Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Parenthetical Recipes: In The Kitchen With Masked Mom

Yesterday afternoon, Baby Brother's Ex-Wife texted me to ask for my recipe for potato bacon soup. This presented a problem as I don't actually have a recipe for potato bacon soup. My potato bacon soup (which is semi-legendary for both its flavor and its aroma) was actually inspired by a commercial I saw a few years ago for Tim Horton's potato bacon soup. I thought--damn, that sounds good and it doesn't seem like it would be complicated to improvise it. And improvising it was not at all complicated; explaining how I improvise it is a whole other thing.

With BBEW yesterday, there ensued a series of texts in which I admitted I basically just wing it and gave her a list of ingredients (with only vague quantities) and general instructions.

During this textversation, BBEW suggested that I should write down some of the recipes for my "signature" dishes, including my clam chowder, which is an adapation of a semi-homemade recipe I found in a women's magazine more than a decade ago. Little does she know (and I didn't spoil it by telling her), but I have actually written down my clam chowder "recipe" such as it is. It appears below, copied and pasted from the Facebook message I sent to Little Sister last year when she asked for the recipe. Try fitting this on a 3x5 card:

"Like I said last night, I'm not really sure on the measurements of anything. I just make in the biggish pot (like the one we make pasta in) and put in what looks right. The original recipe was four servings so I've always at least doubled it anyway.

Start with celery, onion and bacon chopped. (If I had to guess I would say a cup each of celery and onions and about six to ten pieces of the bacon.) Saute them in the biggish pot until they start to soften. Add clam juice (the original recipe called for 8 oz bottle so at least double that) and chopped potatoes. (I think the original called for four medium chopped--I just eyeball it to match the amount of clam juice I put in.) Boil until the potatoes are almost tender (about 15 mins ish) then add two cans chopped (or minced if you prefer) clams and about half a pound of salad-sized shrimp (you can get them frozen or usually in the fresh section at Giant, which I greatly prefer even though I think they're just thawed out frozen ones--the quality is better) and a 16 oz bag of frozen corn.Then add "some" milk--just until the color looks right. Heat through.

Remove from heat. Then, you can either take out about a half cup to one cup of the potatoes, mash them and put them back in to thicken it or you can just add some instant mashed potato flakes until it reaches desired consistency. Give it a couple of minutes between adding flakes to see how much it thickens. I would guess I usually use between half a cup and a cup of flakes, but that's really, really just a guess. Season with pepper (and salt, if desired--I never add additional salt--the clam juice is ridiculously salty).

Let me know if you have any questions."

Am I crazy for imagining there's a Food Network show in my future? We could call it The Intuitive Chef because that sounds slightly more upmarket (though no more accurate) than The Guessing Gourmet.

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