Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekend Cooking and Baking

The ongoing heat wave has resulted in a sort of house arrest this weekend, but homebody that I am, it doesn't bother me a bit to be trapped indoors with plenty of time to cook, bake, craft and read.

We are moving to a new neighborhood (hopefully to a place with a backyard) next month, so it is imperative to eat down the pantry and start over afresh in a new kitchen.

Shopping at Soulard market yesterday, I had to stop myself from buying any fresh corn because I still have a bag of frozen corn from the winter. This recipe from Phoo-D was very enticing, because it seemed like the perfect way to use up the corn as well as the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that seem to last me forever. And thus a big pot of corn pepper chowder came to be:

Corn Pepper Chowder
(adapted from Phoo-D; originally from the Canyon Ranch cookbook)
  1. Saute 1 medium diced onion and 3 minced garlic cloves in some olive oil.
  2. Dice 1 yellow pepper and 1 red pepper. Add half of the diced peppers at this point to the pot.
  3. Add 1 tsp. cumin powder, 1 minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and Mexican chili powder if you want to amp up the spice level.
  4. Add 2 to 3 cups frozen or fresh corn, 2 cups vegetable stock and 1 cup milk. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, blend the soup partially, then add minced cilantro, remaining red and yellow peppers, lemon juice, and salt to taste. 
I served the chowder with some leftover tortilla chips. A zap in the microwave freshened them up. For a chowder made without cream, this soup was silky and thick and simply delicious. It tastes great at room temperature or even chilled, if running the A/C and slurping down a bowl of steaming hot soup seems ironic to you.

For a vegan chowder, use non-dairy milk.

* * *

This was lurking in my fridge- 2 partial jam jars, peach and raspberry. Delicious, both, but we eat jam very occasionally and it was time to find a tasty way to finish these up.

So the jams were nestled in a buttery oat-flour mix to make jam bars- a treat for V to share with his cricket teammates. I adapted the recipe to suit the ingredients I had on hand, using part Earth Balance vegan butter in place of butter, and substituting almond flour and whole wheat pastry flour for some of the flour. This treat is unbelievably easy to make and tastes fantastic. And it happens to be eggless.

Jam Bars
(adapted from the Apricot Bars recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

1. In a food processor, pulse the following to a crumbly mixture:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used part all-purpose flour, part almond meal and part whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 sticks cold butter (I used part butter and part Earth Balance butter substitute)
2. Layer half the mixture in a greased 8x8 pan and pat down firmly. Slather jam on this layer. I used half raspberry and half peach. Top with the remaining mixture and pat down gently to cover the jam.

3. Bake at 350 F until golden brown. Cool completely (I refrigerated it overnight) and cut into 24 pieces.

As both these recipes were inspired by other blogs, and both used ingredients lurking in my kitchen, they are perfect for Blog Bites #4. Send in your entries by this coming Friday if you would like to be included in the round-up.

* * *

On the Hooks

I started on a crocheted hexagon blanket this week- and it is ever so addictive and enjoyable. The pattern comes from the brilliant and generous Lucy of Attic42. Her exuberant use of color amazes and inspires me.

I chose a flower patch style, with cheerful flowers in blue, green and yellow scattered on a snowy background. It will take a few weeks to complete; this is just the first corner. You like?


  1. I love the look of that soup. I might add some poblano peppers, too, if I had them on hand.

  2. The pattern is beautiful! My mother made a similar one a while back but it was with a light threaded crochet thread and uni-color. I bet this will look fantastic when its all done. I started making a tablecloth using her pattern (two years back =p) but I am only at hexagon#3 still :D

    Good luck with the move, Nupur and great to know that you will have a backyard soon. Its great to have a place to grow your own food and I am sure you will put it to an excellent use.

  3. Delicious recipes both of them. Great way to use the corn in the chowder. Those jam bars are beckoning.

  4. I've been to soulard market once and really loved it! There was this small great store that sold some amazing preserves....don't remember the name. You've been a busy bee this weekend. Love the bars and chowder! :)

  5. lovely chowder and jam bars ...great pics :)

  6. Love a good corn chowder anytime. And the jam bars were a brilliant idea. Wish I can come up with my own baking recipes. But that is one area I follow a know recipe to the T.
    Loved the blanket pattern too. Very warm and cozy. Another area I am no good at or rather have no patience to see a project through.

    I had a question about BB#4. I put up pictures of my cleaned out pantry and was wondering if I can send that for the event as a "tounge-in-cheek" proof that I did indeed clean the pantry? :)

  7. Hey moving! That's going to be fun! And to a bigger place..! That's even better! Atleast you don't have to get rid of furniture etc. You might eat away your refrigerator but eating down the entire entire pantry is a rather hard task. Look fw to updates on progress. Good luck!

  8. the blanket looks amazing! i had comments on the food too but forgot after seeing that :) the patience it must take!

