If I have seemed rather preoccupied of late, you may be rest assured that it is only due to my being violently accosted by a virus of the most heinous nature. I have, for the past week, been waging war. And although there were moments of touch and go, I think I see the inevitable surrender of the enemy in the very near future. What makes this crime particularly unforgivable is that the enemy attacked during my spring break—the one brief respite I am granted from my otherwise self-imposed serfdom. Yet, perhaps this was his undoing. My undivided attention went towards devising devious battle plans which included flushing out the enemy, luring out the enemy on the pretense of sleep, and of course the keeping up the troops moral through uplifting and inspiring movies and books.
Of course, the fact that I am one big head of snot doesn’t stop me from cooking and over the course of the week, I have made two new, and surprisingly tasty recipes. The first came from a thread on the Cooking Light bulliten board. The thread was titled “recipes so good, you stopped looking for more.” If that doesn’t intrigue you, then I don’t know what will. In it, I came across a recipe for corn chowder—something I don’t normally crave but…..it is the perfect soup for early spring. It has the comfort of winter (potatoes and bacon) but the promise of spring (sweet corn, bell peppers, and green onions). It is also remarkably pretty.
From “The New Basics” by Julee Rosso and Sheila LukinsAn updated version of an Old West favorite – this is loaded with corn! The red pepper and cilantro give it a fresh new taste.
4 ounces sliced bacon, cut into 1” pieces
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions
2 Tbsp. unbleached, all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup half-and-half
4 cups cooked corn kernels, drained
3/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4” dice
3 scallions (green onions), white bulbs and 3 inches green, cut into 1/4” slices
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro, for garnish
1. Wilt the bacon in a large soup pot over low heat until fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and allow it to melt.
2. Add the onions and wilt over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, another 5 minutes.
3. Add the stock and potatoes. Continue cooking over medium-low heat until the potatoes are just tender, 12-15 minutes.
4. Add the half-and-half, corn, pepper, and salt. Cook 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the bell pepper and scallions, adjust the seasonings, and cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro.
My notes: I used frozen sweet white corn and evaporated milk instead of the half and half. Yeah, so not much change but…..
The second recipe I actually tried tonight. It is a chicken enchilada recipe. It uses a green sauce which I think is more appropriate for chicken (red might be fine if you are a cow…). It brought back pleasant memories of my Latino immersion program in Pasadena. O.k. so it was a job at a worker’s comp clinic……but as I was the only white girl employed by the company……it might as well been a Latino immersion program. What I am trying to say is.....these enchiladas are pretty authentic tasting, and I am credible in stating this due to my year of sampling such ethnic delights at weekly potlucks at said job. You will notice however, that the recipe calls for canned tomatillos. Good luck finding them. I was successful at my third attempt. Most stockers will have no idea what they are let alone if they have cans of them. And the can I found was not 11oz but 28oz. However, I think it was worth the effort—for authenticities’ sake. Oh, and I loaded up on the cilantro since it is absolutely divine and you can never have enough.
So besides making soup and enchiladas, I was also making cookies—Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies to be exact. Amazing. You would think that as a sick person waging war with her body I would be put off food. But no, I have been hungrier than usual. Not so great as I haven’t been running for this whole week. (Dude! I get winded climbing stairs. AND I can’t breath due to massive congestion.) Oh well, I will kick Mr. Virus’ trash and then get my body back in gear.