As mentioned in my Boston cream doughnut post, I was house sitting for my parents last week as they travelled about and did what empty nesters do. I’m a fairly tidy person overall, but I can only clean on my own schedule. So I enjoy being messy when home alone…the freedom to leave a bowl on the counter and clean it on my own will when I get home from work (without fear of parental or roommate persecution). I love making a total mess of the kitchen when cooking and baking and not having to give whoever walks into the room my apologetic/guilty/sad puppy eyes.
I wanted soup the other night. And, despite my parent’s soup mugs saying otherwise, I intended to get some. As a side note: my knowledge of Seinfeld and Frasier references are literally the only thing on this Earth that make me even slightly pop culture cool. I am so out-of-touch with the television shows and movies of past and present that it’s embarrassing. But hey, want the Hail Mary said in Gaelic? I’m your girl.
So I made this soup, and, just as I was spooning the corn chowder into my mouth for a final test of readiness, it hit me. There is absolutely no way I can eat this soup without an accompanying carbohydrate. A: Cornbread. Soupy mouthfuls from earlier already had me craving the taste, and what better way to eat a corn-based soup than to bake a cornmeal-based bread?! Global corn shortage? What global corn shortage?
I grabbed my mixing bowl and whisk and was ready to go to town. And then I realized – the process of making cornbread can be hindered when one is not in possession of cornmeal. Alas, in my transition from high school home to new adult home, I moved my cornmeal over and had forgotten to bring it back for this meal.
So I took the biggest cop-out route ever and made a batch of those baking powder biscuits that every child and their dog can make. Well, almost every child. One childhood kitchen memory involves my mistaken substitution of baking soda for powder into a batch of biscuits I made when I was 13. My parents smiled and pretended to enjoy them, while I probably scarfed them down because, like most pre-teens who were madly in love with something (Orlando Bloom, the idea of being Amanda Bynes, purple corduroy bellbottom jeans), I was in love with bread.
Making baking powder biscuits also triggers another childhood memory. Due to the simplicity of ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt and a liquid – it just so happens I had made a similar combination long before the days of mistaking soda for powder. When I was in grade four and obsessed with all things Harry Potter, I used to create “magic potions” out of stuff hidden in our pantry. One of my favourites was combining flour and water to create a pale white goo, a substance that was secretly funnelled into those tiny black film canisters and stored in my closet in hopes of spawning new life). That went about as well as you can imagine.
In the end, the corn chowder was delicious and the extra simmering time added by biscuit-baking worked out swell. Perfect for cold nights, warm blankets, and teeth that don’t want to do much chewing. I drank my chocolate milk out of a mug and felt as though I was a small child pretending to be a grown-up, staring up at my dad while sitting at the kitchen table. This was a great recipe and I definitely intend to make it again.
Speaking with my parents upon their return, it turns out this corn chowder, like my Boston cream doughnuts, was a tribute to their time spent in ‘murica. They had bowls of the famous Boston clam chowder, and I had this. Go figure.
Recipe: Corn chowder
Adapted slightly from The Curvy Carrot
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 cups vegetable broth (alternately: 2 cups water and 3/4 of those Bovril stock cubes)
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups fresh corn or 350 grams frozen corn kernels, unthawed
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 1/2 cup old Cheddar cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Finely chopped green onions
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil.
Add the onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper to the saucepan and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 10 minutes or so.
Add both kinds of potatoes, broth, and water, and simmer, covered, until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the corn and cream and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes (or up to 35 minutes with lid).
Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the cheese until melted.
Season soup with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with green onion.
Makes 4 servings.