It took me a few chapters to realize that the recipes listed in this cookbook were in alphabetical order, not by course as I am more use to. It's a big cookbook too. Before I even started cooking, I was more annoyed than impressed.
As I leafed through the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook 15th edition I was intrigued by some recipes, but not inspired. This cookbook is very basic. I would think that it would be perfect for someone who is just starting out on their own, a newlywed couple, a college student, or even senior citizens for that matter. This cookbook is geared towards anyone who is looking for quick, easy, and simplistic food. It was not a good match for me. I am a girl who prefers arugula and gruyere in her omelets over American cheese and bacon. This cookbook was very limited in offering me items that would whet my palate.
Better Homes and Gardens was a household name when I was growing up. It probably still is. It just isn't within my typical home and gardens scope. Admittedly, I was curious to see what was contained within this cookbook's pages. What I found were a lot of casseroles. Being one who is always on a tight budget I should be a fan of casseroles, unfortunately I am not. I have never liked them, ever since the days of having tuna noodle casserole as a child (sorry, Mom!). As I was cooking out of the 15th edition of this cookbook, I am assuming that the 1st edition of this cookbook dates all the way back to my childhood. Fourteen editions later, I really don't think that many of these recipes have really changed.
Like I said, this cookbook is very basic. I think that most of the recipes found in this cookbook are common sense, even to a beginner cook. Maybe I am wrong? I know that I didn't need these basic steps to be written out for me for most of the recipes. Open the fridge and your cabinets! The ideas should logically come together on your plate. Shouldn't they? Surely I would hope so if you have ever eaten a meal before!
As I really didn't see an abundance of recipes calling for radicchio, fennel, or chervil, I reluctantly made the corn chowder. If you haven't noticed yet, I am not easily impressed. The same holds true for this corn chowder.
6 ears fresh sweet corn or 3 cups frozen whole kernel corn (I opted for frozen)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1 cup cubed, peeled potato (1 medium)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half, light cream, or milk (I used skim milk)
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup) (I used extra sharp white cheddar)
3 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled (I subbed turkey bacon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
If using fresh corn, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cobs (you should have about 3 cups corn kernels). Set corn kernels aside.
In a large saucepan cook onion and sweet pepper in hot oil until onion is tender.
Stir in corn, broth, and potato. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and black pepper. Stir half-and-half (I subbed skim milk) into flour mixture; add to corn mixture in saucepan.
Add bacon; heat through.
Like I already mentioned, I wasn't overly impressed with this recipe. It was a simple recipe. It tasted like a simple recipe. When first reading the recipe, I was very apprehensive about adding the cheese into this dish. The cheese ended up adding a bit of substance to the corn chowder. I will say that what I liked most about this recipe was the freshness of the corn. This was most surprising to me since I had used frozen corn. In my efforts to make this dish "healthier" I do realize that my substitution of skim milk over using half-and-half or the light cream worked to my disadvantage a bit. However, those ingredients only would have added weight to the chowder, not flavoring. The use of turkey bacon, quite honestly this was the first time I have bought turkey bacon and it will definitely be the last. As the package had suggested I cooked it in the microwave. However, I had to cook it almost three times as long before it achieved any type of crispiness. Again, regular bacon would have made this chowder a touch better. This time though more so for texture, and only slightly for a bit more flavor. This corn chowder was just bland. Even with my use of extra sharp white cheddar cheese there was no zip to it. I don't like bland food. I would imagine that most people don't. As I also mentioned, for the ingredients listed for this recipe, I think that I could have made a better corn chowder on my own. No recipe needed.
I ate this chowder for 3 meals:
- Immediately off the stove garnished with fresh Italian parsley and freshly ground pepper.
- I tried spicing it up with some red pepper chili flakes.
- I added both red pepper chili flakes and hot sauce.
Will I be making this recipe again? For the first time since we started doing this blog, I am saying no. What I gained out of this recipe is that I won't hesitate to sub out frozen corn again. That was the only good thing in this dish.
It really didn't taste like frozen corn!