All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.
I apologize for posting so many straight recipes & no adventures lately. Year end expenses etc have kept me pretty much at home and alone nearly every day & night for at least the last month. If I blow off the gym, as I did in the week between Christmas & New Years, I can go days & days without ever seeing another human, outside of Ed, my early morning donut dealer. As fascinating as I’d like to consider myself – a month of watching Maury reveal paternity results & MSNBC squawk on & on about fake crises like the fiscal cliff & the debt ceiling has left me with something akin to a test pattern humming in my head & my jaw slack. And weekends are worse. I fucking hate “Caught on Camera” which is MSNBC’s new weekend wall-to-waller for injury fetishists. And SOMEHOW it got DVR’ed – so the fucking series is getting recorded every time it plays and I cannot figure out how to cancel it. And Lock Up? Seriously. They run Lock Up marathons on MSNBC sometimes from Friday night at 7 through Sunday evening, only breaking for the insufferable Meet the Press. Who watches six hours of prison inmates with tattooed faces & then thinks to themselves, “You know what I am in the mood for now? Another hour of prison inmates with tattooed faces, bitchez!” Ugh.
So – I sit in my kitchen & stare blankly at my TV and simultaneously play the 40 million Scrabble & Words with Friends games I have running – 30 million of which are with my mother who is the best GD word game player ever – in real life. But on the iphone apps – she mostly just phones it in (get it?) – and I feel like I am doing endless homework way beneath my intellectual ability. I am a hamster stuck in a Habitrail repeating the same limited and mindless actions ad infinitum just waiting for death or for someone to get close enough so I can bite them.
So – I drink wine so that I at least have an excuse for the stupid look on my face and I cook. And cook. And I eat some and freeze more & then I cook. I wish I had more mouths to feed here & more money to do it with because the cooking is the best part of my days but I can’t just endlessly cook food in quantities I cannot possibly consume just so I can be distracted & then take some pretty pictures.
Aren’t you glad NOW that I have been keeping to myself?
OK – so – yesterday I had a bunch of fresh corn to use. Again – I challenged myself to make a dish that didn’t require a grocery store run. I wanted to make a corn chowder but I had no dairy or soy milk or anything like that in the house. But I DID have cans of both coconut milk & coconut cream. Not knowing the difference (having never yet used coconut cream) – I opted to use the cream version. I still don’t know what the difference is. Once I broke up & blended the solid chunk of whatever at the top of the can – it looked & tasted like coconut milk to me.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
Coconut cream is very similar to coconut milk but contains less water. The difference is mainly consistency. It has a thicker, more paste-like consistency, while coconut milk is generally a liquid. Coconut cream is used as an ingredient in cooking, having a mild non-sweet taste.
Anyway – coconut cream/milk is a perfect substitute for the dairy in this chowder. The fresh corn is the real key here so try to use fresh corn rather than canned or frozen. The fresh corn is far sweeter than the coconut cream & overpowers the coconut almost completely. In fact – my boyfriend says he hates coconut but I bet if I served him this chowder – he would never guess what it was made from.
This is easy as pie. And really good! If you do not like spicy food, omit the jalapenos & hot sauce. If you cannot find red jalapenos (or are eschewing them entirely) add some diced carrots or diced red bell pepper – just for color.
Spicy Vegan Corn Chowder with Coconut Cream & Cilantro
8 ears fresh corn on the cob
1 13.5 oz can of coconut cream or coconut milk (light version if you prefer)
1 large potato – peeled & diced
1 large onion – diced
2 (or more) jalapenos (red if possible) – seeded & diced (use a red bell pepper here if you do not like spice)
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)
S&P to taste
Cut the corn from the cobs. Take the dull side of a large knife & run it down all sides of each corn cob with a bit of pressure – over a bowl. This is called “milking the corn.” Reserve this corn milk.
Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a stock pot. Add the onion & jalapenos & saute until the onions are soft & translucent. Add potato & corn & stir. Add the stock, hot sauce, corn milk & the coconut milk. Stir. Add about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low & simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potato & corn are tender.
See the corn “milk” mush on the top??
With a slotted spoon, scoop out some (maybe a cup or two) of the solid veggies & reserve in a bowl. You will use this later to garnish the soup when you serve it.
With a blender or food processor or immersion blender – puree the remaining soup. Add S&P to taste. At this point – you can squeeze in the juice of half a lime – or you can opt to serve the soup with lime wedges & let folks control the amount of citrus in their chowder.
To serve – ladle some puree into bowls. Top with a spoonful of the solid veggies & some more chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley) and a wedge of lime. Fresh cracked pepper – more hot sauce? Your call.
Some crispy fried shallots would be pretty nice on this – as would a good drizzle of basil oil.