Editor’s Note: Christine Burns Rudalevige will return with next week’s Green Plate Special.

One blueberry muffin or panzanella or quiche recipe is pretty much like another. But occasionally, you stumble on a recipe so clever, it rises above the cacophony that constitutes today’s frenzied food world. The website Food52 has a term for those: genius recipes.

Earlier this summer, I was thumbing through “Mr. Todiwala’s Spice Box: 120 Recipes from Just Ten Spices,” a new Indian-Western fusion cookbook that arrived in the mail, when my eye was caught by his recipe for Spiced Corn on the Cob. It wasn’t merely the surprising idea to cook the cobs in a spiced milky broth – though that in itself struck me as unusual and smart. It was writer Cyrus Todiwala’s further suggestion that home cooks then use the spiced (and now corn-inflected) broth to make soup.

Genius! A friend of mine more modestly praises such thinking as Depression Era cooking, the waste-not-want-not mentality. Or you could label it The New Sustainable Cooking.

I set Todiwala’s recipe aside and waited patiently for corn to arrive at the farmers market. Now it has, so last week I got to work in the kitchen. Not much work, truthfully, as both parts of this recipe are fast and easy.

I served some of the spiced, broiled corn on the cob to an unexpected lunch guest. I shaved the kernels off the two remaining cobs to add back to the soup, which I enjoyed for lunch all week.

The original version purees the soup and garnishes it with croutons. I took Todiwala’s concept but adapted his recipe, turning my version into a sort of Indian-spiced corn chowder, using the corn kernels I’d held back, green beans, carrots and potatoes.

Both the spiced corn and the soup were fragrant and tasty.

The corn-on-the-cob cooking water did not go down the drain as usual at a time when southern Maine is experiencing a drought, and I am feeling especially conscious of water waste. The cook – me, this is – felt both well-fed and virtuous.

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