Sunshine, warmth and the resulting gift that these conditions allow is an elixir for me that can erase any frosted mood. My kitchen counter is resplendent with the offerings of a typical day’s purchase: plums, apricots, tomatoes and thick ears of corn. These items are necessary parts of my therapy. Twelve hours of light a day and a plate full of nutritionally vibrant foods is the fastest cure to seasonal discord.
There is another aspect that occurs -- we speak. I don’t mean, as in some miraculous cure thought would never happen. No, we speak with farmers maybe learning how the growing season is going for them, or, perhaps what product to be on the look at for. Unexpectedly, you run into a friend from twenty years back while sampling some plump blueberries, and try to catch up on the lifetime harvested. Then there is a phenomenon that seems to take place only in the market –nods towards the faces of perfectly, good strangers that if it were the subway platform would never occur. Actual words may even be exchanged as you vie for the ripest melon. As members of this fraternity of the locally conscience food snobs who knows where the best is to be had, we let our guard down to venture hello.
Like other animals that hibernate coming out sparks a complete renewal -- from revisiting the best spot for raspberries to the welcome cycle for pheasant eggs to the connection we need with other members of our tribe. Think I will make a pot of community chowder.
Corn and Clam Chowder - yields 8 to 10 servings
6 ears of corn
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium Vadalia onions - diced
4 stalks celery - diced
2 Serrano chilies - seeds removed and diced
1/2 pound Yukon gold potato - peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves - minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2-pound fava bean or cranberry beans (pods discarded)
3 ripe tomatoes - seeds discarded, and chopped
1-pound sugar snap peas - cut in thirds
1/2 pound zucchini - diced
1/4-cup chopped sage leaves
2-tablespoon summer savory
30 clams - washed to remove any sand from the shells
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut corn kernels from their cobs and reserve both separately.
Heat an 8-quart soup pot over a medium and add the oil, onion, celery and chili cooking for a few minutes until the onion lose their raw look. Add in the potato, garlic and white wine and cook until the wine has reduced to a glaze.
Pour in 2 quarts of water, along with the corncobs, diced tomato, fava beans and half of the sage leaves and all of the summer savory. Bring to a boil and then reduce the flame to a simmer. Cook the mixture for 30 to 45 minutes. At this point, with a pair of tongs remove the corncobs from the chowder base and discard.
Mix in the corn kernels, zucchini, and remaining sage leaves, vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture back to the simmer and cook an additional 15 minutes. Add the clams and sugar snap peas and cover the pot and cook for five to 10 minutes.
Correct seasoning and serve with a wedge of lime and a dollop of sour cream.