Thursday, April 5, 2007

Warmth in a Bowl

On a bad day, what do you crave?
For me it depends on the spectrum of a bad day. If it was just a hard day, I want a simple, comforting meal. Mainly of the American genre-mac & cheese, hamburger & fries or a regular sandwich. A really bad day, I crave ice cream or chocolate. Why? I'm a woman, I don't know why. A pint of beer doesn't compare to the sweet, velvetly taste of ice cream. A stressful day, means eating out, especially when money is tight. Not the best solution for a college student, but a nice meal with wine, illudes stress.
I bring this up because a friend of mine is at the breaking point. We've all had those experiences. The time when we just want to cry or say screw it. We hate those moments and would like to avoid them.
During these times, I turn to food, running and if I had one- a punching bag. The cures to a bad day. I don't know many people who have interests that allow them to destress. Maybe alcohol, but I don't believe that's a solution.
Food being one of my main ways to overcome stress, I thought my friend would enjoy a home-cooked meal. Soup is always comforting and soothing. It's the magical elixir for the flu and the soul. It's warmth begins from the inside and moves out. Is it this that brightens the day or is it the nostaligic memories?
The memories of your father making soup while you huddle in bed, shaking with a fever.
I think its the mixture of both. The warmth reminds you of the memories. Its this comfort that your stil loved even if loved ones are not around.
So the next time you have a bad day. I suggest soup, or a meal from a long lost memory.

CORN AND BELL PEPPER CHOWDER (adopted from Bon Appetit)

4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed if frozen), divided
2 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons butter
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 (5- to 6-ounce) Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 large shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons whipping cream
paprika, salt, pepper (to taste or optional)
Chopped green onions

Blend 2 cups corn and 1 cup broth in blender until almost smooth. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add next 3 ingredients; sauté 5 minutes. Add 2 cups corn, 1 cup broth, and puree from blender. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in cream. Season chowder with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with onions.

Makes 4 servings.

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