Sunday, September 22, 2013

Corn and Hatch Pepper Chowder

Despite a photo that doesn't make me want to try this recipe, this is a delicious soup.  August and September is  Hatch Chili Pepper time.  Our local Hy Vee store always has an ample supply.  Hatch peppers are meant to be roasted and used in soups, salsa's and other main dishes.

Having roasted a few extra ears of corn, I was interested in finding a recipe that used the corn and the chili peppers.  I like to roast the peppers on the gas grill but this time, I used the oven.  I set it for 400, on the convection roast setting,  roasting them until charred about 20 minutes.  After taking the peppers out of the oven, I put them in a paper bag for a few minutes and the skins pull off nicely.

Many cream soups and chowders use heavy cream.  I was searching for a lighter option for thickening.  I found several recipes using corn meal for thickening.  What a great idea!  Why didn't I think of that?  I used 3 tablespoons mixed with water and stirred into the soup after completing the cooking time. 

 Roasted Corn and Hatch Pepper Chowder

3 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, minced
3 cups fresh corn kernels, scraped from the cob, or frozen
 3 cups whole milk (I used skim)
 1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whipping cream (I omitted this and used cornmeal for thickening)
1 cup roasted, peeled and chopped mild green New Mexican, Anaheim, or Poblano chiles
Fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced

 Directions Fry the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until brown and crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Stir the onion into the bacon drippings and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Puree 1 cup of corn with 1 cup of milk in a blender. Pour the mixture into the pan and add the remaining milk and corn along with the potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Stir in the cream and the green chile. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the chowder into bowls, garnish with chives and the reserved bacon, and serve.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Box Oven S'mores Brownies - Secret Recipe Club

My assigned blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club is Angela's Kitchen.  Angela cooks gluten and dairy free.  If you are looking for a gluten or dairy free recipe, check out Angela's blog.  You'll be able to enjoy many of the same recipes, while following a gluten or dairy free diet.

I spent quite a bit of time on Angela's blog trying to decide what to make.   I really wanted to bake one of her great recipes but was concerned about the substitution of non gluten free products in her recipes.  After much deliberation, I settled on her Box Oven S'more Brownies but chose to make them in a regular oven.  If you're a camper or have kids this would be such a fun recipe to try.

Serves: 16 to 20

  • 1 gluten free box brownie mix (or homemade), batter made dairy free according to instructions
  • 2 cups gluten free mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup broken and crumbled gluten free graham crackers or gluten free sugar cones
  • 12″x8″ foil pan
  • oil for pan
  • Box oven
  1. Set up box oven. See this post ( for instructions. While charcoal is flaming and heating up, make gluten free brownie mix according to instructions on box.
  2. Oil foil pan. Pour batter into pan, patting out batter to cover the entire pan. Sprinkle crushed gluten free graham crackers evenly over batter, then add mini-marshmallows.
  3. When coals are ready, place brownies on cans in box oven. Set the box over brownies and allow to bake for 5 minutes longer than the longest bake time on the brownie batter box (in the case of Better Batter Brownie Mix, allow to bake for 30 minutes) before checking to see if brownie bars are done. Bars are done when bakes through in center and marshmallows have melted and browned slightly.
  4. Remove brownies from box oven and allow to cool before slicing.
  5. To bake these at home, bake in a 350 degree F oven for the shortest time on your baking mix box before checking for doneness.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Swiss Chard Pasta Bake

 Besides the fresh, locally grown farm veggies, my favorite thing about being in a CSA is the vegetables we haven't tried before.  This year we've been treated to kale and swiss chard.  Kale is my new favorite vegetables but chard not so much.  We've received it twice in our CSA.  The first time, I sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper.  It was way too much like cooked spinach for us.  When we received it a second time, I searched for a recipe to try and see if we like it any better in something.

I found this recipe for pasta with swiss chard. The verdict?  I liked it, Tim not so much.  He struggled through it, pushing the chard to the side wherever he could.  Do you like swiss chard?  How do you prepare it?

Swiss Chard Pasta Bake
Recipe courtesy of Love and Olive Oil

12 oz. penne pasta
 2 cups tomato sauce, any kind you like or see recipe below
1 pound swiss chard (about 6 large leaves), stems removed
3/4 cup asiago cheese cut into small cubes (I used goat cheese)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
shredded parmesan to go on top (optional)

simple tomato sauce:
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 8-oz can tomato sauce (plain)
1/4 cup white or red wine
2 teaspoons sugar
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Fill another bowl with ice and a bit of water. Drop chard leaves in boiling water for about 1 minute, remove and drop in ice water to stop the cooking process so your chard keeps its vibrant green color.
Re-using the same pot, cook pasta according to package directions, cutting the time a minute or two short since the pasta will continue cooking while it bakes.
Meanwhile make the tomato sauce (or use your own and skip this step). Over medium-high heat sauté onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add a few pinches of salt. Add garlic. When onions are translucent, add both cans of tomatoes, sugar and wine. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more salt & pepper to taste (only if needed). Add red pepper flake, if using.
Remove chard from ice water, squeeze out excess water, and chop.
In a large bowl mix pasta, chard, cheese cubes and tomato sauce.
Pour the mixture in a 9×13 pan. Sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese on top (if you like), and/or a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Broil for the last 1-2 minutes if you would like the cheese topping more brown and bubbling. (note, if you’re not putting cheese on top, watch it more closely because it will dry out faster). Even without cheese on top, I prefer a bit of a crunchy crust. If you don’t cook it less.
Remove from oven, let cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil.