Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy summer, with chowder.

Right now, as I write this, I'm surrounded by stuff. We had our wedding shower this past Sunday and came home with boxes and bags filled with shiny new things, like pans and salad spinners and vacuums and martini glasses and a Yoda tree topper, and even some old things, like a Kodak folding Brownie camera from 1915. It's overwhelming, looking at all of these boxes and trying to rearrange dishes in the cabinets, replacing the old with the new.



As I drove home from the shower, I was dreading the unpacking process. But once we started up, opening all the packages and watching our new life unfold before our eyes, I realized that this is it. This toaster oven will be ours until it's old and rusty. This vacuum will clean our apartment and next, our house. We'll be using these new spoons as we sit around the dinner table with our kids. And believe it or not, these thoughts of the future make it seem not so overwhelming anymore. It's calming, and it's happy. Everything is coming together.

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My fridge is packed, too. Talk about overwhelming -- it's about that time of year when I have too many vegetables than I know what to do with, and I kind of love it. In less than one week, I've accumulated a half pound of okra, a bag full of green beans, a bunch of green onions, beets beets beets, plump tomatoes, cucumbers big and small, five zucchini, two summer squashes, and 13 ears of sweet corn. Needless to say, I've been cooking a lot. Last week there was the corn, zucchini, and black bean saute. Tonight, there were roasted green beans splashed with olive oil and lemon. And there were two batches of corn chowder.

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Two very different batches of corn chowder. The second was just last night, which I've posted about before, with bacon and butter and potatoes and heavy whipping cream. You know, that kind of corn chowder. The kind that makes you grab at all the sweet corn you can get, and who cares if it's sweltering hot outside, and let's just add one more slice of bacon. There will be chowder.




The first isn't that kind of chowder, but still very good, and certainly worth making. It's light and easy, for those days when you'd rather skip the bacon and just enjoy the freshness and simplicity of the season's best produce. It's the kind that you make when your fiance is out of town because according to him, there should be no other chowder except that with bacon. Instead, this one features summer squash, which is flowing like water at the farmers markets right now, so go ahead and just make this already.

I made mine in my brand new Le Creuset, which my sister Jenny got for me as a bridesmaid present when she got married. Fresh vegetables, corn chowder, shiny new things, and a future (and fridge) full of possibilities. Happy summer, indeed.



Summer Squash and Corn Chowder (from Cooking Light)
The original recipe does call for bacon, but I skipped it and thought it was mighty fine without.

2 teaspoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup sliced green onions, divided
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 cups yellow summer squash, chopped
2 cups fresh sweet corn
2 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
salt and pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup onions, garlic, celery, and squash to pan, and saute 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Reserve 1 cup corn and set aside. Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender, and process until smooth. (I used a stick blender and a large bowl, and left the mixture slightly chunky.) Add corn mixture and remaining milk and corn to pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a garnish of green onions and fresh grape tomatoes.

Serves 4.

4 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the shower! Unwrapping your new life must feel amazing. :)

    Also wanted to say thanks for the idea of corn chowder...I have a bunch of ears languishing in the fridge, so now I know exactly how to use them up.

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  2. It's fun getting shiny new things to start your life together, huh? I'm so jealous of your Le Creuset, what a wonderful gift! I wish I had known I NEEDED one when we got married :)

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  3. so sweet! so happy and excited for you both!

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  4. maddie - thank you! chowder's a great way to use up tons of corn. let me know how it goes!

    nicole - you should treat yourself to a le creuset! i just got mine and have used it so much already.

    g. - thank you!

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