Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mark Bittmans Roasted Corn Chowder Made Local for Eat Local Challenge: Day 7 & Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

There is a lot to cover in this post--A recap of Day 7, the final day in the Eat Local Challenge that I have been taking this week; this week's soup, Roasted Corn Chowder--part of "Farewell Food"--our last week cooking Mark Bittman's recipes at I Heart Cooking Clubs and made almost totally with local ingredients to fit into the challenge; and, last but certainly not least, the Souper Sunday roundup.

Although I cooked with him well before IHCC, and will continue to cook his recipes long after, it is hard to say farewell to our weekly cooking with Mark Bittman. As much as I am looking forward to cooking with Giada starting next week, a little comfort is needed, and for me, comfort means soup. Since I bought fresh, local corn for the Eat Local Challenge, I wanted to find a soup to make with it and of course Bittman's ginormous "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" had a good selection. I chose the Roasted Corn Chowder, a variation of his basic recipe. I was able to use all local ingredients for it, except for the flour and black pepper.

Roasted Corn Chowder
"How to Cook Everything Vegetarian"
(Makes 4 Servings)

kernels from 6 ears fresh corn, cobs reserved
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1/2 cup chopped scallion
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 quart milk or half-and-half

To Roast Corn:
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rub a little extra virgin olive oil over each husked corn cob before slicing off the kernels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the corn, turning frequently, until the kernels start to brown, 15 to 25 minutes. When the corn is cool enough to handle, shuck the kernels.

Put the corn cobs and 2 cups of water in a pan with a tight-fitting lid over a medium-high heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the water bubbles gently, cover, and cook, checking occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Leave the cobs in the pot until you're ready to make the soup, then remove them and save the broth.

Put the butter or oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the scallion and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the scallion is soft, about 1 minute. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to turn golden and the flour no longer smells raw, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the milk and the reserved broth and turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir or whisk constantly until the flour is dissolved and the soup starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the corn kernels and bring to a boil, then lower the heat so that the soup bubbles gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the soup has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, garnish and serve.

Notes/Results: Creamy, with a nice sweetness and good corn flavor. I roasted the corn in the oven, coating it with a bit of macadamia nut oil. I didn't get it very dark, as I felt it was drying out the corn, but it did pull out some of the sugars and enhance the sweetness of the corn. Lacking fresh local scallions (I forgot to pick some up at the market), I used two small sweet local onions instead. I was able to use local butter, milk, Maui sugar and Hawaiian sea salt. I could have left out the black pepper but couldn't resist putting a bit in, so that and the flour made it not completely local, but very close. A simple soup, that made a nice light lunch for my last day of the challenge. I would make this soup again. Thanks Mark Bittman!

You can check out what all of the other IHCC participants made for their final cook-along with Mark Bittman by going to the "Farewell Food" post and following the links.

So besides the chowder, what did the rest of my final Eat Local Challenge look like?

Breakfast: Local fried eggs over local asparagus and tomatoes and Hawaiian Jade Bamboo Sea Salt. A hearty breakfast, and again I assert my position that greens, even asparagus, are best with runny yolks. I buy local eggs regularly, but I am always struck at the bright yellow of the yolks and how fresh and good they taste.

Lunch: Since breakfast was filling, I just ate a small bowl of the corn chowder for lunch, then had some slices of local papaya (not pictured).

Dinner: What do you do when you have fresh local fish (in this case Hawaiian moi--which was prized and eaten only by royalty in ancient Hawaii) ;-) and leftover bright purple mashed Okinawan sweet potatoes? You make bright purple potato-fish cakes of course! Maybe a little strange to look at, but with the fish, the gingery mashed sweet potatoes and chopped local Thai basil, kaffir lime leaves, Thai bird chilies, lime juice and sea salt, they were delicious. A nice combination of sweet, tangy and spicy hot and tasted great on top of local Manoa lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. The recipe was modified from this one by Mark Bittman--so a double Bittman recipe day.

Snacks: An apple-banana and a Manago-Habanero OnoPop.

Notes/Results: Seven days of eating local went by in a flash. The Eat Local Challenge was a great experience and a good way to be creative with ingredients and eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. It will be a bit of a relief to go back to "regular" eating, and not feel quite so conscious about every morsel of food I eat, but it will continue to make me aware of where my food comes from. Overall, I am pretty good about the amount of local ingredients I use and supporting local growers and purveyors, but I can always do better. And bonus--I lost 2 pounds! ;-) Eating local is a very good thing.

And now...let's get into the Souper Sundays kitchen, where there is a good-sized crowd and some new faces to greet.

First up, Denise (aka Denny) from Oh Taste N See made a restorative Chicken Soup to cure all the colds and illness at her house. She says, "Back home in India, this soup is made with naatu koli or game chicken, and this is believe to cure the cold. Not sure about the cure part, but it does warm you from the inside out..and the pepper and the spices are comfort to the sore throat. It is meant to be watery and is a clear soup. The veggies are not traditionally added into this soup, but I feel it adds body and makes it a wholesome meal."

