Well, I took a bit of a break, which I think is necessary after extinguishing a life for the first time, but I have already cooked two Gwyneth recipes this week, so now it’s time to play some catch-up. First up is Corn Chowder, because it’s the time of year for good corn, right? (I actually have no idea what season is really corn season, so I could be entirely off on this. Maybe it’s actually autumn? Don’t worry about filling me in; I don’t really care that much.)
This one was actually fairly simple in concept, although that didn’t prevent the situation from getting hectic, as tends to happen with this stupid project. But first, I melted some butter in my wonderful heavy pot and then added some diced turkey bacon, an ingredient which still grosses me out. The consistency of turkey bacon is far, far too close to human skin for me to feel entirely comfortable eating it. To any turkey bacon executives reading this: can you please do something about this? Thaaaanks, guys.
Slightly Dahmer-esque, no?
Once the bacon had browned a bit, I threw in a couple diced shallots and a diced yellow onion, as well as a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a bay leaf. Next, I needed to throw in the kernels of six ears of corn. Now, I’ve never actually sliced kernels off an ear of corn before, but I’ve seen it done countless times on TV, so I figured it would be easy. And it was! However, corn went everywhere. Does this happen all the time, or am I just especially bad at it? My dog was in heaven, eagerly lapping up what probably amounted to an entire ear’s worth of corn kernels off of the floor, a few stray pieces embedded in his fur. It was a mess.
Meanwhile, the onions were burning, because I forgot to turn the heat down. The next few minutes were comprised of me frantically darting back and forth between slicing kernels off the cobs (while trying to restrain a now-rabid dog desperate for MORE CORN GIVE ME MORE CORN NOW) and stirring the onions and bacon to prevent it from turning into a charred, black disaster at the bottom of my pot.
Just a frantic picture of a single ear of corn, before I threw the camera aside and became the Tasmanian Devil.
And that’s when I realized my homemade vegetable stock was still a solid block in my freezer.
(I should note here that these are the kinds of crises I NEVER anticipated having in my life, and I’m still finding this all baffling and more than a little embarrassing. White people problems, right?)
So then I had to try to heat up the block of vegetable stock while managing the two other minor crises, and now our kitchen is 200 degrees because the sun is angled perfectly through the windows to give it a nice greenhouse effect, so I’m sweating and frustrated and thinking, “All this for fucking corn chowder?”
But finally the kernels are all added to the onion mixture, and I pour in two cups of the vegetable stock and one cup of milk (cow’s milk, not soy or hemp or whatever else Gwyneth prefers, and yes, I did actually sort of feel bad about this, and then I felt even worse for feeling bad about something like this), and nestle in a few of the empty corn cobs for, I don’t know, flavoring or something. And now it can simmer for 30 minutes, and I can get to work cleaning up my kitchen, which looks like the aftermath of some disgusting corn gang bang, kernels scattered under every appliance and in every corner, even corners I didn’t know existed before today.
Finally, we come to this.
Thirty minutes later, the corn is cooked through, and the whole mixture is actually smelling quite lovely. I remove the cobs and puree a ladleful of the soup in our Magic Bullet, as instructed, and add it back to the pot. The soup still looks a bit milky to me, so I take a calculated risk and puree a second ladleful. Yes, I know, I am a total Evel Knievel in the kitchen.
Magic Bullet time!
Yikes, very close shot here, sorry. This is what it looks like to shove your face in corn chowder.
Top with minced chives, and eat. And, you know what, it was great! It really highlighted the taste of the corn, and each bite that had a little bacon chunk in it was like a delicious, bacon-y surprise (the best kind of surprise, obviously). The recipe supposedly serves four, but two of us gobbled down almost the entire pot’s worth, with only a little left over for lunch the next day. Not the most exciting meal — especially after my last adventure with Gwyneth — but the end result restored my faith in her abilities. Slightly. Sometimes the book delivers, you guys, and we just have to live with that.