Corn Chowder with Roasted Peppers and Tomatillos
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 poblano pepper, roasted, skinned and diced
1 serrano or other hot chili, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon cracked or freshly ground black pepper
3 celery stalks, cleaned and diced
3 cups corn kernels (4–5 fresh ears, corn removed from cob)
2 cups vegetable broth
3 medium potatoes (any color), peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons diced pimento (roasted red pepper)
2 tomatillos, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cups water
12 ounces evaporated milk (not sweetened)
4 ounces heavy cream
Garnish: chopped fresh chives, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded jack or cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds
Note: For extra-flavorful chowder, put the cornless cobs into a pot with a pinch of salt and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer 20–30 minutes. No urgency to be exact.
Melt butter in a medium soup pot or casserole. Add onions, poblano and serrano or other chili pepper, sage and oregano. Sauté over medium heat until onions are golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Stir in coriander, chipotle, black pepper and celery. Continue to sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Purée 1 cup of corn with 1 tablespoon vegetable broth and add to the pot, stirring to blend. Add potatoes, salt and the rest of the vegetable broth. Blend ingredients, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add 2 cups corn kernels, pimentos and tomatillos. If you have boiled corncobs in water, remove the cobs and pour the corn-flavored water into the soup. If you didn’t do this, simply add 2 cups of water. Continue to simmer covered on medium-low heat for 5–8 minutes. (You don’t have to be exact.)
Taste for salt and adjust to preference. Stir in evaporated milk and heavy cream. Cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, until the soup is warmed thoroughly. Do not bring to a boil once the milk and cream have been added. Stir once to blend all flavors.
Ladle into large soup bowls and garnish with any or all of the ingredients listed above.
. . .
Central Asian Carrot Salad
I get glamour mileage jazzing up a Central Asian carrot salad by using all the colors of carrots now available at farmers’ markets. My other secret is to slice them with the peeler used to remove the outer skin, which forms curly strips. This dish should be made ahead so the flavors meld.
1 pound multicolored carrots, peeled and trimmed
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sesame seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed or ½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin seed
3 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons good-quality honey
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
1 serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons sunflower, corn or other vegetable oil (not olive)
2–3 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
Using the peeler, shred the carrots into long, thin strips. If you have a spiralizer, use it instead. Put in a large bowl and toss with salt. Set aside 1 hour.
In a dry pan, toast the seeds you are using. Pour into a small bowl and try to crack a few coriander seeds if you can. Whisk in the vinegar, honey, garlic and chili. Whisk in the oil. Taste and if necessary add vinegar or honey to get a sweet-sour balance. Pour the dressing over the carrots. Let the salad sit a few hours to marinate. Scatter the cilantro leaves all over to serve.