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I am a wife, mother, teacher, runner, baker, fund-raiser, reader, watcher of movies, dog-lover, writer, music-lover and foodie. So - I'm a woman of many moods! I write and share in order to teach and enrich. I currently have two blogs going: The Kitchen Refugee, and A Mile At A Time. The first is about time spent in the kitchen and the second about time spent on the road. Frequently the two roads intersect!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Soup Season!

As rain is falling on the leaves in the yard - the ones that blew down just after I had finished raking up seven bags - I feel the urge to fill the house with the smell of our fall and winter favorite: soup and bread.  The combinations vary, but tonight, it's clam chowder and artisan bread.

Chowder is one of my husband's favorites, and he's even been known to pop open a can of Snows from time to time.
Personally, I can't face that gluey mess!

The Chowder Recipe is from a local restaurant, Ten Depot Street. http://www.tendepotstreet.com/
Owner, Sandy Sorrels, frequently shares recipes in her weekly advertising column in The Observer.  Clam chowder is a fan favorite. I really like this recipe, and having the option to have it at the restaurant or to make it at home.

This makes a lot, so make sure you have a VERY LARGE pot to cook it in.
It seems like this is a lot of work, but it's mostly in the prep.  If I know I'm going to make chowder during the week, I'll throw in extra bakers some night for dinner, and cook extra bacon at breakfast - those two seem to take the longest to get ready!

10 Depot's Clam Chowder
• 2 8 oz. cans/jars of clam juice
• 4 cans chopped clams
• 3/4 gallon milk (2% at the very least)
• 2 stalks diced celery
• 1 onion, diced
• 1/2 large carrot, grated
• 1/2 bunch parsley, diced
• 4 medium baked potatoes, chopped to bite sized pcs. (don't over-bake - they'll get more cook time in the soup pot!)
• 1 lb bacon, cooked, chopped
• 1/2 TB pepper
• 1 1/2 tsps. EACH - onion powder, garlic powder
• 1 tsp. thyme
• 1/4 tsp Tobasco
• 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 1 3/4 cups roux (flour/water paste)

In a large pot, combine milk, clams, clam juice, spices/sauces, and bring to a boil.
As soon as the soup boils, whisk in the roux until the soup is tight and the roux is dissolved.
Turn the heat down to low.

While waiting for your liquids to come up to a bowl, prep your veggies. Saute carrot, parsley, onion and celery until tender.  Add the 1/2 cup of wine to deglaze the pan.

For Roux - In a separate bowl, I just start whisking flour and water together until I have a really thick mixture.  Measure out 1 3/4 cup and dump the rest.  I can never get it done exactly - I always have to add flour or water until it's the right consistency, then I've got too much!

Add the veggies, bacon and potatoes.  Heat this all together and let it simmer 15 minutes or so to bring all the flavors together.
Absolutely full to the brim - I need a bigger pot!

Serve with salad and the bread of your choice and you've got a party!  OR you've got a quiet Sunday night in front of the fire.  :-)

The Other Sandwich Bread

 Not long ago I thought I'd like to have a bread machine.  I bought one, and was mesmerized by all the kneading cycles and the magic of how it just seemed to know how long to cook the loaf.  However, I was quickly disenchanted and missing my favorite parts of making bread: kneading by hand, waiting between rises, and using my other senses to let me know when all things were working in perfect harmony.  I'm a bread geek - I like to touch dough and be the one responsible for its outcome.  

I made this realization after I had ordered some bread machine cookbooks and found several recipes on line that looked good.  Since then, I've been making adjustments to these recipes and making bread with my own two little kneading machines!

Although my husband's weekly sandwich bread has been "Love Bread" (previous post) I changed things up a bit and now we have another new favorite -

Bruce's Honey Sesame Bread 
(I don't know who Bruce is, but this recipe came from allrecipes.com)

I've adjusted to make it by hand, but if you have a machine, I'll include those directions at the end.

• 1 1/4 cups warm water 
• 2 2/4 tsps. yeast

Dissolve the yeast in the water.

Add -
• 1 TB powdered milk 
• 1/4 cup honey
• 3 cups bread flour
• 3 TB wheat germ, or wheat bran 
• 1 1/2 tsps. salt
• 1/2 cup sesame seeds (toasted, or not - depends on lazy you feel!)

To toast the sesame seeds - just put them in a dry, non-stick frying pan and stir them frequently until they are lightly browned.  I have skipped this step as I can't taste too much difference in the bread. Baking brings out just as much sesame flavor.

It just takes a few minutes!
Not too dark, just a light toast!

Stir all ingredients together, working in the last of the flour, and a little more if needed to make a soft, but not sticky, dough.  Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled.

Punch down dough and shape into a loaf.  Let rise until it raises well above the edge of the bread pan.

Bake at 350ยบ for approximately 20-25 minutes, OR half as long if you have a convection speed bake option.  I like to speed bake breads as I feel the airflow of the convection fans gives more even cooking.  Bread is done when it's well browned and it sounds like a ripe watermelon when you thump it.

(For Bread Machine: place ingredients in bread machine, and select Basic Bread Cycle.)

We love this bread as toast, or sandwich bread.  I think it's a tad sweet for sandwiches, but Brian likes it this way.  For my own preference, I think I'd cut the honey in half.