"Good things come to those who wait."
"Patience is a virtue."
"Wait your turn, man!"
Got any others? I don’t. It’s not that I can’t wait for great things to happen, it’s more that, well, sometimes I just don’t want to.
I know. You’re thinking, “Mallory, that’s childish. Appreciate your experiences as they occur.” Or you might be thinking, “Mallory, waiting is what it means to be a grown up.” Or you might be rolling your eyes and just wanting the recipe. But any way you look at it, the end result is in the same place: a place that includes five-year plans and dental insurance.
Recently, I left my job in a professional kitchen to write full-time, and have since become very focused on this waiting game. In the restaurant world, there is no room for patience. It is now! And go! And fire! During a shift, you know exactly what must get done to get food to the plate. Whatever happened before work and whatever will happen after just doesn’t matter.
Now when I’m working, the only clock I have to beat is the one showing the battery life left on my laptop. When I wipe the sweat from my brow, it’s from the steam off my latte. I wake up in the morning and worry that I have too much work to do, or not enough work to do, and that schedule itself is constantly in flux.
Needless to say, the two worlds seem pretty different. Surprisingly, however, I’m actively savoring this stressful shift. The support of my friends and family make it considerably easier, as do beer gardens.
Cooking-related patience is another virtue entirely. I rarely come home, hungry and tired, and think, “I really want to intensely exert myself in the kitchen so that, many hours from now, I will have something delicious to eat.” For that reason, I love the moment of foresight that signals, “Make now, eat later, tastes better.”
This instinct relates to the slow-cooking, long-simmering, good-smells-wafting-into-the-hallway meals that take a little work up front and then the ability to step away from the kitchen appliances. They are also great choices for big summer lunches or dinner parties because you can prep the food and then prep yourself and your guests think it all looks so easy.
The slow-roasted tomatoes in this dish are covered in thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cooked for about 3 hours, they will flatten to oval-shaped disks that can add an element of complexity to any salad or pasta. When plated with the much quicker-cooking sweet and spicy corn, however, the combination is fresh and summery. It’s also a meal that is filled with lycopene, a phytonutrient that has been shown to have anti-oxidant properties, as well as vitamins C, A and K.
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes with Chili Lime Corn
This light salad can be made a day in advance and served at room temperature. Or, as I’ve done every weekend this summer, prepare the tomatoes in advance and cook the corn closer to the time of your meal to serve warm.
For the tomatoes:
- 4 ripe Roma tomatoes, sliced in half, vertically
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh Thyme, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
For the corn:
- 2 ears of fresh corn
- 2 tsp butter, softened
- juice of ½ a lime
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 315 degrees. Arrange the tomatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper, and place in the oven for 1 hour.
- Lower oven temperature to 275 degrees and let tomatoes remain for 2 more hours or until flattened and bubbling slightly. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Turn oven up to 350 degrees. Place corn, in its husks, directly onto the oven rack and roast for 30 minutes, or until softened and bright yellow.
- Peel back husks and scrape corn off cob and into a bowl. Add softened butter, lime juice and chili flakes, mixing to combine.
- Arrange tomatoes around a serving plate and spoon corn mixture into the center. Enjoy!
Mallory Stuchin, a native Manhattanite, is a freelance food and health writer. She studied Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore, India and has taught classes at PURE Yoga and New York University. She is also a Natural Foods Chef and has worked for Mario Batali. Her writing has previously been featured in The New York Observer, Glamour and Maxim, as well as other publications in New York and Los Angeles. You can follow her on Twitter @malstuch.