Monday, April 27, 2009

Howda Abouda Some Chowda

Apparently spring and summer have come and gone here in the great Pacific Northwest. Don't get me wrong, it was a great week, but alas, it once again feels more like winter again.

We had a few days with temps in the 70's and even managed to get one day where the mercury topped eighty. The last couple of days, and for at least a few more, it has and will continue to only top out in the fifties. The good news is the tulips are in full bloom and will keep in their spectacular display with the cooler temps.

We had planned on going out to the coast for the first camping trip of the year, but opted to stay put when we heard the forecast. Good move on our part too as it was drizzly and generally blechy out there. Instead, we had some good family time around home. Went and watched "Monsters vs Aliens" at the theater. (good choice if you have young ones) We also bought a puzzle to put together. That was a lot of fun too. I'll have to post about all the puzzles mom and I used to work on when I was a kid. Plenty of great memories there.

So what does all of this have to do with the title of this post? Nothing yet, but I'm getting to that.

One of the meals we had was clam chowder. Thought I'd share what I like to do to make store bought soup taste soooooo much better.
Please excuse the less than great photo

Quantities intentionally left out - Use as much or as little of the following, depending on your taste, or, as my grand mother would have said, "Pour it in until it looks right."

Cube and cook a couple pieces of bacon (not crispy)
Peel and par boil some potatoes
Cube some celery stalks and red onion

In a large soup pot melt a small amount of butter and add the celery and onions. Cook till tender. Add canned soup, bacon, par boiled potatoes and additional clams. Add a bit of whipping cream, half and half or milk to thin a bit. (Let your own calorie count be your guide here) Heat slowly until hot all the way through. The only other seasoning I add is a bit of black pepper.

Ladle into a bowl and add some oyster crackers and/or dip in sour dough bread. Eat a bowl full, then go back and get another one. Eat that one and even though you'll be stuffed, have just a wee bit more cause it tastes so darned good. Lay back on the sofa and complain about how full you are and tell the person next to you, "I shouldn't have had that last bowl." Watch as they nod in agreement and tell you the very same thing.

Trust me, canned soup never tasted so good.


Jay said...

"Cube and cook a couple pieces of bacon"Any recipe that starts with this is going to be good.

I'm not normally a big fan of chowder, but this really does sound pretty yummy.

quilly said...

If you're going to go to all that work, why not just make the chowder? It really isn't difficult.

AND, Amoeba and I will be spending a good chunk of the summer in the San Juan Islands. How close/far are you?

BJ Roan said...

Sounds like a tasty treat. I enjoy chowder, but haven't tried making it. My mom always made the best pie crust around. Her method of measuring was much like your grandmother's.

the watercats said...

I'm intrigued that you can buy canned baby clams over there! that just sounds wierd!.. sounds like an interesting recipe though, right up our street!

Mel said...

Some you hook at the mere mention of bacon....some you lose. ;-)

But I AM all about stretching out on the couch to complain about that 'last bite/bowl'. Now THAT--sounds darn inviting!

Jeff B said...

Jay- I think you could have a recipe for making toothpaste and have a winner if it started out with "two pieces of bacon..."

Quilly- Making the white sauce is pretty simple, but this just takes that step out of the equation.

Haven't been to San Juan, but it is about 4-5 hrs away from here. I'm about 15 miles south of Portland.

BJ- Some of the recipes my granny wrote down are entertaining to say the least. She sure knew how to cook though.

Watercats- Interesting. I never gave it a second thought. You can buy them whole, chopped or minced here.

Mel- One nice thing about doing the soup this way is substitutions or omissions are easy.

Desert Songbird said...

If it cuts out some steps, I'm all for that. I'm all about the ease!

Hammer said...

Thanks for that recipe. I'm going to make some for the family.

Akelamalu said...

The weather is just the same here Jeff!

The recipe sounds good. This

"I shouldn't have had that last bowl."

made me LOL - I know that feeling!

Thom said...

Mmmm sounds so good. I love clam chowder. Glad your weather is getting better...What a great family time to do puzzles and watch movies...more families should do that I think :)

Bond said...

Canned Chowda never has enough clams..I always add more...might have to add even more ingredients like this..nicely done

buffalodick said...

Man, that sounds good right now!

nitebyrd said...

Mmmm ... bacon! This sounds decadent. I must try it!

Kelly H-Y said...

"blechy" ... love that word! Your grandmother's idea of 'measurements' sound exactly like my mother's!

Ron said...'re going to freak out, but the weather here has already hit 90!!!

Yes...90 in April!

And please just know that have done nothing but WHINE about it!

So I would more than happy change places with you, bud!

And if we do change places, please leave me some of that fabulous CHOWDER in your kitchen, in exchange, I'll leave you a bag of frozen spinach in mine!

tee, hee!

Travis said...

Not being much of a foodie, it never occurred to me to add stuff to my soup. Who knew!

Jeff B said...

Songbird- It kind of gives it that "homemade" taste without much effort. A really good thing for busy people.

Hammer- Let me know how it turns out.

Akelamalu- Unfortunately we've both experienced that over stuffed feeling it sounds like.

Thom- You're right, more family time is a critical element anywhere.

Bond- It makes it oh so yummy!

Buffalo- It's a cold weather staple around here.

Nitebyrd- Hard to go wrong when you start out with bacon.

Kelly- That word seems to sum up our current weather don't you think?

Ron- Wow, frozen spinach!!! You really know how to bargain.

I know what a cold weather guy you are. You'd absolutely love it here right now.

Travis- See, reading here is not only entertaining, but educational too! Ha!

katherine. said...

sounds yummy....except for the clams.

reading and writing without obligation...a goal to strive for...

quilly said...

Ah! I've lived in Portland, Gresham, Raleigh Scholls and Vancouver. I still have cousins in Portland, Nieces in Eugene, and my brother and his kids live in Newport.

Dr.John said...

I don't like chowder but did like the movie.

The Things We Carried said...

Sounds great and yes, it feels like winter agian! Soup is just what is needed....

Jeff B said...

Katherine- Note to self. . . no clam chowder if you ever make ity up here for a visit.

Quilly- Wow, you've pretty much covered the region.

Dr John- I liked the movie because it was entertaining for the kids, had a good message to it and had enough hidden humor for the adults to enjoy it too.

TTWC- It's supposed to get into the sixties with a couple of rain free days. I can't believe that is exciting news.

Nessa said...

We get 2 days of Spring in NJ then go into 90 degree Summer.

Raven said...

We are having the same kind of strange Spring here.... but none of that nice chowder. Looks wonderful. I love clam chowder. Yummmmm.