Friday, March 4, 2011

Clam Chowda & Bar Harbor Buoy Bell

Bar Harbor Buoy Wind Chime
It was a very windy day today. We have three wind chimes hanging from the big oak tree that grows up through the back deck. The first one hung was a gift from my husband to me, and is melodious and my favorite. Its sound is like the old kind of church bells. The second one (in chronological order of acquisition) is a heavy, hand-made chime that was ringing merrily when we happened upon it in the desert southwest. It takes a tremendous wind to move it to chime here in South Carolina. We begin to worry when our "desert" wind chime begins to rock 'n roll. The third is one that we brought back with us from a driving tour of New England two years ago, and was crafted to sound just like the buoy bell out in the middle of the harbor at Bar Harbor, Maine.

Happy memories are often triggered by sound, and little did we realize when we bought the buoy bell wind chime during our visit to Bar Harbor that it would bring us so much daily joy. It rang merrily today. I sat on the deck this evening and closed my eyes. I listened to the buoy bell clanging, now with the wind instead of the waves, but I could still taste the chowda.....

"A New England clam chowder, made as it should be, is a dish to preach about, to chant praises and sing hymns and burn incense before. To fight for. The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought for--or on--clam chowder; part of it at least, I am sure it was. It is as American as the Stars and Stripes, as patriotic as the national Anthem. It is 'Yankee Doodle in a kettle.'" ~Joseph C. Lincoln (1870-1944)

The best chowder we had was at a small fisherman's co-op and was made by the fishermen's wives. Of course, they didn't have an exact recipe, but had a "method," and I'll share it with you here just as they shared it with me there on the pier, on a sunny, breezy day in New England.

New England Clam Chowder

-Fry bacon and crumble. In bacon fat, saute onions. Stir in a bit of flour to thicken just a bit. This should not be a thick, cloying stew.
-Steam clams and strain liquid. Chop clams and set aside.
-To the liquid in the pan, add diced, peeled potatoes and water to barely cover. Salt to taste. Boil till potatoes are tender. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside.
-Stir onion/flour mixture into simmering broth and simmer gently, stirring, till thick.
-Stir in a bit of heavy cream or half & half cream, potatoes, chopped clams and crumbled bacon.
-Adjust seasoning (salt and pepper) to taste.
-Warm over low heat but do not boil or cream will curdle. 

Play with this and have fun. You can omit the bacon and use butter for the fat. You can add cod or lobster; just make it yours and enjoy it!

With love, from me to you...

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