Sunday, November 13, 2011

Corn Chowder and Mini Walnut and Rosemary Biscuits

Dearest Jess,

Wow, it's almost the middle of November! How did this happen? I was in Ottawa last week again for work and it was snowing! When I returned home I heard it had snowed here as well. Christmas decorations are making their way from the stores into our homes. Some people have already set up their Christmas trees! I have told Jason we can't do any Christmas decorations until December 1st. (Mainly because he keeps them up until the end of February.)

On Saturday we went out into a blustery but sunny day to see Mike perform in the musical Chicago. It was so well done! I love live theater and it was so much fun to watch someone you know in such a high profile play.

After the show we went to the grocery store and picked up the ingredients to make the Corn Chowder and Mini Muffins from the Fall issue of Food and Drink. We didn't use the BBQ for the corn or the peppers in the chowder, and the muffins turn into more like mini biscuits/scones. Regardless, everything turned out to be tasty and sufficed for a cozy dinner. I think I still like the Corn Chowder from Eat Shrink and Be Merry more than this one though.

Tip: Grilling the corn and the peppers adds a depth of flavour to this simple chowder. If fresh corn on the cob is not available, substitute 6 cups frozen corn, thawed and drained. Toss with oil and place in a single layer on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for about 8 minutes, stirring often, or until browned. You can broil the peppers, too, if that's more convenient. If you can't find poblano peppers, substitute 2 cubanelle peppers and 1 jalapeno pepper. To dress this soup up a little more, garnish each bowl with sauteed shrimp seasoned with fresh lime juice.

Corn Chowder
adapted from Food and Drink, Autumn 2011, page 182, 183
12 cobs of corn, shucked
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 sweet red peppers
2 pablano peppers
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups homemade or low-sodium vegetable stock
2 cups 35% or 18% cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat BBQ to medium

2. Brush corn with oil and grill, turning often, for about 8 minutes or until tender and brown. Set aside.

3. Increase BBQ to medium-high. Grill red peppers and poblano peppers, turning often, for 10-15 minutes or until charred on all sides and tender. Place in a bowl, cover and set aside until cool enough to handle.

4. Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot. Saute onions for about 5 minutes or until tender and just starting to turn golden. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes or until onions are golden. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar, reduce heat and boil gently for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

5. Meanwhile, cut corn kernels off teh cob with a serrated knife into a bowl. Peel peppers and discard skins, seeds, cor e and juices. Finley chop peppers; set aside.

6. Use an immersion blender in the pot to puree for 5-15 seconds or until about one-quarter of the vegetables are smooth. (I didn't have an immersion blender, so I just used a masher and mashed everything a bit.) Stir in corn and peppers and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until flavours are blended.

7. Just before serving, stir in cream and heat, stirring often, until steaming (do not let boil). Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in basil.

Walnut and Rosemary Savoury Biscuits
adapted from Food and Drink, Autumn 2011, page 182
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp freshly bround pepper
1 egg
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (not fat free)
1/3 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
1 large tbsp minced rosemary

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease 36 cups of mini-muffin pans. (Next time I will just do them like biscuits/scones on a baking sheet with parchment paper.)

2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and pepper in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, yogurt and butter. Pour over dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.

3. Gently fold in Rosemary and Walnuts to incorporate flavourings.

4. Divide batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pans on a rack for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to the rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

I can't wait to see you guys in December. Things here are still busy. I am looking for a job hopefully to start in December, and Jason starts training for his driving job today. So things are changing which is always exciting.

Lots of Love,

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