Hello! It’s been quite a week for us around here. Our oldest got a nasty virus, Christmas shopping has been in full swing, and we’ve all been recovering from a successful Christmas open house. As I get older, I’m finding the planning, the cooking, cleaning, and hosting to be quite the undertaking! Luckily, I’m surrounded by wonderful family and friends and have an amazing husband who all pitch in. I love celebrating the holidays and kicking it off early in the month with a party always puts me in the best mood.
This is the first year Griffin really seems to be understanding Christmas. He is obsessed with the decorations, lights, and all. the. Christmas. carols. and. books. We went hunting for a tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving with some of Steve’s family and it was an awesome afternoon! We also visited Santa one morning and the boys were surprisingly relaxed.
Griffin tree hunting
Tree hunting at Maple Crest Farm in West Newbury, MA
Visiting Santa with Elise
Parker and his new musical snow globe
The boys reading Olive the Other Reindeer, a gift from their second cousins Olivia and Coady (thanks, guys!!)
Dinners (and lunches and breakfasts) this week have been a little haphazard, but I finally got my act together in the last couple of days. I first learned of this recipe when I took a cooking course at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. It is truly one of the most comforting, flavorful soups I’ve ever had. A quick tip-prep all the ingredients before you start cooking. It will make the process so much easier. Here’s the recipe:
6 slices of bacon, diced
5 ears fresh corn, cut from the cob (frozen works, but fresh is better)
1 large bulb fennel, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium potatoes, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Dice the potatoes and spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Coat the potatoes with 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Place in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes have soften.
Cut all the kernels off the cobs of corn. Spread them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchments paper and mix with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
While the vegetables roast, prep the other ingredients. Dice the bacon (it is easier to cut bacon if you place it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before cutting.) Remove the core and chop the fennel.
Chop the onion and mince the garlic.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, saute the bacon on medium heat until it starts to brown.
Add the diced fennel and onion with salt and pepper and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Raise the heat to high and add the wine. Scrape all the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add the flour and mix well.
Add the chicken stock. The stock will start to thicken.
Remove the corn and potatoes from the oven and add to the chowder. Add salt and pepper to taste and cayenne, if desired. Add the heavy cream and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pot to enhance all flavors.
Serve and enjoy!