Category: soups, stews, chilies chowders and such

“throw cook” what ‘cha got ~ It’s Fall Y’all Clam Chowder

I’m a “throw cooker.”  What does that mean?  Well, that means I throw stuff together to create good food and teach others how to do that too.  It’s pretty simple and just not that hard to do.  Folks often ask me to share a ‘recipe,’ which is challenging, because I don’t use them per se.  I do try now to ‘throw’ something on paper as a guide because I do love seeing others take my creations and make them… which is what you’ll find below today.  So much of what you’ll see from me are concepts… ideas I have in this crazy head of mine I just go in the kitchen to make and see what happens!

Some of my best dishes are those where I simply open the fridge and see what bits and pieces of stuff I need to use and get out of the way in there.  I usually share these creations because there’s just no way I can eat all the stuff (and why I’ve turned into my grandma and ‘hoard’ and recycle food jars!)… sometimes folks want “some more of THAT,” but these unique creations can never ever be exactly replicated again…

 

This gal can’t stand waste so you’re likely to occasionally see me throw something out here with ideas or ingredients that make you go…  “do WHAT?” I keep a soup pot in fridge or freezer for soup days, and nothing is thrown out or composted without first pondering whether or not it’s fodder for ‘the pot.’  A perfect example in this recipe is slaw!  Lordie, never throw out leftover slaw…. it’s just cabbage, and maybe a little mayo and/or mustard… so what if there’s a little pickle relish in there?  That’s just cucumber, a vegetable. Cabbage always adds another layer of flavor (and that’s what we want to do when cooking… add layers of flavor till it tastes good).  Folks g.a.s.p.  at the sight of seeing me throw slaw into the soup pot… but just about every time there’s some slaw in a soup I’ve made, those are the concoctions that get the biggest rave reviews… so let slaw be one of your secret ingredients too!

 

Like most ‘throw together’ dishes, this chowder doesn’t need meaurements.  That’s what THROW COOKING is all about… Cook’n what ‘cha got! And my mission in life is to get those of you who ‘think’ you need recipes outside of your comfort zone and turn YOU into throw cookers!  I dream of creating a posse of TC’s across the nation… fearless folks who “cook what ‘cha got” with nary a written recipe in sight!  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  You mess up one pot o’ food?  And that is so RARE, since something can always be done/added/tweaked to make something edible.  The exception to this is burnt food… and nothing you do will make that fit’n to eat.

As for this Clam Chowder, you can delete any of these things or add stuff (such as carrots or other veggies, other fish/seafood, etc.) to make a wondermous “pot o’ something!”  Open your fridge, take a look around at the bits of this and that you would like to get outta the way,  and do the same in the pantry. Throw that stuff into your crock pot while cleaning up supper and throw in the fridge.  In the morning while your coffee is perk’n, plug in your crock pot, turn it on low and come home to a home perfumed with something mighty good.  Add a salad (or not), some cheese toast, cornbread, crackers or even Nabs…. crawl into your lounge-y clothes and make your family’s tummies happy… supper’s done in the 15 minutes it took you to throw all this stuff in a pot the night before…. now doesn’t THAT sound delicious!!

“It’s Fall Y’all Clam Chowder”

Recipe by:  Wendy L. Perry, Inc. ©
Feel free to share with credit please.

*Be sure to think/shop/buy/support LOCAL folks and your local economy whenever possible!  There’s probably a farm near you where many of these ingredients, from the veggies to the bacon, can be had.  It’s a ‘good habit’ to get into… thinking ahead a bit and just takes a little “re-programming” a new shopping normal in the beginning, but once you’re there, you’ll remember just how wondermous fresh food from minutes away tastes instead of oceans and continents away!

INGREDIENTS: (in this particular batch)

  • large sweet potato — diced
  • few slices bacon, diced
  • couple stalks celery with tops, diced
  • part of a red pepper, diced
  • few cloves garlic, chopped
  • a couple of small turnips, peeled and diced
  • sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • leftover slaw (or diced cabbage)
  • salsa (and/or crushed tomatoes)
    …i had some tidbits of salsa in the fridge i wanted to get outta my way, one of them was a salsa with habanero, so today’s chowder has a little WOWza to it
  • tall can creamed corn
  • canned clams, or fresh if possible (a can or two per your preference, undrained)
  • clam juice, clamato juice, tomato or V8, broth (chicken or vegetable)…your choice of what’s on hand
    …i didn’t have any clam juice on hand today (but put on shopping list), so i threw in some chicken broth i had stashed in the freezer
  • seasonings
    …today, i used some Tomato Powder and Homestead Seasoning from a favorite place to shop in Raleigh, Savory Spice Shop (link below).  Other seasonings that work well in chowder are thyme, oregano, Old Bay or just whatever your family likes!
  • barbecue sauce
    …i have a lot of tidbits of this, that and the other sauces in my fridge, because i’m a sauce junkie… putting some of this in the chowder just adds another layer of flavor

Throw all ingredients into a crock pot.  Turn on low and let this slowly simmer all day till you come home from work.  My crock pot decided to DIE on me today when I put this in, so I dumped into a stock pot, brought to boil, then cut back to slow simmer for about 30 minutes for some REAL ‘fast food!’

