Sunday, October 19, 2008

Haramfest sometime later this week

Video ends in an awkward place, so click to continue.

It is getting cold out and time to break out the soup kettle. I live for homemade soup. Nothing comforts like a hot, creamy sea food chowder. My secret to a good chowder base: Hondashi Soup Base. It is a powder made from Bonito, a dried fish flake used in Japanese soup-making.

Follow the directions, if you have them in English. It doesn't have any salt in it, so you will have to season it well. Hondashi adds a depth of flavor to chowder. I am always asked, "Hmm...what IS that flavor?" Well, don't tell anyone, but it's the hondashi.

For exquisite seafood chowder, select several kinds of shell fish and fish. Clams, oysters, canned or fresh, shrimp, really matters only if you are on a budget. Save all the liquids from the canned stuff. I add a good hearty meaty white fish, that won't fall apart in the soup.

Here is what I use to make a hearty seafood chowder:

4 Tbsp Hondashi to 2 quarts of water, mix and let it simmer on low while you do everything else. Add a pinch of salt to the soup base.

1 onion, large roughly cut
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, cut into chunks
4 rashers of bacon, fried, crumbled and reserve the drippings.
5 red potatoes (not russets) not peeled, diced
2 Tablespoons of white flour
1 package of frozen corn
parsley and dill weed
Assorted fish and seafood.
(oysters, clams, mussels, crab or lobster meat, fresh white fish cut into chunks, at least 2 lbs.)
salt and pepper, to taste.
1 quart of heavy cream.

...supplemented with a loaf of hot crusty sour dough bread.

First, dice 3 stalks of celery and a very large yellow onion and 2 cloves of garlic.
Cook off 4 rashers of bacon and saute the chopped veggies in the fat. Or you can skip the bacon and use butter. Sometimes I add chopped leftover ham to the soup in addition to all the other goodies I put in.

After sauteeing onions, celery and garlic, add carrots, potatoes and corn. Saute for a few minutes more, seasoning with salt and pepper, and a couple of dashes of nutmeg, too, if you like. Sprinkle the flour into the vegetable mix and let it begin to thicken as a roux. Pour everything into the pot of simmering hondashi stock. Stir til the flour is dissolved and there are no flour lumps.

Begin layering the clams and oysters in, followed by scallops and shrimp, and then lastly by the white fish. Do this in increments of 5 minutes. I prefer the cheaper canned oysters and clams, for convenience' sake, as well as price.

When things look almost cooked through, add the cream, scallions, dill weed and parsley. Sometimes, just to brighten things up, before I add the cream, I add the zest and juice of one lemon.

Serve with the bread and crumbled bacon. Swig a hot mug of spiced cider and curl up with a good book and your favorite music.


  1. The chowder sounds delish and I may have to make it. I never thought of using Hondashi and may have to get some. When I make clam chowder I buy clam broth and clams but this would boost the flavor a bit. This recipe would be great once I move since the man likes to fish and all these things are very abundant there.

  2. Hondashi is one of the ingredients in the Japanese clear soup known as suimono. It is subtle and lovely. It was a last minute idea I got from going to the Asian market. Another choice is kikkoman's Cold Noodle Base, which is also nice. I have even thought about adding white miso paste and seaweed to chowder. THAT would really make it a 'sea' food dish, now, wouldn't it!

  3. Since where Im moving to will be close to the ocean, Ill be near all sorts of fresh seafood. Icant wait to start digging in. I want to find out about the seaweeds up there too because I want to use them in my skin products. After all wouldnt every mermaid use that? hehehehe

  4. Oh lady! Let me tell you what my enterprising sister did with her skin care products. I had the opportunity to go to an international convention on Aesthetics and Cosmetology, and what an eye opener! She had developed a kind of body wash, using mineral salts, seaweed in a silicon based suspension. I am not kidding, she had people from all the fashion magazines at our display! Even the French, the FRENCH showed up. This product was amazing. Activated by warm water, you used it on age spots, arms and hands, mostly, and they vanished! I saw it with my own eyes. They vanished. We had all kinds of darker skinned people coming up, and I would dab a little on their hands or brown spots, and they came out of the bathroom after washing, and their hands were incredibly soft and spot free! no bleaches or whiteners in this product. I wish I could remember what all was in it. The great thing about it was that even after you used it, simply rewetting the skin would activate whatever residual product was on it, and it would continue to soften and even out the tone of the skin. I will find out what she calls it, and send you a link, if you like.

  5. Sea Nymph, Sunday afternoon is the Day of Chowder. I read from the blog to my husband, and he insists that he wants me to make this, and I insist upon having my brother, his wife and daughter at the feast. So Saturday I go a shopping.

  6. Oh I would love the link to that sking product. I hope to develope a few of my own once I land in a permanent home and get settled. Im always looking for new ideas or even things people would like to see so any ideas you might want to see ,,,,,,,pass them on and Ill see what I can do.

  7. Haha, Sea Nymph! What a fantastically funny coinkidink! My husband was really eager to have this for dinner on Sunday, and Saturday, I did my shopping too! .37 per clam! I used cod and lump crab in mine. My eldest came home with her girlfriend and her girlfriend's boyfriend....who's a chef! They all loved it. As for the link to my sister's website, I have to call her and get it. She has a blog called Chicken Barbie, and whenever she goes on these conventions, which is quite often, in the past, that is, she takes a barbie doll with its head removed and has chicken head on it, and she takes silly pictures of this doll at the bar, or riding in a jag. Things I would do if I didn't have so much damn time on my hands!

  8. OMG I linked to her blog once. On my other blog on Multiply, we used to do a thing called Chicken Tuesday. While researching for something for that week I stumbled on her blog and linked to it for all my chicken friends.....what a small world!


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