Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Harissa Leg of Lamb

Well I guess if it's Tuesday, it must be Bedlam(b)! So lame right? And you'd have to be 55 or older to even get that one! I made the lamb curry last Tuesday and that's my day off to cook. I always troll for meat bargains when I shop and with $12.00 for a small pack of stewing beef and $11.00 for a small pack of hamburger meat, a boneless leg of fresh lamb at $20.00 seemed like the bargain of the century today. So not to be Tuesday lamb obsessed, I was looking for a flavour vehicle for a Harissa sauce that I wanted to try out. And my God, I'm not sorry I did. Harissa flavour is native to Northern Africa. Tunisia to be precise. And I am so fascinated with all African inspired dishes lately. And a Harissa sauce is one of those sauces that probably has a thousand variations on it, so you don't have to be precise like a French sauce where you have to nail it every single time. And you can use this on a shoulder cut as well. Just slow cook it for 7 hours to where it has the texture of pulled pork. But since I got the bargain on the leg today, we'll do it traditional roast style. But you can use this sauce as a condiment as well. Use it in place of ketchup or HP Sauce. This is flavour town baby!

So let's make the sauce first. You'll need:
6 dried chilies of any kind. I used 2 of each of Ancho, Arbol and Guajillo (Side note - This is why it pays to stock your pantry since I had these chilies in the cupboard from my Posole Rojo recipe)
1 Teaspoon of Caraway Seed
1 Teaspoon of Coriander Seed
1 Teaspoon of Cumin Seed
1/4 teaspoon of chili flakes
4 peeled garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of salt or kosher salt
2 generous tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. And more. I'll explain
That's the basic sauce and you can add some options. This is damn spicy, so you want might to add
Zest and juice of a lemon (which I did)
1 tablespoon of chopped mint or cilantro. I used mint, but cilantro would be awesome too. Or even parsley
Some sundried tomatoes or yogurt. Suit yourself. I was happy without it.

Start by hydrating your chili peppers. Cover with boiling water and let them rehydrate for 30 minutes.
Toast your spices in a dry skillet just until they give fragrance and bash them up in a mortar and pestle. Drain your chili peppers and stem and discard the seeds. (Wear gloves for this unless you thrive on danger and pain). Save the remaining water for a minute. Put your spices and peppers and garlic and salt and everything but the olive oil into a food processer and start it up. Slowly drizzle in your olive oil until you have a paste. You basically want ketchup consistency here. Thin it down with your chili water if it's too thick. Taste for salt. But you need to put this in fridge overnight, so better to taste for seasoning when you serve since the flavours will develop. Put it in a Mason Jar and cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil and refrigerate.

For the roast:
I used a boneless leg of lamb, but a shoulder of pork or lamb would be awesome too. Same technique. Rub the sauce onto the meat and cover and refrigerate overnight. If you use a shoulder of anything, place the meat in a roast pan and bake at 285 degrees F for 6 or 7 hours. Covered and with 2 cups of water in the pan. For a boneless leg, I preheated to 450 degrees and roasted for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for 25-30 minutes per pound. Uncovered the whole time. Let rest for 10 minutes under tin foil before you serve it.

Just of note, you can use this sauce as a condiment. It will keep in your fridge for up to a month. Put a new layer of olive oil on it each time you use it. But you can put it on burgers or eggs or sandwiches or even if you make a hummus, throw a few spoonfuls on top. So delish! I could eat it from the jar actually. God Bless Africa and thank you for the flavour you give us! You can serve this with any side you like. But if you do the slow roasted method, it's recommended that you shred it and serve with Naan bread or lettuce to wrap it in. Enjoy friends!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Tagliatelle with Meatballs in Red Wine


I've decided this blog doesn't give enough attention to date food. Possibly because two of the three LadyGirls are in live-in relationships, and the third (me) is a jaded serial First-Dater, we don’t consider how many people in this world are actually out there and meeting other humans in hopes that some sort of functioning relationship will blossom.

I’ve had so many first dates that I have a script that I essentially recite. My first date monologue is one of pre-crafted and charmingly quirky anecdotes, dotted with perfectly timed self-deprecating witticisms, which only work because nothing I'm self-deprecating about is an actually personality flaw, which both the date and I know. To break through my carefully fashioned exterior of a mix between Gillian Flynn's Cool Girl and Nathan Rabin’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl, you need to make it to at least a fourth cocktail on Date Three.
 
