Fresh Corn & Roasted Poblano Chowder

Fresh Corn & Roasted Pablano Chowder

(Becky, the Mom.)

I just spent the past several days with my daughter Rachel, her husband Jared, and 14 month old grand-baby Jackson at their home in Texas.  As I think over all the fun things Rach and I  did together: an afternoon of writing on our upcoming book, mixing and mingling with great friends and fun family in the area — my favorite memories are of a couple of simple evenings.  Both my husband Greg and Rachel’s Jared had to work late, leaving just me, Rachel and Jackson to linger and visit, play and cook.

Jackson loves the kitchen.  Here he is using a banana to sampling my recipe for pumpkin pie dip. 

I love this new-fangled baby contraption that allows him to stand up at the counter and watch us cook.  Jackson is also a huge fan of appliances.  Particularly the “turning on and turning off” of them.  He stands and claps with appreciation whenever one of us turns on anything from the vacuum cleaner to the blender or electric toothbrush.

I had to say good-bye to this sweet Dumplin’ today as we headed back toward our home in Denver.   When I turned on the blow dryer  in the hotel bathroom,  I was saddened to have to do so without Jackson’s typical standing ovation.  One can quickly grow accustomed to the applause of a diapered toddler.  I miss him with every flick of a switch,  every push of a button that proceeds the whirl of some electronic coming to life.

Rachel let me create whatever vegan meal I wanted to cook out of her well-stocked fridge full of farm fresh veggies.  I spied a few ears of fresh corn, and some peppers (poblano and hatch chilis) and immediately thought that a Corn and Roasted Poblano Pepper Chowder might be tasty. It was delicious!  Creamy without the cream,  making it a low cal option as well.  (Almond milk only has 30 calories a cup!) We added some pan-fried vegan sausages (Field Roast brand)  to our soup to make it a one bowl meal and some kale to up the color and nutrition.  This is a vegan dish I would proudly serve to omnivores.  (Big thumbs up on the Field Roast grain-based apple sage sausages.  I preferred them to meat-based sausages.)

The best part of making this dish, of course, was that I got to use the food processor to the appreciation and applause of my diapered grandbaby.

Fresh Corn & Roasted Poblano Chowder

 Ingredients:

2 large peppers, cut, seeded and broiled (skin side up) until blackened and blistered (I used one poblano and one hatch chili – use peppers of your choice.)

3 c. fresh cooked, grilled or boiled corn, cut off the cob

1 onion, chopped

2 minced garlic cloves

1 T. olive oil

1 T. Earth Balance butter

1 t. cumin

1 t. smoked paprika

1 t. Hungarian (or regular) paprika

3 cups almond milk

1 c. veggie broth

1 T. brown sugar

1 t. salt

½ t. pepper

Directions:

Cook corn and once it is cool to touch, cut kernels it off the cob (4 large ears yielded about 3 cups for me).  Rub the knife along the cob to capture any “corn milk” juices that you can as well.  Dice the roasted peppers. Melt oil and butter in large deep skillet or soup pan. Saute onions and garlic, add spices, corn and peppers. Let simmer over medium high heat until hot and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add almond milk and veggie broth, salt and pepper and sugar. Simmer until hot and bubbly, stirring regularly.

Carefully ladle half of the soup mixture into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Pour back into pan and stir into the waiting corn-pepper-spice mixture, until just re-heated.   Check to see if it needs more salt and adjust seasonings to your liking.

Option Add about a cup of diced kale to soup after you stir the blended portion into the other half, and cook until kale is just tender.  Slice and brown sausages (we like Field Roast brand vegan sausages)  in a little olive oil. Sprinkle atop the soup to make it a heartier one bowl meal.

 Omnivore Options:  Use dairy milk to replace almond milk and chicken broth to replace veggie broth if you prefer.  Drizzle with heavy cream or sour cream or Greek yogurt,  or sprinkle with cheese and crisp bacon.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title:Fresh Corn & Roasted Poblano Soup
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-HT
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Becky’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

(The Mama)

Greg and I are in Neskowin, Oregon this week — a tiny little beach town with impossibly cute houses surrounded by brilliantly colored flowers, some blossoms as big as dinner plates.  I hit the beach cooking, barely having time to gather in a car load of groceries before cooking dinner for a dozen on Saturday night (sour cream chicken enchiladas).  Yesterday, I cooked lunch for 22 of Greg’s extended family members dropping by to hug, share stories and sit a spell between strolls to the beach.  Greg lost both of his parents when they were just in their 50’s (our age!) so connections to them now — people and places — are doubly meaningful.  Since Greg and his siblings were young, Neskowin was the family vacation spot and is where all of them return to, as Greg says, “fill our souls.” So while they are filling their souls, I am filling their tummies.

For the lunch crowd, I served sandwiches and tortilla soup, with blueberry-raspberry bars for dessert. It was perfect for a cool, foggy day at the beach, huddled up with people we love.  Plus it makes a bunch!!

