Melva Bonis of Grosse Ile returns to Culinary Capers with her mother’s deliciously simple recipe for New England Corn Chowder, a perfect bowl for a frigid day. Melva’s mom was from Boston, which is famous for another chowder, of course — with clams.

But instead of using canned corn in her mother’s recipe, Melva buys fresh ears at a farmer’s market every summer, cuts off the kernels and freezes them to make the chowder year-round.

NEW ENGLAND CORN CHOWDER

2 cups red or yellow potatoes (about 3 or 4 medium), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
6 strips bacon
2 medium-sized onions, sliced thinly, then chopped roughly (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon butter
1½ tablespoons bacon drippings
14.5-ounce can cream-style corn
15.25-ounce can whole kernel corn, undrained
12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper, or to taste

Cook potatoes in salted water just to cover, until tender but not too soft. Meanwhile, cook bacon and remove from pan, reserving drippings. Sauté onions in butter and 1½ tablespoons of drippings until light golden in color. Add   potatoes and water in which they were cooked to onions. Add cream-style and whole-kernel corn. Stir in evaporated milk. Add salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Crumble bacon and sprinkle over soup. Serve with crusty bread.

• • •

One of my long-time favorite bowls is a slow-cooker stew I’ve been making since 1995, using a recipe included in the cookbook that came with my second Crock-Pot. While the stew stews, I like to bake corn muffins using an awesome recipe I found on Jennifer Segal’s Once Upon a Chef website.

However, being very cholesterol-conscious, when I bake the muffins, I substitute 1/3 cup cooking oil for the butter, using a substitution chart. (If you would like a copy of the chart, email me at Evycairns@aol.com). Like Jennifer, I prefer to bake the muffins in greased tins instead of paper liners. By the way, they freeze well — should there be any left!

FAVORITE CROCK-POT SLOW-COOKER STEW

2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire   sauce
1 clove garlic,
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
4 large carrots, sliced
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, sliced

Place meat in Crock-Pot. Combine the flour, salt and pepper and pour the mixture over the beef, stirring to coat it. Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaf, paprika, carrots, potatoes, onions and celery. Stir to mix well. Cover and cook on Low 10 to 12 hours, or high for 4 to 6 hours. Stir stew thoroughly before serving. If necessary, add additional flour to thicken.

CORNBREAD MUFFINS
(By Jennifer Segal)

¾ cup yellow cornmeal
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey
¾ cup milk
½ cup unsalted, melted and cooled butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; prepare muffin tins by greasing or using paper liners. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, break up the eggs with the whisk, then whisk in the honey and milk. Add milk mixture and butter to dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Do not overmix. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake 17-20 minutes until tops are set and golden. Makes 12 muffins.

HAPPY COOKING!

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