Corn Chowder

corn chowder

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There are only so many days left until the corn season will be behind us.  I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to have fresh locally grown corn for as long as possible.  Fresh corn on the cob is my simple and easy way to enjoy it.  At other times I like to make Corn Chowder.  A hot bowl of this soup filled with chucks of sweet corn kernels, creamy potatoes, crunchy bacon bits, and melted cheddar cheese is a delicious combination for a hardy fall soup. If fresh corn is not available, frozen corn can be substituted and can be made anytime of the year.

corn chowder

It was a foggy morning as I drove by these fields of corn at a nearby farm.

 

corn chowder

This vintage wire crate was placed in the kitchen to temporary store fresh corn for later use.

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corn chowder

One of Grace and Caleb’s jobs to do outside was to shuck corn and remove all the silks to get them ready for cooking…and Glory will try to grab one for herself.

corn chowder

How to blanch corn on the cob…

Place the corn in a large pot filled with cold water to cover the corn.  Turn the heat to high and cover the pot with a lid.  Once water comes to a boil, turn the heat off and let it sit on the stove with the lid on for a few minutes longer.  Remove the hot corn cobs and transfer them to a bowl of cold water to cool down before cutting the corn kernels from the cob.

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corn chowder

corn chowder

· print recipe ·

serves 5-6

Ingredients:

5-7  slices of bacon, chopped
1     tablespoon olive oil
2     medium yellow onions, chopped
2     tablespoons unsalted butter
¼    cup all-purpose flour
1     teaspoon salt
½    teaspoon ground black pepper
¼    teaspoon ground turmeric
6     cups chicken broth
4     cups russet potatoes, peeled, and cubed small bite size {about 1½ pounds}
4     cups fresh corn kernels {about 6-8 ears}, blanched
½    cup heavy cream
1     cup Cheddar cheese, grated, divided {reserve ½ cup for garnish}
½    cup green onions, sliced, for garnish
corn chips, for serving

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corn chowder

1.  Cook bacon in a large stockpot over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp.  Remove the bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon dripping in the stockpot.

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corn chowder

2.  Reduce the heat to medium, add olive oil, onions and butter, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent and tender.

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corn chowder

3.  Add flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes.

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corn chowder

4.  Increase the heat to high, add potatoes and chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncover for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

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corn chowder

5.  To help thicken the chowder, break up some of the potato pieces with a wooden spoon against the sides of the pot.

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corn chowder

6.  Add corn kernels, heavy cream and ½ cup Cheddar cheese, and cook for about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Note:  If you are using fresh corn, follow the instructions on how to blanch corn before adding to the stockpot.  For frozen corn, you can skip this step.

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corn chowder

7.  Serve corn chowder in individual bowls and garnish with bacon, green onions, Cheddar cheese, and corn chips on the side.

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corn chowder

A hearty soup for fall!

· print recipe ·

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Posted by kay

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Poached Pears with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

 

recipe- poached pears

A simple and delicious dessert to make this fall season is Poached Pears.  Serve it as is or with whipped cream, chocolate/caramel sauce, ice cream, or a sprinkling of nuts and honey.  These are wonderful combinations. Make it a day ahead and store the pears in the refrigerator with the syrup until ready to serve.

While I was preparing the pears and prepping the ingredients to be added to the pot, the scent of cinnamon, vanilla, and citrus filled the kitchen.  Fall was in the air.   It intensified as the pears slowly simmered over the hot stove. For the rest of the day, my house had a lovely sweet scent as if I’ve been busy baking all day.  I discovered this Poached Pears recipe in Baking With Julia cookbook and have been using it for many years.

