Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Barefoot Bloggers: Cheddar Corn Chowder and How I Stalked Ina On My Summer Vacation
Don't pay the ransom!!!! I've escaped!!! Not really--I HAVE been MIA for QUITE a while but am back. I spent the summer all over the place.....including the Hamptons, where I not only met and had dinner with Ina's decorator--and may I just say....he is FABULOUS.....but I also spent several days stalking Ina herself. No, I never found her, but I did go to many of her favorite Hamptons' spots! How bad can that be?? I spent several wonderful days at my very good friend's house in Southampton....or, actually, in South, as the lingo goes. Yes, that's right, we Hamptoners--Hamptonites--Hamptonians--well, we just say South for Southampton, East for East Hampton, Bridge for Bridgehampton, and so on. So my friend, we'll just call her "S," and she is also FABULOUS, or maybe I should say FABULOUSER, led a few of us on a several-day Ina-stalking tour. Armed with Barefoot at Home, where Ina details her favorite places in the Hamptons, we aimed to go to as many of them as possible. The first night I was there we had dinner at Robert's house. He is Ina's amazing decorator and he is a wonderful host. He is my friend S's decorator and friend. And now he is my friend. My new best friend, in fact. Yes, we are besties.... BFF's.....best buds. He served great food, told great stories, and introduced me to "Hamptons' pool water" which to all you non-Hamptonians out there--is a very delicious and very pricey Rosé wine. The "All Ina All the Time Tour" started the next day. S took us to Loaves and Fishes and also to Cavaniola's Gourmet Cheese Shop for amazing cheese and even more amazing panini sandwiches--S's daughter claims they are life-changing and after eating one I had to agree with her. We went to Tate's Bake Shop for their famous chocolate chip cookies.
Every place was great--and I wouldn't expect anything less from Ina--but my favorite place, hands-down, was Round Swamp Farm, (see photo above) a shop located in a tiny little house which sells fabulous produce, baked goods, and prepared foods as well as seafood.
Cinnamon rolls to die for. I am still dreaming about them. We also went to H. Groome, Bloom, the Monogram Shop, and Turpan, which are some of Ina's faves for cookware and tableware. And yes, I tried to buy a little something everywhere--after all, if it's good enough for Ina, it's good enough for me. The stalking culminated in a visit to Ina's house. Well, maybe not a visit--maybe a viewing is more accurate. Yes, I saw the house, the barn, the garden.....I saw whatever I could see peering over her front gate. Here's a sneaky little shot of the barn. Yes, THE barn. Here it is:
Thank you, S (and family), for being a fantastic tour guide and host--I think even Ina could learn a few things from you! The food, the beach, the fun, the shopping, the talking, the walking, the stalking....it was all great! Can't wait til next summer......:))
I also spent some time in Paris and our hotel was right around the corner from Ina's apartment. I don't know which one was hers, but I stumbled upon her favorite street market (the Boulevard Raspail Street Market) which, as she says in Barefoot in Paris, is right in front of her apartment. So, it was an exciting summer.....now back to blogging.
The latest "Barefoot Bloggers" recipe is from Ina's Barefoot Contessa cookbook and is another keeper! Thanks to Jill of My Next Life for selecting this easy and delicious recipe! I halved the recipe and it still made a lot. It was really good!
CHEDDAR CORN CHOWDER
from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
8 oz bacon, chopped (optional)
1/4 C good olive oil
6 C chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 C flour
2 t kosher salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t ground turmeric
12 C chicken stock
6 C medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 C corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (2 pounds)
2 C half-and-half
8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.
NOTES: I halved the recipe and used 1 1/2 half bags of frozen corn. I mixed yellow and white corn and it looked really nice. I think you could easily omit the bacon. Chives or green onions would make a nice garnish.