The monologue is necessary, particularly in the ADD-age of Tinder. Spending time with strangers is rarely fun, and when you are spending time with a stranger who only stood out because in the swath of gym-selfies, gun-selfies, and Unabomber lookalikes, he had a profile without any dead animals or dick pics. This in no way means they will be interesting, or funny, or even a functioning human being. It only means they realize that a picture of their nethers should not be treated as a valentine.

Rather than playing 20 Questions with men who ration their sentences, I will just start chattering to fill the void. As Pulp Fiction puts it, you have to be pretty familiar to share a comfortable silence with someone. What does a silence with a stranger feel like? It feels like the doctor’s office calling you back two weeks after those tests, and then the receptionist being on lunch break for the next hour. It feels like standing in line at Ikea with only three light bulbs to purchase during on the last weekend in August in a college town.  It feels like the moment of dread at 4:52 a.m. when you wake up and have to pee and you know that if you get out of bed, you’ll finally fall back asleep at precisely 6:57 a.m. In short, it is excruciating. The answer is to have a pre-prepared soliloquy of sorts, which you can deliver over a drink (or two, depending on how much you like the sounds of your own voice) and you’ll never have to have a real conversation with a stranger ever again.


So anyway. All that being said, after a few dates with someone, you may actually like them enough to share a meal with them. This needs to be carefully considered as well. It can’t be too slurpy (no pho or ramen), but it can’t be boring or cheap (please, please, never Kelsey’s).  

Once you’ve shared enough meals in public with someone, you then may want to spend time with them in the privacy of your own home. This is great if you actually truly enjoy someone’s company, but be warned- there is much more pressure in your home, because you lack the ability to people watch and base conversations on your observations. A helpful option? Making a great meal.

These meatballs are a great date meal. They are quick, your house will smell amazing, and they’re quite easy to make, without looking like you made some Kraft Dinner. The trick is to use fancy pasta, no basic fettuccine for this. If you use pappardelle or tagliatelle, it looks like an extra special effort. As my mother always told me, “It’s all smoke and mirrors baby,” (as I type this, I realize I really took that advice to heart since my first date monologue is essentially smoke and mirrors.)

I based the meal on this recipe, which I found on Pinterest. I changed a few things, but one thing I absolutely recommend staying with is the integration of ricotta. It keeps the meatballs wonderfully moist.

I wasn’t able to find veal, and also had a lengthy discussion with my best friend on the phone about the ethics of veal while trying to find it in the Loblaws, and was guilted out of even looking very hard by the end of the conversation. You could use ground beef, like I did, but it would probably be fine with really any ground meat you wanted.


For the meatballs, you’ll need:
  • 1 lb of ground meat
  • 3 tbsp ricotta
  • lemon zest
  • about a handful of breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • a few cloves of minced garlic
  • parmesan
  • chili flakes


For the sauce, you’ll need:
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup red wine (or more, whatever)
  • knob of butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • squeeze of lemon juice


I didn’t use white wine, as the recipe suggests, because I think red meat is better with red wine. You can use whatever you like though. I also put the lemon zest in the meatballs instead of the sauce and then squeezed the lemon into the sauce.

Mix your meatball ingredients together with your hands, there’s no other way. Form into balls; you’ll get about 12-14 depending on how big they are. Let chill for half an hour. Heat up a tbsp. of oil in large frying pan and brown the meatballs on each side. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and simmer for a minute or two. Then add your chicken stock, bay leaves, and lemon juice. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 15 minutes, turning the balls occasionally.

Cook your pasta in boiling, salted water. Just before serving, stir in the knob of butter to your sauce. Top pasta with meatballs, sauce, freshly grated parmesan, and maybe some fresh basil or parsley. (That’s optional, but you’re the type of person who puts effort into things.)

 Happy dating!



Friday, 12 December 2014

Baked Tacos

Here I go again contradicting myself. I found a recipe on facebook that I shared to my sister's wall since she doesn't like to cook or fuss around with food. But I know her family loves food. So when I spot a really easy one that has potential for flavour, I share it over to her. But even I wanted to try this one out. It's literally the easiest weekday meal you will ever make. I'm all about cooking all day long since it relaxes me and I enjoy it. So speedy recipes aren't my thing. But this took less than 30 minutes and it was full of flavour, and has the flavours of my beloved Mexico, where I'm headed to in 7 days. So a Joy! And let's do this!

