Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Peanut Corn Chowder: Comfort Food for the College Cook

This was one of my post-Thanksgiving meals. My two college student eaters flipped out. It was hard to get them to share. If you are a stove cooker, you can see that this is an easy recipe. If you are a rice cooker cook, you can see that this is easily adapted.

For rice cooker cooks, you can probably leave out the celery and just use the frozen chopped onions I recommend. Don't add the cream till the end, after the soup has stopped boiling. Otherwise, it can curdle.

Confession: I used milk because I didn't have the luxury ingredient.

Isn't it great to know that you can make comfort food yourself? Without the overly-solicitous parent?


2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups canned corn, drained
1 cup light cream or half-and-half
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped celery and onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter until it has melted.

Return the pan to the heat and gradually stir in the stock and corn. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to medium-low and sim­mer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the cream or half-and-half and heat gently. Add salt to taste.

Ladle into warm bowls, garnish with celery leaves and serve.

From The Best American Recipes 1999 edited by Fran McCullough and Suzanne Hamlin (Houghton Mifflin). Originally copyrighted 1998 by Trisha Meckler and published in More White Trash Cooking (Ten Speed Press).

Remember: ask Santa for a rice cooker!

The recipe, incidentally, is from More White Trash Cooking.This is a wonderful book, a work of folklore, in fact, that should be studied by every student. While I wouldn't eat the potato chip sandwiches, I would eat some of the other recipes. It's a great read.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gifts for the College Cook

I start thinking about gifts for my two College Cooks way ahead, because it's hard to think of good--or even halfway decent--ones. Example:

Me to Miss Em: What do you want by way of presents?
Miss Em: More burritos and soy milk for next semester.

Do frozen burritos and boxed soymilk count as presents? Of course, we are happy to provide them, but presents are fun for the giver.

I have a few plans for my College Cooks, but will not divulge them at the moment. If you ARE a College Cook, here is what you should request. And, parents and other relatives, these are gifts that will be used.

First up, I will recommend the little pdf or ebook Frugal Son and I put together.

This is a virtual stocking stuffer, I guess. Trust me, it's very helpful. If your giftee wants the Kindle to read it on, you can get it from Amazon. If you are sans Kindle, check out the pdf. It's only $2.99, the lowest price permitted by Amazon.

The Kindle has gone down in price, I think!

As for cooking equipment, this is not the time to go for Global knives or Calphalon pots. So cheap but good is my motto. I have recommended these items before, but they have proved their worth in my family.


Rice Cooker (everyone is surprised by how cheap these are):

I don't think you need to have recommendations for measuring cups and the like. For dishes, I would go for Corelle. I've started using these myself because they are light and unbreakable (or almost).

Wow! Under $60.00 for the whole shebang. Under $30.00 if you skip the dishes and let your student use the remnants of various sets that may be inhabiting your cupboards.

Any other gift ideas for the College Cooks in your family?