Oh, hi. HI! I’m here. Are you still here?
It seems like what started out as a nice, holiday hiatus from writing turned into a nice, half-year long hiatus from writing. Oops. I have lots of reasons. Firstly, I’m (at this point) very pregnant with bebe number two, and for awhile the thought of cooking anything except cheese and crackers made my stomach churn. (If you’ve been looking for more cheese and cracker recipes, I sincerely apologize.)
But mainly, I’ve stayed away from writing here because, with everything happening politically in my country (and the world over, for that matter) I just haven’t felt right posting sunny anecdotes and recipes. I mean, the Idiot in Chief over here (and his spineless idiot administration) is gleefully promoting racism (oh, and sexism, too) as his core agenda, stripping minority groups of basic rights, ignoring common sense gun initiatives (while Americans drown in gun violence), trying to gut the healthcare system, and putting babies in concentration camps, but yes, here, do enjoy this baked chicken. It’s the best baked chicken. Tremendous.
On the other hand… we’ve all got to eat, right? I miss writing here, and I miss the community we’ve built around these stories and recipes. I’m going to be back here more, posting sunny anecdotes and recipes, yes, because food is good for the soul and because we all need an escape now and then. But now you know where I stand, and what else is on my mind (#resistance). We’ll get through this, one way or another — and in the meantime, there’s summer corn chowder.
PS – for those of you who might want to tell me to stick to food, leave politics out of it, blah blah, please save it. Politics are everywhere, whether you realize it or not — from your clothing choices to your favorite brand of coffee. And now is the time to engage. (Plus this is my blog and I’ll write what I want to. Don’t @ me, bruh.) LOVE YOU MEAN IT xox
Summer Corn Chowder with Fresh Herbs
This soup! Pure summer in a bowl. It’s sweet and creamy (though there’s no cream involved), and calls to mind warm, breezy nights on the patio after a sun-and-sand-soaked day. It can be served hot or cold (I prefer hot), and is easily made dairy-free by substituting olive or coconut oil for the butter. Serve with sliced avocado, hunks of crusty bread or a simple tomato salad — also probably some rosé, because SUMMER.
Tip: prop your ears of corn carefully over a large bowl while you slice the corn kernels from them, so the kernels plunk happily in the bowl and don’t make a giant mess of your kitchen. Save the cobs that you don’t use by stashing them in a freezer safe bag in the freezer, so you can use them to make more soup (or just corn stock) any time of year.
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small jalapeño, seeds removed, chopped
- 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (use less – maybe half – if you’re using table salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 heaping teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 8 ears sweet corn, shucked, kernels cut from the cobs and cobs reserved
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus more for serving
- a squeeze of fresh lime (or lemon) juice
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and jalepeño and sauté until softened and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the potato, salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme and sauté a few minutes more.
Add the stock, half of the corn kernels, and 4 or 5 of the (stripped) corn cobs (you can toss or freeze the leftovers for later corn stock/soup), and the bay leaf. Increase the heat, bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup, partially covered, for at least 20 minutes, and up to an hour, to infuse the sweet corn flavor into the broth.
When you’re almost ready to serve, remove the corn cobs from the pot, scraping them against the side of the pot to release all the good stuff (official cooking term), and discard. Remove bay leaf, too. Use a stick blender (or regular blender, blending in batches) to puree the soup until mostly smooth. Add the remaining corn kernels and chopped basil to the soup, and stir to combine. Stir in a splash of fresh lime (or lemon) juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Serve warm (or cold!), topped with extra basil and perhaps some avocado, if you like.
Makes about 12 cups soup.