 

recipe, poached pears with vanilla & cinnamon

Vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks are key ingredients in this recipe and many other fall recipes. On my recent grocery shopping trip I decided to stock up my pantry with these ingredients.

recipe, poached pears

· print recipe ·

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4  cups water
2  cups sugar
1  cup white wine
2  cinnamon sticks
1  vanilla bean, partially split lengthwise
2  firm pears {Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou, Forelle}, peeled, halved, and cored
zest {in long strips} and juice of 1 orange

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recipe-poached pears

1.  In a large pot over medium heat, combine the wine, water, orange juice and zest,  cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean.  Cook until the sugar has dissolved, stir occasionally to help the process.

2.  Add the pear halves to the liquid mixture.

3.  Cut a round of parchment or wax paper a little larger than the opening of the pot and press it over the top of the pears to help prevent pears from discoloring while cooking.

4.  Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes {depending on the ripeness and size of pears}, turning occasionally, until the pears are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife.

recipe- poached pears

5.  Turn off the heat, set the pot aside to let the pears and liquid cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.

Note:  The liquid mixture could be used for another round of poaching.  Transfer the cooked pears from the liquid with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and set aside, cover loosely with plastic wrap.

6.  {Optional}  Remove vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, and orange zest.  Bring poaching liquid to a boil and cook until reduced and thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and set the pot aside with the liquid to cool.  Pour cool syrup over pears, store in an air tight container, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

recipe- poached pears

7.  Before serving, slice each one of the halved pears, keeping the pieces together, transfer to an individual serving plate/bowl, gently fan the sliced pieces for a pretty presentation, and add a dollop of whipped cream.

recipe- poached pears

On another occasion I like to use smaller pears and poach them whole. Before poaching, core pears and scoop out the seeds from the bottom with a small melon baller.

recipe- poached pears

Serve pears with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

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Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

recipe- poached pears and whipped cream

Before discarding the vanilla bean after poaching the pears, take a knife and scrap out the seeds and add it to heavy cream before making whipped cream.

recipe- poached pears and whipped cream

 

Ingredients:

1  cup heavy cream
1  vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and scrape out the seeds
¼  cup confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl place cream, vanilla seeds, and confectioners’s sugar.  Whisk the mixture with a whisk or an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note:
If you double or triple the recipe, you do not need to change the quantity for the vanilla bean.  

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recipe-poached pears

· print recipe ·

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Posted by Kay

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Bill’s Book Picks for Fall Reading

Books to read...

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The change in season is upon us and with it comes the new routine and activities.  The kids are back in school and signed up for soccer this fall.  I have begun the cleaning process in the garden and around the yard while Bill tackled some of the miscellaneous repairs and unfinished projects in and around the house. The days are full and the list of things to do is unending.  Finding some quiet time to yourself to unwind… with a hot cup of coffee and a good book to read is always an excellent idea.

Books

I asked Bill to compile some of his recent favorite books to share on the blog and here are four great books to read this fall.  Three of these books will take readers back in time and look at the history of our world, the people and places. The forth book will open our imagination to the future and the possibilities.  The authors have done extensive research and delivered the stories in a clear and engaging manner keeping the reader’s attention with the turning of each page.

Here is what Bill had to say about these books…

Books T Rex

THEODORE REX
by Edmond Morris

Theodore Rex is the second book of the three volume collection by the author, Edmund Morris. It’s a continuation of the life of Theodor Roosevelt {our 26th President}  from 1901 to 1909. The book picks up where The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt {excellent book} left off; with the assassination of President McKinley, Roosevelt moves from Vice President to President.  Teddy had already packed more into his life than most people could if granted three lifetimes, but he had more to do and contribute to the development of the USA and the World.  An excellent read.  By this time I had already become accustomed to the reality that this was a man so very intelligent and moving through life with such force.  Few will ever be quite like him and there was only one Theodore Roosevelt.

Books T Rex

Theodore Roosevelt was the consummate outdoorsman and conservationist, leading the development of eighteen National Monuments and five National Parks. This picture was taken of him at Glacier Point, Yosemite (1903).  The outdoors was very important to him and as President, he took numerous trips to explore the many parts of America and its rugged beauty and wilderness.

