Monday, January 26, 2009

Proximidade Award

It has taken me long enough, but a week or so ago my blog received its first award! Thank you very much Amy @ WhisperWood Cottage for passing the Proximidade Award my way.

Sorry it has taken me so long to acknowledge but I had MAJOR baby problems last week-but lets not talk about a baby that went on a food strike on a blog that is all about food. . . ironic isn't it?

What the Award is About...

"This Blog invests and believes the Proximity- nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming...these kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self- aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!"

What you have to do...

Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

I'm pretty new to the foodie blog scene so these folks will have no idea who I am. But nevertheless I will pass along the award to these truly enjoyable blogs. It may take me another week to drop a line to these fabulicious bloggers-but I will do it slowly but surely.

  1. Diary Of A Fanatic Foodie
  2. Homesick Texan
  3. Home With Mandy
  4. Under The Highchair
  5. Good American Wife
  6. Culinary Adventures Of A New Wife
  7. Evil Chef Mom
  8. Confections of a Foodie Bride

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Corn Chowder-Cracking the Eccell Code

Years ago I worked at Cafe Eccell, a very popular restaurant in College Station, TX. There are many items on the menu that pop in your mouth and leave you hungry for more. When people are made aware of my ties to that restaurant I usually hear these words fly out of their mouths: strawberry tart, chicken salad, bbq chicken pizza, steak, corn chowder. . .
Their food is so good and memorable that I even encountered an Eccell fan while living in Pocatello, Idaho. She thought their corn chowder was the best she had ever tasted and she's not alone, my household feels the same way.

So with that, I was on a corn chowder mission. I did not make the savory goods at Cafe Eccell (made the sweets) and did not have a recipe to work off of. Therefore, I had to take the ingredients that I knew was in the chowder and work from there and. . . EUREKA!!! I think I cracked the code!

This soup is ridiculously rich, creamy and velvety. It is the ultimate soup indulgence and looking at the ingredients I'm sure you'll agree. The butter, corn and added sugar give this soup a wonderful sweetness while the red onion, black pepper and jalapeno add a kick and nice spice to the back of the throat. Milk and added cream enhance the chowder's creamy, silky and luxurious texture.

I hope I've lured you in and convinced you to try it. After all, who doesn't need to reward themselves with an ultimate comfort food once in a while? And when you do-let me know- I'd like to hear how it turned out.

Melissa's Corn Chowder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 2 T.)
1 stick, cubed + 1 T. of butter
2 29 oz cans of corn, drained
1 red bell pepper, medium diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
4 red potatoes, diced
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 c. whole milk
1/4 c. + 1 T. flour
1 T. sugar
Salt and Pepper
1/4 c. Heavy Cream
Parsley, chopped (opt.)
Cornbread, crumbled (opt.)
  1. Heat Olive Oil and 1 T. of butter in stock pot. Add bell pepper, onions, celery and half of the chopped jalapeno and saute until onions are translucent.
  2. Add potato and saute for a few minutes. Add chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Add corn.
  3. Meanwhile, add flour and cubed butter into bowl and squish them together with your hands until incorporated. Add butter/flour mixture and sugar to chowder, bring to a simmer and stir until butter/flour mixture is incorporated into the soup. Add remaining jalapeno.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. Take off heat and drizzle in heavy cream until you've reached desired consistency.
  6. Garnish with cornbread and parsley
Lets talk about seasoning with salt and pepper. You want to season throughout the whole cooking process. Which means, season the veggies to enhance their flavor, taste and season again once you've added the chicken stock and milk, taste and adjust seasoning at the very end to ensure a rounded flavor to your liking.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Whole Wheat Pasta With Turkey Sausage, Peas, Mushrooms & Butternut Squash

I think of making this every time the weather turns a bit cooler. The whole wheat pasta and mushrooms give an earthy aspect to this pasta dish. The sweet turkey sausage is not only a lighter alternative to pork sausage but it lends a spicy bite. And the Butternut Squash rounds out the flavors with a sweet note. The dish is finished with a simple Italian sauce called a burro fuso, which is starchy pasta water, butter cooked together and thickened with Parmesan.

Whole Wheat Pasta w/ Turkey Sausage, Peas, Mushrooms & Butternut Squash
4 servings
Adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada DeLaurentiis
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 links of Italian Sweet Turkey Sausage, squeezed out of its casing
  • 1 small butternut squash, cubed
  • 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 oz. package frozen peas, slightly defrosted
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until done.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add turkey sausage and saute until golden brown breaking up any large clumps. Remove and drain on separate plate.
  4. Add two more tablespoons of oil to saute pan. Add mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Saute until liquid had evaporated and add peas until heated through. Return sausage to the pan and heat through.
  5. Cook pasta according to package instructions in a pot of salted water. Before draining pasta reserve a 1/2 c. of the pasta water. Drain pasta and add it to the sausage mixture. Add squash to mixture as well.
  6. Add reserved pasta water, butter and Parmesan cheese and toss to combine off of the heat.