September 18, 2014

Cashew Corn Chowder

I have been binge watching a show on Netflix Canada called Ramsay's Best Restaurant. It was made a few years ago and picks the best restaurants in different cuisine categories and pits them against each other to find the best restaurant in Britain. I can't resist a good Gordon Ramsay show. That guy knows what makes good food and isn't afraid to tell people. One of the show's "Ramsy-isms" that I love the most is when he tells chefs not to worry about all the frou-frou and trendy tricks; good dishes are simply made from beautiful ingredients. I don't want to overly spew the benefits of buying local, but look at that corn! Ontario peaches were divine, the corn is to die for and I'm sure the apples will be just as good in a few weeks.

Sweet corn

On Saturday night we checked out Supply and Demand, which is a well-known, hip Raw Bar in Ottawa. They probably took some pointers from Gordon Ramsay because they know exactly how to feature beautiful ingredients. I heard about it when it was voted one of Canada's Best New Restaurants last year in enRoute Magazine. Frankly, oysters don't appeal to me, so I was glad they had so much more to offer. I guess that's like going to eat at Swiss Chalet when you don't like chicken. One of those things was a magical kale salad with caper vinaigrette, crotonose cheese and bacon. I even happened to be wearing my Kale sweatshirt from Suburban Riot.

Kale salad at Supply and Demand, Ottawa, Ontario

The salad was topped with a beautiful cloud of cheese, dressing and bacon and coated the kale nicely to remove its natural bitter taste--one of the reasons I rarely eat it raw at home. The other starter was Albacore tuna crudo with lemon, truffle oil and puffed quinoa. I found it a little too salty after having bread with butter mixed with duck fat and the kale salad to start. The redeeming factor was the squid ink rigatoni with tuna and proscuitto meatballs and the corn and lobster mushroom ravioli. Both dishes elevated pasta to a new level with interesting flavours and textures. Overall, it was a lovely meal and another good introduction to dining in Ottawa

Supply and Demand, Ottawa Ontario restaurant

I had to do something good with those gleaming husks of Ontario peaches and cream corn. This recipe was adapted from this Raw Sweet Corn and Cashew Chowder recipe from Food and Wine Magazine. In the original recipe, everything is put into a blender raw and eaten as a soup. Since I have experimented with cashew sauce before--what my husband lovingly calls "cashew slop"--I adapted the recipe a bit to cook all of the ingredients more with a traditional soup base. You could even add a "mirepoix" if you wanted.


Cashew Corn Chowder (Dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian)
Ingredients:

2 stalks of fresh corn (or frozen kernels)
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup stock (chicken, or vegetable for vegan)
3/4 cup whole cashews, unsalted
1 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk
Fresh thyme, oregano, salt and pepper to season



Directions:

1. Soak the cashews in the water for 3-4 hours.
2. Remove the husks from the corn and boil in a pot of salted water for 15 minutes.
3. Add the cashews and soaking water to a blender and blend until smooth.


4. In a large pot on medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Slice the kernels off of the cobs and save a few for sprinkling on top of the soup for serving.
6. Add the corn and additional herbs and cook for a few minutes.
7. Add the stock, milk and cashew mixture and stir until everything is well combined.
8. In a blender or with an immersion blender, blend half of the soup in batches.
9. Garnish with additional corn kernels and cashews.

Dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan Cashew Corn Chowder

This soup makes you feel like you're eating a rich, heavy chowder. It's filling, slightly sweet from the corn and nice and creamy from the cashews. I only blended half of the soup because I still like the crunchiness from the corn in there. To re-heat, add a bit of water to the soup as the cashews tend to solidify when they sit. If you're wondering what to do with a dozen husks of corn, don't be afraid to make soup with it. Of course, the corn is wonderful to eat by itself too with some butter and a bit of salt...

Royal Winter Fair

On the subject of celebrating local food and agriculture, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair takes place November 7-16 this year in Toronto, Ontario at Exhibition Place. The fair is in its 92nd year and is the largest indoor agricultural fair and equestrian competition in the world. Of course, animals are the focus of any visit--and always were when I visited as a child--with horse jumping, dog shows, sheep herding and petting farms. While the kids love seeing the animals, the grownups may enjoy the food and cooking demonstrations, competitions and exhibits. Master Chef Canada judge Micheal Bonacini will be there to judge the new Royal International Invitational Chef Competition.

I am giving away five pairs of tickets to this year's Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Enter the giveaway below to be eligible to win ONE PAIR of tickets (a $40 value). 5 separate winners will be chosen. Please make sure you are able to attend on these dates in Toronto, Ontario. No purchase necessary. Open to Ontario residents only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

17 comments:

  1. I love corn chowder, one of my favourites :)

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  2. Anything sweet and apple based gets me interested. I also enjoy the animals too of course.

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  3. I'm looking forward to the 4-H exhibits along with the chef contest. The Royal always brings back fond memories for me as well.

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  4. This is so cool - love your adaptation of the recipe, it looks so good! Hopefully if I win a ticket I'd get to see all the animals =)

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  5. I'm looking forward to seeing the animals, especially the animal shows. My son and I really enjoyed the dog shows last year.

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  6. I can't really say, I have NEVER been. It would be awesome to have the chance to experience the whole event. That being said the horse jumping, dog shows and petting farms would definitely be a highlight of mine.

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  7. We love looking at all of the animals and sampling food!

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  8. I have never been before so I cant say what I am looking forward to. But I would love to take my son to exerience the event and see some of the animals and shows.

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  9. I look forward to seeing all the animals.

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  10. Looking forward to the animals and shows, love the royal fair :)

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  11. Enjoy looking at all the show animals especially all of those chickens.

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  12. I am looking forward to the animals!

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  13. We went to the Royal Agricultural Fair for the first time last year and loved it! Looking forward to returning this year - for the animal shows and the food!!

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  14. I love to check out the horse show!

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