Summer Squash and Corn—Worthy of Respect

In Season, Ingredient, Recipes, Seasonal Foods, Summer
on May 31, 2012
Mark Boughton Photography

When my kids were young, I used to peer into their bedrooms while they slept and look at them in awe thinking how innocent they seemed. It was a warm feeling, seeing them so silent and at peace. I wondered what was going on in their heads.

Now that they are in their late teens, I know what is going through their minds. They think their parents are … stupid. I and many Baby Boomer parents have been deemed idiots by teen standards. All of a sudden, the kids are brimming with wisdom, and we parents don't know a thing. We have been downgraded to dummies who can do nothing but hand out money. And I've spoken to other parents who have had the same experience with their kids.
It's not that the kids don't love us. It's simply a phase they're putting us through.

I feel like a sage sometimes. A Jedi master who understands so much more about people and life than when I was younger. Yet half the time all I get as a response from my kids is the rolling of eyes or the impatient "That's not true."

The one thing I do know is that my kids never question or doubt my cooking skills. With the risk of sounding like Rodney Dangerfield, the only place I still get respect is in the kitchen. I never hear "It's not the way to do something" or "Add more basil." And the only time I get a roll of the eyes is when dinner isn't ready on time.
I am happy my kitchen remains a place I can earn parental respect.

Here's a dish that has become a favorite this summer while my daughter Sabrina is home from school. This recipe can be eaten as a side dish by omitting the tofu layers and cheese. You can also add yellow squash if you like. It's important that you brown the zucchini first, remove it from the pan and then caramelize the onions. If you don't take time for this step you change the taste completely. As you know by now, we like spicy food in my family, but you can leave out the chili if you wish.
I always use fresh corn for this recipe, but you can use frozen if you are in a hurry. It's simple to remove the kernels from the cob. Simply stand the corn vertically on a plate or cutting board and slice them away in sections from the cob.

—By Chef Steve Petusevsky