Thursday, April 2, 2009

Andrew's Awesome Chowder

I don't have pictures this time because I didn't have my camera ready. Nonetheless, this is pretty straightforward. The result is both very nutritious and delicious. I thought it was fantastic. Joanna, while eating it, would periodically come up for air and say "this is fucking awesome!" So, without further ado:

Serves: enough for 2 hungry people for dinner, plus lunch for them the next day.
Time: Roughly 45 minutes to an hour.
Cost: 15-20 dollars, depending.


1. 3 1/3 cups water
2. 4 large potatoes (I would say fist sized, but my fists are pretty big...)
3. 1 1/2 cup baby carrots
4. 1 1/2 cups broccoli.
5. 4 Shallots
6. 2 Tbsp butter
7. 2 cups whole milk
8. 1 large ham steak
9. 1 tsp salt
10. 1/4 tsp pepper
11. 3 tbsp flour (I used all-purpose)
12. 1 can corn.

I'm lucky in that I'm the only guy in my family who can eat broccoli, either raw or cooked. Which is great because I love the stuff. Anyway, that said, the amount of broccoli is not exact because I really just eye-balled how much I wanted to put in. You do the same. I did the same with the carrots. The carrots ended up being roughly half of a standard-sized package of fresh baby carrots, if that's any help. You can substitute onions for the shallots here, but I think shallots are so lovely- if you don’t know, they're a cross between onion and garlic and smell like acetone when cooking but taste divine.


1. 1 medium pot
2. 1 wooden spoon
3. Cutting board
4. Chopping knife
5. Frying pan.

1. Peel and chop the shallots.
2. Peel and cube your potatoes.
3. Melt the butter in the pot.
4. Add shallots to pot, and stir go gently cook them. Keep an eye on these shallots as they cook rapidly.
5. For gods sake, don't do what I did which was peel the potatoes now and then try chopping them- it's a nightmare. The timing is just terrible.
6. Once the shallots have finished cooking, add the potatoes, and then add 3 cups of water.
7. Add the salt and pepper.
8. Turn the heat up to high to help the water get hotter faster. Leave uncovered.
9. Chop up the baby carrots into small chunks. Add them to the water.
10. Chop up the broccoli and add them to the water. Note that you want to try to remove the stems for the most part. Not the teeny stems, I mean the primary and possibly secondary branches from the main stalk- when you are going to eat this, it's going to be hot and you don't want to have to try working your mouth around a stalk of broccoli. It'll cook relatively quickly.
11. Separately, take your ham steak and stick it into your frying pan on a medium heat for three minutes. Turn over and let the other side cook for 3 minutes.
12. Take the ham steam out of the frying pan and slice into small cubes- try to remove as much fat as possible. I used a hickory smoked ham for this that was really delicious- I really recommend it.
13. By now, roughly 15 minutes should have passed and your potatoes ought to be finished cooking. If they aren't, let it cook another 5 minutes and they should be done. The water ought to not cover the vegetables in the pot quite, or might just barely cover them. Turn the heat back to medium.
14. Take 1/3 cup of water and the flour and separately (I did it in a measuring cup) mix them until smooth. Add to the pot and stir.
15. Add the 2 cups milk, and then stir. Allow to come to a simmer.
16. Add the ham and corn. Allow to cook a further 10-15 minutes. Enjoy how your kitchen smells.
17. Serve hot with some crackers in a big bowl.

I'll admit, this is the first time I had ever made any kind of chowder except out of a can. I was really surprised how incredibly rich and fulfilling this dish was. I actually though you needed cream and such but no, it came out just great. I am pretty sure that this is robust enough to simply substitute clams for the ham and make it into clam chowder instead, or shrimp or whatever you like.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Perfect Pancakes - American style

By noon I was feeling well and truly famished and wanted an American Sunday Breakfast. Well, forget getting any Jones Farm breakfast sausages but I immediately thought PANCAKES! GMTA because Alan popped in to say, "Any chance of pancakes? American kind?" Well, that was enough to get me started heating up the griddle. Here's the recipe I used this morning to produce absolutely perfect pancakes; taste was delicate and clean, texture was light and fluffy and raised high.

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk (If you insist on substituting, on your head be it)
3 tablespoons melted butter (or vegetable oil if you must, but please don't)
1 splash Vanilla extract (optional but adds a subtle warmth to the flavour)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I confess, I used self-raising flour by mistake - worked great!)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar


1. Beat the eggs and milk until light and foamy using a wisk. Stir in the butter.

2. Measure out the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir a turn or two to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and sweetener.

3. Gently and quickly mix flour into the egg and milk mixture. Let the batter rest for a few minutes, while the griddle/pan is heating; it"ll thicken slightly.

4. Heat a heavy frying pan over medium heat, or set an electric griddle to 350°F. Lightly grease frying pan or griddle. The pan or griddle is ready if a drop of water will skitter across the surface, evaporating immediately.

5. Drop large serving spoonfuls (about 1/3 cup) of batter onto the lightly greased pan. Bake on one side until bubbles begin to form and break, then turn the pancakes and cook the other side till brown. Turn over only once. Serve immediately.

I recommend serving the pancakes with unsalted butter and REAL maple syrup.