I grew up in a very rural area, where rolling farm fields were a major part of the scenery. The fields near my house would alternate between corn and soy, depending on the time of year, and we could always tell what sort of season we were having by how the crop was doing. My grandfather, a former farmer, would repeat the old adage that the corn was doing well if it was “knee-high by the 4th of July.” In the time since that phrase was first coined, either pesticides or global warming took effect, because by July 4th the corn stalks were not only taller than our knees, but soared over the head of my 6’4″ grandfather.
Now that I live in suburban New Jersey, where I hardly ever see farms or crops, I sometimes feel out of sync with these once-familiar earth cycles. But I’ve found one way to get back in touch with the seasons: watching the produce change at the local farmer’s market. This past week, there were tables heaping with ears of corn, huge baskets of yellow-orange peaches, and stacks upon stacks of boxes of blueberries. Standing among the farmers’ stalls, I once again felt a connection to the earth and the boon of this season’s harvest.
One great way to take advantage of all this seasonal produce is with this Sweet Chili and Coconut Corn soup! The following recipe is based on this recipe from Food52, but changed in a few significant ways in order to enhance the individual vegetables and appreciate their freshness. Enjoy this simple Thai-inspired summer dish with a nice cold drink and a few friends. It’s sure to be a hit!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
2 ears fresh corn
juice of one lime
salt to taste
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1. Remove the corn kernels from the cobs, but hold on to the cobs.
2. Place oil, onions, garlic and peppers in a large pot and heat to medium.
Saute until onions are translucent, peppers begin to soften, and garlic is fragrant.
3. Stir in the broth and coconut milk.
4. Add the corn kernels and cobs and bring soup to a boil. The mixture should begin to smell like coconutty bliss.
Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove cobs and toss ’em.
5. Add the lime juice, salt, and sweet chili sauce.
6. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!