Sunday, March 26, 2017

Creamy Shrimp and Corn Chowder for Cook the Books: "Dinner with Edward" by Isabel Vincent & Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I love few things more than a big bowl of creamy and delicious chowder--chock full of delicious ingredients. Today's is no exception, it's a flavorful Shrimp and Corn Chowder, inspired by Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent, our February/March Cook the Books selection.  

Hosted by Claudia at Honey From Rock, Dinner with Edward is a foodie memoir about a journalist who as a favor, starts having dinners with her friend's father to check on him as he is depressed after the death of his beloved wife. The dinners soon turn into a weekly event and a loving friendship that ends up helping both Isabel and Edward lead happier lives. Each chapter starts with the menu of a dinner that Edward cooked (An example: Grilled Sirloin Steak, Sauce Bourguignonne, New Potatoes, Chocolate Souffle, Malbec)   and the food is talked about as well as life lessons. Edward gets Isabel's company and purpose by helping her and Isabel gets delicious food, cooking tips, and the prompting and guidance to live and love more fully. 

I enjoyed spending time with Edward as much as Isabel did and was sorry to have the book end so quickly (it's only 224 pages). Of course any book that describes food so well and so lovingly gets extra points in my book--I wanted to eat and make so many of the dishes mentioned like soft shell crabs, fried in a light batter and served with hot melted butter, perfectly scrambled eggs, avocado salad with pungent blue cheese dressing, Fennel Remoulade over Lettuce, macarons and fleur de sel caramels, Pan-Fried Potatoes with Gruyere, Apricot Souffle and Apple Galette, to name just a few. 

Ultimately I decided to make the Shrimp and Corn Chowder from the dinner in Chapter 11 that also included Mussels Remoulade and Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting and Muscadet. "We were sitting at Edward's dining room table where he had set out two large bowls of creamy shrimp and corn chowder and thick slices of crispy baguette." Isabel later makes a version for a dinner party with friends and again when given some fresh herbs grown in the garden of her new love interest. And, as certain recipes do, it stuck in my mind, earning its place as my book-inspired dish.  

There are no recipes in the book but I make chowder enough to know what I wanted in mine and put together a veggie heavy mix of leeks, celery, fennel, carrot, red potatoes, and corn with plenty of thyme, celery salt, and Old Bay seasoning, and jumbo shrimp. Rather than make a roux or use dairy, I used coconut milk and pureed some of the (shrimp) broth and veggies to make it extra creamy. I think Edward would approve.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 8 Good-sized Servings)

2 Tbsp olive oil or butter, or mixed
3 small leeks, white & light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
3 large stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 medium fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
4 cups red potatoes, scrubbed, peels left on and cubed
sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp celery salt 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (I used the low-sodium one)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
4-5 sprigs of thyme
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
 4 cups broth or stock--chicken, corn or shrimp (I used shrimp stock)
2 cans coconut milk or 4 cups milk or cream of choice
4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen 
2 lbs jumbo shrimp (21-25 per lb), peeled, de-veined

Heat the olive oil and/or butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When hot, stir in the leeks, celery, carrot, fennel, and potatoes and cook over medium, stirring, for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add the celery salt, Old Bay, smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt and black pepper and stir, cooking for another minute of two. Add the bay leaves,thyme sprigs, parsley, and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are mostly tender. 

Add the coconut milk and corn kernels to the pot and simmer another 5-6 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs (gently pulling off any remaining leaves and adding back to the soup, discarding the stems) and the bay leaves. If desired, take 2 to 3 cups of the broth and vegetables and puree in the blender until smooth, then return to pot. Increase heat to medium high and stir in the shrimp, cooking until pink and opaque--about 4 to 5 minutes.

Season to taste with additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with a little extra smoked paprika or Old Bay Seasoning as desired. Enjoy! 

Notes/Results: This chowder made me so happy. It was so good and completely hit the spot with its flavors, colors, and textures. Since I don't eat meat, I added smokiness to the flavor profile with the Old Bay Seasoning and smoked paprika. I was a bit bummed because I saw fresh local corn in the store last week but this weekend there was none, but the frozen corn (I bought the sweet nibblet kind) was still quite good--it's just nothing beats local corn right off the cob and although I can usually start finding it this time of year, it's probably a month or so before it starts becoming plentiful. I used shrimp stock from my freezer for the chowder (I save my shells and make it up) but if you do have fresh corn when you make this--making stock from the cobs is easy and also adds flavor. You really can't go wrong--the beauty of chowders is that you can adapt them based on what you like and have on hand and it always turns out well. I made a bunch because I will eat this all week and be happy as a clam (or shrimp) ;-) and it's impossible for me to make small amounts of chowder. But if you don't want that much, you can certainly cut the recipe down.  

The deadline for this Cook the Books round is Friday, March 31st and Claudia will be rounding up the delicious entries at the CTB site shortly after. If you missed out on this round and like books, food, and foodie books, consider joining us for April/May  when Debra of Eliot's Eats will be hosting with the foodie memoir, Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness by Sasha Martin. Hope you join us!

I am linking this post up with Foodie Reads 2017. I have not done a good job so far this year in joining in this fun event celebrating all kinds of foodie books but this will be my second entry. You can check out the March Foodies Read linkup, hosted by Heather at Based on a True Story, to see what everyone is reading this month.   

We have some good friends in the Souper Sundays kitchen who shared some delicious dishes last week--let's have a look!

Debra of Eliot's Eats shared two dishes with Souper Sundays this week. First her pretty Nectarine Salad with Oil and Vinegar. She said, "All the News I Need is not a foodie book but because it delves into the day-to-day existence of the characters, there is of course basic sustenance.  Since both characters are misanthropic throughout the majority of the novel, there are no glowing descriptions of food, even during their sojourn in France. A few descriptions did stand out to me though. There’s one of Ollie’s many self-chastisements, “Why did I buy those nectarines out of season” (21) which reminded me of an aging Prufrock’s peach questioning. Ollie later describes the contrariness of Fran: “Sympathy and scorn, oil and vinegar” (56). I decided to use these two lines for a salad inspiration."

Debra's second dish is this Two Potato Soup with Sriracha Swirl inspired by the movie The Martian. Debra said, "I decided on a potato soup because some of what Watney ate was a gruel-like soupy substance. I added the  sweet potato to mimic the Red Planet’s color.  This soup is a vegetarian version because his survival relied on what he could grow in the red dirt of Mars. The swirl of Sriracha is an homage to his ketchup addiction (the only thing he had to add flavor to his bland meals). Plus, there’s the scene where he finally gets into the disco beat to “Hot Stuff” (à la Donna Sommers)."

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor and Novel Meals shared Black Bean Veggie Chili inspired by a craft book and said, "The inspired recipe from this book is soup. But we haven’t been eating much meat lately and so, while I planned on chicken soup….I diverted to a veggie chili. Very different but one of the biggest components in this book features healthy eating. I made a black bean chili with finely chopped zucchini, green onions,tomatoes, mushrooms and a little bit of water. Once everything started thickening up I added about 3/4 cup of brown rice."

Finally here at Kahakai Kitchen, I made a really yummy Shrimp Salad Sandwich inspired by a novel, The Mermaid's Daughter. It is a take on a simple shrimp or lobster roll, with cooked shrimp, celery and green onions dressed with mayonnaise (in this case vegan mayo), lemon juice, Old Bay Seasoning, celery salt and black pepper. For some green color and texture, I added a layer of butter lettuce and thin slices of cucumber to my grilled baguette slice before piling on the shrimp salad. 

Mahalo to everyone who joined in this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the wonderful Souper Sundays logo (created by Ivy at Kopiaste) to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. What a terrific, and delicious sounding soup. I'm so glad someone made it, and now it's on my to cook list. Like you, there is still lots in the book I still want to try.

  2. I know you are right Deb and that Edward would definitely approve of this version of Shrimp and Corn Chowder.

  3. How very Edward! Great choice!


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