As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we had lots of yellow squash coming down the line. It hasn’t been too overwhelming – but I could probably be picking them twice as often as I do! The squash get to ~4 inches, and if they aren’t picked they start to go rotten on the plant, starting from the end with the blossom. I can’t quite figure out the problem – the squash taste great, they’re just slightly smaller than what you’d see at a market. This afternoon I saw a few bees buzzing around the blossoms, and I got to witness pollination – the bee went to the male blossom first, and then made his way over to a female blossom. Amazing.
The magazine Cooking Light has been a favorite of mine in years past. Their website was the first I would go to in search of new recipes, and while I do still use them, it is now one of many that influences what I prepare. In the last few months I’ve been going through old issues, ripping out favorite recipes and articles, and compiling them into a binder (complete with sheet protectors. Organized, I know!). One of my favorite menus was from the July 2005 issue. I have made the Roasted Corn, Poblano and Cheddar Pizza many times (I may well feature it later this summer, since I’ve changed it a bit), and right next to it was a recipe for Summer Squash Chowder. Perfect for this time of year!
Its not too fussy on the prep, comes together quickly, and is a great way to use up an abundance of squash. The original recipe calls for the addition of milk at the end (which could easily be soymilk for those of you who can’t have milk), but I decided to step it up a little by infusing the milk with fresh herbs first – marjoram, basil, and oregano. This gave the soup really nice herbal undertones that rounded things out nicely. I’m planning on serving this soup for dinner tonight along with Stuffed Baked Potatoes, but fresh bread and salad would be great accompaniments as well.
Summer Squash Chowder, original recipe from Cooking Light
5 1/2 – 6 cups diced yellow squash (about 1 1/2 – 2 pounds)
1-2 cups fresh corn kernels (whatever 2 ears yields for you)
1 cup chopped yellow or red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
16 oz vegetable broth
1 3/4 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white or black pepper
handful of fresh herbs – basil, oregano, marjoram
Combine squash, corn, pepper, onion, and broth in a large pot; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes, and then either puree with a handheld immersion blender, or puree in batches in a regular blender.
While the squash is simmering, chop the herbs and combine them with the milk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium until the milk is hot, turn off heat, and continue to steep for 10 minutes. Strain the milk mixture into the pureed squash mixture; discard herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. If you like, serve the soup garnished with fresh herbs and a small drizzle of olive oil. (Or put some olive oil on a plate, sprinkle with the herbs and some salt, and dip your bread in that!)