Monday, August 24, 2009

Meatless Monday: Sweet Corn & Squash Soup

For Christmas, my brother- and sister-in-law got me The Wine Lover's Page-A-Day Calendar. Every day, the author offers a wine recommendation or a unique fact, quotation, or multiple-choice question about wine. Some days, it's pretty interesting; others, not so much and I quickly toss the page in the recycling bin. Recently, though, I revealed the new page for the day and was inspired! The page gave a recipe for corn soup. Perfect! I had 6 more ears of sweet corn in my CSA box and didn't know what to do with them. I had already recently made cornbread, and my husband's not all that fond of corn on the cob (it just never measures up to the fresh corn from his parents' farm, . . . even though ours is fresh from a farm too), so I was left scratching my head trying to think of something new and yummy to make.

Sweet Corn and Squash Soup

The recipe on the page-a-day calendar was kind of boring sounding and didn't give solid enough directions, so I dug around on to find this one, which was perfect because it also called for yellow squash which I had in my CSA box too. I skipped the squash blossoms, added a little bit of garlic when I sauteed the onions, and added more salt and black pepper than was called for. The additional black pepper added a nice little kick. If you'd like even more kick, you could always add a little jalapeno pepper to your onions when you saute them. The wine-a-day calendar suggested adding cream, but a) I didn't feel like buying a whole container of cream when I was only going to use a small amount (I've wasted too much cream that way), and b) I thought the consistency of the soup was already nice and naturally creamy after putting it through the food processor.

It can sometimes be difficult cutting the corn off of the cob; the ears can be slippery to hold and cutting down into a bowl is awkward. My mother-in-law can take care of several dozen ears with the help of a meat slicer in less time than it'll take you to blink an eye, . . . but she's what I'd call an expert when it comes to all things corn-related, so I wasn't about to attempt that. Instead, I used a trick I learned from watching the Food Network. You tip a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl (I used the smallest and largest of my nesting bowl set) and rest the leveled bottom of the ear on the small bowl. When you cut down the side of the corn, all the kernels falls neatly around the small bowl at the bottom of the big bowl. The small bowl provides great stability for the ear, you don't have to worry about hitting the sides of the bowl when cutting or trying to cut at awkward angles, and the kernels don't fall all over the counter like they would if you held the cob higher. Great solution!

My wine-a-day calendar suggested having the soup with a glass of chardonnay. I agree that would have gone really really well. Chardonnays often go nicely with dishes that have distinct buttery flavors (e.g., I love it with boiled lobster). Next time, I might try one of our go-to chardonnays (Edna Valley, often on sale at the local grocery store), but, this time, we happened to have a bottle of pinot grigio already open, so we went with that. Not bad. In fact, I think any soft white would be a good complement. For instance, I can imagine a sauvignon blanc or fume blanc working really well too.

Got any favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes?? Please share!

Other Meatless Monday posts

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