SOUP SATURDAY: REGIONAL SOUPS

Third Saturday of October, I’m joining the fun event hosted this month by Ashley from Cheese Curd in Paradise. She picked Regional Soups as theme, hoping we would all feature a soup that is typical of our state. Google is one of my best friends, but this time it let me down. No matter how hard I tried to trick it into giving me some variety for recipes from Kansas, it was set on…. Steak Soup. For someone born and raised in Brazil, the words steak and soup cannot be present in the same sentence. Unless the soup was a first light course for that juicy steak grilled medium-rare. But, in the name of joining the party, I asked Phil how he felt about it. His reaction:  No, thank you. I like my steak grilled. Medium-rare. See? We are very compatible, in case you did not notice. I had two options, decline to participate, or be a bit more flexible with definitions. Since you are reading this post, you already know my choice. Kansas has great corn. And after hitting “publish” on this post, I might need a great lawyer.

KANSAS CORN CHOWDER
(inspired by Cookin Canuck)  

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 shallot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
2 + 1/2  cups chicken broth
1 cup + 1/2 corn kernels (from about 4 corn cobs)
3/4 teaspoon of salt, divided
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat milk
3 cooked chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, shredded
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the shallot, celery and red pepper and cook stirring very now and then until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the green chiles and cook briefly. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 

Pour in the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat add the corn and simmer for 5  minutes. Place the flour in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the soup, along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cook, until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken meat and the Cheddar cheese. Serve right away when the cheese melts, with some cilantro sprinkled on top. Adjust seasoning. 

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Since I had already pushed the envelope coming up with a chowder as a recipe for Kansas, I went even wilder and cooked the chicken sous-vide. How about that for breaking all rules? You simply cannot beat the perfect texture sous-vide does for boneless chicken breasts. Of course you can use leftover roast chicken, or regular top of the stove poached meat, it’s all fine. The shredded chicken is added just at the end, right before serving. You can also omit it for a full-veggie version, using vegetable stock or even water instead of chicken stock.  I had a lot of fun making this soup, even if the corn husk attacked me.

Felt very virtuous with my prep work!

I bought fresh corn and shucked it myself, to collect the beautiful kernels for my Kansas Soup. As I was shucking the very first corn, while pulling the husk back, it caught the fingernail of my little finger. Pulled it upwards and back almost breaking it midway into the tip of the finger. Have you ever done that? I tell you, it hurts. I saw many of the constellations of the Milky Way passing fast in front of my eyes. Or so it seemed. Stuck my finger in an ice bath, cut the fingernail as close as possible to the finger, and moved on.

Corn 1 x 0 Sally

This soup turned out quite amazing!  I think next time a little cayenne pepper will be added, I’d like slightly more heat. I swirled a little Sriracha over my bowl, just because. You can do the same.  Compared to many corn chowder recipes around, this one is a little more restrained in terms of calories, as I used a lot less flour to thicken the soup, and also opted for low-fat milk instead of a load of heavy cream. Trust me, this was luscious enough the way I made it. We were very happy with it, and the chicken makes it a full meal.

 

If you’d like to see what my virtual friends prepared for their Regional Soups, click on the link at the very bottom of the post. Ashley, thanks for hosting!

Guess what, folks? Next month yours truly will be hosting the event!  I can hardly wait!

ONE YEAR AGO: Impossibly Cute Bacon and Egg Cups

TWO YEARS AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

THREE YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

FOUR YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

FIVE YEARS AGO: On my desk

SIX YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo

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THE SECRET RECIPE CLUB: CORN CHOWDA

Last Monday of the month = Reveal Day for The Secret Recipe Club!  I could not be happier with my matching blog for this month:  Beautiful Disasters, hosted by Casey, the coolest girl in the whole blogosphere.  I first got to “meet” her when she made a flourless chocolate cake from my blog,  and that was the most popular recipe of our SRC that month!  How awesome is that?   Casey is a hard working high school student, athletic, witty, and keeps a blog that is always fun to visit.  I was thrilled to cook from her site.   Being a young runner with a high metabolism and all, she’s got a ton of sweets to share, but  I wanted to go for something savory. The weather is cooling down (Sally grabs the box of Kleenex), so I searched for a comforting soup.  My first click on the index was for corn chowder.  She starts her post with “Do you wish you had an accent?”   Casey, you got me right there!  I simply HAD to make your chowda.. 😉

