Here’s a lighter version of Summertime Corn-tomato chowder

I’m making this tonight– corn chowder with a bit of zesty Mexican seasoning, dapted from This is a Cookbook, by Max Sussman and Eli Sussman.

corn-tomato soup

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe but firm tomatoes
  • Kernels from 6 ears of fresh corn (about 3 cups)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • About 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 cup low fat milk (original recipe was heavy cream)
  • Sliced avocado for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Paprika for garnish

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe but firm tomatoes
  • Kernels from 6 ears of fresh corn (about 3 cups)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • About 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Sliced avocado for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Paprika for garnish

 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Put the tomatoes in a lightly greased glass baking dish. Roast until the skins darken and the tomatoes are caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Keep the oven on. Spread the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the edges begin to turn golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, when the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard. Set the flesh, with the juices, aside in the baking dish. Remove the corn from the oven and let cool. Place 1 bell pepper on each of 2 gas burners. Turn the burners on high and sear the peppers directly over the flame, using tongs to turn as needed, until the skins are blackened all over, 10 to 15 minutes total. (Or place the peppers under the broiler and broil, turning as needed, until charred and blistered on all sides, about 15 minutes.) Transfer the peppers to a brown paper bag and close tightly. Let stand for 15 minutes, then remove the peppers from the bag. Remove and discard the skins, core and seeds. In a soup pot, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, yellow and red onions, garlic and corn, reserving a handful of the roasted corn for garnish. Add just enough broth to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and the 1 tsp. salt. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. While blending, slowly drizzle in the cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish each portion with a couple of avocado slices, a few drops of olive oil, a scattering of the reserved roasted corn and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve hot. Serves 4.

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The debate is on—Parasites in Raw Fish

You might recall the warning from fifteen years ago from the World Health Organization that smoked, pickled, and undercooked fish contains parasites.  This hit home recently when a friend who adores sushi complained of pain in her ribs and made a medical appointment.  An increased number of white blood cells indicated an infection.  It was only after she told her doctor she consumed raw fish regularly did her doctor suspect an infestation of anisakiasis nematodes (worms) in her stomach lining and intestines.  Two drugs (albendazole and mebendazole) are fast-acting and also used by WHO, thanks to donations from GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson. If left untreated, the parasites invade other organs including the brain.

Sea mammals such as seals act as the parasites’ hosts, and dissections from marine biologists tell us the problem is worldwide.

I get ideas for villains from current news topics. In my work-in-progress, Bittersweet Alliance, the serial killer serves Poke (raw fish appetizers popular in Hawaii) to kidnapped victims.  After ransoms are paid, the victims return home with severe worm infestation in their brains.  Surgical procedures to remove (massive numbers of) parasites leave victims’ brains impaired.  The serial killer leaves victims brain-dead and is using a popular food where the book is set, the Big Island of Hawaii.

raw fish appetizers

The lobster roll– do you prefer Maine or Connecticut style?

That’s right, two styles compete, but both includes heaps of sweet lobster meat piled onto a soft, buttery bun. Wherever you are, the lobster roll is served with hot French fries, and you’ll need a clear ocean view while enjoying one.  Here are the differences:
In Maine the meat is tossed with mayonnaise, tarragon and celery or scallions before it’s piled into a bun. Generally, it’s served on a “New England” or “Frankfurter” roll, which differs slightly from a standard hot dog roll in that the sides are flat and can be buttered on the outside and then lightly toasted or grilled.
In Connecticut hold the mayonnaise and bring on the butter. That’s the attitude of Connecticut-style die-hards, who believe a lobster roll served warm with butter.

Lobster restaurant

 

The Juno mission to Jupiter brings new data!

Juno mission to Jupiter delivers first science results last week. The photo below is from the JunoCam, a visible-light camera, about a NASA spacecraft.

Jupiter

This is a report from the Southwest Research Institute. In summary NASA’s Juno mission has been in orbit around Jupiter since July 2016, passing within 3,000 miles of the equatorial cloudtops. The mission was led by Dr. Scott Bolton.

King of the planets even more exotic than expected. “What we’ve learned so far is earth-shattering. Or should I say, Jupiter-shattering,” said Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator. “Discoveries about its core, composition, magnetosphere, and poles are as stunning as the photographs the mission is generating.”

The solar-powered spacecraft’s eight scientific instruments are designed to study Jupiter’s interior structure, atmosphere, and magnetosphere. Two instruments developed and led by SwRI are working in concert to study Jupiter’s auroras, the greatest light show in the solar system. The Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE) is a set of sensors detecting the electrons and ions associated with Jupiter’s auroras. The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS) examines the auroras in UV light to study Jupiter’s upper atmosphere and the particles that collide with it. Scientists expected to find similarities to Earth’s auroras, but Jovian auroral processes are proving puzzling.

“Although many of the observations have terrestrial analogs, it appears that different processes are at work creating the auroras,” said SwRI’s Dr. Phil Valek, JADE instrument lead. “With JADE we’ve observed plasmas upwelling from the upper atmosphere to help populate Jupiter’s magnetosphere. However, the energetic particles associated with Jovian auroras are very different from those that power the most intense auroral emissions at Earth.”