  9. Just love love the blanket Nupur!

  10. Delicious recipes and a wonderful mat...

  11. Still deciding..I like the corn chowder and the bars more or the blanket...I guess everything!

  12. Wow, its a bounty of posts at one go. Lovely recipe and beautiful blanket.

  13. Moves are always trying - however much you have planned for it - good luck!

    Thanks for the recipe, I will be making this this evening!

  14. Happy Moving !!

    Inch-Pinch :P even we are moving .. not next but this month .. so busy with stuffs and using up pantry remains !

    Loved your soup .. infact here monsoon back with a bang so the weather is perfect for something HOT :)

  15. I'm oggggggling at everything :)

  16. bars look so delicious,..;-)

  17. Hi Nupur! Oh my gosh, I just LOVE your crochet! I really want to improve my skill in this area--the hexagons are calling me to try! I love the colors, too! I love the chowder and that bar recipe with jam--I am nearly out of my homemade jams and jellies!

  18. Wow Nupur, love both the recipes and wow that handiwork is simply mind-blowing :)

  19. I love the crochet design. Have been wanting to make a blanket for my toddler daughter... do you think this will work for a newbie?

  20. Love this hearty soup...very healthy and fulfilling.

  21. Lydia- Oh yes, poblano peppers would be wonderful in this soup!

    PJ- Oh the thread crochet is well beyond my patience limit, I work with thick yarns ;)
    I AM looking forward to the backyard, don't know how much I will be able to grow there but I can definitely start composting- YAY

    indosungod- Jam bars were a hit, I might have to buy more jam to make these again ;)

    The Housewife- Oh yes, I think I know what store you are referring to. Soulard is great but enormously crowded in summer!

    Priya- Thanks!

    Jaya Wagle- I don't invent baking recipes like I do stove-top recipes but I tweak them to my heart's content and so far so good :)
    Sure thing, do send in your cleaned up pantry pictures, I'd love to include them!

    SS blogs here- Thank you :) Yes, my priority is to eat down the freezer and fridge but want to make a dent in the other stuff too. It feels good to start from scratch in a new place.

    Nags- Thank you so much, it takes a little patience (not a weekend project for sure) but honestly works up much faster than you might think.

    Anjali- Thank you, thank you :)

    Nitha- Thanks!

    Madhuli- LOL glad you like it :)

    Sangeeta kk- Thank you :)

    Miri- Thank you, yes, moves are stressful but we have a month to work out the details so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    Kanchan- Monsoons have hit Bombay? Hope that does not complicate your move, keep that furniture covered ;)

    Raaga- Ogle away :)

  22. notyet100- Thanks

    Kelly- The hexagons are EASY, hope you try them. I'll be happy to give you a tutorial if you like ;)
    So I guess you're putting up more jams this summer from your backyard produce? Love your garden pics!

    Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal- Thank you so much!

    Malar Gandhi- Yes, it was hearty indeed!

    Bharathy- It is not a difficult pattern, I would suggest taking whatever yarn you have on hand and trying one to see. But there are many crochet blanket patterns that might be a lot simpler for a beginner but just as cute and colorful:

    Feel free to e-mail me for more on crochet patterns.

  23. bumped in here for the first time..must say you have a lovely space..liked the delicous collection of recipes..that soup and jam bars looks incredibly delicious..and coming back to the crocheted hexagon blanket..ohh..shorts of words here..never tried making anything with croche..looks beautiful..gr8 job..

  24. loved the blanket n waiting to see them in the finished form, n loved the jam bars.

  25. nupur,

    as usual, another wonderful post! i'm not familiar with adobo sauce - do you make this or purchase from the store? i can't wait to try the soup recipe!

    good luck with the move. although it's a chore, it's nice to have a new space to cook and live in. i hope it all goes smoothly.


  26. hi nupur thanks for dropping by. the soup looks deliciously hearty, has me wishing for some corn in my freezer. the crochet is beautiful, you are indeed very talented!

  27. Gorgeous! You have so much patience. I'm impressed as always.

  28. great food, beautiful knitting and hearing that you are leaving makes sense of your latest event - I had meant to participate but every time I had a good recipe using up things in my pantry - and there have been a few - I found that the recipe had not come from a blog - so will just be enjoying seeing what others have come up with

  29. Oh wow! how pretty! My father (of all people!) sent me the link to your blog...I was only expecting food-related content so this pretty crochet project is a pleasant surprise!

    I have been to Lucy's blog in the past and have always wanted to make a crochet blanket (I too am in love with the colors she uses...I just made a flag banner for my daughter with similar color scheme...thank goodness for turquoise and pink...and orange and red and everything else! Imagine if we lived in a grey/beige world...!)

    Thanks for posting this project...It's so beautiful I think I will definitely be attempting this in the future. :-)


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