Buying locally grown corn at a farm stand holds sweet memories of summer and being a kid for me.

As a kid, corn on the cob was a summer treat second only to popsicles. It was a part of summer akin to watermelon, picking blueberries, chasing the Ding Dong truck, running through sprinklers and catching fireflies at night!

I remember Sunday drives with my parents and stopping at roadside stands to buy corn, sitting outside on the steps husking ears of corn and those yellow corn-shaped holders that you stuck in the ends of the cobs so it wouldn't be so messy to eat. I got a kick out of rolling an ear of corn into a stick of butter melting a trench down the middle. Sometimes, I ate my corn in rows across the cob and sometimes I would rotate the cob as I gnawed at it, making rings around it. My mother would always snap at my father to wipe the corn off his chin and she would cut the corn off the cob because her dentures made it hard to eat.

For picnics on the porch, my mother coated ears of corn with butter, rolled them in onion soup mix, wrapped the ears in foil and grilled them. The corn would taste both sweet and savory with chewy browned bits where the sugars in the kernels caramelized. It was delicious!

Today, corn is shipped from other parts of the country, so it is available year round at supermarkets, but I'd rather wait until summer to buy it locally and continue to nurture memories as sweet as the corn!

Pick up some corn from a local farm stand and grab a few juicy red tomatoes for a salad or sandwich to serve along side this hearty chowder.

Southwestern cheese and corn chowder

Ingredients:


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2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 small red pepper, diced

1 rib celery, sliced

3 cups chicken stock

2 cups fresh uncooked corn, cut from cob

2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 cups milk or 1/2 and 1/2 for a richer chowder

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese tossed with a bit of flour to coat

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Garnishes:

Minced chorizio sausage sautéed until hot or cooked, crumbled bacon, Crushed corn chips, Shredded cheddar, Hot sauce

Directions:

Melt butter in large saucepan. Cook onion, pepper and celery until tender. Stir in chicken stock, corn and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender.

Puree two cups of soup in a blender. Return to soup pot. Stir in milk, cheese and seasonings until cheese has melted. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Garnish with any or all of the above options.