"I'm eatin' chowda!"

The line "I'm eatin' chowda!" is a running joke in our family about the important types of things people tell each other when they're talking on cell phones in public. If I had a cell phone, I would have been able to say it this afternoon as I lunched on an excellent clam chowder I concocted all by myself. I can't really say I invented it, cuz it's pretty much like every other chowder. Basically I just put in chowdery things in the most pleasing order I could think of, and here it is.

1 onion, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 T butter
1 jar/bottle of clam juice (8 oz.)
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 large russet potatoes, cut into soup-sized chunks
1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
2 cans of clams, NOT drained (the taller soup-can size, not the small tuna-can size)
2 cups milk
your thickener of choice
salt and pepper

Saute bacon and onion together in the butter until browned and bacon-y smelling. Add the clam juice. Drain the juice off the canned clams and add that too--should be about a cup. Put corn, potatoes and celery in. If needed, add a bit of water to cover the potatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Add the clams and heat through. Then add the milk. Now it's time to thicken. I used about 2T kuzu (a macrobiotic thickener that looks and acts like cornstarch). Cornstarch would also work, and probably a paste of flour and water would be fine too. The point is to just thicken the chowder a bit so it's creamy, not milky. Heat until the thickener has done its job. Season with salt and pepper. That's it!

I'm thinking this could be a decent potato or corn chowder if you just leave out the clammy ingredients. Maybe use stock instead of clam juice, and just add extra potato or corn at the simmer phase.

"Now I'm eatin' crackers..."

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