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“Don’t get lost. Don’t be late. It’s good to smile, but easier to get bugs stuck in your teeth.”

When I was 16 and an employee at REI, I discovered this message on a handwritten note in my bike bag. My first thought was to blush, “Oh, that’s sweet.” An older colleague who happened to be a professional triathlete had tucked the note there in the bike closet. And my second thought, sitting up abruptly, was “Am I that transparent?”

In a word, yes.

Some things don’t change. How often I’m still lost, late, and smiling in hopes that the people around me won’t see my fraying edges. Only now I’m running to catch the morning train with a toddler strapped to my back. 

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” – Douglas Adams

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Behind, behind, behind—why is it I’m always running behind? Words don’t write themselves, dirty dishes stay undone, and suppers have yet to cook themselves. (Oh wait, that’s takeout.) Even when this blog feed is as empty as a cloudless sky for months, I am thinking about it—dog-earing recipes, savoring meals, formulating sentence fragments in the last flicker of consciousness before sleep. Problem is there’s nothing to show for good intentions except for a tug at the heart, halfway between yearning and regret.

I am not superwoman. I never have been. But most evenings I get to hang out with these rascals, and that’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.

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This is a recipe I’ve wanted to share with you since August, back when sweet corn came into season. By now, the star ingredient is fading along with the fall leaves and evening light. Our grocery store stopped carrying corn by mid-October, but in a moment of grace, I found fresh corn at the farmers market two weekends ago.

You can make this chowder with frozen corn, but the texture fails to do it justice. So here’s my advice: Sometimes you can get so far behind in a circuit race that it looks like you’re out in front. Bookmark this recipe and you’ll be ready for July 2014 in no time.

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Corn Chowder

Recipe adapted slightly from Rosie Daley | Serves 4

This recipe is delicious as is, or with a poblano chile and/or potato added to the mix.

olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
6 cups fresh corn kernels
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
cayenne, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

Optional:
1 poblano chile, deseeded and finely chopped
1 small Russet potato, small diced

Preheat a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add a glog of olive oil (say a tablespoon or two?). Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent. 

Add 4 cups of corn and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until it softens a bit. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and cook until the corn can be mashed easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Add the potato if using.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the bell pepper, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, poblano pepper (if using), and the remaining 1 cup chicken stock and 2 cups corn. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes more, until the chowder is thick and creamy.

Garnish with the chopped basil.

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