Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ah, Zorba, your Summer Veggie-Corn Chowder is delicious.

An open letter to Zorba Paster of Public Radio fame:

Dear Dr. Paster (May I call you Zorba?); I enjoy your heart-healthy recipes. I find most of them delicious and practical. I often print out the good ones on Saturday morning as I'm making my list for the Farmers' Market. When I heard Summer Vegetable-Corn Chowder, my reaction was "MMmmmm! Must make this!"

But Zorba, there were a few weak spots in this one. I present it here to share with my readers, complete with my own Daisy-style commentary.

2 potatoes, peeled and diced (What kind of potato? Russet? Red? Yukon gold? Blue?)
1/4 cup leeks, sliced thinly (I've never cooked with leeks before. This will be fun.)
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup celery (feed the leftovers to the rabbits, of course)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon margarine
2 cups low-sodium broth (my homemade broth is low sodium, but somewhat higher in fat)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups skim milk
2 16 oz. cans Corn (Cans? Zorba, it's harvest season! Get fresh corn! Cans? No way.)
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup parsley, minced (this came from the garden, and the bunnies got the leftovers)
1 Tablespoon Dill Weed (I skipped this)

But wait - before we even start. Dr. Zorba, this recipe aired in late August. Really. Think about it. What do gardeners and farmers' markets have in abundance in late August? Zucchini!! Where's the zucchini in this recipe? And how about herbs? They're all over, fresh as can be.
I added 1/2 cup grated zucchini and at least a Tablespoon each of thyme and oregano and rosemary. The house (and my hands while cooking) smelled wonderful.

Back to business. In a large soup pot over medium heat, add chicken broth, potatoes, leek, onion, and celery. Add in margarine and garlic. Cover and simmer 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
In a saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in cold skim milk. Whisk over medium high heat until thickened, and then whisk into soup pot. Add corn (cans? Hmph, I used fresh corn), evaporated skim milk, salt, and hot pepper sauce to pot. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to thicken the chowder. Don't allow to boil! Serve warm in bowls, topped with parsley and dill.

I had fairly good luck with this recipe. I wish I had cut it in half. It says "serves 6" and they mean it. I was feeding three, and I could have halved the recipe and still haved, er, had plenty.
It wasn't thick enough for my taste - I like my chowders thick and creamy - but I think that was my fault. I was feeling impatient and hungry and the teenager was too, so I rushed the cornstarch and milk step. Had I given it more time, the chowder might have been thicker. As it was, the soup was still delicious and the house smelled heavenly.
Really, Zorba, I like going to your web site and finding full nutritional details for the recipe along with many other heart healthy selections. Right now I'm searching for recipes with fresh vegetables, and this one fit the bill.

But really. Canned corn? Bleh.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Flea said...

I can see the canned corn and the reasoning in leaving out the fresh ingredients. At least, from a southerner's perspective. Soups and chowders are considered late fall and winter dishes. Those ingredients aren't so readily available fresh when I'll be breaking out my soup and chowder recipes. But it sounds good!

9/08/2009 9:20 AM  
Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ah, "summer" ingredients and "fall" ingredients must vary from region to region. I love Zorba, but I too find his recipes a little, erhm, unreal for my kitchen skills and taste.

9/08/2009 1:03 PM  
Blogger debra said...

I'd probably use olive oil instead of the margarine, too. I'd also use fat free evaporated milk instead of the cornstarch...

9/08/2009 6:18 PM  

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