Sweet Home...Colorado: Sweet Corn Chowder

The boxes have (mostly) been unpacked and we decided to hit the ground running. I had an intense desire to check out the food scene here in Denver and I was really excited to try new places and a different cuisine. We got right down to business and ate the ubiquitous smothered breakfast burrito with green chiliIt was delicious- great heat, wonderful flavor. 
I'm lucky because I live in the Highlands neighborhood, right near Burrito Giant. Normally green chili is made with pork and it's hard to find the sauce without any meat product. But Burrito Giant has an out-of-this-world vegetarian chili (which can also be spelled chile- both ways are acceptable.) Theirs is one of one of my favorites so far. 
The weather here in Denver is almost always sunny and you can get really hot when you're standing in the sun. I found that Little Man ice cream is the perfect way to cool down. I also sampled some Liks Ice Cream inside my local bookstore, the Bookery Nook. Not too shabby. 
Alright, so we had great Mexican food, local dairy treats but I needed to be sure I could find Italian provisions and sweets. Coming from Brooklyn I wasn't sure anything could live up to L&B Spumoni or Lioni's. But we checked out the local Italian neighborhood called Wheat Ridge, which is right over the Denver city line-- so not too far if I need fresh mozzarella, tiramisu or a killer tomato sauce. We found an extremely authentic place called Dolce Sicilia Italian Bakery. I'm happy to report that their cannolis were dynamite! 
We also went to one of the local farmers market on Saturday. It was crowded, but there was plenty of space to move around. The market has ready-to-eat food (from trucks and stalls), cheese, crafts and locally produced fruits and vegetables. I saw this really cool food stand and wound up getting a fantastic pinto bean and cheese pupusa to start things off. It was served traditionally, with curtido- a lightly fermented cabbage slaw with red chilies and vinegar, and a watery tomato salsa. Then I got some fresh fruit and one of the best freshly squeezed (organic) lemonades I've had to date. And I drink a ton of fresh lemonade!  
I picked up tons of farm-fresh vegetables including, arugula, beets, tomatoes, potatoes and corn. The corn was sweet as could be and I decided that I wanted to make a chowder. I remembered seeing this recipe (below) and decided to make it. Potatoes, sweet corn, thyme and cream. It's fantastic! Enjoy.

And now for the Sweet Corn Chowder...

Sweet Corn Chowder (Courtesy of Tyler Florence)
2 tablespoons butter
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups canned vegetable stock
2 cups heavy cream
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
6 ears corn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme and cook until the vegetables are good and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Dust the vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything well. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the cream and the potatoes, bring to a boil and boil hard for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes break down (this will help to thicken the soup and give it a good texture).
Cut the corn kernels off the cob (I always cut them into a big bowl) and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the corn is soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. Stir in the parsley and give it another little drink of olive oil. 

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And here are a few shots from our first week in Colorado for those of you who are checking in on us from New York City. We took two excursions, one to Red Rocks and one to Garden of the Gods...