“It’s covered with a coupla inches of ice and it’s closed”. My brother Fred’s on the phone, talking about New
Hampshire where he lives. Fred’s experiencing what we New England natives call “a wintery mix”. Luckily for him, he still has power, but his daughter Meredith, husband Scot, almost two-year old son and their weeks-old baby girl woke up this morning to the dark and cold, so all are in the living room of Fred’s big rambling house, wrapped in family quilts and listening to the wind howl off the lake. Even Fred says it’s cold.
I live in the desert paradise called Phoenix, Arizona, mentally and physically light years from New Hampshire. I dragged out my sweatshirt earlier this week, as it’s too cold in those just-before-sunrise hours when I join my wife for a 3 mile walk. Do I have ice on my windshield? Nope. Hell, I can’t even see my breath, but to me, it’s cold. It’s all relative.
Which brings me to soup. I made up a batch of this for supper, or as Fred would say “suppa”. My grandmother would call it a “stick to your ribs” soup. It’s delicious, easy to prepare and will pretty much take the edge off even the coldest day.
Wicked Good Vegetable Chowda
1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium zucchini, about 1 pound, washed, diced a bit smaller-than-bite-size
1/2 C onion, chopped small
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/2 C vegetable broth, low salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 C corn kernals, fresh, canned or frozen
16 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 tbsp fresh basil leaf, snipped, or 1/2 tsp dried
12 oz evaporated milk, low fat
1 C shredded cheese (American, Pizza-or Mexican blend)
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium high heat. Add zucchini, onions and parsley, sitr it now and then, cook about 6 minutes until the veggies start to soften a bit. Add flour, stir until it’s well blended. Add broth, lemon juice and pepper. Stir, while bringing to a low boil. Add corn, tomatoes with their liquid and the basil, bring back to boil, stirring to prevent scorching. Add the evaporated milk then bring back just to a boil then add the cheese, stirring just until melted. Do not boil. It’s ready to eat.
We had this tonight with a batch of corn muffins and a bottle of what we like to call “weekday white wine”. We’re sitting back now, digesting, warm and toasty. If only I could say the same about my relatives.
Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