Total time from start to eat if done on stove-top… less than an hour!  Good old simple food… food the way God meant it to be enjoyed… Nekkid!

This is the chowder go’n in…

…and the seasonings I used from Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh... drop by and tell Cindy I sent you!
See if there’s a Savory Spice Shop near you here!

I hope this inspires you to peek into your fridge and see what YOU can ‘throw’ together! And when you do, please come back and share with us all…

HAPPY FALL Y’ALL!!!  now git in the kitchen and”Throw” somethin’ in a pot…

Print “recipe” here!

Sweet Potato Hushpuppies

Crispy-on-the-outside and moist-in-the-middle, these hushpuppies featuring NC sweet potatoes are the perfect side dish for this clam chowder (or any bowl of your favorite soup). Great on a brunch table, too!

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…not your usual St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

Okie Dokie… so my blog is getting a sloowwww start!  Life has a way of keeping us bizzzzy, which is one reason I even contemplated doing a blog for a couple of years (!) before heading into blog fog.  So don’t worry about my posts becoming invasive and ‘too much’ because I don’t think THAT is gonna be an issue… 

This week, St. Patty’s Day to be exact, is a special day for me.  Nope, I’m not Irish, but it is a day of celebration for me because…
March 17th is my Personal Day of Freedom Celebration! 

This March 17th, I’m dance’n a jig as I look back on being a ‘former’ smoker… my QUIT DATE was March 17th, 2005!
WoW…6 y.e.a.r.s it’s been!

My precious little nephew Wyatt came into my world the previous September, and as much as I wanted to quit before he arrived, I just couldn’t (or more like “didn’t”).  But as he grew, I didn’t want his little senses to be subjected to something even I found disgusting!  I didn’t want him to SEE me smoking… I didn’t want him to SMELL the nasty stinch on my clothes… so I did it!  Just six months after God blessed our family with him, I QUIT!  And haven’t had or wanted so much as a puff since that day…  So St. Patty’s Day will always be ‘my day,’ the day I started smelling better… breathing better… living better… and tasting foods ‘more better!’

Speaking of tasting… I found this recipe, or some form of it, years ago visiting the home of a personal chef colleague in Dallas, TX.  While hanging out in Donna’s kitchen and browsing through her cookbooks, I came upon this soup in a book I made note of as “Sensibly Thin.”  So that’s the best I have to offer in terms of giving credit where credit is due… but the picture is my own.  It was taken before I started learning ‘more better’ food photography tips… so ‘scuse the poor quality!

This week, grocery stores have the usually expensive Corned Beef Roasts on sale, so it’s a great time to pick one (or a few) up and crock pot tomorrow while at work for a tradtional Corned Beef and Cabbage supper tomorrow night.

Then, in a few days, stir up a pot of this really DEE-lish soup with the leftovers! (And y’all know I’m a ‘throw cooker’ so throw leftever cabbage into this soup too…just yet one more layer of flavor.)  It’s incredibly easy and fast to make and probably not a soup you’ve made before…  Sooooo 

celebrate something… if nothing but simply being alive with a roof over your head that a big fat wave didn’t just swoosh over, taking away everything you treasure and need to live each day, including loved ones.

With the events this past week in Japan, this Irish Blessing seems to be the appropriate one… so let us all stop to count our blessings today, and every day!
Blessings to your and yours…

Bless This House

Bless this house, o Lord, we pray.
Make it safe by night and day.
Bless these walls so firm and stout,
Keeping want and trouble out.
Bless the roof and chimney tall,
Let thy peace lie over all.
Bless the doors that they may prove
Ever open to joy and love.
Bless the windows shining bright,
Letting in God’s heavenly light.
Bless the hearth a-blazing there,
With smoke ascending like a prayer.
Bless the people here within…
Keep them pure and free from sin.
Bless us all, that one day, we
May be fit, O lord, to dwell with Thee.

