A Summer Spaghetti, Limeade, Book Recs

Good morning. Yesterday we got some good news from school: Cuomo cleared the way for “limited graduations” to proceed after June 26, so there will be an in-person ceremony for my daughter’s senior class. We are thrilled. In other news, I spent yesterday rewriting the intro to my book (again); I started an assignment that I’ve been putting off for weeks; And my daughter finished the first season of Way Down in the Hole, the podcast that breaks down every single episode of The Wire. (She’s obsessed.) Here’s today’s PPP…

Project: Spaghetti with Shrimp, Corn, Basil

When Cuomo clears the way to invite people to our homes again, this is the first thing I’m cooking up for them. Such a nice summery one-pot meal — I made it last week, even though corn and tomatoes are not close to peak season right now. Imagine how good it will be at the end of August?

1 16-ounce box thin spaghetti
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, halved
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
dash red pepper flakes
1 small yellow onion, chopped
kernels from 4 ears of medium corn (about 4 cups)
1 medium ripe tomato
8-10 basil leaves, torn (or chiffonaded if you’re into that)

Prepare pasta in a large pasta pot, according to package directions. Before straining, reserve about a half cup of pasta water. Toss one tablespoon of butter into the cooked spaghetti while it’s in the strainer, to prevent it from sticking.

If you want to clean one less pot, wait for the pasta to finish and use that pot. If you want to make the whole thing go faster, set a large Dutch Oven type pot over medium heat while the pasta cooks and add remaining butter, olive oil, and garlic. Add the shrimp, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and cook about three minutes until the shrimp is cooked through. Using a slotted spoon remove shrimp to a bowl. To the same pot, add the onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add corn and tomatoes and cook on medium-low heat until vegetables release their juices and everything looks saucy. If you have to add a little of the pasta water to loosen it up, by all means do so.

Add spaghetti and shrimp to the corn-tomato sauce, tossing so the sauce and vegetables are distributed evenly. Serve and top each portion with basil. (Or, serve in a large bowl, like above, topped with basil.)

Pantry: Limeade

One of the hazards of ordering groceries from former restaurant supplier Baldor is winding up with restaurant-size quantities of certain ingredients. That’s how we found ourselves with a dozen limes about to go shriveled and dry. Well, when life gives you limes….

Makes 1 glass

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 4 small limes)
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons simple syrup* (or to taste)

Combine lime juice and water in a glass and stir. Add simple syrup a tablespoon at a time until it tastes right to you. (For me that was two tablespoons.) Add ice and garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.

*Simple syrup: It’s that time of year (i.e., iced coffee time of year) when you’ll never regret having a jar of simple syrup in the fridge. To make: In a small pot, simmer one part sugar to one part water over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove pot from heat and let cool. Store in a jar.

Purpose: What Are You Reading?

I just finished a book I was assigned to review — It was great I can’t wait to share more — but I wanted to find out from you: What are you reading? What have you lost yourself in? What’s made you grow? Learn? Empathize? Escape? Connect? Act?

Stay safe.

Donate, if you can.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, connected, and USEFUL. It began in March 2020. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at jenny@dinneralovestory.com.

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25 Comments

Meghan H.

I’ve been finding it hard to focus on reading right now, but am loving a book of short stories from The Moth called “All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown.” I ordered it from a local bookstore at the beginning of the pandemic and it’s been perfect for slowly working my way through these past few weeks.
https://themoth.org/all_these_wonders

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Jana

Oooohhh that pasta! Yum!
I finally read My Brilliant Friend after refusing to for years based on the romance novel-y cover. It was good! I’ll probably read the series.

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Chris

That pasta looks gorgeous!

Just finished reading “The Book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. It was written a few years ago, but it was perfect for these uncertain and difficult times. Truly uplifting!

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Jessica

I am almost done with Jeffrey Eugenides’ sublime Middlesex. It won the Pulitzer in 2003 for reasons that become clearer with each page. Some of the book’s themes (gender identity, race relations, the American Dream) are as relevant today as they were when Eugenides wrote it almost 20 years ago. I also love a good family drama and this book hits that genre’s nail on the head.

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BB

Started Reading my first Stephen king novel – Mr Mercedes – and have read the other two in the trilogy and am starting The Outsider now. I see why people love him!

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awads

I’m reading The Vanishing Half, a novel by Brit Bennett. It’s the story of African American twin sisters whose lives diverge, one living in a white world while the other in black. Lots to think about!

