Two Soups for You

There’s nothing I love more on a cool fall day than a delicious soup and tonight I have two for you! (Sadly, none left over for me. Ah, well.)

Soup 1: Roasted Corn Chowder

Adapted from FoodNetwork.com

This soup takes WORK. Like, a lot of work. But it was so worth it, especially making the corn stock from scratch. Give yourself all afternoon for this one. Definitely a weekend endeavor.

Stock:

  • 8 ears corn
  • 1 1/2 quarts water, or more if needed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Put the husked corn on the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning as needed to evenly brown. Remove the corn from the grill and when cool enough to handle remove kernels and set aside.

Put the corn cobs into a large stock pot, add the water, chicken stock, salt, pepper, garlic, peppers, cilantro stems, onion and celery. Put the pot over high heat and bring it to a strong boil. Cook for 45 minutes, then strain the solids. Cool.

Soup:

  • 2 cups baby purple potatoes diced (1/2-inch)  {I used purple potatoes just because I love them and the extra pop of color; red-skinned potatoes would work just as well}
  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup diced bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, cover the diced potatoes with 3 cups of the cooled stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add the 4 tablespoons of butter, and once melted, add the diced onions, half of the corn kernels and all the peppers. Saute about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring frequently. Stir in 3 cups of the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender (get one…it’s worth it. My sister got me this one from Cuisinart for my birthday. Best. Thing. Ever), blend until smooth. Pour out of the stockpot into a bowl to set aside.

Wipe the stock pot clean, put it over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, then drain on a paper towel lined plate. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the bacon fat, along with the remaining corn. Season with the salt and pepper and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes and combine well. Stir in the heavy cream, add the corn puree mixture. Heat through and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, I topped the soup with the cilantro leaves and freshly made corn tortilla strips. (Just cut up a stack of corn tortillas with a pizza cutter and fry until golden in vegetable oil.)

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Soup 2: Winter Squash Soup with Dried Figs and Toasted Pine Nuts

(also known as wildly easier than the last soup!)

This soup is adapted from an amazing cookbook, Simply Organic, by Jesse Ziff Cool. This is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. I’ve had it for a few years and have so enjoyed it. It’s divided by season and has beautiful pictures (which I love in my cookbooks). Check it out here on Amazon.

Ingredients:

  • a mixture of winter squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped coarsely {I used 1 large acorn squash and 1/2 medium butternut squash}
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (skins on)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 5 dried figs, sliced (I used Turkish figs, my favorite)

In a large stock pot (I used my 4.5 quart Le Creuset….yay for wedding presents!), add the olive oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft and slightly caramelized. Add the chopped squash and the wine. Cover the veggies with broth. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes until the squash is very soft.

Using an immersion blender (again, get one, it’s worth it), puree until totally smooth. Add the thyme through the maple syrup and puree again.

Top with the pine nuts and the figs. Along with a crusty piece of bread, you have a delicious and satisfying fall dinner.

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What is your favorite fall soup?

~CM

Spicy Summer Supper

I really am all about the Tex-Mex this week, and this dinner was no different. One of my favorite combinations is quinoa with corn and zucchini. Often, I make it with goat cheese and basil and it is a light dish perfect for a hot summer evening. This time, I wanted to try something a little different and found a Southwest version using the same main ingredients. It turned out delicious and brought out a completely different flavor profile than my usual.

Southwest Zucchini and Corn Quinoa
Adapted from Closet Cooking 

Serves 4

1/2 batch taco seasoning (see below)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
3 ears of corn
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3/4 cup queso blanco, crumbled

First, mix the taco seasoning, water, and quinoa in a medium sauce pan and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until the water is absorbed, the quinoa is tender, and the little white spirals show. Fluff with a fork and keep covered until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, cut the corn kernels off the cob and saute with the zucchini and jalapeño in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Saute until everything has softened a bit (about 7 minutes).
This corn is so sweet and creamy! Hard to beat.
To serve, put 1/4 cup of quinoa in a bowl, top with 1/4 of the veggies, a handful of cheese and 1/4 of the cilantro. So delicious and just spicy enough!

 

Taco Seasoning

Also adapted from Closet Cooking

Mix together the following in a small bowl.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Note: The original quinoa recipe calls for (and I used) a full batch of taco seasoning to be cooked with the quinoa. I think 1/2 to 3/4 of a batch would be better…it got a little gritty with all these spices. Plus, I like the taste of quinoa and couldn’t taste it at all with the full batch used. To add some extra heat, you could always use a hotter pepper in the saute, another jalapeño, or even some cayenne. Yum!
~CM

This Week’s Selection Furthers My Tex-Mex Hankerings

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Something about the heat and spending time at the beach leaves me with various Tex-Mex/Southwestern/Tropical flavor joneses and the veggies in this week’s CSA share will help me continue in that vein! The complete haul A jalapeño pepper and cilantro Wax beans, another jalapeño, carrots, and one of the four ears of corn rainbow chard … Continue reading

A Taco Kick

I guess I’m on a taco kick…that and I have the ingredients in the kitchen and am trying to use up our staples before our move next week (!!). I can not WAIT to be in our new place…a nice big kitchen, a back deck on which to barbecue with our as-of-yet imaginary grill, AND central air. Anyway, back on topic, I made another delicious lunch of some simple tacos. This time I was cooking just for myself and threw things together rather than using a recipe.

I used one ear of the corn from our CSA share this week, and it stole the show. So sweet and fresh and creamy! Pretty too!

I cut the corn off the cob and sauteed it with about 1/2 cup of drained and rinsed black beans, another Fresno chili pepper, some cumin, olive oil, and salt.

Meanwhile, I put two corn tortillas on a plate and microwaved them with a bit of reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar. Once the beans had softened up a bit, I scooped them onto the tortillas and topped them with a dollop of sour cream.

The sweetness of the corn and the bite of the pepper worked perfectly with the cumin. I am pretty sure I ate these two tacos in record time!

I’m planning another experiment with my favorite veggie for either tonight or tomorrow so check back soon!

~CM

Pretty Veggies to Beat the Heat

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Ok, so they don’t actually help me beat the heat. But at least they’re nice to look at this week! I traded my Romaine lettuce for more beets, because I’m all salad-ed out for the moment. This week’s supply has some exciting new contenders as well. Without further ado… Quite a selection this week. Onion, … Continue reading