Becky’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

Becky’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

1 seeded red bell pepper
1/2 red onion
3 cloves garlic
2 t. poultry seasoning
2 t. cumin
1 T. brown sugar
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (medium to hot heat level), available in small cans in Mexican and Spanish food section of market.*

1 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes, divided in half
4 cups chicken or veggie broth (divided 1 and 3)

3 to 4 cups roasted chicken, pulled off bone and diced or shredded ( roasted chickens are available in most grocery delis)
1 cup frozen corn
1 zucchini, dice

 

steak or grill seasoning (or salt and pepper), to taste

1/4 cup bar-b-que sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Topping Options:
crushed tortilla chips
grated cheese
chopped green onions
diced avocados
sour cream or Greek Yogurt
wedges of fresh lime
cilantro

Directions

In a blender or food processor put the first seven ingredients (bell pepper through chipotles), half of the crushed tomatoes, and one cup of broth. Blend well.

Pour this mixture into big soup pot and add the rest of the crushed tomatoes and broth.

To this add frozen corn, chicken, and zucchini.

Simmer over medium heat until zucchini is tender and soup is heated through. Season with Steak or Grill Seasoning (or salt and pepper) to taste. To make a creamier soup, you can add 1/2 cup of cream.

To serve, put a handful of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each soup blow. Carefully ladle on soup, then top with your choice of toppings.

Vegetarian Version: Use veggie broth, pinto, ranch or black beans in place of chicken. Vegans omit cheese and cream

*I keep the leftover Chipotles in Adobo Sauce in a small Ziploc bag in the freezer and break off what I need to add depth of flavor and heat to other Mexican dishes.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Chicken Tortilla Soup
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-wA
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Lentil Veggie Chili

Lentil & Veggie Chili over brown rice, a delicious, healthy, economical twist on an American favorite.

I think any of our regular readers know my affections for kale at this point. I do love that cruciferous veggie (in fact, this recipe sneaks in two cups of it), but I’ve been keeping quiet about another favorite food of mine. Possibly the the humblest legume out there, the lentil.

I don’t have a funny or inspiring story to tie into this recipe, so I’m just going to indulge in one of my favorite guilty pleasures, talking geeky about health food.

“What’s a lentil?” You ask. Well, I didn’t know either until about two years ago when I started eating a plant-based diet. I wish I had known about them when I was a college student trying to eat healthy on a tight budget. A pound of lentils costs less than $1.00 and will yield 5 cups of cooked lentils. Each cup boasts a whopping 17 grams of protein, 16 grams of fiber, folate (90% RDV), iron (35% RDV), magnesium, and much more, yet only has 1 gram of fat and 230 calories. All that, and they cook in 30 minutes (versus 4+ hours for most dry beans) with no soaking required.

Like most legumes, lentils aren’t a powerhouse of flavor on their own, but they pick up the flavors of whatever they are cooked in nicely. I use them in soups and spaghetti sauce all the time. This week, I discovered a new use for them. Instead of using canned beans or slow cooking kidney and black beans for my usual veggie chili recipe, I used lentils.

I know it’s warming up and, for some, chili is a winter dish, but I love any quick one-pot meal in the summer that doesn’t require turning on the oven or hovering over the stove for long. You can make a lot at once, and then take the next night off or easily pack up the leftovers for lunch at the office. And if you top it with a hit of diced avocado, some cilantro, and a squeeze of lime , it really brightens up the flavors and brings a bit of summer color to this warm dish.

What’s your favorite under-the-radar ingredient or food that you love to tell your friends about?

Lentil Chili served over brown rice and topped with avocado, cilantro, and lime.

Rachel’s Lentil Veggie Chili

Ingredients

1 onion, diced
3 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. grated ginger
1 T. cumin
1 t. cayenne
1 t. salt
2 serrano chilies, whole
1 sweet potato, chopped
14 oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup (1/2 lb) dry green lentils, sorted for dirt & rocks* & rinsed
6 cups water
2 cups of frozen corn, thawed
2 cups kale, removed from stem
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes (optional for an extra spicy kick)

Other: Brown Rice and/or crackers, avocado, cilantro, & lime

Directions

In a large pot, heat a little bit of olive oil and saute onions and carrots with a pinch of salt on medium heat until soft.  Add garlic and ginger and saute for 2 more minutes. Stir in cumin, cayenne, and salt. Add serrano chilies, sweet potato, tomatoes, lentil, and water. Cover and bring to a boil, lower to a simmer for 30 minutes with the lid tilted, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid. Add corn and kale & optional red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10 more minutes. If you want a thicker soup, continue to simmer uncovered until you reach the desired consistency.

Serve over brown rice or with crackers. Garnish with avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

*Before cooking any dried legumes, pour them onto a solid surface, like a paper towel and sort through them looking for sticks, little rocks, or clumps of dirt. Please don’t skip this step. I find something in probably 50% of my dried beans. You don’t want you or your guests to bite into a rock!

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Lentil Veggie Chili
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-lR
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved