Pasta with Love

I didn’t think anything could top my son’s act of kindness on Mother’s day (see Mother’s Day Meatballs), but I was wrong. The other night, we had one of those difficult evenings and we both went to bed mad. The next night after work, I went running in the rain. When I came home, he had placed a towel outside the front door and towels on the hard wood floor all the way back to the bathroom. As I sloshed my way to the bathroom I heard him say he emptied the dishwasher and did the dishes (the bone of contention the night before). Once in the shower, he knocked on the door and screamed “Mom, I ate your oatmeal.” “What?” I screamed back. “Your oatmeal, I made it for you, but I was so hungry I ate it, he screamed.” It was 7:25 and of course he hadn’t had dinner. I thought I would cry. I thought the eggs he made me on mother’s day were great, but that bowl of instant oatmeal would have been the best thing ever. Call it an act of kindness or an act of contrition. I got out of the shower and made his favorite dinner—which we ate in bowls on the couch as we watched Kung Fu Panda.

Bowties--Sam's favorite pasta

Sammy’s Pasta

Sam never sees me put the garlic or onion powder into the pasta, which is just as well.

Hot cooked farfalle (bowtie pasta)

Butter

Garlic and onion powder

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

Combine all and serve hot.

More pasta recipes:

Spicy Chicken and Edamame Pasta

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

Spaghetti Carbonara

Here is a blog I wrote in 2009. Another act of kindness—this time from a stranger.

Acts of Kindness and Corn Pudding

. . . with the science teacher (the kids) pick, grill and eat those first ears of corn, savoring the miracle of just-picked grain in a way that almost nobody does anymore.“—Alice Waters, Edible Schoolyard, a Universal Idea

It’s funny how life happens—the unexpected just when you need it. We were having a yard sale last weekend and I was complaining about it all week. The morning of the sale, a (very spry) retired couple stopped by. They shopped and shopped, asked many questions and even had my son assemble a train set just to make sure it was all there. By the time they left (an hour later), we knew where their children graduated from college (Harvard and Yale), the company he retired from, the cities they had lived in, and how many grandchildren they had. As it happened, they were on their way to pick corn at a friend’s farm, so we talked about that too.

A few hours later, our new friends were at the backdoor with a bag of freshly picked corn. What a surprise and delight. I’ve always heard that the best way to eat corn is to pick it from the field, then run and put it in a pot of boiling water (so that the starch doesn’t have time to turn to sugar). But honestly, who ever has the opportunity to do that. That night I ate three ears of corn for dinner and had a corn epiphany. It was not just sweet (like most corn is bred to be these days) but complex and layered and multi-dimensional – it tasted a lot like . . . corn. It’s funny what can happen when you put down your iPhone and connect with folks the old-fashioned way—an act of kindness and a bag of fresh picked corn.

The next night I made this dish. The salty shrimp with the sweet corn is fabulous.


Shrimp and Corn Pudding

In the Carolina and Georgia Low Country, corn comes into season just as the region’s tidal creeks and inlets are teeming with tiny but intensely sweet inlet shrimp. In this recipe, the two are combined in a flavorful main-dish pudding that kids will love.

4     to 6 ears fresh corn

2     tablespoons unsalted butter

5     green onions, thinly sliced

2     tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley,

2            eggs, lightly beaten

1/2  cup half-and-half

1/2  teaspoon salt

Whole white pepper in a peppermill

Ground cayenne pepper

Whole nutmeg in a grater

pound small to medium shrimp, peeled, or large shrimp cut in half

1/4  cup all-purpose flour

Cut kernels off cobs and scrape off milky bits. You should have about 3 cups corn.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat; add onion and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and turn off heat.

Scrape mixture into a large bowl; add corn, eggs and half-and-half. Season with salt, white and cayenne peppers, and a generous grating of nutmeg; mix well. In a separate bowl, toss shrimp in flour and shake off excess. Fold shrimp into corn batter.

Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish and pour in batter. Bake about 1 hour, until set and lightly browned. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Recipe by Damon Lee Fowler.

Per serving: 420 calories, 14g fat, 39g prot., 34g carbs., 8g fiber, 690 mg sodium.

Fried Corn

Everyone, it seems, grew up on a version of this simple stir-fried corn. Kids adore it. Don’t use a nonstick skillet for this, as you want the corn to stick to the pan to caramelize the corn’s sugars and create yummy little clumps of “corn-y-ness.”

4     to 6 ears fresh corn

2     tablespoons butter

1/2  cup chopped green onion

1/2  teaspoon salt

Coarsely ground black pepper

Cut kernels off cobs and scrape off milky bits. You should have about 3cups corn.

Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet. Add onion and corn and sauté until corn is cooked and slightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.

Per serving: 100 calories, 5g fat, 2g prot., 15g carbs., 2g fiber, 210mg sodium.

More corn recipes at relish.com

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