If you’re from New England, I’m sure I just screwed the pooch with this chowder. But I’m from Chicago and chowder is a great meal I’ve mostly had in restaurants and on New England and Canadian cruises.
We had our first serious day of winter yesterday, April 4, 2017. It was beautiful, not too cold, quickly melting, and intensely hydrating for our gardens. We are grateful for water and for a day to make a big pot of vegetable-beef soup. Trees, small- huge limbs, and power were (are) down all over town due to the heavy-weighted snow’s impact.
I make it nearly a practice to not google or check a cookbook when I first dream up a new recipe. Sometimes the dish-thought has been perking around in my brain or heart for a while; other times it’s a new idea encouraged by time or need. (Say Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up, for instance; I’m probably thinking about Irish food and that will not be corned and cabbage, I can promise you. Or, it’s Lent, like now, and I’m fishing around for fish.) But afterward, when the recipe’s a PDF or the post is written, I sometimes will search for information on my meal and almost always for additional links to help my cook-readers. (Like where to buy native wild rice or another way to cook beans.)
The last days of Lent are full between worship, study, shopping, cooking, and baking. I often read THE LAST WEEK by Borg and Crossan…day by day or occasionally a couple of days at a time. (Read my Lenten blog Good Friday post here.)
Good Friday is, for me, Hot Cross Bun day and this year I used a new recipe from the BBC Good Food site by master baker Paul Hollywood. (Original recipe here. Scroll down for a printable copy of my adapted American version.)
I adore these new buns and have now changed my recipe allegiance to Mr. Hollywood. (Here’s my old one.) Where else would you look for a Hot Cross Bun recipe? (Read about the famous buns’ history here.) Make some and cement friendships as well as protect yourself from evil! Or just make them because they’re good. Sing along to “Hot Cross Buns.
Rosie has kept herself busy “chasing” deer from one window to the next as I bake. Tucker isn’t so energetic and knows the deer will be back soon. We’ve all been waiting for Emily to come home and she’s here! I’ve made Clam Chowder for lunch to go with the buns.
ADAPTED HOT CROSS BUN RECIPE– AMERICAN PRINTABLE VERSION HERE.
ABOUT MY BUNS–just in case you use the original BBC recipe:
1. The recipe uses metric measurements mostly, but not totally. You’ll need to weigh your flour, sugar, etc. I didn’t do the conversions to cups, etc., because I don’t mind baking like this. If you don’t have a scale and need a chart for comparison/conversion, use this. The recipe is worth it. (Soft, fluffy, flavorful rolls studded with gorgeous raisins flavored with orange and cinnamon. Sigh.)
2. The recipe calls for 3 proofs or rising. I used two, refrigerated the dough in the middle, and found that worked fine. In other words, I let the first rise go for a little more than an hour, punched down the dough, put it into a zip-lock bag, and threw it into the fridge overnight.
3. Next morning, I added the apples, cinnamon, orange rind (skipping the rest of the dried fruit–no loss) and formed them into rolls. Onto parchment-lined pans they went covered with oiled plastic wrap to rise again on a stove with the oven on preheating. (See my printable recipe for a another version of making the dough a day ahead as I’ve now done this a few times!)
4. After reading the recipe reviews, I didn’t make my crosses with flour paste, but rather made a simple vanilla buttercream icing and piped the crosses on with a quart plastic bag that I clipped a corner from. I like them better that way.
And just in case you’d like to make the chowdah….
