By Katie Cooper EBS Contributor

There’s a chill in the air that can’t be mistaken for anything but fall. A new season has arrived and it’s bittersweet. I revel in the transition from summer to winter – when sweatshirts and coats are added to the wardrobe, soups start to replace salads and the garden’s bounty collides with the preparation for winter.

The garden is popping with heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn and spicy pepper varieties. My sister and I recently harvested and quick-froze 14 dozen ears of sweet corn. We also charred a couple dozen too for my favorite corn chowder recipe.

PHOTOS BY KATIE COOPER

PHOTOS BY KATIE COOPER

This charred corn chowder is a family favorite and everyone looks forward to the dinner invite. I often diversify the soup with different toppings; this time, I added a heaping spoonful of tangy, roasted poblano salsa. Sometimes it’s avocado and crème fraîche, other times it’s a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh herbs. Be creative, but be sure to try this tangy poblano salsa at least once!

What you’ll need (serves four to six people)

Charred corn chowder
5 or 6 ears of corn on the cob (about 2 cups of kernels)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 celery stalks and greens, chopped
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/4 cup white wine or lager beer
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup whole or coconut milk
2 ounces goat cheese ricotta

Tangy roasted poblano salsa
2 poblanos, charred and diced
1/4 red onion (about 1/2 cup diced)
1 to 2 limes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 ear of corn

How to make it

Heat grill and char corn and poblanos on all sides. Remove corn chowderfrom grill and allow corn to cool before handling. Place charred peppers in a plastic bag, twist the top closed and allow to steam until cool to the touch (about 15 minutes). Peel off the charred skin and dice poblanos.

In a medium stockpot, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil at medium high. Add the onion and celery and cook until softened and translucent (about five minutes). Add spices and garlic (add another tablespoon of olive oil if needed). Rinse quinoa, add to stockpot and toast for about one minute. Add white wine, scrap any brown bits from bottom of pan, and cook until wine is absorbed. Add broth, bring to a boil and then turn heat down to a simmer until quinoa is cooked (about 20 minutes). Cut corn kernels from cob and add to stockpot. Reserve one half of a corn cob for salsa.

Pour half the soup into a food processor or blender and puree. Transfer it back to the stockpot and add milk and goat’s ricotta (I like to use Amaltheia). Stir until mixed together and turn heat to warm.

In a mixing bowl, add chopped poblanos, diced red onion, corn kernels, lime juice, and olive oil. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to marinate for one to two hours prior to serving.

Serve soup with a heaping spoonful of salsa and enjoy!

Katie Cooper is a food stylist and photographer who gardens and cooks from her country home outside of Willow Creek. Find more recipes on her blog pitchforksandpomegranates.com, which aims to inspire others to cook using seasonal ingredients grown in backyard gardens or from local farmers and ranchers we know and trust.