Enjoy this refreshingly light soup with summer's best bounty

I may not like the weather this summer, but my basil and cherry tomato plants sure do.

They have gone bonkers. As a result, I have been living on pasta with pesto, served with a salad of cherry tomato Caprese salads. Not a bad way to use up my summer bounty, but I'm on the hunt for more ideas.

I'm also crazy for corn this time of year. I don't grow it, but I sure do buy it - whenever and wherever I see it.

Corn, basil and tomatoes are a trifecta of summer's best, which is why I find this recipe for Corn, Tomato and Basil Chowder so appealing. Yes, it's soup in the summer, but it's light, refreshing and easy to make.

Don't skip the step where you add a bit of corn pulp to the mix. That's the slightly creamy liquid you see when you cut the kernels off. It adds a natural creaminess to the chowder without adding milk or cream.

Definitely don't skip adding the corn cobs to the soup as it simmers. You'll be amazed by how much flavor it lends to the chowder.

The sour cream added at the end is optional, but it cuts the sweetness of the corn. A splash of hot sauce would do the trick as well.

This chowder is best served at room temperature. Add a simple salad (more tomatoes!) and crusty bread, and you have a summer meal at its best.

M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's vice president of sales and marketing and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at

  This Corn, Tomato and Basil Chowder is light and creamy, using the pulp from corn cobs instead of cream. M. Eileen Brown/

Corn, Tomato and Basil Chowder

6 ears corn, shucked

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

1½ teaspoons salt

1 pound waxy potatoes (red or gold), cut into ½-inch cubes

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Juice of ½ lime

Sour cream, for serving (optional)

Slice corn kernels off cob and place in a bowl. Scrape a bit of the pulp off the cobs and add it to the bowl. Reserve cobs. In a soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add broth, the reserved cobs, 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the cobs and discard. Stir in the corn kernels, tomatoes, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes more. Stir in the basil and lime juice. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm and top with a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 6

Adapted from The New York Times

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