This is it, the final days of abundance from the garden, the time we’ve waited for all season, when beans and summer squash, tomatoes and cucumbers, peppers and corn can be picked until we stagger under the weight of the overflowing baskets and colanders. Each vegetable, when it first reaches the table, becomes my instant favorite: the Silver Slicer cucumber, with it mild acidity and pale chartreuse seeds, must be the best ever, the Clementine tomatoes the sweetest ever sampled, the grey-and-green-striped zucchini the meatiest ever sauteed. But it’s the corn that makes us swoon. We can’t get enough of it, fresh from the garden, the water set to boiling before we even head out to pick. The first day the corn was ripe we had it breakfast, lunch and dinner, a dedicated stick of butter for twirling the hot ears waiting in the refrigerator for each new batch. Best of all, when it comes to corn, it’s so easy to cook more than you can eat and use the leftovers in another end-of-summer meal. Two or three cups of kernels cut from the cob is plenty for a dip, side, or pasta dish the next day. These corn nachos are great eating while drinking a chilled cerveza and waiting for some fish or chicken to come off the grill.

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2 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fresh corn kernels
2 Tbsp. flour
12 cup whole milk
14 cup heavy cream
112 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
tortilla chips
12 cup chopped fresh cilantro
12 cup crumbled cotija cheese (feta is a good substitute)
13cup sour cream
2 limes, cut into wedges
In a medium skillet, melt butter, add onion and sauté until tender. Add the garlic and sauté a minute more. Add corn and sauté for three minutes. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Add milk and cream and simmer for three minutes. Stir in Monterey Jack cheese until it’s fully melted. Arrange tortilla chips in a layer on a platter, and pour the corn mixture evenly over it. Sprinkle cilantro and cotija cheese evenly over the dip, and drizzle with the sour cream. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Corn bread can always benefit from the addition of fresh corn in the batter, but the following gussied-up recipe takes it even further with the addition of cherry tomatoes, plentiful in the garden right now.

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1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
112 tsp. baking powder
14 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
1 cup corn kernels
1 pint assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
14 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a nine-inch skillet. In a large bowl, whisk cornmeal with the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, cooled melted butter and eggs; whisk well. Fold in corn kernels. Pour batter into prepared skillet and smooth into an even layer. In a medium bowl, toss tomatoes with scallions, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour tomato mixture on top of the corn bread batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the corn bread comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Corn makes an appearance in both the sauce and the vegetables in this pasta, which also uses some of that ever-present zucchini.

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Sauce:
2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cloves garlic, chopped
14 tsp. salt
Pinch of pepper
13 cup milk
8 oz. fusilli pasta
112 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 largish zucchini, chopped
2 cups fresh corn kernels
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh basil ribbons
Add corn kernels, garlic, salt, pepper and milk to the bowl of a food processor. Process until well blended, about 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Set aside. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain into a colander, reserving the pasta water. While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet, add onion and cook until it starts to soften. Add zucchini and corn kernels and cook for about five to seven minutes, until tender. Remove from heat. Add in the corn sauce, drained pasta and mix until well combined. Add in some of the reserved pasta water to thin out and loosen the sauce as desired, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh basil and serve.