Today is a monumental day in the Lauren Mitchell History of October: it’s the second day in a row that I have off from work.  My days have been going thus: wake up. Go to work. Come home. Don’t go out for fear that I’ll get back too late to get enough sleep. Shower. Sleep. Repeat.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the work.  I doubt I could ever get tired of chopping up vegetables.  I love being around other people who spend their waking hours thinking about food; I love to know that I’m in a place where I can learn about the ideals of taste.  I knew I’d be saying goodbye to a social life when I started doing this work, though, and boy have I ever.  I’ve been starting to make myself go out, though – there’s so much great stuff going on in this town, and I’m realizing, if only by the fantastic percentage of cookbooks taking up my shelves, that I risk losing balance.  Today when I went to Powell’s I bought four books that have nothing to do with food.  I didn’t even go near the cookbook room.  (But then, of course, I went to Whole Foods, and I came home and put a crazy brown sugar glaze on some cranberry-orange cornbread.  More on that next week.)

So this is the kind of food that comes from me when I don’t necessarily want to think about cooking in the sense that I’ll be chopping vegetables all day – but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious, because it is.  This the result of some leftovers from a farmers’ market trip a couple of weeks ago, and a smile at the bunch of sage I just took down from drying.

It’s also a real effort made to use fake meat.  I have many hesitations when it comes to soysage, but the patties that Morningstar makes are actually quite good, and they go terrifically with that dry, earthy punch of sage.  If you’re an omnivore and want to use real sausage, ease up on the butter.  I also added a couple of tablespoons of goat cheese when I made it, but it was really just to use up the end of the log.  I won’t note it in the recipe, but throwing it in certainly doesn’t hurt.  Apologies for the mediocre photo.

Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder
serves 4-6

2 tablespoons butter
2 soysage patties (Morningstar highly recommended), diced
1 fist-sized white onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
kernels from 2 ears corn
1 medium-sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups milk

In a soup pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add soysage, onion, garlic, sage, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions soften, 5-7 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then drop to a simmer and cook until sweet potatoes and corn are cooked through and flavors are combined, about 20-25 minutes.

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