Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Photocopier Corn Chowder with Buttermilk Biscuits

Recipe #32 a) Photocopier Corn Chowder - Recipe courtesy of Ellie @ work.
and b) Buttermilk Biscuits - Recipe courtesy of my friend Catherine Kilmer Taylor.
Email me for the exact recipes if you're interested: truehockeygirl@yahoo.com

You might be wondering why I used "Photocopier" in the title of this combination of recipes. Simply enough, Ellie dictated the recipe to me today at work while she was photocopying something. That's how I'll remember why I have it half-legibly scrawled on the back of my notes about something completely unrelated that happened to be in my pocket when she hailed me.

From start to finish, this dinner took nearly 4 hours to get finished. Can you say "exhausted"? Neither one had any indication of how long the prep should be expected to take (I always double the suggested time for myself), just the cooking times which can be somewhat deceptive. I did field a few phone calls while chopping celery which took some time away from that tedious task. I also ran into a time-consuming issue with the butter in the biscuit recipe. Thankfully, neither recipe came with a photo so I'm convinced my versions are correct.

The chowder, or "chowda" if you're from Bahstahn, recipe was pretty straightforward. I was a little skittish about making yet another creamy sauce, or roux, after last night's cauliflower disaster, but I decided to use evaporated milk (2%) instead of my usual skim milk to see if that made a difference. On the good advice of my friend Amanda, I whisked my dairy ingredients into the vegetables so much that my arm was ready to fall off, but it seems to have been worth it. No separation this time, hooray! Ellie suggested using chicken broth but I used beef since it was already in the fridge. I didn't add any salt, and used two "pinches" of red pepper flakes. I even got to use up my last 3 potatoes. You'll know what I mean if you email me for the recipe.

The only "oops" part of the chowder recipe was the fact that my pot was VERY full. As in slopping-over-the-edges-if-I-didn't-stir-carefully-full. The stove looks like I dropped a full pot from a height because there's soup splatter all around. The other thing was when I was making the biscuits while the soup simmered, and I suddenly remembered that I hadn't stirred the chowder for a long time only to discover that all the vegetables were slumbering soundly on the bottom of the pot, proving rather difficult to raise with my spatula. I also wasn't fond of the skin that formed a few times on the top of the chowder.

The biscuit recipe was a bit more challenging in different ways. First of all, I forgot to thaw some butter ahead of time so my "cold butter" was actually frozen butter. Quick, to the Bat Phone! "Hello? How do I make frozen butter into cold butter in, say, the next 5 minutes? Cut it smaller with a knife run (repeatedly) under hot water? Ok, thanks." And so I did, but it took more than 5 minutes because I was trying to be careful. Weird for me, being careful, but I'm trying to learn.

There were two variations mentioned at the bottom of the recipe: one to add cheese (I added it to the dry ingredients but didn't sprinkle it on top of the biscuits), another herb version where I added 1/2 tsp of thyme to the dry ingredients. It suggested 1 tsp each of "savoury" -whatever the hell that is! - and thyme. Once again, I opted not to sprinkle on top, primarily because I completely forgot.

The buttermilk is a little scary. I've never bought it before and now I have 3/4 of a litre sitting in the fridge. Can I use it in my tea tomorrow morning? I did notice a recipe for buttermilk bran muffins on the side of the carton so that will be a good use for both the buttermilk and the 3 million cups of bran I still have on hand. This ain't no low fat recipe, that's for sure!

I'm warning you now: biscuit dough is damn sticky, nearly as bad as the shortbread cookies I made so be prepared to douse yourself in flour again to handle it. I had to go find a ruler to see if I had flattened the dough to 1" (stop laughing), then it was time for the cookie cutters. First, I made a heart (photo above), a star, a Christmas tree and a gingerbread man that Jenny gave me, but after fighting with the cutters to release the dough, I just used the heart because it had the simplest shape. As I was to learn in 12 minutes, it didn't matter too much which cutters I used since all of my biscuits are severely deformed. Tasty but demented.

Now that it's nearly bedtime, I'm finally chowing down (pun intended) on my delicious marathon dinner. I seem to have made enough food for a family of 64 so I've lots of leftovers to look forward to this week!

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