I love vegan foods. My favorite yogurt, Wholesoy, is vegan. Scrambled tofu with a side of whole wheat toast is my favorite breakfast (or on par with waffles and strawberries). I like Macaroni and Nutritional Yeast better than Macaroni and Cheese. We have soy and almond milk in the house regularly, and dairy milk not as often. We have vegan cookbooks, and when I cook or bake I often see if I can make it vegan friendly. I find that most of the time, especially with baked goods, nothing feels like it’s missing when I switch soy for dairy milk, earth balance for butter, and apple sauce for eggs.
So it’s reasonable when I get asked, “are you vegan?”
This should answer that question.
The fact is that no, I am most definitely not vegan. I still eat meat, and I like it. I just try not to eat much meat or dairy since it makes me feel kind of blegh. When I splurge though I tend to really splurge. If I’m going to eat meat, I’m going to eat dairy. If I’m going to eat dairy, it might as well be good dairy.
When it was frigid cold the other day I decided to make one of Andy’s favorite meals, which I had never made before, shrimp corn chowder. Only I was going to add bacon in, because bacon is delightful. I used a pepper bacon so I suggest two alternations – either skip the peppered bacon or do not add more pepper to the chowder. Your nose will be running with the best of them and you’ll all be laughing about how peppery it is. It’s a good thing I love pepper but even this was hilariously too peppery. Alter as needed and test often.
This recipe uses frozen corn and frozen cooked shrimp. It would be particularly delightful with fresh shrimp and fresh corn. I’m using frozen since neither is in season in January. I could buy shrimp from the grocery store, but I prefer to get it straight from the docks if possible.
- 2 pad butter or 2 tablespoons oil
- Couple bags frozen cooked/peeled shrimp. I used smaller Maine shrimp so it was bite sized. I really shrimpified mine, so feel free to use more or less
- 6-8 strips bacon. Go for the gold, I told you this was bacony
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 peppers – I used one yellow and one orange, you can use whatever kind you like best
- 4 cloves garlic, add more or less as you see fit
- 1 bag frozen corn
- 2 cups whole milk
- one large can of chicken, vegetable or seafood broth. I used chicken
- few heaping tablespoons flour
- teaspoon of thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rounds for bread bowls if you want
- Chop your onion, peppers and bacon into bite size piece.
- In a pot large enough to hold everything add olive oil or butter to the bottom. Put in your onion and cook until almost translucent. If you want you can either add your bacon in at this point, or cook it until super crispy. Another option is to leave your bacon in strips, cook to crisp and then crumble it in.
- To your onion, bacon mixture add in your garlic, peppers, frozen corn, and shrimp. Toss together and let cook for a few minutes.
- Add your chicken broth, just enough to cover the mixture. You’ll be adding more liquid in later, so don’t go overboard since you want this to be chowdery. Put in your spices now, I used thyme and a dash or two of Penzy’s Northwoods but don’t worry about that spice, you don’t need it and it will still be tasty. Alter using whatever else spices you have and like instead.
- Simmer for 10 minutes
- In a separate bowl put the flour and take about a cup of the broth out of the pan. Whisk together until smooth and add back to the mixture. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes to help tighten up.
- Add your whole milk or cream and let it go over medium heat (mild boil) for another 5.
- Prepare your breadbowls if you want to use them. This is pretty simple—just cut the top off and scoop it out. Save those scoopings for other uses, like dipping in pesto or hummus or to make croutons with.
- Once your soup is done let it settle for another 5 minutes or so to cool. As it cools it will thicken up some more.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Place into a breadbowl (or regular bowl) and om nom nom.
Oh, and if you want to make this vegan here you go.
- use earth balance butter or stick to olive oil
- use soy milk
- no meat, obviously
- add mushrooms in to give it a nice bite
- use vegetable broth
See, anything can be made vegan. It’s just good old corn chowder.