Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sometimes It's About the Soup Bowl: Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder and a Bowl to Feed the Hungry for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This post is actually more about the soup bowl than the soup itself. Not that the soup isn't really good, I just didn't make it. (Oh the horror!) It's actually the Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder from Whole Foods that I get sometimes when I "need" a shot of comforting corn chowder. Buying just a cup is automatic portion control--plus I usually add a scoop of spinach or kale from the salad bar to the bottom of my cup before ladling on the hot soup. That's a healthy little tip from my friend Natalie who does the marketing there. ;-)

But back to my bowl... It came from a special event for the "Empty Bowl Project" which aims to feed Hawaii's hungry by selling handmade bowls filled with soup. The handmade bowls are meant to remind us that even after we enjoy a meal there are empty bowls in the world that need filling.

This event, held Friday, was a joint effort between The Hawai'i Potter's Guild (makers of the bowls), Whole Foods (location of the sale, providers of the soup and gift cards), and Kanu Values (think locally based Groupon, only the "deals" are from local companies screened for positive social and environmental practices). The Kanu Values deal was $15.00 for the handmade bowl filled with soup and a $10.00 Whole Foods gift card for the first 50 people to sign up. A wonderful deal with 100% of the proceeds going to the Empty Bowl Project Hawaii.

It was a challenge picking out my bowl from the many on display in front of the store. But I wanted one that looked "earthy" and that had a good "cup-in-your-hands feel" and was light in color with a more matte finish (the better to photograph most soups in).

The above bowl was the first one I picked up and my first choice... but, a slightly larger, shinier bowl with a blue swirl also caught my eye, and since it was for a really good cause...
yes, I ended up springing for another bowl.

There was choice of a vegan vegetable soup and my favorite Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder, so you know which one I picked. The recipe can be found in "The Whole Foods Market Cookbook: A Guide to Natural Foods with 350 Recipes" by Steve Petusevsky and Whole Foods Market Team Members. A book that has been on my shelf for ages and contains lots of good recipes and tips for cooking with natural foods.

Whole Foods says, "It's a little bit of "high noon" in a bowl. Corn has been around since 3400 B.C., adding sweetness and flavor to hundreds of dishes throughout our culture, which probably accounts for Americans eating about twenty-five pounds of it per person each year. Poblano chilies are ancho peppers that are still green and have not been dried, and they range from mild to hot. They usually make their appearance as stuffed chiles rellenos; however, we happily add them to this hearty soup."

Roasted Corn Poblano Chowder
From "The Whole Foods Market Cookbook"--page 73
(Serves 6 to 8)

2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups milk, or 1 cup milk & 1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 lbs new potatoes, unpeeled and diced
3 medium poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 (16 oz) package frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
salt to taste cayenne pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, celery, and onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low; stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes, being careful not to let the flour scorch. Turn the heat to high and slowly whisk in the stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.

Add the milk. Bring the soup to a rolling simmer and then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the potatoes, poblano chilies, corn and roasted red peppers. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Add the salt and cayenne pepper.

Per 1-cup Serving: calories 130, calories from fat 25 (2.5g), calories from saturated fat 15 (1.5g), protein 5g, carbohydrates 22g, cholesterol 5mg, sodium 70mg.

Notes/Results: Creamy, hearty and good. This isn't the spiciest soup--probably made that way for public consumption, so stir in the cayenne if you like a bit more of a kick. One of these days I am going to get around to making a healthier, non-dairy version at home but until then, an occasional cup will keep me going.

Not wanting my second bowl to feel left out I filled it with some local eggs fresh from the farmers market. I love the pretty little light blue one that was by itself in the carton with all the brown eggs.

Happy Easter!

Being Easter Sunday, it is a little quieter than usual here in the Super Sunday kitchen but we still have some wonderful friends here with some delicious dishes to share.

Swathi from Zesty South Indian Kitchen is here this week with a Curried Barley Green Peas and Mixed Vegetable Soup. She says, "Inspiration for this soup came from a leaflet from Whole Foods. Last time when I made Russian barley soup, it tasted bland and not much fanfare was there for it. So for making this soup I had to spice it up so that it will be consumed without hesitation. I like warm soup and not much of a fan of clear soup. ... It was spiced up with garam masala and chili powder along with addition to parsley and black pepper. Further it has goodness of ginger- garlic paste. Finely I topped with little bit of heavy cream and grated Parmesan cheese."

And for my tortilla soup obsessed friend girlichef, it's another delicious bowl for her quest, this colorful Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup. She says, "The flavor of this particular Tortilla soup was sweet, smoky, deep and pretty amazing. And actually, it was a bit sweet from the corn and the honey and the tomatoes...with that hint of cinnamon that lies beneath. But the sweetness wasn't an unpleasant sweetness. It was tempered nicely with that nice smoky heat of the paprika and anchos... But, as usual, it was all about the toppings...the cubes of queso fresco add a chewy saltiness...the avocado and crema add cool, creamy spots...the tortillas and chicken add an earthy toothsomeness...and a finishing hit of tangy lime rounds the whole thing out."

