June 8, 2012

Two of the best things about summer, if you ask me, are fresh corn and sitting in a chair (or on a beach or deck chair or hammock, etc.) and reading uninterrupted for an hour (or two or three).

For a while I have wanted to create a section of this website devoted to book suggestions, putting in one place the smaller lists that have trickled out in various posts over the years: young adult, younger adult, book club favorites, classics, contemporary fiction, contemporary nonfiction.  Each book is linked to its Amazon listing, and comes with my own brief summary/description.  You can also print or email the lists if you like!

Click here for the Reading Lists page (You can also access the page whenever you like by using the “Reading Lists” tab in the website’s header.)

I love few things more than talking about good books, so please leave your own recommendations in the comments!  I am hoping to work through a sizable stack of books this summer, so I promise to update my lists.  Also toying with the idea of adding more categories—any requests?

Happy summer reading, folks!  Don’t forget that sunscreen.

adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

makes 12-15 small cakes or 6-8 large ones; recipe doubles easily

Think of these cakes as a riff on a hush puppy—pan fried instead of deep fried, they maintain the crisped-edge lightness of a really good hush puppy, but are substantive enough to make for a lovely little dinner when paired with a salad and some grilled vegetables.  I also think they would be fantastic party appetizers or even work at brunch, perhaps with some pickled or cocktail shrimp.

I essentially made these from things we already had around the house, a quality I love in a recipe.  If you don’t have or like green onions, substitute white or red onion, and feel free to add other herbs if cilantro’s not your thing: basil, parsley, even mint.


2 ears fresh corn
3 stalks green onion, green & white parts chopped
1 egg
¾ cup cornmeal
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp. chopped cilantro
½ tsp. each baking powder & baking soda
½ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. cayenne
2 T buttermilk (more, if necessary)
2 T melted butter
salt & pepper

for serving: sour cream, chopped tomato & avocado, salt, lemon juice

Heat a large, preferably cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Add a few inches of canola oil.  (Do this first so you don’t have to wait on it later.)  Place a paper-towel lined cookie sheet in a low oven.

Cut the kernels off of the corn carefully, then place them in a large bowl along with the green onion and cilantro.  This mixture will be fairly wet, so add the dry ingredients to them first, to coat—this will help prevent them from spattering when frying.

I like to mix all of the wet ingredients together in a liquid measuring cup, then pour them into a well in the dry ingredients.  Use a spatula to fold the mixture together, then check the consistency with your fingers to see if the batter will hold up to form patties.  Add more buttermilk or cornmeal, if needed.  You don’t want the mixture to be too dry, otherwise they will fry up dense, but you also don’t want it to be too gloppy or it won’t hold together.

Use spoon to ease the first patty into the hot oil; it should sizzle.  Watch out for splattering oil and adjust the heat as necessary—you want hot enough so the patties will brown quickly, but not so hot that it’s dangerous to stand next to the pan! (I am speaking from experience here).

Use a thin spatula to flip the patties after a minute or minute and a half, depending on size.  Brown on the other side before removing to the oven while you continue to fry the rest.

Serve hot, with any or all of the above suggestions—hot sauce might be nice, too! Cool any leftovers completely before storing in the fridge, then reheat using a toaster oven (or toaster, if your patties are thin enough).


1 Comment »

  1. I enjoy your blog very much! Thanks for sharing your recipes, personal essays, and reading lists. Here are a couple of my favorite novels dealing with identity and perceptions.

    Theophilus North by Thornton Wilder and Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier are books I’ve reread numerous times since first encountering them as an adolescent.

    Comment by Melissa Gallant — June 8, 2012 @ 10:07 am

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