Today was a seafood chowder kind of day

Vancouver's having a dreary start to spring this year. Though the cherry blossoms are in full bloom on my street, the weather has been rainy and worst of all--cold. I left the apartment this morning wondering where I put my mitts. It's nearly April!

So I decided to get out of the pouring rain and cheer myself up with some seafood chowder. I had some leftover giant scallops sitting in my freezer as well as half a yellow onion, an opened package of cooked & smoked salmon, and a small carton of cream in the fridge. I went to the market to pick up a few more ingredients and I was set.

Seafood Chowder

(serves 2-4)

I took:

- 4 jumbo scallops
- 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 white button mushrooms
- 1 package of oyster mushrooms
- 1 small tin of smoked oysters (on sale for 79 cents)
- 1/2 can of baby clams
- 1/2 yellow onion
- a handful of cooked, smoked salmon
- 250 ml carton milk (I used 2%)
- 250 ml carton heavy cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt, pepper, pinch of thyme, 3 pinches of chopped parsley

I put the potatoes in the microwave to nuke and diced the onion. I only ended up dicing about 3/4 of the half onion (seemed like it was enough) and threw it in a medium sized pot with the butter. While the onions were saute-ing, I diced up the celery and sliced the white mushrooms as well as 2 stalks of the oyster mushrooms. When the onions turned translucent, I turned the stove down just short of simmer, and poured in the milk, cream, and threw in all the mushrooms. I opened up the can of baby clams and threw about half of it in the pot. I cut the smoked mussels and scallops into chunks, ripped up the smoked salmon, and tossed them all in. The potatoes were done by this point, so I peeled them (here's a novel way to peel them), diced them and added them to the pot. At this point, concerned with how thick it was getting, I added half a cup of water and turned up the heat a little...I wanted it bubbling, but not boiling. Last but not least, I put in the thyme and parsley. As for salt, I sprinkled some in, but not too much, as there's already quite a bit of sodium from the canned stuff and the salmon.

While it was all bubbling, I sliced up the french bread I had bought. The market had them at 99 cents, seeing as they expire tomorrow. And the best thing to do with old bread is to make croutons. I saved a few slices for toasting and a tomato & brie sandwich I plan for breakfast tomorrow, then cubed the rest of the loaf. I filled two cookie sheets with the bits and drizzled olive oil all over, then sprinkled some generic "Italian mix" herbs on them. Stuck 'em in an oven preheated to 375 for 5 minutes or so, and they're done. Now I've got a big box of croutons to use in soups and salads.

Chowder's also done now. I toast up 2 slices of french bread for dipping, sprinkle some fresh ground pepper, slice a few chive slivers for presentation...and I've got a fuckin' awesome meal for a rainy afternoon.