Speaking of GROCERY stores… gotta run now… our *new* Piggly Wiggly store opened in town today (wheeee doggies!)… headed there right now!  Stay tuned… may be a blog post over there somewhere…. hope y’all enjoy this soup, just perfect for chilly winter’s eve on the doorstep of SPRING!!

 

 

 

 

 

This is the original recipe I created, but like my makeover one even better… that is the one you’ll find on the “Print Recipe” page!  Enjoy one, the other or both… or one you create with a little of both!!

Reuben Soup

Cream of Reuben Soup (original recipe…see edited below)

Serving Size: 8

1      small        onion — chopped
2      cloves       garlic — minced
1      large         carrot — shredded
3      T.              cornstarch*
6      c.               chicken broth
1      c.               skim milk (I use 1/2 and 1/2)
10    oz.              corned beef brisket — chopped
…from some you cooked or deli sliced
(more is a ‘good thang’)
8      oz.              Bavarian sauerkraut — drained and rinsed
(I just ‘throw in’ an entire can)
1/2  t.               thyme (I throw in a bit more)
1/4  t.               white pepper
1/4  t.               tarragon
1         t.              Old Bay Seasoning
1/3  c.              water (only if needed for consistency)
8      oz.               shredded Swiss cheese
Rye or Pumpernickel Bread (for croutons) – omit or sub for gluten free
…broken into pieces and toasted**

Cook onion, garlic and carrot in microwave-safe bowl on HI for 2 mins.  Drain.
Blend in cornstarch.  Add broth and milk.  Cook on stove over med. heat until thickens.
Add remaining ingredients and cook until cheese melts.
Serve with rye bread or croutons.
* Use a pure gluten free cornstarch to keep GF.

** I love breads, but living alone, I never eat an entire loaf.  So when I buy a loaf of rye or pumpernickel, I put some in freezer to have on hand for a change of pace sandwich or for croutons for soups like this.  If wrapped well, bread will last a longggg time in your freezer.  These breads also can be used in recipes that call for bread crumbs… think outside the usual box and use a different kind of bread to give your recipe needing bread crumbs a new and different layer of flavor!

 

Cream of Reuben Soup (edited)

As a throw cooker, it’s rare that things are the same any 2 times… that is especially true when it comes to soup.  I just made this recipe again, but with the following changes… basically an entirely “same but different” soup!  Both recipes are DEElish… but I think I’m partial to this one.  Just make some, and if you don’t have any one or more of these ingredients, as long as it is similar, you’ll be sure to enjoy the experience!
NOTE:  This recipe is Gluten Free if croutons are deleted or subbed with gluten free bread or cracker!  Also, use a gluten free pure cornstarch to thicken if desired.

Creamy Reuben Soup

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Creamy Reuben Soup

What to throw together...

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons oil (I used garlic oil but use your fav)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large turnip, small dice
  • 4 leeks, washed and sliced into thin rings
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, (not peeled) small dice
  • 3 tablespoons garlic puree (I use the puree in tubes from produce dept)
  • 1 14.4 oz can Bavarian Sauerkraut
  • 1 fresh corned beef (3-4 lbs.), cooked and chopped )I cook in crock pot overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • Shredded Swiss Cheese
  • 8-12 sliced rye or pumpernickel bread (I use rye/pump swirl bread), cut into cubes and toasted

How to throw together...

  1. Cook onion, turnip, leeks and apple in butter and a bit of oil until tender and starting to brown and caramelize in saute pan.
  2. Pour into heated crock pot.
  3. Stir in garlic puree, kraut, corned beef, thyme and white pepper.
  4. Fill kraut can with chicken broth x 2 and with half and half x 2.
  5. Stir to blend and cover.
  6. Heat in crock pot on HIGH until hot and dried thyme is tender.
  7. Scoop into serving bowls. Top with grated Swiss and toasted croutons. EAT!

Notes

If preferred, make a cornstarch slurry with a bit of the juice and stir back into the soup to thicken. To keep gluten free, use a pure/gluten free cornstarch or thickener.

Creamy Fall (or anytime) Clam Chowder

Don’t wait until fall to cook up a pot of this flavorful creamy clam chowder. And be sure to fry up a batch of Sweet Potato Hushpuppies to enjoy alongside it too.

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Wendy’s Spaghetti Sauce… finally on “paper!”

“The BEST spaghetti sauce!” That’s what my family and friends call this… make several gallons at the time to eat anytime! Great to “gift” and especially appreciated “funeral food” when grieving folks have been giving away all the boxes of fried chicken dropped off! Maybe I should rename it to Funeral Spaghetti! Just make some…

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