There are days that I just want to stay at home, under the covers with a good (or lets face it, a pretty bad) book. For the last week, Shanghai has been a dreary, grey mess.

For four hours on Tuesday, I escaped the greyness in Shanghai by flying to South Korea. There I picked up my favorite lip gloss at the duty free store, Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, and walked around in sunshine for an hour. Most importantly, I hopped out of the China just long enough to get a stamp on my passport saying I’d left the country once in the last three months.

It’s one of the frustrations for me as I live in Shanghai. I’m too young to have a permanent work visa, and so every three months, I have to leave. On sunny days when I can take time off from work, I like to think of it as state-mandated vacations. But on the days when I have to leave the country ASAP for less than a day and then hurry back to work, I (and many other expats living here for that matter) think of them as just wasteful visa-runs.

So after two flights, two sets of customs, and two long waits at airports, I was home, and in no state to deal with any real cooking. By real cooking I just mean anything that will take longer than 30 minutes or would need a watchful eye. There would be none of that for me.

I had picked up these beautiful nectarines at the shops the other day. Monday I had snacked on them at work, and they were destined to be Tuesday’s dinner. I made the ricotta myself, which added a full 7 minutes to the whole process, and even so, this dinner took only 12 minutes to prepare.

It was flavorful and simple, and in the exact opposite nature of my day, not wasteful at all. I didn’t run to the store to throw it together, it was just what was in my house, and I bet the basics are in yours too. If you have milk, a lemon, salt, honey, and a few nectarines or peaches, this dinner makes for a very flavorful and simple way to put all those ingredients to good use. If you have ricotta in your fridge, you can cut your time to about 5 minutes, your ingredients to 4, and your trouble in half.

Grilled Nectarines with Ricotta
Adapted from Epicurious


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 nectarines halved and pits removed
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup ricotta (make your own with this recipe)


1. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high, or place a ridged grill pan over medium-high heat.

2. Spread the butter over each of the nectarine halves, or just butter the grill pan.

3. Grill the nectarines, flat sides down, until warmed through, about 3-4 minutes. If you want those pretty grill marks, make sure not to move your nectarines until that time is up. To test, at about 3 minutes, pick one up to see if the rest will be ready.

4. Serve the nectarine halves with generous spoonfuls of the ricotta in the centers, and drizzled with honey.

Critic’s Comments

I thought Walker would think this dinner was far too girly to call a dinner. And though he did supplement it later with a bowl of cereal, he was very happy with the salty and sweet and refreshing perfect bite that these treats had to offer. Another win for a meatless, girly dinner!