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Monday, September 19, 2011


Fall is swiftly approaching, and while it's not exactly crisp and cool yet here in sunny Santa Barbara, I can feel it coming... lots of squash appearing in the market, the nights coming a little earlier, and a strange desire for hot chai tea overtook me yesterday. Hmm.

So I pulled out my September issue of Vegetarian Times and determined it was time to start making the fall harvest recipes inside. This one is a keeper, fo sho...

Naturally, I adapted it slightly. I may have even broken some vegetarian laws of some sort in that my housemate, while chopping the potatoes, ordained that we just had to include some BACON in this recipe! And gosh darn it was tasty. No regrets.

adapted (quite freely) from Vegetarian Times, Sept 2011 - serves 6

4 large (or 5 small) ears corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved (OR the cheater version: one can of corn, liquid reserved)
2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, plus 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.), divided
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
3 cups sliced leeks (5 medium)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/3 cup dry sherry
12 oz. peeled sweet potatoes, cut into medium dice (I used good ol' red potatoes)
1/2 lb. green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used some lovely zucchini and cabbage instead)
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges, optional
(and perhaps 2-3 slices of bacon...)

1. Combine corn kernels, milk, and crushed garlic in saucepan. Run back of knife down cobs to release milk and pulp into saucepan, then add cobs to pan. Bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat, and let steep. (I confess that I did not deal with corncobs... just opened a can)

2. Heat butter and 1 Tbs. oil in Dutch oven (or large stainless steel pot) over medium-low heat. Add leeks, cover, and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Warning: the aromas start getting quite amazing at this point....) Add minced garlic and paprika, and cook 30 seconds. Stir in sherry, and cook 30 seconds. Add 4 cups water, and remove pot from heat.

3. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes, and sauté 8 minutes, or until browned; transfer to Dutch oven. Add remaining 1 Tbs. oil to same skillet, add green beans (or whatever nice green veggies you have on hand), and sauté 3 minutes. Transfer beans to plate.

4. Bring mixture in Dutch oven to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes. Add green beans, and cook 4 minutes more.

5. Strain milk mixture (if you were a true chef and used the corn cobs), and discard the cobs. Stir milk mixture and 1 Tbs. cilantro into chowder. (I dissolved 2 tsp of cornstarch in a cup of cold water, then poured it into the pot to thicken it up). Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro, and serve with lime wedges.

Eat with warm bread and enjoy. Leftovers were quite possibly better the next day....

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