Joanne from Eats Well With Others ran the Boston Marathon this week. She is amazing! Waiting at home for her was this nutritious Vegetarian Chili with a Cashew Pistachio Sauce. Joanne says, "More of a curry than a chili, I made this a few days before I left and it was so lovely to come home to yesterday. It has a really interesting flavor, especially with the smoked paprika that I used (and that is now my new favorite spice!) and is filled with so many good fats and fiber that it will keep you full for a looonnnggg time. All the better to sustain you during those long hours of studying. Or running. Or chasing children around your living room. Or whatever endurance "event" you're participating in."

A new face to welcome this week, Sharon (aka TheTravelCook) from Brainfood and joining us from Southern Florida with a bowl of hearty Fish Chowder. Sharon says, "This easy-on-the budget bouillabaisse-style fish chowder is made for quick meals on the stove top or in the slow cooker, ready for the evening meal. Easy substitutions for the white fish, herbs, and leeks make it an ideal economical travelcook selection. ... Whitefish are easy to find frozen in most stores; some carry fresh whitefish. If you have a choice, choose the fresh and buy just the amount you need for your family. That makes this dish easy for the traveling cook to prepare. Cod is my preferred fish for this dish, but tilapia works equally well." Welcome to Souper Sundays Sharon!

Janet from The Taste Space made a Sesame, Edamame and Pea Shoot Salad to share this week and says, "Can you taste spring? I can and it tastes like this salad. It is light, fresh and filled with green vegetables bursting with flavour. Inspired by Gourmet (June 1994), the base of this salad comes from pea shoots, which are sweet like peas with a nice body from the stems and delicate leaves. I topped it with fresh sweet sugar snap peas, edamame and carrots and coated it in a subtle sesame dressing. The star of this dish are the veggies, not the dressing."

Libby from The Allergic Kid is here with a seasonally-perfect Spring Salad with Fresh Corn and Asparagus and says, "Sometimes a salad is just a salad. Sometimes it's a fortuitous combination of what's in the pantry with what's in season that becomes more than the sum of its parts. This one was a happy accident that paired the best of the spring produce at the market and some potatoes, that were a little past their prime, with a tangy, creamy mustard and dill dressing."

It's nice to have Denny from Oh Taste n See... back at Souper Sundays this week and here with some lovely Baked Falafels in Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Pockets. She says, "...Making this was quite a breeze. I really enjoyed the baked falafels, and except for the ones in the picture, munched on them even before it got into the pitas. (the cook gets to taste, :) that's one of the best perks of it). The pitas were sooooo soft and tender, I am never buying store bought pita again. They tasted good until the next day. When stuffed with the falafels and the condiments, it made for a healthy and very filling meal."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad and sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy and healthy week,


  1. While the soup does sound delicious...I totally love both bowls, they are fabulous! And what a wonderful cause. I love that idea and I would love to do something like that around here, too. I would never be able to choose just one of those gorgeous bowls, either! Amazing...and delicious roundup =)

  2. What a wonderful event. I love your one-of-a-kind soup bowl find! :)

    Thanks for another fantastic round-up.

  3. When I read "roasted poblanos" I had to run right over.

    That's a beautiful event, Deb. Beautiful bowls too!

  4. Love both the bowls and the whole concept. What a great partnership for such a worthy cause.

  5. love the bowl and what a great cause and happy easter

  6. Given how wonderful the cause is behind these bowls, I'd say it's MORE than acceptable for you to have bought the soup from whole foods (plus their soups are damn good). I wonder if the NYC whole foods' have any events like these!

  7. What a brilliant way of making money for a worthy cause! The bowls you bought are gorgeous - I am a total sucker for a blue glaze.

    Hope you've had a nice Easter!

  8. I am in love with that is always nice help to somebody. Soup looks awesome. nice roundup.

  9. Great pictures! Love your blog! Came it blog on foodbuzz & am a new follower!
    - Jessica @

  10. The event sounds like a wonderful way to raise funds. Your chowder really sounds great and different enough to be really interesting. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, Deb. Blessings...Mary

  11. That has to be one of the sweetest ways to raise funds for a cause. I'd love to see something like that happen in my neck of the woods.

  12. I would come home with more than one too - the bowls are gorgeous! And the soup sounds like something I would love! Great round-up - hope to be back this week.

  13. I feel your pain and understand why you "had to have" two bowls:) I think I would've done the same thing. Plus, you really got a great deal and supported a great cause. How can you go wrong ;-)
    The corn chowder looks great!

  14. I would have had trouble only selecting one or two bowls, too. They are gorgeous!

    Thanks as always for hosing Souper Sundays!

  15. One can never have too many bowls.
    Trust me on this. ;)


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