Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meatless Week: An oldie and a goodie.

Hello, gentle readers! It's day three of Meatless Week, and so far, I'm doing just fine. No major bacon or beef cravings - though tomorrow, which is sushi day at my office, will be a true test of willpower.

I've managed to keep myself satisfied by eating vegetarian dishes with lots of flavor and a bunch of different textures. For lunch today, that meant poaching some garlic in olive oil and adding some hot pepper. I tossed half with some blanched broccoli and soy sauce (à la Ina), and the other half with orecchiette, halved cherry tomatoes and some fresh basil leaves.

Tonight for dinner, I decided to pair hot with cold. I had two ears of corn and a couple of Yukon golds left in the fridge, and decided that corn chowder would be just the thing for those and for the glug or two of cream left from last week's dinner party shenanigans.

I browsed Epicurious and found what I was looking for: a simple, fast corn chowder recipe from a summer 2008 issue of Gourmet. I played with it a bit - my version is less creamy, a bit saltier, and has black pepper rather than white - but kept the primary, golden notion: making a quick corn stock with the cobs. Genius!

To go alongside, I made one of my all-time favorite salads, which I shamelessly copied from Anella, a teeny restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It's a salad of romaine hearts, topped with a creamy, tangy dressing, chopped dill and onion, fresh, buttery croutons and fried capers. It is, in a word, dee-licious. And the recipe? It's just over here. Clickety. (By the way - I didn't have any crème fraiche on hand, so I subbed in a bit of Hellman's mixed with low-fat buttermilk, and it worked like a charm.)

I'm a bit worried about my lack of protein consumption, but am hoping to remedy that tomorrow with an eggy breakfast and some of the same - or possibly beans - at dinner. I think that should do the trick. Clearly, were I planning to become a real-life vegetarian, I'd have to get better at the whole alternative protein sources thing. In the meantime, though...corn chowder!

Summer Corn Chowder
Adapted from Gourmet

2 ears corn, shucked
1 quart cold water
1/2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 large carrot, halved lengthwise, then sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 scallions, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Cut corn kernels from each cob, then hold cob upright in a bowl and scrape with the back of a butter knife to extract the "milk."

Bring cobs, water, potatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large pot, covered, then boil, covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. (Break the cobs in half to fit into the pot, if need be.) Discard cobs.

Meanwhile, cook onion, carrot, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is pale golden, about 10 minutes.

Add bell pepper, corn and its "milk," thyme, and bay leaves to the onion and carrot mixture. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. (If there's not enough "milk" to make this sufficiently wet, add a bit of the potato cooking water.)

Stir potatoes with water and cream into the corn mixture and gently boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 7 cups, about 30 minutes. Stir in black pepper and salt to taste. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs. If serving immediately, add the scallions. If not, wait until you do.

Serves two, generously, or three as an appetizer.


Molly said...

Hi Meg! I'm really enjoying your meatless week posts. Wanted to let you know that you're probably getting all the protein you need just by eating that delicious wide range of foods you've been describing. This site has a pretty clear explanation of complete and incomplete proteins work and how as long as you eat a mix of fruit/veg, grains/nuts/seeds, and legumes throughout the day, you're getting everything you need. I survived for years as a vegetarian without ever eating tofu, seitan, or any of those other "protein substitute" foods. I know you're not really going to go vegetarian, but librarian that I am, I couldn't resist passing on the facts.

Meg Blocker said...

Thanks, Molly! That site is awesome. I'm glad you're enjoying the posts...this week has been really fun for me, too!

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