Tortilla Soup (link to recipe in post)
Ever since the Calabacitas, I’ve had a surplus of corn in the house. This wasn’t because I didn’t know how much I needed at the time, but because when I went to buy the corn I had two dollars, and when the amount of corn I needed would have left me with change I threw away all abandon and bought the full two dollars worth – a good four ears more than I needed.
(Adapted from dailywaffle.com, makes approx. 12 patties)
3 ears fresh sweet corn
1 chile pepper (I used a Jalapeno, but Poblano would be nice as well – if you have a lower heat tolerance you can remove the seeds or omit the pepper completely)
1 bell pepper (red is a nice pop of color!)
1/2 cup green onion/chives
1/4 cup cilantro or flat leaf parsley
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 TBSP sea salt (or 1 TBSP kosher)
1/4-1/2 tsp. chile powder (or, for even less spice, use paprika)
1/2 cup milk
oil for pan frying
Chop all the veggies, including slicing the kernels off the corn, and set aside. I toasted my jalapeno on a hot skillet first to bring out some of its flavors and give a nice char to the skin – be sure to chop any hot peppers you add pretty finely so that they get mixed throughout the entire batter.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and chile powder. Make a well, and pour in the eggs and milk. Wisk with a fork, inside the well of dry ingredients, then work the dry ingredients in until it forms a batter.
Add all the chopped veggies to the batter – it’ll seem really thick, but that’s how it should be.
Heat a heavy-bottom pan (I used my cast-iron skillet) with enough oil to cover the bottom. Once the oil is glistening, spoon in 3-4 mounds of batter, then flatten them slightly on the top to make patties. I found the easiest way to do this, and the best way to make sure they’re evenly sized and shaped, was to use an ice-cream scoop with one of those lever-releases. I was able to kind of pack the batter into the scoop, which helped the patties hold together better. Then, once I had the batter on the pan, I just turned the scoop over and used the back to lightly press the mound down.
Let them fry on one side, over medium heat, for 3-4 minutes. They should be golden when you flip them.
Continue frying, adding oil to the pan between batches if it begins to look dry or the patties start to stick.
Serve with sour cream, and some extra chives or cilantro/parsley to garnish. Or, if you’re like me and have an extra tomato from the garden…
Mmm – these had a nice kick with one jalapeno, and the flavor was spot on, but in the future I’d try a Poblano for a mellower and more even heat level. It’s such a simple recipe, and I think super-versatile to whatever veggies you have in the fridge. For instance, it could easily be turned into potato pancakes, or zucchini latkes. I like that the batter is barely enough to keep everything from falling apart, really letting the veggies (and in this case, the corn) shine.
Next up was tortilla soup. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten tortilla soup, and it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me to make any, except for finding the recipe through one of my favorite bloggers. OhSheGlows makes some truly amazing vegan dishes – clearly, I’m not vegan, but her recipes routinely make my mouth water anyway. This recipe not only got me excited to try it, but it would use up my final ear of corn! Since I didn’t change the recipe a whole lot (I used real cheese, but that’s about it), I’ll just send you over to her post Vegan Tortilla Soup.
Since I’ve never made, had, or even really looked at recipes for tortilla soup, I can’t say what it’s supposed to taste like or if this is a ‘good’ tortilla soup or not. I don’t know if it’s very traditional, or if the flavors are anything like what you might find in a restaurant… all I know is that it was super tasty! The Boyfriend called it more of a ‘vegetarian chili’, which, I suppose without the tortilla strips, it’s pretty close to.
The only note I would make is: be careful not to burn the tortilla strips, but also don’t under-do them, or else they won’t be crisp. Mine somehow cooked too quickly and skipped right from not-crisp to starting-to-burn, so I might try it not under the broiler next time. Since my tortilla strips didn’t work out as nicely as I’d have liked, we ended up using regular corn chips, which worked just as well.
Maybe one of the best things about this was how crazy easy it was to throw together, and how quick cooking it was (especially if you use canned beans or don’t forget to soak your beans the night before like I did). It made a big batch, too, and is perfect for leftovers.
It’s amazing how after three big recipes with corn as one of the main features, I’m still not tired of it in the least. From microwaving it with the husk on for a minute or two, to slicing it off the cob and turning it into an entire dish, corn has got to be one of the greatest seasonal vegetables (err… grains) of all time.
I’m a big believer in fresh produce, and farmers markets, and getting things in-season when you can, but in today’s society there isn’t a whole lot you can’t get year-round anymore. Corn, however, is still this rare beauty that only shows up in the shops in the summer, and while it’s there you have to grab it up and make the most of it.
Unless… unless someone were to have the foresight, neigh, the brilliance, to freeze some of the summer’s bounty… hmm. I think I need to go buy more corn!