This is so simple I didn’t see a reason to write out the recipe totally. Ingredients are in italics. Read through and you’ll have the idea. You can embroider this Friday Fish Soup with added chopped asparagus or chopped tiny green beans. In my book (and here), I add fresh green peas. No bacon or salt pork in this recipe, though; it’s still a Friday in Lent. Or try grating some sharp cheese into each bowl — a nice addition.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a 6-quart pot. Add a finely chopped onion, two each stalks of finely chopped celery and carrots, and a minced garlic clove. Season with two teaspoons dried thyme, a bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Cook covered over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Add 4-5 chopped new unpeeled red potatoes and heat through. Pour in 1/2 cup white wine and let cook down a couple of minutes. Pour in two bottles of clam juice and the juice from one 5-ounce can of clams. (Save clams to the side for a few minutes.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender. Mash the potatoes just a bit with a potato masher. Throw in a handful of chopped parsley. Pour in 2 cups milk and 1 cup half an half and heat through without boiling. Stir in clams; warm through. Season with a few drops of hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot with oyster crackers. (Whoever gets the bay leaf has good luck until Lent begins again.)
If you observe Good Friday traditions, I hope your day goes exactly as you need it to. If you do not, just make some good bread and soup and enjoy.
Sing a new song,
I never pass the fish and seafood in the store without seeing if something’s on the fire sale. $9 OFF a pound is a fire sale for fresh tuna. It means they have to get rid of it that day, preferably immediately. I’m willing to eat that tuna. I’m happy to run home and cook it straight away. This is a typically summer meal, but you can squeeze it in for Friday Fish this month if your’e dreaming.
We’re in the last week of Lent; Palm/Passion Sunday was last Sunday and that means Easter’s on its way. I’m always amazing how Lent takes us from the dredges of winter to the cusp of spring, and sometimes mixes it all up in one day. Just about how my life sometimes goes, I think, and maybe yours, too. Here’s Holy Monday and Tuesday’s single post from my Lenten blog, Praying in Saint Paul and here’s Holy Wednesday’s. You can check out the rest of the week’s posts by going to the upper left-hand corner of the black bar at the top and clicking on Sidebar or if CLASSIC is up, click on that and then click on Sidebar in the menu.
Anyway, here’s what I did with that sale tuna–and what you might do, too, on Good Friday if that’s part of your faith tradition. Otherwise, save it for that first warm day. What I did was all dependent on what I had in the fridge and on the counter after a visit to the market …
grilled tuna salad with vegetables &
spicy lemon-basil vinaigrette
The vegetables for this salad are grilled (inside or out), but could also be oven-roasted for 20-30 minutes or so at 400 degrees F. No matter how you cook it, you’re eating quickly and happily.
In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, spices, mustard, shallot, and two tablespoons basil. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking all the while, until vinaigrette is well mixed and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Rest of basil is for garnish)
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The day began beautifully–a little chilly, but gorgeous. I went to Bible study and when we finished had to run for the car as a white-out snow storm had hit. No hat, no scarf, no boots, I was frozen by the time I started the engine, found the snow brush, got the car cleaned off, and jumped in to head for home. (Channel Saint Paul, Minnesota.) Did I say the temperature was by then 10 degrees colder than when I’d left the house? Brrr…. Of course the dogs were thrilled with the weather.
Definitely a soup day today, I’m glad I made this fun one-pan fish meal last night preparing for Friday Fish. (One more to go after this.)
If you follow a tradition of Lent, you might be interested in reading my Lenten journal (blog), written three years ago and chronicling the entire 40-day journey. Here’s the link for days 33-34; we’re a week away from the end as this Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday and next week is Holy Week. Sigh.
About the fish dish…I’d thought about this meal for a while and just never got around to making it until last night. As Dave asked, “How long does something like this perk in your brain?” (Who knows?) The crux of it is you make a pan of risotto with a few vegetables and, when it’s done, add a layer of seasoned, thin fish fillets and lemons. Put the lid on and let it cook just a few more minutes until the fish is firm and opaque and there’s your one-pan dinner. As far as I know it’s an original dish, but who knows? If you wanted to do this on a simpler rice preparation (say long-grain white rice cooked in chicken broth), I think it would work with some extra liquid. If you do want to make the risotto and haven’t ever made it, read Mark Bittman’s article on “Laid Back Risotto,” and fear not! I did make a pound or so of green beans, too, but just because I love them. Try this: