Monday, November 24, 2008

Maine Style New England Fish Chowder

Here is a picture taken on my wedding day in South Portland, Maine. On a clear day you would see the Portland skyline across the harbor.
I was born and raised in Maine. After college years in Boston then formative years in Brooklyn and Manhattan, I now live in Northern California. Whenever I need a little Back East flavor, I make Fish Chowder, Maine-style, like Mom used to make. Real New England chowder is creamy with a thin milk broth (not the thick sludge you get in the restaurants). A friend of mine recently asked for the recipe, so I wrote it down for the first time. Here it is!

Maine-style Fish Chowder

¼ lb bacon (I usually buy three thick slices from Whole Foods)
1 garlic clove, smashed then minced
1 small white or yellow onion, minced (use a medium onion for more flavor)
2 tablespoons salted butter
6 small to medium white or Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and chopped into cubes – I usually cut them into 8 pieces or ¾ inch cubes)
½ teaspoon dried Thyme
3 dried Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 ½ to 2 lbs boneless Haddock fillets (Cod may also be used)
½ gallon milk (I use 2%; use whole milk for heartier flavor - add a bit of heavy cream if that is your thing)
½ capful Liquid Smoke hickory flavor
½ teaspoon Paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

This is an old-fashioned New England style chowder recipe. It is lighter and thinner than most restaurant versions.

Use large stockpot – I use an 8 qt. tall pot – with cover.

On medium heat, cook bacon in stock pot until crispy, turning as necessary. Remove crispy bacon and place on a plate with a paper towel to absorb grease. Leave bacon drippings in pan; add butter, garlic, and onions and cook on medium until onions are translucent.

Put potatoes in over onions; add about 1 inch water to pot. Add Bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and increase to medium-high; cook/steam for 5 minutes. Rinse fish, pat dry, and remove any bones. Reduce heat to medium and gently turn/stir potatoes. Lay fish on top of potatoes then cover the pot – the steam will cook the fish and finish cooking the potatoes. Check fish ever 2-3 minutes – use tongs or spoon to gently “pick up” the fish. If the fish breaks, it is done cooking. Reduce heat to low and uncover.

Slowly add milk. Do not stir until all milk has been added, and then only stir gently. Add liquid smoke and paprika. Use spoon to stir and break fish into desired size chunks. Leave chowder covered on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. At this point, taste the broth and add salt or pepper as necessary. Remove bay leaves if possible. Cover the chowder again and increase heat to medium. Cook an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chowder is ready to serve once it is hot.

Variation: corn chowder – add 2 cans of yellow corn, drained. Or use frozen corn. Both are good.

i heart haddock - can't get it on the West Coast (affordably anyhow)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

2008 "Art in Clay" Show & Sale - Bay Area

This is a direct copy/paste from - I'm not selling but a lot of great people are:

Sat & Sun, Nov. 15-1610 AM-5 PM

Lucie Stern Community Center Ballroom1305 Middlefield Rd.Palo Alto, CA 94301
The Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild will host its 8th "Art in Clay" show at the Lucie Stern Community Center Ballroom in Palo Alto.
More than 50 local artisans will present their newest creations at the 8th annual "Art in Clay" exhibit. This event, one of the Bay Area's finest art and craft shows, will feature a broad array of ceramic art and handmade pottery.
The ceramics span all styles of work, from raku to woodfire, from garden art to ceramic sculpture, from functional tableware to decorative art. "Art in Clay" is run by the artists who are exhibiting. Many artists will be available to answer questions and discuss their work.
Last year was a great success and well received by the public. We're anticipating an even more fantastic year showing our members' latest work! Light refreshments will be served throughout the day. Several door prizes will be given out each day!
Admission to "Art in Clay" is free, and the show is perfectly timed for selecting fine artisan-made gifts for the holidays!
For more information about our shows and sales, email or call our message number at (866) 841-9139 extension 1075.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Whimsical Pots by Barbara Dunshee

When I first began working with clay in 2001 it was about precision. As time rolled on and the wheel kept turning, I began to be tickled by a touch of whimsy. This came to a head in 2004 with the birth of my first hand-built teapot: a pumpkin fit for Cinderella. (note: someday I will post a photo of that pumpkin pot here)

I've discovered Barb Dunshee - an awesome clay artist. Since I'm a potter, I like her more functional whimsical pots, but she sculpts faces too. You can find the pot pictured - titled Attentive Milo - (and lots more) here.

I should add that Barbara is friendly and forgiving when typos are concerned ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Deer Crush

I have a crush on this little deer pincushion made by Consider The Birdies on Etsy.

There is something so sweet, so pretty about this little lass. Someday I may have her.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Autumn Inventory Reduction Sale - 20% off all Vintage

Out with the old, in with the "new" old is my mantra of the week. 8 Jones Street is having an Autumn Inventory Reduction Sale - I'll take 20% off the listed price of anything vintage in my Etsy shop. Once I sell off some of these items, I can post some of the newer (vintage) goodies hiding out in the armoire.

Looking for some vintage kitchenware? Wedding apparel? Jewelry? SPull up a laptop and a cup of tea and check it out!

Why I love the farmer's market

Heirloom tomatoes. Yum! Need I say more?