Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mmmm Chowder - plus a visit with the folks.

Went a little crazy this morning at the Cortelyou Road Greenmarket!

I might get a few more clams to add tomorrow as some of these were kind of small, but this was definitely one of my best attempts at this soup since I realized, rather ridiculously recently, that you can actually make chowder at home. Duh. I love chowder.

 It's certainly not Bigelow's, but I don't think it's half bad for a chowder newbie. Fresh sweet corn instead of frozen niblets was a massive improvement, of course.

 It's been a good couple of days of good food here at my "(lily)pad" - with Mom and Dad arriving last Thursday and a refrigerator that was pathetically empty after a couple of crazy weeks, I threw fiscal caution to the winds and hit the Union Square Greenmarket on my lunch hour last Wednesday, waving fistfuls of cash and screaming "Scrapple! Who's got the scrapple???" Of course I then also had to get Jersey tomatoes and peaches, and corn, and although I could easily have gotten stew fixin's for a quarter of the price at my local c-town, I went for the high-end just to get the grocery shopping done so that I could dash straight home from work & get the stew stewing while I did the final cleaning (including the vacuuming that I won't do after 9 pm out of consideration for the neighbors).  Finished off the grocery shopping on Thursday with a quick swing by Joe's for fresh & smoked mozzarella. I served caprese salad as an appetizer on Thursday (with people barely having room for the good but very unseasonal stew that was the main course) - we had the leftover tomatoes & cheese for breakfast and then again for lunch (this time disguised as sandwiches) since my tomatoes have gone into screaming high gear. I apologized to my folks for the threepeat. They said they would try to forgive me. At least I think they did, it's so hard to understand people when they talk with their mouths full.

I think the main feature of breakfast this morning had to win the locavore prize, though. I made scrambled eggs. I used:
Some onion, left over from the stew fixings from the Union Square Greenmarket, which means it was grown somewhere near the city. That was the thing from the farthest away.
The last of the smoked mozzarella. Made in SoHo.
Tomatoes - picked the day before in my garden in Canarsie. Wish I'd thought to get onions, then everything would've been NYC grown or made.
And the closest? Eggs and kale from the Ditmas Park backyard of an old kayaking friend who occasionally invites me to chickensit.
He and his family went out of town this weekend and I told him I'd be very happy to take care of their little backyard flock if it was OK for my parents to meet the chickens. He said that was fine.

Seriously - who would ever expect to come to Brooklyn and be introduced to the chickens who laid the eggs you then have for breakfast? My folks loved it.

My folks are on their way again, but we squeezed in an awful lot in 2 days and it was a good visit. We didn't make it to the bioluminescent animals exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History we'd started out thinking was going to be Friday's main course (I'll have to find a day to go see that on my own, sounds pretty neat), but we went to the South Street Seaport Museum - this was my first time since they reopened, I was tickled when my dad suggested it although he was a bit disappointed as the focus is less maritime than he expected. I was crushed to find out that the Peking is closed for good and on her way out, but I was still glad to finally see the place. That evening, we had dinner with a college roommate of my mom's - she's a longtime Chelsea resident and very active in the neighborhood, and when I mentioned my interest in the continuing saga of the Chelsea Hotel, she took us up to her building's roof to see the Chelsea's lovely roof - fascinating.
Also a nice view of the Empire State Building. She said that sunsets from here are spectacular, but we were all ready for dinner at this point and so rather than wait, we headed off for a delicious dinner at Le Zie, one of her favorite local Italian places.
They claim to have the best spaghetti and meatballs in Manhattan I do think I'd agree that they were the best spaghetti and meatballs I ever had in Manhattan. OK, I haven't had that many outside of the company cafeteria (theirs aren't half bad), but these were very yummy. 

Saturday, we went to the club for the Open Paddle, which was a really good one - sometimes these public paddles can be a bit slow but even though we had one first-time paddler along this time, she did great and we got in a very nice trip. I got to introduce my folks to a lot of the people they've read about here (Holly & Jim the Sailing Co-Chairs, Steve the Paddling Chef, Prof. M, and lots of others - it was a busy day at the club & I was glad we went when so many friends were around), my dad helped me clean up my garden a bit (it had been left to fend for itself for the last 3 weeks and although only the most self-sufficient plants made it through July's heat waves, it was looking mighty shaggy - we weeded and tied up the tomato sprawl that that happened since my last actual bit of gardening). I picked the ripest tomatoes & some fresh basil for caprese part 3, plus some mint for the tea, then we headed back to my place for showers.

