Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hearty Corn Soup—a Vegetarian Version for the Slow Cooker

One of my favorite things about summer is fresh corn on the cob.  I only buy corn that was picked that day, and only from farmstands.  I was brought up to be a corn snob, as my grandfather grew his own and taught all of us that corn is sweetest and most delicious when it is fresh.  Corn that is days old is starchy and not nearly as good.  Corn season is too short, though, so I try to buy more than we can eat that day and, at the end of the evening, I cut the corn off the cobs that didn't get eaten and freeze it in a zip-lock bag for post-season use.  I had a large bag from last summer that I was saving for corn chowder, a favorite soup.  I make my corn chowder differently every time.  Sometimes I use chicken broth or bacon for flavor, but this time I wanted it to be a vegetarian version and, since I decided not to use any milk or cream, I might not be able to call it "chowder."  First I caramelized the onions to give the onions a deep, sweet flavor that I thought might be a nice base for the broth.  I used smoked sea salt in the broth, thinking that it might impart some of the smoky flavor that bacon would otherwise offer the soup.  Smoked sea salt is probably better for your arteries than bacon!  If you don't have corn in your freezer from last summer, just use frozen corn for this soup.  And remember to stock up next summer, if you have a source of good local corn where you live.

Serves 6-8

3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
4 small-medium onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
6 cups cold water
2 potatoes, diced
2 bay leaves
½ cup chopped parsley
1 TBS rosemary leaves
3 twigs of thyme leaves, tied together with kitchen twine
1 tsp. smoked sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 cups frozen corn, thawed

Heat olive oil in large skillet.  Add onions and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn brown.  This is how you caramelize the onions. Put in slow cooker with celery, carrots, potatoes, water, and herbs.   Cook on high for 5 hours, remove thyme and bay leaves, then add corn.  Cook for another half hour, then serve.

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