You'll need:
1 package of lean ground beef (about a pound.)
1 finely chopped onion
1 package of Taco seasoning (cringing now, but it works)
1 can of refried Pinto beans
1/2 can of tomato sauce
6 small tortillas

And to garnish:
Lettuce, chopped tomato, salsa, sour cream, hot sauce, chopped cilantro

Preheat your oven to 375. Brown the hamburger meat and add the chopped onion and saute until soft. If you didn't use lean ground beef, drain the fat. If you did, let's forge ahead. There will be a bit of fat, but we're down with that. This is life. Add the can of refried beans and the taco seasoning and stir it all around for a few minutes until it all bubbles up and blends in. Add the tomato sauce. Taste and add some salt and pepper if you like.

In a 9 x 9" pan, fill each soft tortilla with the beef and spread it into 6 shells equally. Top with shredded Mexican blend cheese. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes then broil just until the cheese bubbles and remove from the oven. Let sit for about 10 minutes and serve with garnishes. Easier than making a peanut butter sandwich. You'll be making this one every week. Cheers friends! Always trying to save you time during the Holiday crunch!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Chicken Chilaquiles

Anybody getting sick and tired of me raving about how much I love Mexican cuisine yet? Well brace yourself because this one is a barn burner. So awesome and easy and delicious. And I made it for snack today for my football friends and it took no effort at all. Nobody even noticed I disappeared to the kitchen and came back with lunch. But they expect that of me anyway. This is a recipe I have been wanting to try for so long just and only for its sexy name. Chilaquiles. Can you even say it without smiling and thinking of joy and happiness and sexiness and flavour? Didn't think so. So let's light up the joint and buck up a sexy meal!

You'll need:
3 tablespoons of paprika
3 tablespoons of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
That's your flavour base.
Also:
3 tablespoons of Canola oil or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 box of chicken broth. You may want to use low sodium since we're going to throw a bag of Frito chips into this later
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I used 2 to feed 4 people. So use 4 breasts if you're feeding more than that.
Salt and pepper to season
A bag of Frito chips
1 cup of crumbled Feta cheese. Or use Mexican cheese if you can get your hands on it
Sour Cream to garnish
Thinly sliced red onion to garnish
Chopped Cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice to garnish

Combine your paprika, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, sugar and salt in a bowl, whisking it all up and set aside.
Chop your garlic
Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat the oil on medium heat and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Whisk for 3 or 4 minutes until golden. Add the garlic and the spice mixture. Keep on whisking and slowly whisk in the broth, and keep on whisking until it's smooth and be sure to scrape the sides and incorporate it all. Cover and let it simmer for about half an hour until it is thick enough to coat a spoon. We're looking for gravy texture here.
Slice your onion and organize your garnishes while that simmers.
Slice your chicken horizontally.
Throw a bag of Fritos into the sauce 3 minutes before you plan to serve. And stir it all up.

To plate:
Add the Frito and sauce mixture onto a plate. Top with the chicken, cheese, red onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Drizzle some sour cream over it. And that's it! And my piece of crap, virus infected laptop won't let me post a photo. And that's a shame because this is a very beautiful dish. So photo to come soon and cheers my friends!


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Burrata with Honey-Balsamic Raspberries and Black Pepper

Well, in case you haven’t been in a store for the last three weeks, Christmas is just around the corner. Not that I want to jump on the Christmas bandwagon yet (or ever), but it’s getting to be that time where people start hosting holiday gatherings and such. As is tradition, when you are invited to someone’s home, you are often expected to bring something as well. No sense in wasting time with the passive aggressive “Oh don’t bring a thing!” Everyone knows that’s bullshit. So I am going to save you the trouble of fretting about what to bring.

 

This is a fresh, festive, and easy dish that is sort of a Baked Brie 2.0. Not that I have anything against baked brie, I love it. But when Heather Reisman is making half her profits on ceramic dishes in jewel tones, specifically for baking said brie, I feel it’s perhaps a little over done.

So here’s a new suggestion from Food52, using burrata. I first became captivated with burrata when I was looking up how to make my own cheese. I wanted to make it, but you know how I feel about recipes requiring me to use formal measurements. (If you’re interested in a DIY project involving thermometers and something called “Polly-O mozzarella curd, check it out here.) I thought I might have to shelve my burrata fascination, until my local Loblaws transformed themselves from a basic grocery store to a Gourmet Food Shop, with all the conveniences of being located in a strip mall. So now I have a delightful oyster bar, olive bar, and fromagerie just a few blocks away.


