Posted by: ThePseudotarian | August 6, 2010

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

After my Farm to Family trip earlier this week, I can’t stop cooking! I mean, I always cook. But cooking stuff I really want to share. I love sharing recipes. Part of just about every conversation I have involves the phrase, “Ahhh! I have such a great recipe for you!”

Yup. I’m that person.

So be ready for a flurry of posts. Yesterday was Fromage Blanc on wine-simmered lentils with a poached duck egg. Hopefully, after the weekend, I’ll be telling you about my GIANT butternut squash fondue experiment. I’ve never cooked one before, and this sucker is the size of a newborn child. I already called my mom, whose first warning was to make sure I poke holes to release the steam. Good thing I called her. I can’t imagine what would happen if my 4-lb squash exploded in my teeny tiny oven. Good thing I have a fancy hoover vacuum portable disposal 8-month old border collie mutthead.

Well anyway. It’s been a long week. I loved my Farm to Family trip, but work is killing me and Matt and I have both been incredibly stressed out. So when I came home from work last night, it was time for something comforting. For what I wanted, all I needed to do was go out and grab some milk and some garlic. Too bad I had to race the nastiest storm of the summer home from the Northside. If my little car and I had been on the road when it blew in full force, I don’t think I could have kept it on the road. Matt and I opened a bottle of wine and watched from the porch, hoping that the trees we were parked near didn’t fall and that the lightning hitting the ground every few seconds didn’t hit our building.

After the storm subsided(ish) about an hour later, we were able to run to the store for milk, garlic and the obligatory box of wine. And then it was home for some nice, homecooked chowder. That’s right, I’m back to soup. This is such a light alternative to the heavy pastas I eat when I want comfort food though. I found this a few weeks ago from snooping around Cooking Light and adapted it a bit. I was able to use the wonderful summer squash I picked up at Farm to Family, plus some corn I wanted to clean out of my freezer.

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups yellow summer squash, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 cups sweet corn, divided
2 1/2 cups organic milk
Old Bay seasoning
paprika
fresh thyme
scallions, sliced
cherry tomatoes, sliced into rounds

salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add your onions. Let them soften for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Let the garlic cook a bit, maybe 30 seconds, until it’s fragrant. Toss in the squash and cook until it’s tender, but not mushy. I ended up covering my pot and turning down the heat to steam them. I’ve found that the more I stir, the more I destroy the squash and end up with a mush of seeds. Of course, don’t NOT stir. You don’t want one charred side. Just be careful =)

Meanwhile, add 1 1/2 cups of corn and 1 cup of milk to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is creamy, but a bit chunky. You don’t want a puree here. When the veggies in your pot are ready, add the corn and milk mixture, and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk. Season to your taste, and bring the chowder up to a gentle simmer – be careful not to scorch the milk. When everything is warmed through, ladle it into bowls, and garnish with the tomatoes, scallions and a sprinkle of paprika.

When “plated,” this chowder is so pretty! If you get some nice ripe cherry tomatoes – they totally POP against the gentle color of the soup. Oh and it’s freaking delicious. Like, amazing, y’all. Even though it’s milk based, and chowders can be pretty heavy, this one is not. Probably because instead of heavy cream, you’ll use the corn to create the rich creamy texture.

The original recipe called for celery … but … I have a confession. I have a burning, passionate, deep seated Hatred for celery with a capital ‘H’. The raw stuff is stringy, the cooked stuff just drives me nuts. So please feel free to add it if you’re one of those weird (read: normal) people who eats freaking celery. In fact, I won’t even give you the amount of celery you need. Because I didn’t even write it down. So … nyah! (This post will now be renamed … The Pseudotarian Gets Feisty.)

Also, I loved this soup because it’s simple. Saute, pulse in the processor, warm – DONE. And also, it was so yummy and really hit my comfort-food needed spot. It satisfied that craving for creamy heaviness, without actually being heavy. Another exciting part? I can totally see this chowder (while awesome on its own) being a foundation of sorts for tons of variations. It would be great with lump crab, shrimp smoked fish … a TON of different things. Not vegetarian technically, but you know me. I think this would work wonderfully with anything that had a nice smokey flavor. When I finally get around to picking up some smoked paprika … I may become addicted to this soup. I’d also love to use other summer veggies. We’ll see what comes of it.

As for the boyfriend, he absolutely loved it and EVEN got leftovers. If you don’t know him already … Matt is terrible about eating leftovers unless they came from a restaurant (grrrr!). I can’t even get him to eat my leftover pasta. So the fact that he wanted more of this after it was cold and had to be reheated was about a big a compliment as when he burps 2 bites in. Maybe I should have named this blog “Cooking for Man”? Nahhh. Pictures soon!!

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