Saturday, February 23, 2013
Ham and Potato Chowder
It was one of those weekends that I was lucky to get any real work done at all. Most of Saturday was devoted to my "extra" dad Bob's funeral. And, about a perfect funeral it was. His parents were friends of my grandparents. Then, he and Lou and their five kids moved in kitty corner from us when we were in gradeschool. We grew up together. Football and basketball at our house. Strawberry torte for Tim's birthday. Gnawbone Camp over Labor Day weekend. And, our parents were the best of friends. Dad and Bob, Mom and Lou. Two families intertwined. Bob and Lou added on to the family cabin a bit west of Indy. It's now one of my favorite places in the world. Connie and I will pick Mom up and some of the kids and their spouses will meet us at the farm for dinner one evening this week. We'll laugh and cry and reminsce and know that Dad and Bob are undoubtedly together chattering away about anything and everything!
Saturday evening we were off to Columbus to see our grandkids and celebrate Rosie's third birthday. Connie and I'd figured out a breakfast that they could help make. On the menu we had toad in the hole, bacon and strawberry blossoms. The strawberry blossoms came from a fun cookbook called Cooking with Kids. They were super easy to make. We cut the canned biscuits into "petals" and lined muffin tins with them. Then, we spooned in some strawberry preserves (about a tablespoon) and sprinkled on a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. They were baked at 375 for about 15 minutes and were totally devoured! Here are some photos of our breakfast:
Kara said she was off to get Rosie's cake. I asked if she was going anywhere near Jeni's. Now, if you've never heard of Jeni's, you need to visit their website to understand. It's jenis.com. Amazing flavors!!!! She laughed and said sure, we could run by there. Pretty soon, the whole crew decided they were up for an adventure. Connie got pear riesling sorbet. David got a stout and rosemary and a whiskey and something. Kara got brambleberry and something and I got salted caramel and banana with goat cheese caramel. YUM! Then, on our way out the door from our indulgence, David started talking again about how wonderful the Dublin Village Tavern is. And, the Irish eggrolls. Basically a reuben in an eggroll. And, the ham and potato chowder. Well, we'd had dessert, maybe we should have lunch! So, into the tavern we trudged. Connie and I split an order of the Irish eggrolls. Fabulous. He got a cup of chili and I got a cup of the chowder. And, he sampled my chowder. Lo and behold the man who doesn't like soup liked the chowder!
After lunch we went to Sam's so Connie and I could get provisions for the dinner at the farm. Then, we headed back to Indy. And, stopped at the grocery on our way home. I was ready to try and recreate the chowder.
Ham and Potato Chowder
7-8 medium red potatoes
4 ribs celery
1 medium onion
12 baby carrots
8 oz ham cubes
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 c milk
8 oz Dubliner cheese, shredded
Dice the potatoes, celery, onions, carrots and poblano. Make sure the pieces are all about the same size. Put them in a large saucepan and add water. You don't want the water to totally cover the veggies but it should just come up to almost the top of them.
Simmer until the veggies are tender. While they're cooking away, make a roux with the butter and flour. Melt the butter. Add the flour and cook on medium heat until it's a tiny bit brown. Pour the milk in slowly stirring constantly. Once thickenend, add the cheese and stir until it's melted. There should still be a little water left in the veggies. You don't want a bunch or this will end up being a broth and not a chowder. So, pour some of the water off into a bowl on the side. Then, stir in the ham cubes and the cheese sauce. Add back in the cooking water as necessary to reach the consistency you want.