Is it summer yet!?!
As my readers may start to notice, when I think about summer recipes, I often speak of the Russian River. This is because Russian River is my quintessential vacation spot! It is the only place where I seem to be able to relax, participate in summer activities, disconnect from technological angst, and find inspiration from the season’s freshest ingredients. That being said, I have recently been trying to apply this “slowness” of cooking to my everyday life. When I watched the Netflix series Cooked, it brought to my attention the fact that the time spent in the kitchen preparing delicious dishes is fading away. This was a light-bulb moment. Food preparation is so beautiful. Before technology took over most of our time, we took those precious moments planning our meals, enjoying face-to-face conversations, and relishing in the stillness. That relaxing time seems to no longer exist. Instead, we seem to feel the need to fill our precious time checking social media, which often leaves us over stimulated and shortens our attention span.
But what’s wrong with free time?
What if we savored our spare time instead of deliberately filling it?
These thoughts really made me take a long, hard look at my routine. Because of the blog, it may seem to like I slowly and methodically prepare a beautifully crafted meal night after night. Well, this is not the case. I often feel rushed, throwing together an easy dish or just reheating leftovers. But why? Spending time in the kitchen is so gratifying. The cook is able to create something delicious out of thin air as a simple dinner or as the ultimate gesture of love for others. I realize that we all have active work lives and that the kitchen may seem daunting after a full day at the office. And while at Russian river I am able to find time to prepare a more intensive dish, I am aware that this is just not possible on a more daily schedule.
That said, my goal here is to put ease back into the kitchen by providing you with a simple recipe that I normally prepare at my river vacation retreat. However, because of its ease and simple ingredients, it’s ideal to make any night of the work week. My recipe for creamy corn chowder is all that you could ever hope for in a summer dish—
decadence, simplicity, flavor, and lightness.
I even have a few tricks up my sleeve. Nutmeg? Yes, nutmeg! This spice traditionally used to liven up a pumpkin pie perfectly elevates the corn’s sweetness. In addition, utilizing the corn cobs in the cooking process is essential in intensifying the essence of corn (it’s your secret weapon for over-the-top, luscious corn flavor). I know that soup isn’t normally associated with summer; however, I love to indulge on cool summer nights by a campfire or even when served at room temperature with a handful of corn chips for dipping. Easy and so gratifying. Let’s apply the relaxation of the river to our busy schedule, go back to our roots, and make something beautiful and delicious in our kitchen.
CREAMY CORN CHOWDER
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium shallots-diced
- 1 medium yellow onion-diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 ears of corn-kernels removed; cobs reserved for cooking
- 2 ½ cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk-I prefer Califia brand unsweetened vanilla
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot; add shallots, onion, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook until onions are translucent, around 5 minutes.
- Add corn kernels, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, and cook for another minute. Then add the cobs, vegetable stock, and milk. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- When the kernels are cooked through, remove the cobs and add about ¾ of the soup to a blender. By reserving the remaining ¼ of the mixture after blending and then adding it, the soup has a more chunky texture. (If you prefer your soup extremely smooth, blend the whole batch). Add back to the pot to reheat and season to taste. Garnish with thyme before serving.