Yes, Wayne Thiebaud is the guy who paints cakes and pies. Why? Because he likes them. I can’t think of a better reason to paint something. This is a man who not only deeply understands cake, he understands paint, too. All good painters do, but Mr. Thiebaud understands it as really being part of the image he’s making. He views the thick, gooey, shiny paint as frosting and transforms himself into a magical pastry chef with the way he applies it to canvas. Luminous and rich, you could go face down in one of his canvases and lick your way out.
His recipe for Corn Soup was adapted for this book, and being me, I adapted it again. (Please note that I will only be posting the recipes I try if I’ve adapted them, not if I follow them to the letter.) It sounded delicious the way it was, but he used peeled red potatoes and I think the red ones are too pretty to peel, and he also pureed the whole shootin’ match. At Chez Mystery, we like a chunky soup. So here’s my version:
Wayne Thiebaud’s Corn Soup, As Messed With
3 strips thick-cut bacon
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 c. chicken broth, plus another cup or so that was in the freezer and needed using
2 or 3 red potatoes, not peeled, cut in good-sized chunks
kernels from 3 ears sweet corn (or six or seven small ears)
milk (I used skim)
S & P
Boil potatoes until they’re done the way you like them. I like them quite firm, so you know it’s a potato.
Cook bacon until just crisp, then remove and drain. Cut into small pieces and set aside. Try not to munch on it while you finish the rest of the soup.
Saute onion and green pepper in about a tablespoon of bacon grease, until soft.
Add chicken broth, potatoes and corn. Bring to boil, then simmer about ten minutes.
Puree just under half of the mixture in a food processor. I suppose you could also take half out and set it aside while you puree the rest with an immersion blender. Either way, half of it will need to sit in the timeout corner for a bit. Return the puree to the pot. Add the bacon back in, too, if you’ve behaved yourself and there’s some left.
Add milk until it looks right and cook until heated through. (The original called for 1 1/2 to 2 cups milk, but I just started pouring like I do with cornbread and stopped when it looked like soup.)
Season with S & P. Serve hot.
This recipe got a thumb’s up and a “You can make this again,” from the M.E. He noted that there was only one thing wrong with it, and that turned out to be the fact that I wouldn’t let him finish the entire pot right then and there. I liked it, too and I suspect I’ll make it again before the summer corn is gone. Next time, though, I think we need a very Wayne Thiebaud-looking cake as a finale.
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