We missed the eclipse. We were outside in the field, picking tomatoes at record speed because of an oncoming storm in the distance. Forget Cross Fit; if you want a good workout, hustle really hard for about 2-3 hours bending over, squatting and lifting half bushel baskets of tomatoes. You'll have buns of steel and adult onset arthritis in no time! The cloud cover was so thick, we could barely see the glow of the sun. The temperature dropped, which was a huge relief and to be frank, about all I gave a hoot about.
Digging and packing potatoes for The Grange Fair and harvesting tomatoes and sweet corn has kept us more than busy this month. It looks as though we will have one last week of heavy harvest for the tomatoes, and then Mother Nature takes over. Our basement shelves are quickly filling up with colorful jars. I can already hear my knitted sweaters calling out to me from their bottom drawer dungeon, "Release us!" The smell of campfires, the hefty stash of cinnamon sticks in my pantry, the growing stack of blue jeans that need mended, the list of cookbooks to catch up on - it's the wind beneath my wings right now. Fall is my spirit season, in case you haven't picked up on that.
In an attempt to savor the final stretch of sweet corn harvest, I decided to make something that captures this transitional time between summer and fall perfectly: corn chowder. This version is much lighter than the thick, cream-based chowder that may come to mind; it's light enough to enjoy on a breezy summer evening, and yet comforting and satisfying enough for an autumn day. I also love this recipe because it can easily be made without animal products if that appeals to you. Instead of butter, use coconut or grapeseed oil to saute the shallots and potatoes in. You can substitute coconut milk for regular milk, which I'm sure would be delightful with a squeeze of lime juice to finish. Any way you choose, you need not feel guilty about serving yourself a second helping.
See you in September!
Makes 4 servings
Adapted from Mark Bittman
4 large ears or 6 slender ears of sweet corn
2 tbsp butter
2 shallots or 1 small onion, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup whole milk
Parsley, chopped to garnish
Husk the corn then cut the kernels from the cobs and reserve them in a bowl. Break the cobs in half and add them to a stock pot with 4 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and then let the stock simmer for about 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a stockpot over medium low heat.
Add the diced shallots and potatoes, season well with salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes.
When the stock has simmered long enough, strain the liquid into the pot with the shallots and potatoes, then discard the cobs. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a couple of minutes until the potatoes have cooked. Finally, add the reserved corn kernels and milk. Heat the mixture through, adjust the seasoning and serve hot with chopped parsley.