Because of the temperate climate here, Mexico City is blessed with beautiful produce almost year-round. You can always find squash, green beans, carrots, tomatillos, tomatoes and poblanos at the markets. (Notice I said markets and not supermarkets -- the supermarkets are always running out of stuff.) You can almost always find squash flowers, too. Sometimes they’re big and gorgeous like this. We’re not exactly in squash flower season right now -- they're mostly available in May and June, and then August through October -- but you can find a few solitary bunches at the markets if you get there early enough. They’re often eaten in guisados or soups. This soup in particular comes from Diana Kennedy's Mexican Regional Cooking, one of her earlier books that was later folded into The Essential Cuisines of Mexico. (I found the book at a thrift store in Olympia, Wa., and finished reading it while preparing for my cooking class with her a few months ago.) The soup comes together quickly, and because all the ingredients are fresh, it tastes like it took hours. In the book it's described as a ranch-style soup -- basically using whatever ingredients are on hand and tossing them into the pot. I really like this specific combination, though: a poblano pepper, charred on the comal and peeled, adds a sweet, buttery note. The squash flowers and corn add texture. I've eaten this soup as a first course to a mole dinner, but it's hefty enough to work as a light lunch. You can make this with either chicken or vegetable broth. If you do the latter, I highly recommend making your own broth in the slow cooker. I'll post a recipe for that next. It'll make your house smell amazing. Squash flower, corn and poblano pepper soup Adapted slightly from Diana Kennedy's Mexican Regional Cooking Serves 4 The original recipe calls for both cream and either queso fresco or Muenster, but I've omitted both because I like the soup on the lighter side. Also, be careful when adding the poblano peppers because they may be hotter than you think. Try a piece first before adding them to your soup. When buying fresh corn in Mexico City, any market vendor will shave the fresh kernels right off the ear if you ask. (As an aside, can I quickly rant about restaurants who use canned corn here? USING CANNED CORN IN THE CRADLE OF CORN DRIVES ME NUTS.) If you can't find fresh corn, frozen is acceptable. Ingredients 1 1/2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon oil 1 small onion, sliced thin 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 1 1/2 cups fresh corn, or about 250g (see note) Salt to taste 1 1/2 cups diced or quartered squash 1 small bunch squash blossoms (about 10) 1 to 2 poblano chiles, charred on a comal, peeled, seeded and de-veiened, and then diced 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth Fresh epazote, chopped (optional) Directions Heat the butter and oil in a soup pot or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and stir, cooking until soft and translucent. Then add the garlic and stir quickly, cooking for about 30 seconds more. Add corn kernels and salt to taste. Cover and cook until corn is slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the squash, squash flowers, poblano peppers, broth and more salt to taste. Cook until all the ingredients are tender, about 20 minutes, and then stir in chopped epazote if using. (I also like to add a few grinds of fresh-cracked black pepper.) This soup tastes even better the next day.