Saturday, September 22, 2012

Eating Omily: Getting Corny for Fall

Ok guys, it's official: The First Day of Fall!  And to celebrate, we're adopting a little orange kitten!  That's not true; the kitten is blonde.
 I love this time of year: the nip in the air, breaking out my jackets and jeans, the trees starting to change...mulled wine...mmmmm...there are some meals that are just tailor-made for exploiting the last produce of summer still rolling in while taking that nip in the air out of your bones.  Eggplant parmesan, minestrone, and corn chowder...mmmmm...corn chowder is so easy to make, too!  I provide here a recipe that I adapted from Tyler Florence's version on foodnetwork.com.

Put a tablespoon of butter in a medium soup pot along with a drizzle of olive oil.  While it melts and heats, chop up half an onion, and a garlic clove or two.  Put the garlic and onion in the pot along with dried or fresh thyme, salt, and pepper.  Keep the heat low enough that the aromatics are barely sizzling, and wait for them to get totally soft and sweet.  This can take up to ten minutes, but it just depends.

While they cook, chop up one good-sized potato.  When they're ready, sprinkle two tablespoons flour over the veggies, stirring it in so the flour is absorbed in the fat.  Give it a minute to cook, stirring to prevent sticking, then add three cups of veggie or chicken stock, and bring up to a boil.  Once it boils, add one cup of milk (a little fat is better than none, for flavor and texture's sake, but use what you have), and the chopped potato.  Let the pot keep boiling pretty vigorously until the potatoes start to break down.  This could take between seven and ten minutes.
Meanwhile, carefully slice the kernels off of three ears of corn.  When the potatoes are falling apart, turn the heat back to a simmer, and add the corn.  Hold each cob in one hand over the pot, and with the back of the knife, squeeze any bits of kernels and corn milk out of the cobs, and into the pot.  Scrape the back of the knife on the edge of the pot to get it all.  Let the soup simmer for ten more minutes or so, until it's thick and creamy, and the corn is tender.  Add more salt and pepper as necessary.  I like to add enough of a pepper blend that there's just the subtlest touch of heat on the tongue.
You can serve the soup with grated cheese: cheddar is good, or parmesan.  I also like a drizzle of really good olive oil, and an extra sprinkle of sea salt to compliment the warm, sweet flavors of the soup.  Crusty bread definitely doesn't hurt, either!  If you're going vegan with this recipe, I would use more stock instead of using a milk substitute, and boil the potatoes extra long so they break down and give the soup velvety texture, and obviously substitute more olive oil for the butter.
The Farmer's Markets are open, and there's plenty of corn to be had cheap!  Why not celebrate Fall by adopting a blonde soup?...and some mulled wine...mmmmm...

~em

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