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Vegetable chowders just right for the cool, crisp days of autumn

Fall brings with it an oversupply of certain vegetables - tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, chard, kale, garlic, and herbs. We stuff the peppers, eggplant, and zucchini or work them into casseroles or scalloped vegetable dishes.

We stew the tomatoes that are ripening too quickly for sauces. But how often do we think of flavorful, hearty vegetable chowders, so welcome on the first cool nights?

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The Deluxe Vegetable Chowder that follows is a good way to use the corn kernels from some of those leftover ears and some of the tomatoes you stewed. Deluxe Vegetable Chowder 2 cups chopped celery 2 cups cooked corn, cut from cob 1 onion, chopped 2 tablespoons diced green pepper 2 cups stewed tomatoes 2 cups cold water 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 4 tablespoons butter or margarine 3 tablespoons flour 2 cups milk, scalded 1/2 cup grated cheese 1/2 cup diced pimento, optional 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Combine first 8 ingredients. Heat to boiling and simmer 1/2 hour. Melt butter. Blend in flour. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly. Heat to boiling and cook 5 minutes. Add to vegetable mixture with cheese, pimento, and paprika. Heat until cheese is melted. Serves 6. Cauliflower-Clam Chowder 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 small carrots, diced 1 small onion, diced 1 celery stalk, diced 1 shallot, minced 1 1/2 tablespoons flour 3 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped clams, drained (reserve liquid) 2 cups water 1 1/2 cups bottled clam juice 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets 1/2 cup whipping cream 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrot, onion, celery, and shallot. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft but not brown.

Blend in flour and continue cooking about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Slowly stir in reserved clam juice, water, and bottled clam juice. Add cauliflower and bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover partially and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in clams, cream, and herbs. Simmer 5 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls. Serves 10 to 12.

When you plan to make your next fish chowder, give it special interest by adding sliced zucchini during the last few minutes of cooking time. Zucchini-Fish Chowder 1 pound fresh or frozen fish fillets (flounder, whiting, ocean perch, monkfish, haddock) 1 medium onion, chopped 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 3 small potatoes, peeled and sliced 1 cup milk 1 2-ounce can pimento, drained and chopped 2 tablespoons snipped parsley 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini

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If using frozen fish, let stand for 20 minutes at room temperature. Cut fish into 3/4-inch cubes.

In 3-quart saucepan cook the onion in butter until tender. Stir in broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or till potatoes are very tender.

Place half the mixture in blender container or food processor bowl. Blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining mixture. Return all to saucepan.

Stir in milk, pimento, parsley, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add fish cubes to soup. Cook about 5 minutes stirring constantly, to prevent scorching.

Stir in zucchini. Cook and stir about 5 minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and zucchini is crisp-tender. Season to taste. Serves 4 to 5. Pasta and Vegetable Chowder 1 tablespoon cooking oil 3 medium onions, cut into eighths 1 13 3/4-ounce can chicken broth 2 cups sliced zucchini 1 cup cubed, peeled turnip 1 cup cut green beans 1/2 cup slivered sweet red pepper 1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 pound macaroni, macaroni shells or bow ties, cooked and drained

Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth, zucchini, turnip, beans, and red pepper. Add marjoram and black pepper. Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes. Stir pasta into vegetable mixture. Cook 2 minutes or until heated through. Serves 4.

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