Creamy without the cream. That's the kind of thing I'm looking for in a first-quarter-of-the-year soup -- something that might taste a little indulgent and filling for these cold February nights but that will help me continue my post-holidays trim-down strategy.

Cashews, of course, are the answer. As I've rhetorically asked before, aren't they always? Before you add them to this chowder, it's a perfectly respectable chunky potato and vegetable soup. But after you scoop out some of the soup, whir it in a blender with a mere half-cup of soaked cashews and return it? You might as well have stirred in a cup of cream and a stick of butter -- that's how rich it tastes.

There's one more thing that goes in -- a dose of corn, which in the spirit of winter comes straight from the freezer, not the cob, although you're welcome to repeat this in the height of summer. A creamy chowder, especially one as good and guilt-free as this, should always be in season.