Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kitchen Experimentation: Chowder

A few weeks ago, I decided to make a chowder for dinner. Aside from a Bear Creek soup mix, I've never really made soup before, and this was done almost entirely from scratch. I looked up two recipes online just to see how to start. One chowder recipe called for a roux, but I didn't feel like doing that. The other one called for chicken stock and heavy cream. I had already planned for something like that, so that's what I went with.

The ingredients I used were:
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp dill weed
2-3 carrots chopped
2-3 potatoes diced
1 pound tilapia
1 package imitation crab
1 can of corn
1 onion chopped
2-3 tbsp flour
salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, season salt

I peeled and diced the potatoes and put them in the corning ware pan with some melted butter, onion and garlic powders, and season salt. They went into the oven at 400 degrees for about a half hour.

I could have just eaten the potatoes by themselves when they were done. Although, I did over season them a bit to stand alone.

In the large soup pot, I set the four cups of chicken broth to simmer with the dill, some fresh-ground pepper and the peeled and chopped carrots.

Nothing too exciting here.

In the frying pan, I sauteed the corn and onion in some leftover bacon grease. This came out really well too and I could have just had this as a side if I something else for dinner.

What isn't made better by being cooked in bacon grease?

Once the potatoes were done, I put them into the pot with the chicken stock, carrots, corn, onion, and various spices. Then I added a cup of heavy cream. I let it simmer a little longer. The butter that had been on the potatoes gave the chowder more of a yellow color than I had anticipated. The broth was also thinner than I had anticipated at this point, so I added about 2.5-3 tablespoons of flour. I whisked the flour in, adding it slowly so it didn't get all clumpy.

We're almost there. And please ignore the splatters on the stove.

I cut up the tilapia and imitation crab meat into chunks and added them to the soup. I let it simmer for about 15 minutes and then we were ready to serve.


I served the soup with slices of Vienna bread that Logan picked out in the store. I let him choose between that and some French bread.

I repeat. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Everyone liked it. It was pretty similar to other chowder I've had before, so I must have done something right. If I do it again, there are a couple things I would do differently. I would have done something to the tilapia to take away some of the fishiness of it. I wasn't expecting it to be as fishy as it turned out to be. I also would have only added the imitation crab for the last five minutes or so. It softened up a lot more than I expected in the 15 minutes it was simmering with everything else, and I thought the consistency in the finished product should have been firmer.

Ava sat in her high chair and watched while I cooked. It's funny how she changes so much in a few weeks. These days, unless you're putting food in her mouth (pureed carrots tonight), she wont sit in the high chair for all that long without throwing a fit. She's just got to be the center of attention. Everything turned out to be a little much for her and she fell asleep mid-bottle while I was cooking.

Aww, they're so cute when they're sleeping and not screaming.

Friday, March 26, 2010

How About a Little Bohemian Rhapsody?

In leiu of the other things I want to blog about, I just found this last night. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bite Me

Working in a library, I don't purchase a whole lot of books any more, but I had to go out today and pick one up. That's right, I just went out and got Bite Me: A Love Story, the newest book by one of my favorite author's Christopher Moore.

Unfortunately, I won't get to read this one quite yet. I have something else that's been on my guilt stack for a while that I really need to finish reading. However, next Wednesday I'll be heading up to Milwaukee to see the Author Guy himself doing a reading/signing at my good buddy Jason's store. I haven't seen Christopher Moore in person before, and I haven't seen Jason in at least a year, so I'm doubly excited to get up there. Sure, I could go to one of the readings/signings in the greater Chicagoland area on Tuesday, but what's the fun in that? Plus, I haven't been to Milwaukee in at least a year, and I really enjoy getting up there. I think of myself as more of a country boy than anything, but if I were going to live in a city, it would probably be Milwaukee.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Update on Things

Hello everyone out there in the blogosphere. How are you? Me, I'm fine. Thanks for asking. What's been going on with me and why haven't I blogged in a month? Let me tell you.

Things around the house have been pretty good. Something have changed, some things have stayed the same, many things still make me scratch my head. I'll try and hit on all the milestones of what's happened in the last few weeks at home, but I'm sure I'll miss something, just as I'm sure Brandi will say 'why didn't you say anything about X?'

-Logan is potty trained! And it only took a weekend to do it!! We're all so proud of him, and surprised at how well he took to potty training. We've tried a couple times in the past, but he has shown little interest to the point of resistance. This time, though, something just clicked and he was ready. He's got pull ups for at night, but aside from that we haven't had any accidents since the first week.
During this process, as I was changing Ava's diaper one night, I turned to Brandi and said "You know, even if we get Ava potty trained at two years old, that means we'll be changing diapers for five years straight." She didn't think that was all that remarkable. I said the same to a woman at work, she's had her kids and now gets to enjoy visits with grandkids. She told me it's best not to think of such things.

-Ava's got teeth! Watch out if she grabs onto your finger. The bottom two teeth popped through about two weeks ago now and we're just waiting for more to come. She gets pretty fussy at night and she's been chewing on things like crazy. She especially likes chewing on the spare skin for Brandi's phone. Mmmmmm rubber. She'll be 5 months old in a few days, which itself is kind of hard for us to believe. She is absolutely fascinated by people eating, and if you're holding her while you have dinner she'll try her best to get to your plate and get a hold of some Mac N Cheese or whatever is available. We'll probably start her on rice cereal next week.

-Brandi's back on the ice and her body is responding well, better than after she had Logan. Ice show here we come!

-I've been caught up to my eyeballs in projects at work, as well as all of the other stuff that I have to take care of. I've had two experiences this month at work that were headscratchers for sure, things I wouldn't have ever expected to have to do. But then, that's what makes life interesting. I'm looking forward to vacation, whenever I can get away.

-I finally paid off my piece of shit Saturn, and of course just after we do I get stranded with a flat tire, and then Brandi's car gets a flat, and so it took us a long time and a lot of nervous stops to get home from the rink one night.

-I painted the ceiling in the kitchen. It's white now, nothing special. We thought it was white before, but once I started to apply the paint we found out how wrong we were. We're thinking of redoing the countertops and are looking into some inexpensive, but hopefully workable options. I'll get some pictures up when I get a chance.

-We've had plenty of birthdays, colds, and other little things to deal with. Nothing new there.

-We'd always heard that when a child is 0-6 months old they don't really get colds. We'd never heard anyone say that you can't count on that while there's a three-year-old in the house. Well you know what, you can't.

-I got the new Eels album, End Times, which is good. Really good. But I want to talk about that later.

-I made chowder completely from scratch without a recepie, and it turned out well. I've got pictures and everything, but that'll come later too.

-Still working on the writing thing, but not much, and then I beat myself up for not writing, which puts me in a bad mood and I don't feel like writing, which puts me in a worse mood, so I just need to step up and do it...

I think that covers most of it. I'll try and get more up before another month has passed.