If there is one thing that every beginner cook should have in her kitchen, it’s an immersion blender. Unlike an actual blender, which few people have the precious counter space for (my own VitaMix enjoyed a two year respite in a storage bin in my friend’s basement when I lived in my itty-bitty studio apartment), immersion blenders are slim, hand held and can fit in most drawers.
Immersion blenders are crucial for making soups, stews, sauces, even smoothies — some of the kitchen staples that most of us make when we’re first learning how to prepare anything more complex than boxed macaroni and cheese.
Soup isn’t something that a lot of people enjoy in the summertime — unless it’s from the confines of an overly air conditioned office — but when you use fresh summer vegetables, like corn and yellow summer squash, you’ll feel equally as seasonal as if you were sipping a green smoothie.
Enjoy soup in the summertime by making this a rich and satisfying chowder without the fat and calories that usually accompany creamy soups. Yellow summer squash and sweet white and yellow corn offer the best in the season’s produce and you can customize your soup by topping with shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon and fresh herbs for a unique touch.
- 2 slices applewood-smoked bacon
- ¾ cup sliced green onions, divided
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- 1 pound yellow summer squash, chopped
- 1 pound frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided
- 2¼ cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Add ½ cup onions, celery, and squash to drippings in pan; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside. Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add remaining 1¼ cups milk, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to blender; process just until combined. Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Stir in ⅛ teaspoon salt.
- Ladle about 1½ cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tablespoon bacon, 1 tablespoon remaining onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese.