End of Summer Fire-roasted Corn Chowder

Posted by: on Sep 14, 2014 | 4 Comments

The final days of summer are here. We have been very busy playing and entertaining for the last month and a half. We spend every moment we can on the boat/Bay/beach during the summer. When we have guests we try to take them both seaside and bayside. We love taking people to the seaside because they are always so blown away by the undeveloped and unpopulated open beaches. Hunting for shells is easy as the beaches aren’t combed clean and fresh treasures wash up regularly. We’ve found many whole whelk shells and a few sand dollars this year. The bayside is a little calmer and less wild, we can anchor on sandy bottom with 4-5 feet of water, swim, float, or stand and drink a cold beverage. Between splashing in the shallow bay and jumping through the surf on the seaside, we also traveled to Floyd Fest in Floyd, Va. on the Blue Ridge Parkway and went down to visit my best friend and her family on Ocracoke Island. We were there during that lovely deluge they had. This summer we camped, we put our toes in the sand, covered ourselves in salt water (maybe got some up our noses), played leap frog on the beach, gazed at the stars, watched sunsets and one rise, took little ones on their first beach trips, listened to excellent live music at Floyd Fest, and sat around campfires. It was an unusually cool summer and after the 90 degree days we had the first week of September, we are finally ready for fall.

Last weekend was our first quiet weekend in ages. And while it was a much needed respite from the flurry of activity, we actually accomplished quite a lot. It’s about now that I start to panic about the growing season and the farmers’ market ending. I look in my cupboard and realize we haven’t put up nearly what we did last year. My survival instincts kick in, my palms sweat a little, and my brain furiously starts planning ways to save food. And then I get greedy. I want ALL the vegetables in the winter. All of them. So, while we intended to relax, we actually made and canned salsa, corn chowder, and sriracha. We baked and froze zucchini bread. We roasted and canned tomatoes. We dehydrated tomatoes and hot peppers. And as I make this list for you, I’m thinking: Wait, is that it? That can’t be it. We have to have more. OMG what can I put up this weekend? At the same time I’m eagerly waiting for pie pumpkins so that I can freeze as much of my own pumpkin puree as possible. I must have pumpkin muffins and smoothies. I didn’t use to be this crazy. But I also use to live near a kick ass grocery store with a produce section that I now drool over. Actually, I walk into produce sections in civilized grocery stores and freeze because I don’t know what to grab first. And if I don’t remain level headed, I’m likely to walk out with enough to feed the entire Eastern Shore.

peppers

A few peppers from our garden

In addition, the cooler temperatures this year have taken a toll on the harvest. Most of our tomato plants produced well. But our peppers were slow. While we harvested a few very beautiful peppers, one plant produced three peppers and another only two. Our jalapeño plants, which have been prolific in the past, produced a couple handfuls and we have actually struggled to gather enough for a large batch of homemade sriracha. The only pepper that grew really well is our mystery Turkish hot pepper.

Mystery spicy pepper from Turkey. They look like Christmas lights!

Mystery spicy pepper from Turkey. They look like Christmas lights!

Anyway, I’d been eying this fire roasted corn chowder recipe out of a sriracha cookbook we have (excellent gift for your hot sauce loving friends and family). But I made myself wait until summer so that I could have fresh, local corn on the cob. Then when I finally had said amazing corn, I pulled out the recipe and saw “heavy cream.” I didn’t want to use heavy cream. It’s summer. That sounds thick and hot and overwhelming. It sounds like something you’d want in the dead of winter. So, I decided I’d have to make some changes to the recipe. I disregarded the heavy cream, used fresh tomato juice/water leftover from the tomatoes we canned, added celery and carrots, and used a little vegetable bouillon paste. Here is what I ended up with.

Fire-roasted Corn Chowder

8 ears fresh sweet corn roasted on the grill (Char it at least a little!) and then cut off the cob
2 tablespoons oil
2 red bell peppers
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups tomato juice/water from fresh tomatoes
2 cups of water with 2 teaspoons vegetable soup base
2 tablespoons sriracha (The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup! So, do what you like here.)
3 sprigs fresh thyme (picked right out of my herb garden!)
2 bay leaves
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, sweat them a little. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant. Then add the diced carrots and celery. Cook for 5-10 minutes until slightly softened. Add the diced red peppers and cook a few minutes longer (maybe 5). Add the tomato water and the water with bullion (could use 6 cups of vegetable stock), sriracha, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the fire roasted corn (use your judgement but I think I put in 8 ears). Cook for another 15 minutes.

We also added some fresh diced tomatoes toward the end. Season with salt, pepper, and maybe some smoked paprika. Serve as is or with cilantro or parsley leaves on top. You could also add heavy cream at the end and cook for a few extra minutes (your call).

4 Comments

  1. Grandma
    September 15, 2014

    Haven’t you been busy! It’s fun, though, isn’t it? And you will be glad and nostalgic as you eat all that good stuff this winter!
    Not to be outdone, together with our good fiends Andrew & Saskia, Pat and I skinned 100 lbs of roasted Hatch hot green peppers Tuesday eve. We were done about 10:30, and went home with about 12 lbs packed in sandwich bags to freeze. Should last until spring.
    Much love,
    Grandma

    Reply
    • Hali
      September 22, 2014

      Yumm! That sounds wonderful, Grandma!

      Reply
  2. Beth
    September 16, 2014

    Great ideas here. I’m sad that not all of the pics came through, but the rest looked great. I can see where charring that corn would bring out a sweetness. Thanks for sharing your ideas here.

    Reply
    • Hali
      September 22, 2014

      Hmmm. I inserted some of the pictures from Instagram. I’m sorry you were unable to see them. I’ll try to fix it!

      Reply

Leave a Reply