Warming Up With Lehua’s Corn Chowder

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - December 14, 2011
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Taking risks is a major part of life (and cooking). Sometimes, it means trying new things, stretching your limits and leaving your comfort zone.

For Lehua Kalima one-third of Na Leo Pilimehana taking risks means taking her own advice. As her song lyrics say, “There’s no guarantees, let’s take every chance we get ...”

Kalima is taking some exciting chances with a new solo album, Rising In Love. As singer, songwriter and lyricist, Kalima has branched out on her own to create an album that highlights all original, never-performed songs.

“This album is an opportunity to share my music and my heart with others,” she says, “my chance to grow and expand my horizons.”

Rising In Love is a fusion of various genres of music coupled with originals penned by Kalima herself.

Since first rising to fame as part of Na Leo Pilimehana (Hawaii’s highest-selling female vocal group, with 19 albums and more than 20 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards), Kalima has spent much of her time touring the world and performing here at home. Writing and recording Rising In Love gave her the opportunity to not only push her creative boundaries, but spend time with her three kids as well. You can imagine that more than a few batches of her Rainy Day Corn Chowder were whipped up in between writing songs.

“My daughter Malie loves this with Saloon Pilot crackers ... Being a Hilo girl, I think she inherited her love for the crackers from me!”

You can catch up with Kalima on her official Facebook page: facebook.com/lehuakalimamusic.


* 1/2 package bacon (turkey bacon, if you’d prefer)
* 1 medium Maui onion, chopped
* 2 carrots, roughly chopped
* 2 celery stalks, chopped
* 2 small russet potatoes, chopped
* 1 sweet potato, chopped
* 2 15-ounce cans whole kernel corn
* 1 15-ounce can creamed corn
* 2 cans evaporated milk (use nonfat if you want to make it even healthier)
* salt and pepper, to taste
* (add milk if you prefer a thinner soup)

In a large Dutch oven, cook bacon and onion until bacon is cooked and onion is translucent. Add in chopped carrots, celery and potatoes, and cook until they are slightly browned, stirring often. Add in corn, creamed corn and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil, then place on low and let simmer for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes are soft (sweet potatoes take a little longer than the russet). Be sure to stir often, even when it’s on low!

If you want to thicken it, spoon out a few of the potatoes from the chowder, mash them up in some of the liquid and return to the soup. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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