I've been cooking up a storm, and being more creative and adventurous than I think I will ever be. The combination of my CSA participation, little spending money, and a job that just doesn't challenge me has created a second activity: cooking. It's become my hobby, my joy, my one thing that's special to me. The new upcoming movie Julie & Julia is something I'm really looking forward to. I'm not saying I'm anything like Julie or Julia, but I know I have some understanding. I used to say I cook because I love to eat. That's what Julia said. And in the movie, Julie is doing it because she needs something else in her life, same as me. So I've decided to post the recipes and and discoveries and food-related fun that I see before my life as a mother begins (in a couple of years). I'll start the blog with my newest "famous" recipe that will knock anyone's socks off and impress even the pickiest guests. One thing of advice: make sure you have a bar stool to sit on for the last bit of the recipe or you'll spend the rest of the night cranky about your sore feet and not enjoying the wonderful dish you just created.
Roasted Corn, Pepper, and Tomato Chowder
(from the magazine Cooking Light, June 2009)
3 Red Bell Peppers, halved and seeded
3 ears shucked corn
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes halved, seeded and peeled (about 4)
(peel and seed them after grilling and don't worry about getting all the seeds)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 c chopped onion
3 (14oz) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
(Swanson's fat-free chicken broth is my personal fav)
1/4 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c (1 oz) crumbled blue cheese
(we use feta)
2 T chopped fresh chives
1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
2. Arrange bell peppers, skin side down, and corn in a single layer on a grill rack; grill 5 minutes, turning corn occasionally. Add tomatoes; grill an additional 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly charred. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes. Coarsely chop tomatoes and bell peppers; place in a medium bowl. Cut kernels from ears of corn; add to tomato mixtures.
(I find that peeling the charred skin from the bell peppers works better in the end)
3. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to high, and stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cool 20 minutes.
4. Place one-third of tomato mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Place pureed mixture in a large bowl. Repeat with remaining. Wipe dutch oven and press tomato mixture through a sieve into pan; discard solids. Place pan over medium heat; cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in salt and pepper.
5. Serve 1 1/2 cups per serving, garnished with the cheese and chives.