Many vegetables reach their peak as Summer starts drawing to a close. Amongst these are fresh corn, sweet bell peppers in assorted colours, and various kinds of hot peppers. When vegetables are in season I like to eat them as often as I can in as many ways as I can dream up. One year I dreamed up this soup, and of course incorporated tea. The tea should impart a subtle flavor, so infuse it at regular strength. We like to use a Japanese sencha.
Our garden has been supplying us with a bounty of peppers, both sweet and hot, and is exploding with cherry tomatoes, so the only ingredient I need from the farmers’ market is fresh corn. We prefer yellow or bi-colour corn for this recipe; we thought white corn was too sweet and less flavourful, but make your own decision. (The best corn IMNSHO is “cow corn” – corn that has not been sugar enhanced – but it is often difficult to find.)
This recipe requires no cooking. Once you prepare the vegetables you can just toss everything into the food processor. There are tools available designed specifically for removing kernels from an ear of corn, but I find that my method works just as well: break each ear in half, hold upright on a cutting board, and cut straight down with a very sharp knife as close to the cob as possible. (Recycle the cobs directly into your garden to nourish it over the winter.)
If you use herbal remedies, don’t throw away the corn silk. Cut off the dark brown ends and preserve the remaining silk by either freezing or drying. Herbalists recommend corn silk, which is very high in sulphur, in infusion form for bladder infections and simple cystitis. (Of course consult your healthcare professional before treating any ailment.)
Fresh corn and pepper soup
About 4 servings
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about four ears), divided
1 (8-oz) cup green tea prepared at regular strength
1 Tablespoon tamari or Kikkoman® soy sauce
1 medium red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 small fresh jalapeño pepper, cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ to 1 cup cold water
Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
Combine two cups of corn with the tamari in a food processor. Process for a minute or so until you get a somewhat chunky purée. Add the peppers, herbs, and remaining corn, and process for another thirty seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste, then process for another ten seconds or so while adding water slowly until it reaches a “soupy” consistency. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the ‘fridge for one to two hours and serve chilled. Garnish with tomato halves if desired.
To make this soup into a light meal, top each bowlful with about 1/4 cup edamame (green soybeans). Find these in the freezer section of your supermarket or natural food store. Cook in boiling salted water for five minutes, cool, and remove from pods before serving.
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