yesterday i had a hankering for chowder
not the restaurant kind
[although the Distillery does do a good one...and besides
it would have been a helluva long bus trip from here]
i like cooking chowder
it is a nourishing activity, metaphorically and otherwise
when i visit with friends they often let me play in their kitchens
and cook chowder, because they know that being allowed to do so
makes me a nicer bear to have around
this one turned out to be in the top 9 that i've cooked
in the spirit of whirled peas and general happiness
i thought i would share what i did
[even though some key ingredients were not available]
i browned some butter in a big and heavy based pot.
then i tossed in a generous quantity of finely minced garlic
[i'm a dab hand with a knife, though not nearly as dabby as my Precious]
when the garlic was golden and fragrant
i gave it company
in the form of chopped carrot, sliced celery and two carefully cubed Yukon Gold murphies
i stirred all these volunteers in the butter until they were nicely caramelized [i have a thing about caramel, as my students today observed]
then i sprinkled in a goodly handful of
which happened to be in the selection of supplies that OCAC - through the good offices of Arthur de Bow, manager of residencies - had provided on my arrival
this made an excellent wheat-free roux [i'll let you know some time how it performs in gumbo]
i stirred the mixture over a reduced heat for as long as it takes to sing "summertime" though once
then i poured in
a brew i had been making on the side
a good handful of dill stalks
a similarly good handful of basil stalks
two bay leaves
the carrot trimmings
the skin of the piece of hot smoked salmon i was planning to add to the chowder
i strained the brew but fished out the bay leaves and transferred them to the main cauldron
i simmered it all together for about half an hour
[that was as long as i could stretch my cocktail* for]
then i added sweetcorn. usually i would slice this fresh from the cob but there was no cob lurking in my icebox so i opened a can.
"needs must when the devil drives"
then i crumbled in the smoked fish
added a pint of cream
+ a big handful of chopped dill
another of chopped chives
another of chopped green onions [that's spring onions for Aussies]
at long last
i poured some into a bowl
seasoned it with two old friends
garnished with more green stuff
there was a scrape left for today's lunch
[i was teaching today]
i'm sure it made for a better class
and now you're thinking. ok. she's discussed the chowder. what about the organism?
the story goes like this.
i have a friend, Y whose mother V
was out to dinner with her husband and another married couple
V was enjoying her food so much that she put down her fork
sighed and said
"i am so happy i am going to have organism"
that chowder, honeys, was organismic.
even if some of the usual suspects [bourbon, red pepper, maple syrup, rainwater] were missing.
and the class here today at the Oregon College of Art + Craft? sweeties, the lot of them.
*the cocktail was fabulous. Junipero gin + fresh sliced ginger + Fevertree ginger beer + lime + truckload of ice. now i just have to work out what to call it.