Sunday, September 20, 2015

Plans Within Plans, Dune it all on a Saturday - Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder

Saturday: I think this is going to be a Good Day.  I have plans, and I intend to enjoy each and every one.  First, a trip to the AT&T store to preorder my new iPhone. My current iPhone has some kind of terminal disease; if I take it off life support, it will die. Very sad, as I loved that iPhone and had no desire to replace it right now. For the past three weeks I have been using a "go-phone" so I can at least make and receive calls, but it's been most unsatisfactory. Can't text easily and forget accessing the internet.

Second, Robert is taking me to the Crayola store at the mall to check out colored pencils.  This is a very big deal because I NEVER go the mall. But I love colored pencils and I love coloring in the grown-up coloring book my supervisor gave me, with a good selection of pencils to start. Coloring is a wonderful stress reliever, which I have known since my kindergarten days at P.S. 217 in Brooklyn. Thank you, Raquel.

Third, we are meeting New Paltz friends for dinner tonight - Mark and Sandy and Lynn - and the only disappointment is that Barbara is feeling under the weather and won't be able to make it.

Today is the day for the broadcast of the first episode of the ninth series of "Doctor Who".  I feel like I've been waiting a whole year for this, but it's only been 8 or 9 months. Ha. Due to our dinner plans, Rob and I will watch it at another time through our cable provider's OnDemand service. I will plan an appropriate array of snack food, but assure you that the menu will not include jelly babies, jammie dodgers, or fish fingers and custard.

Friday: Finally found the dark flip-flops I've been searching for.  Since I don't go to court anymore, I can show off my pedicure with gay abandon. Ninety-eight cents in Walmart.

Thursday: This may sound crazy - and boy, do I know crazy - but I feel cold. I just checked with Siri, and it is 75 degrees and overcast. That's practically winter weather here in Central Florida, and that calls for hot soup and plenty of it.

Yesterday, when I headed out to Publix, it was 79 degrees and I put on a light sweater. Part of that is that Publix, like many stores here, keep their buildings colder than North Dakota in January.  I fear frostbite while shopping in produce, and avoid the frozen food section altogether.  When I got home, I had some of the cabbage vegetable soup for lunch.  

Our house holds steady at 75 degrees, but with no heat radiating from outdoors, I feel like a member of the Frozen Chosen. This chilling season is going to continue into next week, and that calls for soup variety which provided the opportunity to go searching through Paula Deen's new book, which just made the New York Times best-seller list.  Take that, Food Network.

I admit I made a few changes right off the bat, based on my odd taste preferences (canned corn over frozen) and the contents of my pantry (no chicken broth, lots of Knorr chicken cubes), but it is essentially her recipe, and it is delicious. The original recipe can be found on page 85 of her cookbook Paula Deen Cuts the Fat and I highly highly highly recommend you treat yourself and buy the book.

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder

3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 poblano chile, seeded and finely chopped
black pepper
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups water
3 Knorr chicken flavored cubes
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 white baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 - 15.25 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
1 1/2 cups whole milk

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery and chile.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, 10 minutes. Towards the end of this cooking, add black pepper to taste and a bit of sugar, and the garlic.  Cook a few minutes longer.  Add the thyme and cook another minute.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for one more minute.

Add the water and Knorr chicken cubes and stir to dissolve the cubes.  Add the sweet potatoes and white potatoes.  Hold off on adding any salt till the end, as the Knorr cubes contribute a good amount of salt.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes until the potatoes are very tender. Add the corn and simmer 5 more minutes. Slowly add the milk and bring up the heat slightly. As you stir, the potatoes will break up and naturally thicken the soup.  Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you need more salt, this is the time to add it. I like a lot of black pepper and thyme in my chowders, and I added just a touch of granulated garlic because that's the way I roll.   I hope you enjoy it, but if you don't, it's not Paula's fault (me and my changes, you know.)

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