Savoring the Flavor of Summer

This time of year, I always try to savor every bite of summer—tomatoes, corn, peppers, and fresh herbs. As the morning and evening chill begins to creep into our days, the summer produce fades from the farmer’s market. Thankfully, I remembered how good a bowl of piping hot roasted Poblano pepper and sweet corn soup tastes in the dead of winter. Before corn disappeared from the vendor’s table at the market, I bought a bounty, shucked it, cut the kernels off the cob, and froze it. The cobs are frozen, too. They will be used in the stock. I also took home a bag full of Poblano peppers, roasted them to charred perfection, removed the skins and seeds, and placed them in the freezer.

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Sometimes my occasional forethought amazes even me. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I save summer flavors to enjoy in the winter. I haven’t quite found the time for canning and preserving, so I tend to stock the freezer with the remnants of the previous season. The pay off will come in February when I am stuck at home due to snow with nothing to do but make a pot of delicious corn soup and dream of summer.

Below is my recipe for Roasted Poblano Sweet Corn Soup in its entirety using fresh ingredients. If you don’t have a Vitamix, you can certainly use an immersion blender to puree the soup.   Enjoy!

Roasted Poblano Sweet Corn Soup

  • 10 ears of sweet corn – husks removed
  • 3 large Poblano peppers
  • 1 medium onion – halved and sliced
  • 4 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic – coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika – divided
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lime
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • crème fraiche or Mexican crema

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  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Cut the corn off the cobs. This should yield about 6-7 cups of kernels.
  3. Put the Poblano peppers on a baking sheet under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes per side or until the skins are blistered and charred. Place in an airtight container for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Place 5 of the corncobs in a stockpot with the vegetable stock and water. Bring to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
  5. Peel the skins off of the peppers. Cut the top off each pepper and make a slit down the side to open the pepper. Removed the seeds and the membranes. Set aside.
  6. In a skillet, heat two tbs. olive oil. Sauté the onion over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 2-3 more minutes.
  7. Add the spices to the onion/garlic mixture. Stir to incorporate. Add ½ cup of the vegetable stock to deglaze the pan. Pour this mixture into the Vitamix.
  8. Place the following ingredients into the Vitamix in this order: vegetable stock, 5 cups corn kernels, Poblano peppers, pinch of salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Process on the Hot Soup setting or turn up to setting 10 for 7 minutes.
  9. In a skillet, heat two tbs. olive oil. Sauté 1-2 cups of corn kernels over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add smoked paprika and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Use to garnish soup.
  10. Once the soup in the Vitamix is done processing, pour it into a saucepan to keep it warm. Add the juice of half a lime. Stir to combine.
  11. Serve topped with crème fraiche, sautéed corn kernels, and cilantro.

Cool Mornings, Warm Muffins

The weather has turned. There is no denying it—fall will be here soon. Most cool mornings you’ll find me in one of two places: sitting at my computer on the back porch with coffee in hand or in the kitchen baking something that perfumes the house with deliciousness. On those oppressively hot late summer days, I avoid turning on the oven. Baking is simply not an option, but as soon as the first 59° F morning hits, all I can think about is muffins, cakes, tarts, and cookies. I start to dream of all of the goodies I will make for the holidays.   Consequently, I also vow every fall to continue my workout routine through the dark days of winter to justify enjoying the fruits of my labor.   It’s so difficult to put down the muffin and go to the gym though.

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Muffins are one of my favorite cool morning baked goods because they can be enjoyed, still warm, for breakfast or as a late afternoon snack.   Do you know the best use for those bags of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or cherries hiding in your freezer? Muffins. Most recipes follow a similar ingredient template and ratio of fruit to batter; so do not be afraid to change it up a bit. I rarely make a muffin without a crumble topping. That little bit of crunch on top adds texture, a bit of sweetness, and is the key to bakery-style muffins.

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Months ago, I lovingly pitted a whole bag of cherries and popped them in the freezer. I am waiting for the perfect fall morning to use them in this recipe. Perhaps I’ll even share with the neighbors, so I don’t feel tempted to eat them all.

Cherry Almond Muffins

  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c. milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • ¾ c. flour
  • ½ c. almond flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups pitted, halved cherries

Crumble Topping:

  • ½ c. flour
  • ½ c. almond flour
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • ¼ c. rolled oats
  • 8 tbs. cold butter, cubed
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F
  2. Cream butter and sugar together using paddle attachment on a mixer. Add eggs one at a time and stir to incorporate. Add milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Stir to combine.
  3. In separate bowl combine flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in the cherries.
  5. Use paper muffin cups or grease each muffin cup with butter.   Fill each cup 2/3 full.
  6. Crumble Topping: Mix together flour, almond flour, brown sugar, and oats. Using a pastry blender or a fork, mix in cold butter until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  7. Top each muffin with the crumble topping. *To make larger crumbles, squeeze mixture in your hand and lightly crumble over the top of the muffin batter.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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