refreshed

Well I am finally back. Both physically and mentally. As you probably know, I took a 10 day (very) much-needed post-Bar trip to Texas. I attended one of my favorite sorority sister’s wedding; drove over 1000 miles between DFW, Austin, Houston and various places in between; ate my body weight in salsa, queso, tortilla chips, tacos, BBQ and Blue Bell Ice Cream; continued the 100 year celebration by trying every imaginable incarnation of Shiner; in sum, I basically decompressed from the Stress of the past 3 years and specifically the past 2 months. It was just what I needed. But even as I was enjoying sleeping in to 8:30 AM [yes, 8:30 is now sleeping in for me; I am officially OLD] I was somewhat anxious to get back home to Chicago. I have missed 10 days of the farmer’s markets and I don’t know which fruit slowly slipped out of season or if Nichol’s has started to fill their yellow tubs which every type of little tomato imaginable. Needless to say, I am ready to get back into my summer routine. Thankfully this half will be without the added bonus of 28 pounds of blue BarBri books but rather a large stack of library books (including New Moon, Garlic and Sapphire, The Girl She Used to Be and much more).

When I left for my refreshing week+ in Texas, sweet corn was just hitting the markets and I was excited to start making endless batches of this perfect corn chowder. I must have made this soup more than 5 times last summer after discovering it on one of my favorite sites back when I was only reading blogs and not writing my own. The chowder comes together quickly but still is complex from the use of a bunch of different wonderful spices.

It is perfect to pair with a salad filled with whatever is fresh and delicious at the market. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers it for a quick dinner during the week. Or tuck one away in the back to pull out in November when the sweet corn has sadly left until the next year to come.

Spicy Corn Chowder with Bacon and Chives
Recipe from Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Recipes

4 ounces of bacon (or more if you like to eat a few while you are cooking)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5 celery ribs, diced
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (or Kosher if that is what you have)
1/4 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
4 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken stock (low-sodium or homemade)
2 cups water
4 ears of corn, kernels shaved from the cob and one or two shaved cobs reserved
Greek yogurt, for garnish
finely diced chives, for garnish

Fry the bacon in the bottom of a large soup pot, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon to a cookie rack set over a paper towel and set aside. Drain the bacon drippings from the pot (save in a jar to stash in the fridge), but do not wipe out the pot. Return the pot to the stove, turn the heat up to medium high and heat the olive oil in the pot. Add the onion, celery and herbs (through the black pepper). Stir to coat the vegetables with the oil and herbs and cook until the onions have become translucent and soft (several minutes). Add the potatoes and cook for five minutes, until the potatoes have begun to soften. Turn the heat down to low and sprinkle the flour over the vegetables. Stir and cook for several minutes.

Add the chicken stock and water. Crumble the bacon and add all but 1 tablespoon to the soup. Next, stir in the corn kernels. Finally, add the reserved, shaved cob of corn to the soup (which will help flavor and thicken the broth). Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

Before serving, remove the shaved corn cob and taste the soup for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. Serve the soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt, snipped chives and the reserved crumbled bacon.

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17 responses to “refreshed

  1. Good grief, this sounds completely amazing!!! Now I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about. What a great welcome back into the kitchen after your stressful few months – congrats on finishing, glad you had a good trip, and enjoy your books! (I got sucked into the Twilight series this summer, and while I didn’t really much care for the first, New Moon was good and they just got better after that. Garlic and Sapphires is great, too.) :)

  2. WOW…this looks awesome. And I am going to walk across the street to the Prudential Farmer’s Market at lunch to grab some potatoes and celery from Nichols so that I can make this tonight! Thanks for giving me a new dinner idea!

  3. Congratulations on taking the Bar! I’m a native Texan turned Californian, and I found myself coveting every item on your “eating through Texas” list :) The chowder looks amazing, and as usual, your photos are super enticing. Hope you enjoy New Moon!! In my humble opinion, the third book in the series is the best.

  4. Oh yum! I’ve never made a corn chowder before, but my mouth is watering after reading about this one. I’ll definitely be picking up some corn this weekend at the market. Even though it has been close to 100* here, I still have a craving for soup…

    I’m so glad you’re back and had a wonderful trip! Any exciting job prospects out there?

  5. PS: I’m reading Garlic and Sapphires right now! You’ve read her first too, right? You must start at the beginning to get the full effect, in my opinion. :)

  6. I officially have a new favorite summer soup – I’m sitting on our balcony, overlooking Lake Michigan enjoying the most fabulous bowl of chowder. Thanks, Whitney!

  7. Whitney: I’m so glad you like the soup! I’ll have to tell my mom, since it’s her recipe. Hope you’re enjoying life post-bar exam.

  8. Amy-I will admit that I liked the first Twilight book but it wasn’t like it was great writing or anything but just a good story to get lost in for a while. Thank you for the congrats!

    Katie-Us Native Texans have to enjoy every bite when we go back right? I got back needing a big salad and vegetables but it was well worth it.

    Andrea-I have my resume in at a couple of firms but so far nothing is biting. Im enrolled in a few accounting classes in the fall to finish up the education requirements for the CPA so that will give me something to do. I actually haven’t read her first. I will have to check it out from the library before I dig into Garlic and Sapphires.

    Jenn-I’m glad that you had such a great evening with this soup! I am so glad that I found it on Kristin’s website last year because it really is a keeper.

    Kristin-Tell your Mom that it has been getting rave reviews both in my apartment (Dave LOVES it) and all over the internet. Post-Bar life is pretty amazing. Other than the job hunting part ;-) Hope you are doing well!

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  10. Sleeping in till 8:30 sounds divine to me! i hope you are enjoying your time post-bar. Let me know if you enjoyed “The Girl She Used To Be”. It was an addicting book. I couldn’t put it down!

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  12. dancing kitchen

    I just read “Time Traveler’s Wife” and loved it. An epic novel that is exceptional is “Ahab’s Wife”…it’s long and involved but delicious.

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