Originally posted on Kat Gaines’ cooking blog, The Winey Tomato.
I’m such a loser when it comes to this blog sometimes.
When I started the blog (well, hey there March 2010) I was alllllllllll excited about my shiny pretty new blog o’ foods and then…well, y’know…life happened. School and more school and graduating and most recently, diving nosefirst into the real world. And now I feel like every time I write a blog post, it begins with an apology for not blogging in a while. So here I am doing the same thing again, and really, honestly, going to try to get better at this, because apparently it’s carried onto my Facebook as well — I’m all excuses. On the Winey Tomato’s Facebook Page recently, I wrote the following:
“Apparently today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day. I’m going to attempt a raw/vegan version of a raspberry cream pie tonight. First attempt at raw desserts…we will see how this goes *fingers crossed*”
That pie never happened. I got pretty scared of the raw pie idea and made excuses and it just never happened. I still really want that pie though.
This Monday, I wrote the following on my personal Facebook:
“making squash chowder / will be blogging this”
I actually made that one, but “will be blogging this”? I didn’t mean right away, clearly, but it has to be done RIGHT NOW. Why?
Because this chowder is magical.
Say this five times fast:
Okay, it’s more chowder than just soup, but I like the tongue-twister name so we’ll call it soup. Magical chowder/magical soup, all the same thing. Clearly, you will need to start with some squash. The 1-2 pounds of summer squash from my CSA box prompted the need to make squash soup, and over a couple days of thinking about how I wanted to make that happen, it evolved into squash chowder. The squash from my box was somewhere between 1-2 pounds / about 5 cups all chopped up:
Because squash is so thick, it’s an awesome base for a pureed vegetable soup / chowder, but these squash were also very crisp, bright, and summery. That crispness gets lost a little in cooking, so I added two ears of corn to bring out the summery flavor and add a little sweetness. I think this step accounts for a lot of the magic:
As well as two yellow bell peppers and one sweet onion:
Once this is all done you should have a bowl ‘o veggies that looks like this:
I was so tempted to throw a minced clove of garlic on top of everything, but I actually didn’t put garlic on everything for once (I’m trying to get my head out of the space that garlic is the only flavor there is).
Next, I drizzled a little olive oil into the bottom of my largest pot, tossed in the veggies, mixed it all up and turned it up to medium-high. I let these cook for about 5 minutes, just enough to calm the onions’ sharpness a little.
Then the vegetable broth. I used my homemade vegetable stock, but you can really use any ‘ol veggie stock as long as it’s not super salty — some store-bought brands try to compensate for the lack of meaty flavor in vegetable stock by over-salting, and it just leads to disaster. I wouldn’t recommend a chicken or beef stock with this soup — I think the flavor of the veggies shines most when layered over more veggie flavors.
I brought everything up to a boil just for a moment, and then covered the pot and let it simmer on very low heat for about 30 min, so that nothing got mushy or overcooked, just cooked through to a softness. After that, it was just a matter of ladling 1-2 cups into the blender at a time, and pureeing the mixture until it was completely smooth:
I can’t stress enough how important it is to not fill a blender to the top with hot liquids. Hot liquids will expand in the blender and burn your face/hands off if you overfill it. It varies depending on how big your blender is, but with my smallish Oster blender, I never blend more than 2 cups of hot liquids at a time. The patience is worth it, believe me.
The last step was simply to return the puree to the pot, stir in 2 cups of milk (any milk will do, really. I used 1% cow’s milk for a more classic chowder taste, but I’ve also been successful with soy milk in chowders which means that I can eat the soup more often — I’m not entirely lactose intolerant but cow’s milk is hard on my stomach in anything more than very small amounts), and cook the chowder over low heat until it’s warmed through.
The subtle spices are where it really gets magical, so hold on to your britches* for what’s coming.
I didn’t add any salt but I did add a pinch of white pepper and grind a small amount of Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning (paprika, smoked sea salt, garlic**, and basil) on top of my individual bowl and the smokey, savory flavor was a PERFECT contrast with the slightly sweet soup – so I decided to toss a little of this seasoning in the pot as well.
As a result I’ve just been eating this soup for days, and it’s come in especially handy now that it’s very very cold in the mornings around here (brr). Soup for breakfast? Why not?
* Britches? Who says that? (Me, apparently)
** I know I said I was going to *not* put garlic on everything here, but really, does the tiny amount in a spice mix even count?