cotija y maíz

did i mention how much wonderful food we had on our recent trip to orcas island? doe bay cafe is alway delicious - a bit spendy, but rightfully so when the majority of the food comes from doe bay farm and the island's own shellfish farms. there we shared clams in a white wine broth, a foraged mushroom macaroni and cheese and a gorgeous kale salad with edible flowers. over in eastsound (the only real 'town' on the island) mia's cafe servers up a killer breakfast, as does my all-time-favorite roses bakery. during the music festival, however, you don't even have to venture away from the main stage to find amazing food. local vendors (or just some really good home chefs) from around the island set up shop to serve bbq ribs, wood fired pizza, falafel, and the world's messiest corn on the cob. this corn had me drooling, cheese and chili tumbling from my chin, and strings of corn stuck between my teeth. damn was it good though! it begged to be recreated back at home! 

corn on the cob with cotija cheese, chili and lime ~ serves 2

2 ears of white or yellow corn
1/2 lime
butter to taste
1 tablespoon chili powder*
4 tablespoons finely grated cotija cheese
sea salt to taste

*note: if your chili powder has been sitting around in your spice rack since you-don't-know-when, then go buy some fresh chili powder. it will make all the difference! believe me! also, i just learned that the sugars in corn rapidly turn to starch as soon as you peek under the husk - so just feel for the ends of your ears of corn, rather than peaking in at them to see if the kernels look plump. 

in a large pot, bring several inches of water to a boil. husk and boil corn for 4 minutes. remove corn from water and while the corn is still hot, rub the end of a stick of butter all over to coat evenly. cut a lime in half, and gently squeeze and rub the corn with one half of the lime. take a large pinch of chili powder and sprinkle all each ear of corn. top with a dusting of cotija cheese. salt to taste. 

summer gazpacho

august has been slipping away from me. david and i were able to escape for a long weekend to doe bay on orcas island for their annual summer music festival. it just so happens, that the festival lined up with my birthday this year (huzzah!) you can't quite beat listening to live music in the sunshine on a picnic blanket with your guy on a gorgeous island while sipping an island hoppin' brew on your birthday. orcas island is my most frequented vacation destination (for so many good reasons), but i had never made it to the music festival before. it felt like the island population doubled overnight for the festival [ok - actually, the population of orcas is about 4,000 and the festival brought in about 2,000 folks. on such a small island, it was kind of comical] it was a very different vibe from our last visit over new years, when the island was very sleepy and quite. both experiences, however distinct, created some wonderful memories. 

so my birthday has come and gone, which always reminds me that summer is quickly approaching fall... i keep making large batches of gazpacho, enjoying the tastes of summer for as long as is possible. the heirloom tomatoes at our local farmers market are amazing!! but so are their 'under the table' over-ripe tomatoes (who cares if they are just getting mushed up into bowls of gazpacho?) my shopping list for every trip to the farmers market has been pretty much limited to all the ingredients for gazpacho. oh and doughnut peaches. i could happily live off of gazpacho and peaches for the month of august. 

gazpacho ~ serves 4

2 large over-ripe tomatoes
1 medium cucumber, peeled
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3 banana peppers, or 1 1/2 bell pepper
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup red onion
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
1 pinch red chili flakes

garnish options:
1 avocado
1/2 bell pepper (i used a purple pepper for added color)
1/4 cucumber, peeled

prepare vegetables by washing and dicing into smaller bits. using either a food processor or blender, blend together tomatoes, cucumber, water and oil with garlic until juicy and fairly smooth. add peppers, cilantro, red onions and pulse briefly. i like a bit of chunkiness. season to taste. to garnish, top with slices of avocado or a mini 'salsa' of diced peppers & cucumber with avocado. drizzle lightly with olive oil. serve chilled or at room temperature. great with garlic -sauteed shrimp or ears of grilled corn.