Start by making a balsamic reduction. Pour about a half-cup of balsamic into a little pot or pan. Add 1 tbsp of honey and let simmer until it reduces by half and has the viscosity of syrup. Set aside.


Slice your burrata, which is practically a religious experience (and at $13.00 per ball, it deserves a little reverie), and plate. Add fresh raspberries, and drizzle with balsamic reduction. A few cracks of black pepper takes it to a new level. (Along the lines of baked brie, I think people are kind of over sea salt or fleur de sel on their desserts. Black pepper is just as easy but much more surprising. It’s almost whimsical.)

I think this dish is just that little bit extra for a holiday gathering. Enjoy!


PS- For more burrata recipes, and an entirely enjoyable aesthetic blog experience, check out Sunday Suppers.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Cuban Sandwiches

Have I ever told you how much my family loves to take a concept and run wild with it until it's been exaggerated to death? And of course you know we love NFL football and betting and eating snack and drinking beer. So imagine the fun we had combining the two this week! So my sister and I were discussing our football tickets for this week. And then from there - and I don't know quite how it evolved, we got to talking about the different cities that have NFL teams. And which cities we liked the most and which ones we'd like to visit some day. And being as we are, we decided to do a Sexy City ticket. That's right. We chose what we decided were the 6 sexiest cities in the NFL and bet on them. And since Miami was deemed to be one of those sexy cities, and won the Thursday Nighter, I was inspired to make Cuban Sandwiches for snack this week. That is one sexy snack for two sexy sisters, and a sexy city 6 pick ticket! So let's have some fun with that.

You'll need:
A 1 or 2 pound pork shoulder roast, depending on how many sandwiches you want to make. I used a 2 pound to make about 10 sandwiches. The roast is really the key to give your sandwiches good flavour and I slow cooked mine the day before.
Salt and pepper to season
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of smashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon of dried red chili flakes
1 sliced onion
1 cup of orange juice
zest and juice of a lime
1 cup of chicken broth
2 bay leaves
Bread. Not a baguette. If you can't find a Cuban roll, I used Portuguese buns
10 slices of Swiss Cheese
Bread and butter pickles
10 slices of Black Forest ham.
Salt and Pepper and olive oil to brush on the bread
A Panini or sandwich grill if you have one. Otherwise use a skillet and smash the sandwich down with a plate with a brick on it. And flip after 3 or 4 minutes on medium heat. Just to golden and your cheese is melted.

So let's get at that pork roast. Just of note, this is an amazingly delicious way to cook a pork roast and I would use it as main if I wasn't in the mood for Cuban Sandwiches.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat and add the garlic and chili flakes. Season the roast with the salt and pepper and rub in the cumin and oregano. Brown it in the oil on all sides and add the onion, bay leaves, lime juice and zest and orange juice and broth. Cover and place in a preheated 300 degree oven and cook for about 3 1/2 hours. Remove the meat and set aside. Boil down the remaining juices in the pan until they're reduced by half or a bit more. You want it to be like a gravy consistency. Press it through a sieve and let it cool down. Put it in a squeeze bottle and refrigerate it. And you just made you own homemade sub sauce! Imagine that! Let it come back down to room temperature before you make your sandwiches.

To assemble your sandwiches, slice open the bun and add some of your sub sauce to each side. Layer the sliced pork, then cheese, then pickle and the ham. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Brush each side of the bun with olive oil and heat in the sandwich press for about 5 minutes. Let all of your ingredients come down to room temperature before you assemble them. That way they'll be warm from the grill, but your bun won't scorch. And that's a sexy tip right there! Mustard or Dijon is an option to serve on the side. But not traditional to the sandwich. So that's your call. And that, my friends is the way to enjoy a Sunday in the sexiest possible way. Enjoy!

 

 
 
 


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Bacon Frittata

I guess I can tell you that my biggest pet peeve in life for the past decade (or 2, because where do the years go?) has been the price of gasoline. As it goes steadily up, my nerves go steadily down. To the point where I started driving a 4 cylinder car to save on gas. And I watch the websites like a hawk, driving on fumes to fill up on the next cheap gas day. I will literally buy 2 dollars worth to hold me off till then. So now, instead of spending a full days pay on gasoline, I only spend a half days pay per week. And I thought I was winning. But oh no my friends. As the cartels have been slowly loosening that noose off my neck, the bastard pig farmers have been quietly gaining momentum.