That lime-ade looks like it’s missing some rum. 🙂

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Toby

I just finished the YA novel, “I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson and it is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Stay tuned to my “bookstagram” (@tobyheartsbooks) for a review….;)

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Libby

Maybe it’s just me being a Texan here, but I think “lots of limes” and of course my mind goes to fresh margaritas!! When we’re up for a treat and don’t mind squeezing all the limes, we’re always blown away by how good a margarita with fresh squeezed lime juice is !

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sallyt

Molly – best book I’ve read all Q!

I’m reading a light book, if I never met you – waiting for Vanishing Half from the library.

Jenny – congrats on the graduation! How on earth are you finding good corn now? We have to wait until August in Boston…

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Cynthia

That corn can only be coming from Mexico or possibly Texas or California at this time of year. Local corn is August/September as anyone with a connection to a farmers market or agricultural area knows.

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Jen

I just finished The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai which was very moving. Before that, I read The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel and Writers & Lovers which were both very good. On to The Vanishing Half next.

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gm

I’ve been reading about African-American history and about race since November 2016, which means I was actually able to give some meaningful recommendations when my daughter (17 years old) responded to a friend’s call for an anti-racist book group. Reading more now, obviously. I felt like I kind of had to educate myself against what was happening as we went from President Obama to the horror show we have now. As for what to make with limes— in the book New Favorites for New Cooks, which my 14-year-old son loves to cook from, there is a ginger ale recipe which includes limes, and it’s delicious. 🙂

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B

I just finished ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’. I realize I’m late to the party on this one. Holy moly…so good. Work and parenting kept getting in the way of me being able to read it all the way through.

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Claire P

My attention span has been so short during Q time! But I’ve enjoyed library Kindle versions of the Bruno mystery series by Martin Walker. A local policeman in the rural French countryside.
Did you know you can just throw wilting limes into the freezer? When you thaw them they produce so much more juice. Lemons too.
Good reminder to have the simple syrup already in the fridge in the summertime. I like to add a glug of honey or maple syrup for some depth of flavor to the sweetness.

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Candace Reed

What was the name of the book you were assigned to read?
My attention span has also been Q-challenged but I have finished The Plot Against America (stunning, and more and more so with each passing day), and am working my way thru The Splendid and the Vile. (Factoid: In 1939, the Brits were able to come up with 35 MILLION full-fledged gas masks in anticipation of the Blitz; in 2020, our theoretically more sophisticated industries struggle to come up with sufficient amounts of PPE’s to equip our frontline medical soldiers. Hmmm…not really a comment, just an observation.)

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Katherine

I’ve been recommending the the book The Art of Logic in an Illogical World. It’s largely about how an understanding & use of mathematical logic can help us have more productions with people we disagree with. What’s particularly great is that her examples are mostly things that really matter: privilege, fat shaming, black lives matter, etc.

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Ashira

When quarantine started I read Just Mercy – by Bryan Stevenson. I cannot recommend it enough! Now I am reading Cornel West’s autobiography, Brother West, Living and Loving Out Loud. If you like hearing him speak, it is just like that.

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Anna

Hi Jenny! I bookmarked this post for the pasta recipe last month and just made it last night. It is amazing. I swapped the tomatoes for roasted rep peppers, used Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn, and added broccoli. The leftovers are even better today. Thank you for your daily posts of good cheer and a uplifting view of your clan during our quarantine period. This recipe made my day and my husband licked his plate clean!

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Naomi

I just read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as it was never assigned to me throughout my school years. I read it to fill in a gap of diversity literature but got so much more out of it than just that. It’s so beautifully written and gave me such greater appreciation of Maya Angelou’s work. Truly one of my favorite books now!

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Mary

Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on reading right now, or to stick with it…….I have always loved reading though. I have been reading Educated by Tara Westover.
This was a book selected for a book club I am in. It is very different from what I expected it to be, but, it’s
very good. I just started reading 10 percent Happier by Dan Harris. I have had it on my kindle for a while, but just decided to start it. One chapter was a little slow, but for the most part, it’s interesting.
I have also been reading, skimming through some cook books and thinking about new recipes to try. I have tried
a few new ones, but I want to try more.

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Karen

I too have had trouble focusing – I found a Pinterest post of novels for foodies. I’ve been getting them from the library ever since. Two of my favorites have been The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, Amy Reichert and Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe, Heather Webber. These are fast reads and light but I’ve enjoyed them!

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