Sunday, March 16, 2008


Fresh, sweet corn, tender scallops, spicy roasted poblano chili...mmm mmm good. Corn chowder and seafood is a flawless pairing—it's light but still sufficient for a cool spring evening. You may recall that I am a big fan of chowders, and as delicious as the thick and rich ones are, I prefer the classic chowder flavors with a less-dense body. It's a healthier way to enjoy a favorite recipe, plus since spring is upon us, it just seems more appropriate.

Spicy Corn & Scallop Chowder

serves 4 as a first-course, or 2 as a main, with leftovers

For creaminess, I used 1/4 cup skim milk and 1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half. You could substitute whole milk, 2% milk, or a combination of skim milk and cream for similar results.

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices pancetta or lean bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
½ cup dry white wine
3 cobs fresh corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved
1 roasted poblano pepper, chopped (method follows)
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 cup chicken stock
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
½ pound bay scallops
¼ cup skim milk, divided
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¼ cup fat-free half-and-half
Garnish: fresh chopped cilantro

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pancetta or bacon and cook until meat is crisp and fat has rendered. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat (or leave it alone if there’s about that much in the pan). Add onions and garlic, season with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and stir. Cook until onions are beginning to soften and garlic is very fragrant. Add smoked paprika, if using, and stir to combine. Add wine and using a wooden spoon, scrape any bits from the bottom of the pot. Simmer 1 minute.

Add corn, cobs, poblano, clam juice, stock, and potatoes, and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove cobs and discard, then add scallops. Combine 1 tablespoon milk with cornstarch to make a slurry. Add half-and-half, slurry, and remaining milk, and simmer until scallops are fully cooked and chowder is lightly thickened. Top each bowl with reserved pancetta or bacon, and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Roasted poblano: situate oven rack to highest position and preheat broiler. Lightly rub poblano with olive or vegetable oil. Line a small baking sheet with foil, place pepper on prepared baking sheet and place under broiler. Broil pepper until skin is beginning to char, about 5 minutes. Flip pepper, and broil about 5 minutes more, or until it is uniformly soft and skin is mostly brown and black. Remove pepper from oven, place in a paper bag (or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap). Set aside for 8-10 minutes, then remove stem from pepper, and peel away skin (it should come off easily). Cut pepper in half, remove seeds, and roughly chop.

Our Menu This Week

So sorry I haven't been posting recipes...the weeks get by me before I know it. I have a few recipes from last week I hope to get up this afternoon, and I'll likely have a few this week, too.

The spring equinox (the first official day of spring) is this Thursday. Hooray! I'm SO enjoying the lighter evenings, and the best part of that is I can actually start taking pictures of what we're eating to share with you. And Easter is this weekend, which means (on the surface, bien sur,) little girls in pretty dresses, clove-studded hams, lamb and mint jelly, egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and jellybeans. If that's not enough to put a little bounce in your step, I don't know what is.

So have a fabulous spring week. And if you're making something delish, share it with the rest of us in the comments section!

Sunday - Corn & scallop chowder, salad
Monday - Corned beef & cabbage with scallion champ
Tuesday - Big salads with grilled shrimp
Wednesday - Angel hair with roasted grape tomatoes & broccoli
Thursday - Grilled tacos, salad

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring is Near...

I'm so ready for it to be spring! The days are going to be lighter longer (finally!) and the weather is starting to warm up (if only by a few degrees). Accordingly, we've been craving lighter fare, with crisper flavors and more fresh veggies. Below, my salute to the start of the season.

Sunday - Seared fish (whatever looks freshest) with Jalapeno-Lime Sauce, sauteed spinach
Monday - Chicken Picatta, asparagus, couscous
Tuesday - Spaghetti with Checca Sauce, salad
Wednesday - Grilled chicken, Fresh Corn and Tomato Relish, salad
Thursday - Ginger Shrimp, Quinoa and Edamame

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday - Red curry pork, rice, spinach
Tuesday - Turkey burgers, chips, cumin-lime slaw
Wednesday - eat out :)
Thursday - Moroccan Spiced Turkey Pitas, couscous, salad