Canadians more than love bacon. It courses through our veins. It is the very mainstay of our lives other than hockey and maple syrup. And when hockey is over for the season and the maple trees are not in sap, it's all we have to sustain us. We count on bacon. It is our trusted and dear friend. A friend when nobody else seems to care. And knowing this, the pig farmers or the government, or some other sinister blood lusty thieves started sneaking the price slowly up to the point where less than a pound of bacon (because those same blood lusty thieves put us to the metric system) raised it to $7.99 a package. More than the price of a steak or chicken or a really good cut of pork roast.

So I went on bacon strike. I didn't think I needed it that badly. I just decided bacon and I were through for good. I stopped buying it altogether. But it wasn't too long before I started lingering in bacon the way I used to lust for new shoes. I would just stand there with my cart and eyeball it, hoping for a brand on sale. Stand there and savour the good memories of a long lost love. Relish in those precious memories and wonder what I did so wrong to break us up. Often times I would just softly caress that plastic and resolve myself to be content in the good memories we had and move on. Sometimes I would put it in my cart, only to throw it back down in chicken. Strength and resolve. But then one day, I ordered a BLT for lunch from a local deli. And I realized I was back at square one. The addiction was strengthened by that toasted sandwich. I think my joy possibly frightened the office staff from ever dining in the same room as me again. It was shameful. So I relapsed. I bought some bacon on the way home that night and went on an ever loving bacon bender the likes of which you've never seen.

And I cook the whole not full pound of it because I can't know when I've had enough. And so last night I had some left over bacon because I'm normalized again after the withdrawal. And this frittata is the very best way to enjoy leftover bacon.

You'll need:
bread slices, about 5 to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. I use light rye. Just use enough full slices to cover the bottom of the pan and tear up another piece to fill in the holes so it's all covered
8-10 eggs
a splash of milk
a goodly few sploshes of hot sauce of your choice
2 chopped tomatoes
also anything else you like. Chopped onion or green or red pepper or jalapeno. Just whatever you have on hand or like
2 cups of grated cheese. Again, use what you like. I like old white cheddar and gruyere
salt and pepper to season
6 or 7 slices of crisp bacon which you will crumble over the top

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of the casserole dish with the bread
Whisk the eggs, hot sauce, salt and pepper and milk
Add the cheese and tomatoes and whatever else vegetable you like
Pour it over the bread and crumble the bacon over the top and season with more salt and pepper
Bake for about 45 minutes
Let it rest for 10 minutes before you serve it

So easy and you can have this for brunch or lunch or dinner or breakfast. I like asparagus very much, so I serve with a side of roasted asparagus. But a salad would be just the dandy too. Enjoy friends!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Meatloaf with Caramelized Onions, Blue Cheese and Red Wine


Let’s talk about meatloaf. I can hear some of you groaning already, remembering your mum or your grandmother’s ketchup-glazed, and yet still dry, loaf of ground meat.


So what is it about meatloaf? What has changed it from a 1950s Americana staple meal, to the rather dubious notoriety as the birthday choice for Mitt Romney’s “Blue-Collar Birthday Meal”?  Apparently he eats his own “mini meatloaf cakes” with cooked carrots and mashed potatoes every year for his birthday celebration. (Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a man of mystery and adventure. Ann must be a very happy woman.)


My most memorable meatloaf reference belongs to Ren and Stimpy, in perhaps the most bizarre cartoon scene ever aired on television, where Stimpy wanders into his own psychedelic bellybutton, meeting Jerry, The Bellybutton Elf, who is smoking a stogie and wearing a miniskirt of the finest lint. Stimpy is then enslaved by his Bellybutton Elf, and mistakenly serves him LintLoaf (at 7:35 here). Jerry HATES LintLoaf, and Stimpy must escape. Very dramatic, and certainly scarred my psyche permanently.


With the chill in the air, I’ve been thinking about comfort food, and I wanted to try something new. I had it in my mind that my dad really likes meatloaf, and so I thought about looking through my grandmother’s recipe book to learn how to make hers. But let’s be real. Meatloaf, prior to 1980, was made with about 4 different ground meats. Her recipe had veal, pork, beef and probably about a pound of lard. So I wasn’t about to do that, although I did want a luxe version.