Books - Cod

COD
by Mark Kurlansky

Who would think that the history of a food source, a fish, would play such an important role in the development of countries, nations and the developing world.  Author, Mark Kulansky takes us through this history and how important was the trade of cod.  With recipes long since forgotten intertwined in the story, we learn of the fish’s discovery amongst the first fisherman to catch them, the trading market, the importance of feeding communities and even international conflicts over this food source.  He takes us right up to near present day when the world has recognized the damages of having over-fished the species and efforts to hopefully help them to bounce back in the decades to come.

Books - The Boys in the Boat

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT
by Daniel James Brown

A gripping re-telling of the college students from the University of Washington persevering through trials of early 20th Century life to win the Gold Medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Central to the story is Joe Rantz growing up in Washington to become part of the team. His life is one of repeatedly overcoming challenges in life, often alone, and making it onto the championship team. The book is riveting and hard to put down once begun, but it will encourage you to press on through your own trials.

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Books - The Boys in the Boat

The location of the rowing event at the 1936 summer Olympic was the Berlin-Grünau Regatta Course, Germany.

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Books - The Martian

THE MARTIAN
by Andy Weir

I don’t often think a movie and a book will be so equally entertaining, but after watching “The Martian” movie twice and loving the film, I then read the book which led to weeks of discovering other interesting things about space and physics.  Although science fiction, so much of the story is believable and easily imaginable.  The characters are great and the suspense is constant.  A really enjoyable story to help us all believe in hope and work towards overcoming obstacles.

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Books to read...

You will not regret reading any one of these books.  I have gained more knowledge and in-depth appreciation of our history and those who came before us.  The incredible strength and determination it took for them to presevere through their many obstacles and challenges on their journey, was inspiring.  I hope you will enjoy these books as much as I did.

In addition, here is a list of the current books I’ve started to read:
Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson
The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
The Potato by Larry Zuckerman
Longitude by Dava Sobel

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Posted by Bill and Kay

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Plum Cake

Plum Cake

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After the last photo of this Plum Cake was taken and some of the precut pieces were shared with the family, the temptation to sample another little piece was definitely on my mind.  And of course, I gave in repeatedly throughout the day until only some crumbs and a piece or two were left.  This is a sweet-light cake with a slight tartness from the addition of plums.  A simple and versatile cake to pair with coffee or tea for breakfast, slice a piece for an afternoon snack, or serve it as an after dinner dessert.  Before serving the plum cake, sprinkle it with confectioners’ sugar or top it with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.  Simply delicious!

 

Plums

For the first few years after Bill and I moved into our house, these plum trees went almost unnoticed and were basically used to provide us with shade from the sun during the summer months.  The discovery of our plum trees happened when a friend came for a visit and pointed them out to us.  He was in the backyard one day with a handful of something purple.  I asked what they were and he responded, “Sweet little plums.”

Plums

I’m glad the previous owners planted these plum trees on the property.  If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have thought of doing it myself.  The plum trees have provided us with an abundance of plums every year to eat and make into delicious compote, cake, and jam.

Plums

Fresh picked plums.

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Plums Cake

Plums Cake

· print recipe ·

serves 6-8

Ingredients

1     cup all purpose flour
1     teaspoon baking powder
¼   teaspoon salt
8     tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2     large eggs
10-12 small purple plums, halved

Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Plums Cake

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Cut two strips of parchment paper to line a 9-inch square baking pan, cut them long enough so that they hang over the edges.

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and set aside.

2.  In the mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy {2-3 minutes}, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

3.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4.  On low speed, add the flour mixture, mix until just combined.

 

Plums Cake

5.  Spread the cake batter in prepared baking pan. and arrange the plum halves cut side down on top of the cake batter.

6.  Sprinkle plums with sugar.

 

Plums Cake

7.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool for 25 minutes before serving.

 

Plums Cake

Optional:  Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

 

Plums Cake

Use the parchment paper to lift the cake out from the pan.