Afternoon featured low-key touristing in Red Hook - we stopped by the PortSide New York pop-up (PortSide New York is in their last few days there and I was interested both in introducing my folks to Carolina and taking another quick look at the items they had for sale there - there's some really neat stuff there, check it out here if you're curious. We finished there with enough time to pay a visit to the Waterfront Museum, and then of course I had to drag them to Steve's Key Lime Pie. Once again I think they forgave me, although once again it's hard to understand people when they're talking with their mouths full. Seriously, though - my mom's a very good cook (taught me everything I know, I just do it with fancier ingredients), and so I was very happy when she liked this pie that I'd been giving such a big buildup. Of course even if she hadn't been as impressed, we were still eating it at a breezy cool picnic table, looking out over NY Harbor, so it would've at least gotten atmosphere points. Sorry I forgot to bring my camera - the pie still looks like this, though:

Our last attempted Red Hook stop was at the Sixpoint Brewery - I'd picked up some Bengali Tiger for dinner on Thursday & my dad liked it enough that he wanted to take some to their next host. I saw the Sixpoint logo on the side of a building but as I'd heard, there wasn't any sort of store front or anything. Fortunately, you can get Sixpoint in my neighborhood so that was OK, we went & got that and some wine before dinner at The Farm On Adderley. End of a perfect day. I'd say we slept like logs except that somewhere in the middle of the night the shaping baffles in the barely-used (but old) Aerobed that my folks were sleeping on broke and they were rudely awakened by nearly being pitched off onto the floor! I heard the commotion & came out and although at first they didn't want to take my room, eventually they did, I curled up on the Evil Futon of Nap (saving the day again...perhaps I should rethink the "evil" part) and in the end we all got a good night's sleep.

They had breakfast this morning and then hit the road. I cleaned up the breakfast dishes & then decided to wander over to the Cortelyou Road Greenmarket, where I decided I needed to make chowder. Came home, spent a positively luxusious and blissfully lazy afternoon alternately reading & dozing on the Not-So-Evil Futon of Nap, then fixed myself chowder for dinner.

It was a busy, busy weekend - but I felt like my folks had a really good visit.

And now I'm looking forward to Labor Day weekend. I'm helping out with the last Open Paddle of the year at the club Saturday morning, and if the weather's nice I'll try to instigate a falling-in-the-water session in the afternoon - but the next two days? NO plans. Can't WAIT.

PS - Note to Baydog, re shoo-fly pie: Mom is actually not crazy about it, but my dad likes it. His family used to always get their scrapple from a man who would drive a van in from somewhere out in the country once a week or so, and sometimes they'd get shoo-fly pie from him too, he sold a variety of homemade Amish foods. The gentleman never specified wet or dry but my dad says that he remembers it being very cake-like and would guess dry bottom.


Baydog said...

Wet-bottom is kinda like pecan pie textured. Chowder, scrapple, Key Lime pie, and wet-bottom shoo-fly.
Now I won't be able to fall asleep!

bonnie said...

Excellent. That means I done good, right? :D

bonnie said...

Post-lunch note: Upon further investigation, I think that what I made last night may actually be bacon chowder.

Keep Reaching said...

If you have any lawyers in the family, direct them to the famous 1964 decision involving chowder and fish bones in which the learned Massachusetts judge expounded at length on what constitutes good chowder and finally adjudged that a New Englander finding a fishbone in chowder had no claim against the owner of the restaurant.
Webster vs Blue Ship Tea Room.

bonnie said...

Fantastic. I'm glad I was full of chowder when I read that! :D

bonnie said...

PS - My chowder definitely fits the definition, it's just that the clams were rather small and the bacon slices were very thick and meaty. The broth in which the clams were steamed definitely gives the soup a proper flavor, but if there's more bacon than clam meat, is it still clam chowder?

Well, I have one more serving over which I can continue my considerations.

Whatever it is, it's yummy!