A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What I Had for Lunch Today: Corn Chowder Plus Focaccia with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Onions

By this time of year, I'm thinking of any excuse to light the oven or set a simmering pot on the stove. Or both.

Today I made corn chowder, pretty much the way my mother always made it. I use her old pressure cooker with the guts taken out of it. I cook a sliced onion in butter or margarine until soft, then add a grated carrot. Then a few potatoes, peeled and cubed, and just enough water to cover. I simmer it covered until the potatoes are nearly done, then add fresh or frozen corn and simmer a bit longer.

My mother used canned creamed corn, but I don't like canned vegetables, so I add just a bit (half a teaspoon?) of cornstarch dissolved in water to the chowder when it's cooked and stir it in well before it lumps, to give the equivalent mouth feel. Then I pour in some milk (soymilk's fine), bring it back to just below a simmer, and garnish it with chopped parsley.

It's getting to be too much trouble to go out for nice fresh bread every day, so I made some focaccia to go with the soup. Or I guess you could call it pizza. When does pizza stop being pizza? This had no sauce and not much cheese--just a bit of freshly-grated Parmesan and some shredded mozzarella scattered over the top. Also a couple of onions, caramelized in butter and a pinch of sugar, with two cloves of chopped garlic thrown in at the end. I sliced up most of a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and threw those on, too. Two loaves of focaccia and the entire pot of chowder were gone by nightfall.