8.28.2008

Raw Sweet Corn Chowder




I got impulsive about a month ago and bought a new high-powered blender – The Total Blender by Blendtec. Costco was featuring a live demo of these super machines in action and I was curious.

I’ve been aware of the Vita-Mix brand of commercial blenders, and remember the ads they ran a few years back featuring hot, naked celebrity chefs posing with nothing more than a Vita-Mix and their birthday suit. But since I couldn’t imagine investing in a pricey machine that I’d probably use for little more than the occasional smoothie, I never even considered I might need or want one.

Some DinnerStyle clients of mine own a Vita-Mix, and I’ve been having fun “borrowing” it whenever I’m cooking for them by whipping up smooth soups and sauces for their dinners. The first time I turned it on I was a little amazed not only at its power, but also by how loud it was.

But here’s the thing: that baby made flawlessly creamy soup in about 15 seconds, like a mini cyclone in a jar. Needless to say, I found myself considering replacing my clunky old KitchenAid, which could barely manage to chop ice for emergency frozen margaritas, with a super new Vita-Mix.

When I saw the Total Blender at Costco, I borrowed my friend B’s iPhone and did a little research right there in the store, and found the price was right and reviews were mostly good. It compares neck-in-neck with the Vita-Mix, with a motor that is just slightly more powerful and a comparable 7-year warranty; the jar blade and motor base drive for a lifetime.

Blendtec has been around for years making commercial machines for places like Starbucks, and started marketing to home consumers. (I’d never seen the crazy “ Will it Blend?” infomercials until now, but they are somewhat entertaining) The great thing about buying things like this from Costco is that if the blender turned out to be a dud when I got it home, I could always return it. I love that.

So, I took my new blender home and it’s changing my life. Seriously! ( And no, I'm not even getting paid to say that) Now that its high summer and peak produce time, I’ve been making myself and my kids fresh smoothies for breakfast using organic berries, peaches and mangoes. I throw in entire vanilla beans and almonds and make creamy, dairy-free drinks for T, who suffers from a bit of lactose intolerance. No Chuck Norris action figures yet, but I might be tempted.


The makings for gazpacho in my new blender

I’m also blending up some sweet local tomatoes for gazpacho and raw sauces for pasta.
When I came across this Ani Phyo recipe for soup using raw, fresh sweet corn in the June 2008 Food & Wine magazine, I put my new machine to work.

The soup is fantastic – sweet and creamy, with the cashews giving the soup plush texture, as if it were dairy cream. I like garnishing the smooth soup with whole, raw corn kernels. When you have the freshest corn of the season, there is no better way to eat it than raw!

You most certainly can use a regular blender to make this - just make sure to soak the cashews for a few hours before so they blend up nice and smooth.


Raw Sweet Corn Chowder with Cashews
(adapted from Ani Pyho in Food & Wine)

4 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked and kernels removed with a chef's knife
2 cups water, approximately
1/2 cup cashews, soaked 1 - 2 hours; drained
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small, peeled garlic clove
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or cilantro
1/4 cup choppped fresh tomato

In a blender, combine 2/3 of the corn with 1 1/2 cups water, cashews, olive oil, garlic and salt and puree until smooth, adding more water to achieve desired consistency. Taste for seasoning.

Pour the soup into bowls and spoon the remaining kernels into each one. Garnish with basil and tomato.

Makes 4 servings.


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10 comments:

RecipeGirl said...

Ah, you were sucked into a Costco demo, huh? I get sucked in too. Glad it was a good purchase! The soup looks amazing. Would an immersion blender work? I've been wanting to get one of those...

maine626 said...

was wondering where you've been all summer. busy with your blender!! i sent you an email awhile back to inform you i made it to Primo this summer and the let me tell you - it was one of the best dinners i have ever had! and i live in NYC where amazing rest's are a dime a dozen. it was such an amazing meal. thanks for mentioning it.

Emiline said...

Yummmm...
Glad you're back!

Liza said...

That looks SO good! I love raw corn in almost any form. And, you know, our blender still hasn't turned up after the move. Maybe it's a sign! I am about to become a Costco member, too!

Heather said...

oooh i love corn chowder! it's one of my favorites! this looks delish!

Candy said...

I've been looking at the Vita-Mix ones. I'll check this out. Soup looks delicious. I love sweet corn!

Haley said...

men have power tools, women have power blenders! Great soup recipe!

We'd like to invite you to participate in our September apple and peach recipe contest (the recipe can be sweet or savory). All competitors will be eligible to win one of three prizes :)! Please email me, haleyglasco@gmail.com, if you're interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details: http://blog.keyingredient.com/2008/08/29/september-kick-contest/

Thanks :),
Haley
KI Blogger

Deborah Dowd said...

This sounds wonderful, so unique! You are truly inspired.

The Cook said...

This almost seems like a corn gazpacho. How yummy!

... said...

Your blog is great. Beautiful pictures and wonderful recipes.