Plums Cake

Enjoy!

· print recipe ·

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Posted by Kay

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Plum Island, Eastern Point Lighthouse and Summer Cocktails

Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

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I hope you are enjoying the warm weather and soaking in the long summer days.  It has been awhile since my last post,  and I hope to get back into the swing of things after the summer break.  I’ve been posting on Instagram @whitegunpowderliftstyle, of our daily happenings and thoughts if you want to check it out and follow us there.  If you were to ask me about my summer, “busy” would describe it.  But, if you were to glance at my bare calendar with a few penciled in reminders it would contradict what I just said.  The daily life has been filled with mostly little things that come in waves depending on the weather or who one of my kids is in contact with.  There was one big travel plan for Bill and our daughter, Grace, to explore the country of Turkey and Greece in July.  After much thought, we decided to cancel it with so much uncertainty and unrest happening in that part of the world.  Staying close to home felt like the right thing to do this summer.

This blog post is a follow up to my last year’s blog post, Summer (teen) packing list…destination Cape Cod.  My intention was to put it together and share the photos my daughter, Hannah took on her trip to the east coast.  Soon after she came back, life had a way of changing things and it was put off and shoved on a shelf {in a computer file} to collect dust for over a year until I came upon it recently. I hope you enjoy this follow up post of the beautiful beaches of Plum Island and a visit to a favorite lighthouse in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

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Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

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Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

The view from above of the coastline of Massachusetts.

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Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

Plum Island is a barrier island  located off the shore Newburyport and Newbury,  Massachusetts.

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Plum Island

 

On most days this is a great place to be at to take in the view of the ocean, just beyond the houses.

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Plum Island

Hannah out on the deck watching a beautiful sunset over Plum Island.

Plum Island

Our littles friends, Hattie {left} and Hallie {right} were having fun and cooling off in the water.

Plum Island - Lighthouse - Cape Cod

The beautiful beaches on Plum Island.

Plum Island, MA

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Eastern Point Lighthouse

Eastern Point Lighthouse is located on the eastern tip of Gloucester Harbor in Massachusetts.

Eastern Point Lighthouse

My friend Heather {above pic} along with her two daughters, Hallie and Hattie took Hannah to visit the Eastern Point Lighthouse.  This is a familiar place as it was once occupied by her great-grandfather, Gilbert Hay, who was the lighthouse keeper in the 1930s and 1940s.

Eastern Point Lighthouse

The 2,250 foot long Dog Bar Breakwater was constructed from Cape Ann granite blocks.  It was built to shelter the Gloucester Harbor from rough water during storms.

Eastern Point Lighthouse

People have been coming to this spot to fish, have a picnic, take pictures, and enjoy the scenery. On my first trip to the east coast, Bill and I visited the lighthouse and walked out and got our pictures taken at just about this same spot.

Eastern Point Yacht Club

After the visit to the lighthouse, they stopped at Eastern Point Yacht Club for lunch.

Plum Island

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Cape Cod drinks Three refreshing and simple cocktail drinks to make this summer.  They are similar, but a little bit different with an addition of grapefruit juice or pineapple juice.

Cape Cod & Baybreeze Cocktail

Bay Breeze {add pineapple juice}  &  Sea Breeze {add grapefruit juice}

1½ ounces vodka
3     ounces cranberry juice
2     ounces grapefruit juice or  pineapple juice
ice
lime wedge/slices for garnish

Fill a tall glass with ice and pour all the ingredients, stir, and add lime slices for garnish.

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Cape Cod & Baybreeze Cocktail

Blue & white seashell cocktail napkins, IHR Ideal Home Range

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Cape Cod & Baybreeze Cocktail

Cape Codder {Cape Cod}

2 ounces vodka
3-4 ounces cranberry juice
ice
Lime wedge/slices for garnish

Fill a tall glass with ice and pour all the ingredients in, stir, and add lime slices for garnish.

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posted by Kay
photographs by Hannah

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