Please join me in welcoming Corina at Searching for Spice, making her first appearance at Souper Sundays with a classic Tomato Soup. Corina says, "I usually like to spice things up and throw a chilli in here or some spices in there. With tomato soup it’s different, no spices, except black pepper, and that doesn’t count as a spice to me, just a little basil and everyone knows how well that goes with tomatoes. It really is a simple soup, but simply good and tasty. It also tastes quite creamy even though it doesn’t contain any cream."

Tigerfish from Teczcape-An Escape to Food made this healthy, colorful Beet Root Soup and says, "In Mandarin, beet is known as 甜菜 - which literally means Sweet Vegetable. Beet has chock-full of vitamins and nutrients too. Other ways to enjoy them also include steaming them for about 15 minutes, or in soups. I made this Beet Root Soup earlier, adapted from Noobcook.Ingredients include: Beet, tomatoes, cabbage shreds, onions; and then "dump-all-in-the-pot-kind-of-soup"."

Joanne from Eats Well With Others tried her hand at Japanese Chicken Curry and says, "The thing about Japanese curry, you see, is that it is not really curry. Really. Deep down. It is really just a stew. A hearty, thick, utterly delicious stew. It tastes surprisingly like the stew that your momma used to make, but with a little hint of something...extra. Something unexpected. Something utterly hypnotic that, try as though you might, you just can't place.
That would be the garam masala, people. And I know I said it wasn't a narcotic. But damn. Is it ever addictive.

Jennifer from Cook, eat, play, repeat. found a great recipe for one of her favorites and says, "I love Hot and Sour Soup! Seriously! I can't get enough of it. I always order it when it's on the menu, and most of the time I'm hugely disappointed. Too vinegary, too spicy, too bland, too thick, too thin. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with restaurant Hot and Sour soup. That is why I am so happy I've found a recipe that works so well that I can just make it at home whenever I want it. I've already made it twice in one week!"

Another new face to welcome is Rachel from Rachel's Bite, joining in for the first time at Souper Sundays out of Chicago. Rachel made a hearty soup to share this week and says, "I was looking for a traditional tortilla soup in the New England Soup Factory Cookbook and found this recipe for Tortilla and Butternut Squash Soup. The author describes is as tasting like nachos so I was intrigued. And also, it's the perfect time of year for butternut squash.The butternut squash and other vegetables made the house smell absolutely wonderful! I like that you add tortilla chips and let them get all soggy. They do add an amazing flavor that does make it taste like nachos."

We are also welcoming, Roshan from Roshan's Cucina, at Souper Sundays for the first time this week and here with a healthy vegetable Golden Soup and says, "Golden soup, as the name suggest is equal to eating gold, said the person from whom i learnt this recipe. Golden soup rejuvenates the body after a brief illness like fever and is a good food for the elderly. With less butter and pure veg ingredients this is a sinless soup that can be had during any time of the day. The croutons in the soup makes it more interesting and crave for more."

It is always a great pleasure to have my good friend Stephanie, The Happy Sorceress from Dispensing Happiness pop by with a soup, like this Cambodian Chicken and Rice Soup. Stephanie says, "Southeast Asian flavors are much-loved in our house. This soup seemed like a good fit. Incredibly simple, especially with the shortcut of rotisserie chicken & already-cooked rice.(we omitted the cilantro, being in the 'it tastes like dish soap' camp) A good, deep chicken flavor with a very faint sweetness & warmth, with a strong basil note."

Janet from The Taste Space has another of her healthy grain salads to share, this Bulgur Salad with Cranberries, Lemon and Almonds. She says, "I really liked the salad, albeit a side salad. I was worried it would be dry (where is the dressing?) but it worked well together. The coarse bulgur was slightly creamy. The cranberries were sweet and the lemon zest a bit zippy with the nutty almond crunch. And the grande finale came from the sauteed green onions. They melted down and added that extra dimension (creamy? tasty? buttery? it was great anyhow)."

Erin from EKat's Kitchen is here with a Caesar Salad with Curry-Rubbed Chicken and says, "Simple though it may be, I really love making this as a light meal with some good protein in any number of situations. Be it when I'm tired, when it's hot out, or when we're perchance in need of groceries AND motivation to go to the store. Yum!!! Next time, I might make a yogurt marinade with the curry and let the chicken marinate overnight to really allow the flavors to marry, but yum. I love this anyway."

Tanvi from Sinfully Spicy is back this week with a Pomegranate & Broken Wheat Salad with Mint-Ginger Dressing and says, "With lot of thinking I came up with this salad recipe.It is loosely inspired by the Mediterranean Tabouleh since I decided to add our very own and one of the most underrated Indian cereal ..the broken wheat (dalia) but is primarily a fruity salad with a simple mint and lime dressing.The pineapples give the salad a sweet tartness , ginger gives it a kick and cucumbers keep the juicy texture alive.The pomegranate seeds burst in the mouth and the broken wheat grains provide a bite."

