what it feels like to cook.  Hope you’re okay with the change of pace around here, dear readers.  I have some birthday cupcakes lined up in the coming weeks, so the sweets archive won’t get too cobwebby.

What I’m Reading

It’s time to focus on food, dear readers.  While I told myself I would not turn this summer into a giant to-do list of nagging projects I wanted to finish, I had a hard time not amassing millions more recipes I want to make RIGHT.  NOW.  Here’s the latest batch.

steak night.

“Truly, boozy milkshakes are seriously under utilized.”  Truer words have never been spoken.  Bourbon salted caramel milkshakes, hi.

I never cared about Funfetti from the box at all, but now I can’t stop thinking about it.  That’s weird, no?
My husband has flank steak on lockdown (and it’s pictured above), so I hope he doesn’t get too mad when I inevitably make this.  Because butter!
It’s no secret that I totally fear the pie crust, but I am all about trying this galette with RICOTTA IN THE DOUGH!
Can we go old school and make a Pioneer Woman recipe?  Ree’s Oven BBQ Chicken seems just right.
Gaby made this bruschetta bar that you must have seen by now because I think it was a rule that you had to Pin it as soon as you saw it.  About once a summer we have a dinner in which I purchase a baguette, slice it, and pile on the detritus from my refrigerator.  This is much more intentional way to create that dinner.
I’m all about everything Caprese in the summer, but this tomato and baked polenta salad looks like a twist I’ll have to try.
Joy’s One Pot French Onion Pasta is going on the table for dinner this week, because it will use up lingering ingredients, and also, because caramelized onions.

#BookADay – The Thoughts

I read a book a day, (almost) every day this summer.  And I Instagrammed a lot of pictures of my endeavor.

So many of my friends have asked me what I recommend, and what they should read, but you know what?  I didn’t truly love a single book.  They all fall squarely in my “liked it, didn’t love it” category.  Most were good, but save for a couple, none were great.  But I did take three things away from the whole shebang.


1.  When someone asks the question, “Oh, have you read The New Emily Giffin book/The Selection Series//The Opposite of Loneliness?” I can safely respond, “Yes!”

2.  Reading is something worth prioritizing.  Sure, I read a ton in the summer because I have the time, but pledging to read a book a day motivated me and kept me turning pages when I could have been changing channels.  Now that I’ve declared my challenge over, I am already slipping back into binge watching way too much TV (hello, Scandal), and I haven’t picked up a book in a couple of days.

3.  There is value in reading (some) books quickly.  I started a couple meaty novels that I never finished.  Five years ago that would have driven me crazy, but it doesn’t bother me now.  I will pick them up again in the fall or winter when I’m in the mood for books to “destroy myself” (Thanks for the term, Joy).  But that’s not really my speed in the summer.  Breezing through the latest chick lit with my toes in the sand has a place in my life.

All that said dear readers, I don’t have too much to recommend to you.  What I loved the most was Molly Wizenberg’s Delancey, which surprised me because I wasn’t wild about her first book.  I also enjoyed I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back, by Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster, and The Selection Series by Kiera Cass (though yes, the last book seemed to drag on).  And The Opposite of Loneliness fascinated me because of the unique circumstances under which it was published.  I’d recommend, even though some of the pieces didn’t grab me the way others did.


#BookADay – The Books

Thoughts to follow

the one and only.

i don't care if we never get back.

save the date.

the one.

three times lucky.


minnie mcclary.



lizzie bright.

nantucket red.

then came you.

rebel belle.

meaning of maggie.

year of no sugar.

wawa way.

i kill the mockingbird.

sag harbor.


mr. lemoncello.

the opposite of loneliness.

Not pictured:  Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson; It’s Not Summer Without You, by Jenny Han, We’ll Always Have Summer, by Jenny Han; Room 214, A Year in Poems, by Helen Frost; Love Aubrey, by Suzanne LaFleur; A Tangle of Knots, by Lisa Graff; Nantucket Blue, by Leila Howland; Girl at the End of the World, by Elizabeth Esther; Delancey, by Molly Wizenberg; Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco Stork; Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins; To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han; Growing Up Duggar, by 4 of the Duggar 19; The Uncoupling, by Meg Wolitzer; I Forgot to Remember, by Su Meck; Chestnut Street, by Maeve Binchy; West of the Moon, by Margi Preus; Save the Date, by Mary Kay Andrews; Revolution, by Deborah Wiles; Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan


Before the Summer Slips Away {marinated tomato bruschetta}

If you made a list of everything I’ve done this summer, in order of frequency, cooking would fall lower than just about anything else.  I have not cooked anything.  ANYTHING.  A large part of this truth is because we bought a house and I immediately jumped into action, using up everything that was already in our fridge and freezer, throwing out the remains of sauces and mixes saved up (and expired anyway) over the years, and running things off to storage, or to my in-laws, where my husband and I will be residing until the next, approximately, forever.  Cooking was, for once, the last thing on my mind.

marinated tomatoes.

And the other reason I haven’t been playing in the kitchen as much is the same reason I cite every summer.  There’s not much that needs doing in the kitchen.  Take these marinated tomatoes.  Slice up some tomatoes (I recommend home grown–these were gifted to me by a friend with a garden), and let them hang out with garlic, olive oil, and basil for a few hours, and heap them onto toasted bread.  That’s “cooking” in the summer.  And nothing tastes better.

marinated tomato bruschetta.

To make a baguette’s worth of marinated tomato bruschetta, you will need:


  • 4 medium or 3 large heirloom tomatoes, seeded and chopped into bite sized pieces.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, plus two cloves, peeled
  • large bunch of basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • one baguette

Combine all ingredients except peeled garlic cloves and bread in a bowl.  Set on the counter at room temperature for 4 hours (though you could get away with less; whatever, it’s summer, it will still work).  When ready to eat, slice baguette into three-quarter-inch-thick slices.  Chop the tip off each peeled clove, and give each slice of bread a good swipe.  The oil will seep into the bread and I promise goodness will ensue.  Toast or grill your slices, and then pile high with the tomato mixture.