CORN CHOWDER
(adapted from Beautiful Disasters)

2 cups corn kernels
2 Tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons thyme
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
a few fresh basil leaves
scant 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4   cups water
8 baby Yukon gold potatoes, cut in pieces
¾   cup half-and-half
1/2 Tablespoon white sugar

Heat the butter in a large pan.  Let it melt, then add the shallots, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallot is soft and starting to get some golden color. Add the flour and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the water, keep stirring. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the corn kernels and potatoes. Bring the chowder to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Transfer a little less than 2 cups of the chowder and the basil leaves to a blender and puree until smooth. Stir the puree back into the pan. Add the half-and-half then return the chowder to a simmer.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and mix in the sugar.

ENJOY! 

to print the recipe, click here

Delicious chowder, creamy, luscious, even if I took a few shortcuts with the recipe.  Full disclosure: Casey did not use frozen corn.  I am sure it would be even better with fresh corn and getting all that juicy corn milk, but I had to simplify the preparation to accommodate my schedule.

Now, back to the fascinating topic of accents.  As any immigrant, I am often reminded that I have an accent.   I don’t mind it that much, but I certainly wish I didn’t get in other types of trouble.

Allow me to share a quick story.  Day one of  lab move: I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off,  asking our secretary, one of the moving guys, and a  student “I need the doily.  Have you seen the doily around?”   All of a sudden, Phil gently grabs grabs my arm,  takes me to the side and whispers “Sally, darling, you are looking for the dolly, not the doily“.  That’s when  I understood their small delay in answering my question with a sheepish “I don’t know where it is”.   (sigh)

Casey, I hope you had a blast with your assignment too!
And for all my readers, don’t forget to click on the blue frog below to see the full list of posts by the members of Group D, the group that closes each month with a golden key!  😉

ONE YEAR AGO:  Oven-broiled Salmon over Saucy Spinach

TWO YEARS AGO: Butterscotch Brownies

THREE YEARS AGO: First Soup of the Year

A TASTE OF YELLOW TO HONOR BARBARA

Long before I started my own site, I already followed Barbara’s blog, Winos end Foodies.  For a while I was unaware of her health problems, until one day I clicked on the “About” page and learned that she started blogging right after being diagnosed with cancer, in 2004.  She used Winos and Foodies to get her mind away from her illness, and through the years of blogging she touched many people’s lives.  A lot has been written about Barbara, you can read a particularly touching tribute  here 

A few months after I started the Bewitching, I wrote Barbara an email and was amazed by how kind and thoughtful she was, sending me advice and encouragement. She read, left comments, dropped me private emails, it was hard to imagine that she could do it all while fighting one of the toughest battles a person can face.  I feel fortunate to have known her, at least virtually.

If you’ve never stopped by Winos and Foodies, please do so. She wrote about art, photography, food, her relationship with her husband of so many years, and occasionally about her tough times with cancer.   You will notice that  contrary to what most bloggers do (myself included), she didn’t post a blogroll of websites she enjoyed.  Instead, she created a page called Blog Friends, and listed everyone by name.  A special, sweet gesture, so typical of her.

In 2007, fascinated by the performances of Lance Armstrong 0n the Tour de France, she launched the event “A Taste of Yellow”  ,  to coincide with LIVEstrong Day, and to raise awareness about cancer in the community of food bloggers.  Barbara passed away on June 29th, so this year’s event, hosted by Jeanne (Cook Sister), is dedicated to her.

For my participation in this series of Taste of Yellow, I chose to cook with beautiful ears of corn.

COUSCOUS WITH CORN AND SCALLIONS IN BROWN BUTTER
(adapted from Fine Cooking, Aug/Sep 2012)

1 + 1/2 Tbs butter
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
kernels of 2 ears of corn
2 scallions, finely sliced (white and light green parts)
3/4 cup couscous
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1 cup boiling water

Melt the butter on medium-low heat and cook stirring occasionally,  until the butter gets a hint of golden color. Do not let it turn brown at this point because it will still cook a little further.  Add the thyme, and cook until fragrant.

Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper, cook for 2 minutes, increasing the heat slightly so they brown up.  Add the scallions, cook until they soften, another minute or so.  Add the boiling water all at once, close the pan and remove from the heat.  Let it rest 5 minutes, fluff with a fork, and serve.

to print the recipe, click here

My deepest condolences go to Barbara’s husband Bryan, their two sons,  family and friends in this difficult time. She will be missed.

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