I am touted as a recipe developer and food consultant, which means that I am basically a mad scientist, sans the crazy glasses and radiation-proof rubber gloves. The rest of the image is somewhat true as I do hunch over my creations and laugh with a sinister gurgle when one of my imagined dishes actually comes to life with success.
One of my favorite tools in the lab is a simple immersion blender. Good cooking happens through an understanding of chemistry which is then manipulated with through a myriad of preparation methods. Why serve something whole when you can turn it into a perfectly velvety sauce, rich creamy topping, or perfect puree? The answer is, "why not?"
In this case, I opted for the puree as my expression of choice. Doing so turns this green squash into an ever so light green pillow for the hearty addition of sweet corn and potatoes. A chowder of sorts with secrets. Yum.
Oh, and I can't say enough about using fresh herbs. Especially locally grown or grown yourself to bring out the vibrancy and potential of ANY dish. Not to mention how fun it is to drop them from 3 feet high onto your soup. That little act of garnishing is what makes cooking so danged fun. (Insert gurgling laugh, here...)
RECIPE: Creamy Zucchini Potato Corn Chowder
Serves 4-6 / Click here for printable version.
6 C small cubed zucchini unpeeled
4 C of small cubed unpeeled golden potatoes
1/3 C sweet white onion, chopped finely
6 strips thick cut bacon
½ large jalapeño, chopped finely
1 15 oz package frozen corn
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 C water
½ t of your favorite herb salt medley
4 t + kosher salt and 1 t black pepper
½ C heavy cream (you can use milk if desired)
¼ C fresh Italian parsley
Fry the bacon until almost crisp. Remove and drain. Place the bacon grease (no more than 3 T) in a large and very hot Dutch oven. Add all the zucchini, all the onion and half the potatoes. Stir for 3 minutes until onions are transparent. In the meantime, dissolve the bouillon cube in 2 C boiling water and add to zucchini and potatoes, along with about a 2 t of kosher salt. Let simmer at a low boil until the potatoes are tender. Using an immersion blender*, completely puree the mixture in the pan, or at least until there are no visible chunks. Now add the final C of water, the rest of the potatoes, the package of frozen corn, the chopped jalapeno and another t + of salt, and the pepper. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes until potatoes are slightly tender. (If you’ve cut your potato chunks very small you don’t need more than about 8 minutes to soften them. Check often.) When they’re soft, add the half cup heavy cream and a handful of the parsley. Stir everything together, then season if needed. Serve with a curl of one of the bacon slices on top.
*(You can transfer to a blender and add a little water and blend but it will be a very smooth soup and probably not appear like the rustic version in the photo above.)
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.