For foodies like us, this was nirvana. We had been salivating and dreaming of ooey, gooey, scrumptious food since I booked my ticket in mid-summer. For weeks leading up to my mini-vacation, we scoured our recipe books and Web sites, searching for the perfect lip-smacking delights to whip up in the kitchen using fresh and homegrown ingredients from local VA farms and markets (which is in fact where this adventure began).
Over the next several posts, I'm going to indulge myself (apologies in advance) and relive these blissful, carbohydrate-filled days in living color.
Being the Barefoot Contessa fan that I am, I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I have not made more than a handful of recipes from the two BC cookbooks I have. Oh, I drool over the pictures frequently and have good intentions, but have not actually made many. Naturally, when I saw her recipe for Cheddar Corn Chowder, I knew we had a winner. The glimmering, golden color of the broth combined with sweet corn and soft potatoes made this a perfect contender for a "light" evening dinner my first evening in VA. After crossing everything off our lists and filling our cart with delicacies at the store, we headed home to get started.
A sure sign the soup would be amazing: bacon, bacon, bacon. The recipe begins with crisping bacon in the bottom of the stock pot and then adding the onions and other goodies directly to the flavorful drippings. (Good thing I don't have high cholesterol.) With the savory scent of bacon and onions wafting through the house, we poured a second glass of wine and licked our lips awaiting the prize.
This recipe called for turmeric, a spice that I am not all that well acquainted with (and honestly, was a little hesitant to use). But, I soon learned that adding just a tiny bit of this spice lent a deliciously fresh and unique brightness to the dish that made my taste buds ring with excitement.
Now came the fun part: adding the stock, potatoes, and delicious sweet corn and seeing the soup come to life right there in the stockpot. Earlier in the summer, Rebecca had frozen fresh sweet corn right off the husk for just such an occasion as this one. How much difference does fresh corn make you ask? I too was once a skeptic, but am here to testify that it makes ALL the difference in the world. There is nothing like the soft, juicy sweetness of yellow divinity from the husk.