Vegetarians Need Warm Meals Too

For some in Southern California, autumn doesn't mean an automatic switch to stews and roasts--especially for those who are vegetarians. This chowder and tart supper is hearty enough for cold weather, but it's not heavy and there's no meat.

Roasting the corn and peppers first adds depth to what could otherwise be a rather bland soup. You could even add a pinch or two of cayenne. The tart filling is simple, allowing the flavors of the leeks and Swiss chard to come through.

And how can you go wrong with a cookie that's basically just butter, powdered sugar and walnuts?

Menu

Roasted Corn Chowder

Swiss Chard and Leek Tart

Butter Walnut Cookies

PANTRY

Garlic

Onion

Dried thyme

Flour

Butter

Powdered sugar

Vanilla extract

SHOPPING LIST

3 ears corn

1 red bell pepper

1 poblano chile

4 leeks

1 pint half & half

2 bunches Swiss chard

1/2 pound Swiss cheese

1 (3-ounce) package walnut pieces

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans vegetable broth

GAME PLAN

Morning of dinner: Make cookies and store in air-tight container until ready to serve. Make pastry shell and bake; cover in foil until ready to fill.

Two hours before meal: Roast corn, bell pepper and chile. Cut corn kernels from cob. Peel, seed and chop roasted bell pepper and chile. Make tart filling. Assemble tart.

45 minutes to one hour before meal: Place tart in oven to bake and make soup.

ROASTED CORN CHOWDER

3 ears corn

1 red bell pepper

1 poblano chile

2 tablespoons butter

1 leek

1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon salt

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans vegetable broth

1 cup half and half

Remove husks from corn and place whole ears in hot skillet. Toast over high heat until about 1/3 of kernels are charred black. When cool enough to handle, cut kernels off cob. Set aside.

Roast pepper and chile over gas flame or under broiler of electric stove until charred. Put into paper or plastic bag until cool enough to handle, then peel, seed and chop. Set aside.

Discard dark green part of leek and chop white and pale green part.

Melt butter in large soup pot. Add leek, onion and garlic and cook about 5 minutes. Add corn, pepper, chile, thyme and salt. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes, stirring often. Add vegetable broth and half and half and cook 15 minutes longer. Correct seasonings and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

305 calories; 1,690 mg sodium; 38 mg cholesterol; 16 grams fat; 37 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 1.81 gram fiber.

SWISS CHARD AND LEEK TART

PASTRY

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 ounces (1 1/4 sticks) cold butter

1/2 cup ice water

Put flour and salt in bowl of food processor and pulse 1 to 2 times to mix. Divide butter into 6 to 8 pieces and add. Pulse just until mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly add ice water through feed tube while pulsing until dough forms into ball. Turn out, wrap in plastic and chill 10 minutes.

Roll chilled dough 12 inches in diameter and place in 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Prick shell all over with fork and bake at 425 degrees 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

FILLING

3 leeks

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 bunches Swiss chard, stemmed and chopped

Salt, pepper

1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese

Discard dark green part of leeks and chop white and light green part. Melt butter in large skillet and cook leeks and garlic until softened, about 10 minutes. Add Swiss chard and cook, stirring often, until chard is wilted, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place 1/2 grated cheese in bottom of tart shell, then add leek-chard mixture, then remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and pastry browned, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

721 calories; 865 mg sodium; 125 mg cholesterol; 45 grams fat; 62 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams protein; 2.28 gram fiber.

BUTTER WALNUT COOKIES

5 ounces (1 1/4 sticks) butter at room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup ground walnuts

1 1/2 cups flour

Place butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in bowl of electric mixer and mix until creamed. Continue to mix, adding vanilla extract, then ground walnuts and flour, until well blended.

Remove dough from mixer and divide into 24 equal balls, 1 heaping teaspoon each. Place balls on lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes, then roll in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and let cool completely.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

681 calories; 296 mg sodium; 78 mg cholesterol; 38 grams fat; 80 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 0.82 gram fiber.

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