Debbie from Debbi Does Dinner...Healthy & Low Calorie created her Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with Pesto Hummus based on one at Panera Bread and says, "This was amazing. Seriously amazing. Like I could eat it every day for a month kind of amazing. The bread wasn't as fluffy and sweet as Panera but it was still very flavorful and delicious. The pesto hummus would taste good on my shoe. Wow. It was SO GOOD. I didn't miss the meat at all. Nope, not a bit. Go make this. You won't be disappointed."

Another newbie to welcome this week is Roz from La Bella Vita with Prosciutto, Fresh Fig, and Manchego Cheese Sandwiches. She says, "The marriage of flavors in this creation are sweet and savory al magnifico! The sweetness of the fresh figs and fig jam, combined with the savory Italian prosciutto di Parma, Dijon mustard, and Manchego cheese is indescribable. Besides being a delectable lunch/dinner sandwich, another great idea would be to cut the sandwiches into little mini-sammies for party finger food (with toothpicks to keep them held together). Your guests will certainly be impressed when they bite into them!"

And finally my friend Foodycat made Ultimate Steak Sandwiches this week and says, "Now, when we have pub lunches, we both find it quite difficult to look beyond a steak sandwich. At one point I was compiling notes on the various offerings of the pubs in the area, but then I lost my camera with all the steak sandwich pictures and haven't picked up that idea again. But we both definitely Have Views on what makes a good steak sandwich." The result? "Utter perfection with a bottle of Hoegaarden beer."

So many wonderful soups, salads and sandwiches this week! Thanks to everyone for joining in, especially all of our new faces. If you have a soup, salad, or a sandwhich that you would like to share just click on the Souper Sunday logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Note: Souper Sundays is posting a few hours early this week and before the noon deadline due to a work project I have to go do (no rest for the wicked!) ;-) If anyone submits a post after this post and before the deadline, I will add it to the roundup when I get home this evening. Mahalo!

Have a fabulous week!


  1. Deb, this corn chowder looks beautiful and delicious! Great job on all of your local eats this past week! Thanks again for hosting Souper Sunday.

  2. Yum! I love how all the fall soups are trickling in. :)

  3. Deb - Love that you made a roasted corn chowder. I love roasting veggies, but I don't think I've ever roasted corn before...what have I been thinking? You deserve a pat on the back for sticking with your eat local challenge. I know that it required lots of planning on your part, but it is definitely an eye opener as far as what is and what is not local. Especially the simple things, like black pepper. Congrats on the 2 pounds too!

    Enjoyed the roundup, as always, and definitely feel the need to have some soup in the near future.

  4. Beautiful! I miss sweet corn season here already, it is so short in Canada. But definitely worth the wait, one of my favourite things.
    Delicious soup round-up!

  5. Your corn chowder looks lovely - I will definitely try roasting it if I get corn in my veg box this week.

  6. The corn chowder looks so gorgeous and really tempting.I particularly like the fact that its roasted corn..very new idea.

  7. The roasted corn chowder sounds so super flavorful and delicious! Roasting is a terrific idea!

  8. Deb, all of the soup recipes in combination with a (little bit) cooler weather are really motivating me to get my soup pot out and make some soup! The corn chowder soup is especially interesting! Thanks for welcoming and including me in your Souper Sunday event. I've enjoyed it!

  9. roasting corn is new to me but sounds so good!

  10. Would you believe I still don't have a Mark Bittman cookbook. I mean, what kind of foodie am I? :) I love all the recipes I see featured so I really need to get one for my collection.

  11. I love Mark Bittman! I just got his new cookbook and can't wait to make a few recipes. The corn chowder looks really tasty. I'm going to have to look for a corn soup to try myself... Thanks for hosting the event and posting the roundup!

  12. The corn chowder looks absolutely delicious! I fell in love with corn soup thanks to mr. symon this year. Once corn is in season again, I'll be all over this!

    You did such a great job with this challenge Deb! So proud of you!

    And awesome roundup!

  13. You did such an awaesome job eating local...and this soup may be my favorite thing you've made. Well, one of them ;) Sounds amazing!! Wonderful roundup as well =)

  14. Thanks for the round up. I am falling in love with a few soups already.

  15. Some lovely recipes here, I especially liked the sweetcon chowder as I just love anything with sweetcorn.

  16. Roasted corn chowder looks heavenly, Deb - love your gorgeous green bowl and beautiful photos too. What a great choice to farewell (but not farewell) Bittman.
    Sorry I've been a bit of a stranger the last week or so (don't know where that time has gone), but I have some time to spare now so I'm going to hang out here for a while and read all about your 7-day local challenge.
    Sue :-)


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