Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Chowda Time

Not being a native Bostonian, I'm still taken aback when I hear someone talk about having a bowl of "chowda" for lunch after eight years in Beantown. I haven't eaten fish for six of my eight years here, so I haven't had much of the famed clam chowder. Come summertime, though, I usually get my chowder fix by whipping up a few batches of corn chowder with fresh corn on the cob and whatever herbs look good in the garden that day.

When I asked my husband for input on this week's meal plan, he asked for corn chowder. fresh corn, no fresh herbs. Would it be worth it without the essential goodness of those ingredients? Turns out the answer is yes, especially when paired with some multigrain muffins from Moosewood Cooks at Home. SustainableGirl asked me to post my recipe. I'm always more than happy to share recipes as there's something satisfying and collaborative about someone cooking up a dish I make with their own touches. Like most of my soups, the "recipe" is really just a loose process that changes with what I have on hand and how much time I have. I learned this process from a newsletter stuffed between a dozen ears of corn in our CSA box from Stillman's Farm a few summers ago. It's best with fresh, milky sweet corn scraped from the cob moments before, but it's also an easy winter dish made with frozen corn and the promise of summer.

Corn Chowder

olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
about 3 potatoes, cubed (I used organic Yukon Golds from Wood Prairie Farm in Maine)
corn (4 ears or about 1 1/2 - 2 cups frozen corn)
herbs (fresh thyme and oregano are great, but dried herbs to taste work well)
milk (I used some skim and some buttermilk, but richer milk would yield richer, thicker soup)
salt & pepper

In soup pot, saute onion in olive oil. Add some flour (maybe 1 T.) and whisk until thickened. Pour in about 1 cup of hot water and whisk. Add potatoes and just barely cover with hot water. Cover and let come to steaming point. Add herbs. Turn heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add corn and about half as much milk as there is potato water in the pot. Combine 1 1/2 T. flour or cornstarch with 1/4 c. milk and add to pot to thicken the soup. Season. Dream of August and enjoy!


  • At 10:30 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    I'll have to try this! Did you see where Moosewood is located?? I can't believe I've lived in Ithaca for four years and still not been to the restaraunt. Seeing as how my husband and I will be celebrating seven years of wedded bliss (or is that chaos?) on the 5th, maybe we'll have to give it a whirl. That's assuming Granny and Papa can babysit (she's been under the impression for the past few years our anniversary is on the 11th - kinda a long running joke in our family - I guess it's funny?).

    Thanks for the dinner idea!

  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger lauren said…

    I've always wanted to go the Moosewood restaurant! The cookbooks are fabulous for veggie cuisine.

  • At 1:36 PM, Blogger Harmonia said…

    Hi there! Sorry it's been awhile!

    I have been craving corn! I had a vegan corn chowder a few months back - it was great! I might try this and do it with coconut milk VS regular milk. Do you think that would work?

  • At 4:28 PM, Blogger Laurie said…

    I love corn and potato chowder more than anything else on earth. More than chocolate. More than sex. Well, I guess it depends on the person making it either way. But it comes close.

  • At 4:28 PM, Blogger Laurie said…

    Oh, but I forgot - you have to add a few butterbeans to it. Now I'm done.

  • At 7:08 AM, Blogger lauren said…

    harmonia: The coconut milk would be interesing. I'd love to hear how it is. Maybe you could change the herbs a bit and add some lemongrass, which is heavenly with coconut milk.

    laurie: I love the butterbean suggestion! I'll be trying that. I've gotta agree that when made with the freshest summer ingedients, corn and potato chowder is dee-lish.

  • At 9:56 AM, Blogger breadchick said…

    Well, I think this is what we are having tonight with my homemade buttermilk biscuits

  • At 3:42 PM, Blogger SustainableGirl said…

    Thanks for posting the corn chowder recipe!! I'm glad you noted that cornstarch can be substituted for flour ... I have to follow a gluten-free diet so I'm glad that's the only substitution I'll have to make. First I gotta go to the thrift store and look for a soup pot - much to my chagrin I have never made soup, or stew, or anything requiring a large pot. Not a bad purchase to make, if it will inspire me to expand my cooking repertoire ...

  • At 5:16 PM, Blogger lauren said…

    Mmmmm, homemade buttermilk biscuits sound delightful.

    SustainableGirl: a soup pot is definitely a worthwhile investment if you plan to do a lot of cooking. I use mine all the time.


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