I decided to use a pound of ground veal, and combine a few recipes I found. One had a red wine glaze, which sounded great, but then I came across another with blue cheese and caramelized onions, which also sounded amazing. And don’t forget, I make that blue cheese sauce with shallots and cream, which I thought could be a great stand-in for gravy in this recipe. And so, an idea was born.

Start by caramelizing your onion. This takes some time, so just chill and start with this. Do not rush your onion slices. Let them go slowly. Easy on the heat. Lots of butter. Little bit of salt. (Not sugar. You’re better than that. You don’t put cream in your risotto, and you don’t put sugar in your caramelized onions. You aren’t that kind of girl. Or guy.)


Once they are nice and golden, you can turn up the heat a little, and pour in a hefty splash of red wine. Reduce until it’s basically onion syrup. Set aside.

Okay, now we’re going to do the raw meat portion. In a bowl, add your meat, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, your onion mix, one egg slightly beaten, a ¼ cup of crumbled blue cheese and spices. You’ll notice in the recipe above they only add salt and pepper, but that’s as basic as a pumpkin spice latte, and the idea here is an upscale meatloaf, not one that Mitt Romney is going to glaze with ketchup and eat with boiled carrots, before he spends 7.9 minutes in missionary position for his birthday nookie. (Sorry, that got racy, but I couldn’t resist.)


For spices, I used a palmful of herbes de Provence, but use your favourites. Mix with your hands (awful, I know) and form into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350° for about an hour. Serve with blue cheese gravy, boiled carrots and mashed potatoes (mine are rosemary garlic, just for a touch of excitement).
                                         

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Peruvian Chowder

Getting sick of my soup recipes yet? Well you won't be when you try this one. It's a hearty and healthy fall harvest recipe. Found it on the Food and Wine site and liked the idea of the flavours. Always, always trying to use as much veg as I can from that Farm Share Project, (As in Please let this project end very soon because I can't take it anymore!) And it's sort of a kitchen sink recipe in that you can modify it however you like. The base flavour is Peruvian from what I guess. And I'm pretty sure they'd be thrilled to let us modify it to suit whatever we have on hand and enjoy the flavours of their country. Easy to convert this one to vegetarian too if you like. I'll list the recipe and comment as I go along.

You'll need:
Vegetable or Canola oil - about 3 tablespoons
1 pound of unpeeled raw shrimp
Salt and I'll explain
1 finely chopped onion
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp paprika (I used smoked because I'm so jazzy)
1/4 tsp cumin
Dash of Tabasco sauce
That's your base. You can improvise from here
1 butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch pieces. But I think pumpkin would work here too if that's what you have. Tip on how to keep all your 10 fingers when cutting up a butternut squash - put it in the microwave for a minute or two first to soften it up. Or better still, spend an extra buck and buy the already peeled and cut at the grocery store.
1/2 head of green cabbage chopped. I didn't use cabbage. I used chard since I like that more. So any green you like in other words.
2 potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 in chunks
4 ears of halved corn on the cob. But they admit this is a messy business, so I used a can of corn unless you enjoy being covered in chowder from head to toe
2 quarts of water. Okay no. I didn't go for this. And that explains the salt. I just don't cook with water, but I get it that some people do. So you can use chicken broth or vegetable broth. I used vegetable and just enough to cover the vegetables. A box. And add water if needed to cover.
1 1/2 cups of cream or half and half.
That's the recipe. But here's what I think - Add any vegetable you like or even a can of
any beans you like. Or omit anything you don't like. This is your baby. The flavour base will get you to where you need to be.

And here is what I loved the very most about this recipe. They tell you to heat your oil (I say pretty low heat) and saute your shrimp with the shells on. And here is the magic - They tell you to leave the shells on because that will flavour your cooking oil. WTF? Kitchen secrets like that are just what you need to bring your recipes up to magical level! So I had respect and that's what made me decide to try this one. So do that and once they are pink, remove from the oil and add the onion, spices and Tabasco and saute until your onions are soft and transparent.

Add all of your vegetables and liquid and cover and simmer for about half an hour. Peel your shrimp and remove the tails when they're cool enough to handle. After half an hour, taste for salt and add as needed. Put some pepper in too if you like. Add the cream and bring it up to a simmer for about ten minutes and add your shrimp back in. Simmer for about two more minutes and serve. Can there be anything easier than that? Chowder on a damp and cold day can literally Rock Your World! Enjoy friends.