Also surprising, Jupiter’s signature bands disappear near its poles. JunoCam images show a chaotic scene of swirling storms up to the size of Mars towering above a bluish backdrop. Since the first observations of these belts and zones many decades ago, scientists have wondered how far beneath the gas giant’s swirling façade these features persist. Juno’s microwave sounding instrument reveals that topical weather phenomena extend deep below the cloudtops, to pressures of 100 bars, 100 times Earth’s air pressure at sea level.

You might like this low calorie creamy vegetable stew

Did I write low calorie and creamy in the same sentence? I did! One large bowl is 320 calories.  Enjoy a salad and bread sticks with this filling summer entre.

creamy summer vegetable stew

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces frozen pearl onions
  • 2 cups baby carrots, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
  • 1 15 1/2 – ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 cups cooked white rice (optional)

Directions

  1. Place onions, carrots, corn, broth, vinegar and 1-1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours.
  2. Stir in zucchini and chickpeas; cook for 45 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together cream, cornstarch, salt, pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence; set aside.
  3. Stir in cream mixture and tomatoes and cook an additional 15 minutes or until thickened. Sprinkle with Asiago and serve with rice, if desired.

Nutrition Information for Creamy Summer Vegetable Stew

Servings Per Recipe: 4 PER SERVING: 311 cal., 9 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 23 mg chol., 681 mg sodium, 48 g carb. (9 g fiber), 11 g pro.

Do you enjoy books with an underlying theme?

Characters in my books have jobs that matter to them. In Unholy Alliance the lawyer hero, Grady Donahue Fletcher, appeals cases of the poor and wrongly accused.  In this romantic thriller he is a tough, formidable protagonist who believes an advanced society should not be comfortable with the way a country punishes crime.  In the book Grady Fletcher represents a different marginalized person, a mobsters daughter accused of murder.

What about all the people in prison who don’t have enough money to hire top defense attorneys?

SAMSUNG CSC

The US locks up too many people for too long, and often treats them poorly. I’m glad to see improvement which comes from the Koch brothers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and others in between. Here is an eye-popping fact: the US makes up 5% of the world’s population but houses 25% of the prison population.  Harsh sentences are handed out for non-violent drug crime sentences. The Black population is hit the hardest.  See data below:

Race, ethnicity % of US population % of U.S. incarcerated population
White (non-Hispanic) 64 39
Hispanic 16 19
Black 13 40

For dinner– corn-tomato chowder with a grilled salmon salad

Corn-tomato is a flavorful vegetarian chowder. Believe it when I say it goes well with a salmon salad and bread sticks.  I’m making grilled salmon for dinner and will chill it for the salad.

corn-tomato soup

 

Ingredients

 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/4 cups (1 pound) frozen corn, thawed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Place the cooked shallots, corn and chicken stock in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Pour the corn mixture back into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomatoes and basil.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a salmon salad.

A dress fashioned with food waste

As a subscriber of National Geographic I’m often impressed with eco-minded designers.  This information is from an article written by Catherine Zuckerman, and the photo is courtesy of Rebecca Hale. To summarize, there is work being done in “farm to fashion”.  Sacha Laurin’s medium is a bacterial “colony” left after brewing tart fermented tea known as kombucha.  One dried, the material becomes a faux leather.  This California designer sews it into haute couture dresses. Isn’t this pretty– the Kombucha dress.

Kombucha dress

Devilish Chicks for Easter

Aren’t these deviled eggs cute?  They’re a humorous twist on deviled eggs. This recipe originated a few years ago from Taste of Home magazine. 

chicks develed eggs

Ingredients for a half dozen deviled eggs

  • 6 hard-cooked large eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup prepared ranch salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Dash pepper
  • 5 carrot chips
  • 12 capers
  • Fresh dill sprigs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup prepared lighter ranch salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Dash pepper
  • 5 carrot chips
  • 12 capers
  • Fresh dill sprigs

Directions

  1. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each egg so it sits flat. Cut the top third from each egg. Carefully remove yolks and place in a small bowl; mash with a fork. Add cheese, salad dressing, mustard and pepper; stir until well blended. Spoon into the egg white bottoms; replace tops.
  2. Cut 12 feet and 12 small triangles for beaks from carrot chips. Gently press the capers into the filling for eyes; add beaks. Insert a dill sprig in top of eggs for tuft of feathers. Place feet in front of chicks. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 1/2 dozen.

Do you have a favorite cartoon character from your childhood– mine is Elmer Fudd.

Elmer J. Fudd was the archenemy of Bugs Bunny, but he also hunted ducks from time to time.  His name came up at the breakfast table this morning. Ducks are swimming in our pool during off-season, and my husband and I jokingly wondered what Elmer Fudd would do. He’s a villain like Yosemite Sam, but Elmer is too dopey to do Bugs much harm.

Elmer speaks in a pattern called rhotacism, replacing his Rs and Ls with Ws.  Watch the road becomes “Watch da Woad, Wabbit.”  “Be vewy, vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.” He also had a trademark gloat of huh, uh, uh. I like the cartoon titles of Rabbit Seasoning and What’s Opera, Doc?

Elmer Fudd