Monday, October 01, 2007

Chowder and speckled breadsticks...

When I was flipping through my supply of recipes to figure out what to make this week, I found a main dish that would work for tonight, but I didn't know what I wanted to serve with it. I thought about just having a few baked chips (or baked cheetos!) and then I came across these Asiago-Black Pepper Breadsticks that had similar flavors as one of our favorite drop biscuit recipes.

While the original recipe did call for pecorino Romano cheese, I went ahead and used Asiago as we are more often to have that on hand. Just a few ingredients form these long skinny breadsticks - the dry ingredients consist of two types of flour (all-purpose and white whole wheat) that is tossed with grated Asiago, baking powder, coarse black pepper and a pinch of salt. Moistened with just a few tablespoons of water and a drizzle of oil, the dough quickly came together and was ready to be cut and shaped. The original recipe gave a yield of 18 sticks, but there really is not all that much dough to work with, so I would suggest going down to around 14 or so. It would be best to use a light hand when you roll the dough into the skinny sticks - if the dough starts to shrink back at all, set it aside for a couple minutes to give it a chance to relax and try again. They get a little lift and puff from the baking powder while achieving a nice golden color as they baked. They are crisp, without being too dry, and have a nice sharp background from the cheese - they were perfect to dip into tonight's main dish!

Asiago-Black Pepper BreadsticksA few weeks ago, I made a point of going out to the market and getting a few of the last fresh ears of corn from this past summer season to stash in the freezer and use throughout the upcoming colder months. However, if I don't stop at the pace I am going, my supply won't last more than a month or two! After tasting tonight's dinner with a generous 3 1/2 cups of kernels, I would not hesitate to use the rest I have to make this Corn and Fingerling Potato Chowder with Applewood-Smoked Bacon again.

Since the chowder is adorned with crunchy bits of crispy bacon, we softened the onions for this dish in some of the flavor-packed drippings left behind, rather than breaking out additional oil. While this recipe is kept light by using a couple cups of chicken broth for the liquids, you need to give this type of dish some body and richness, which is solved by the addition of milk and half-and-half. If you don't have access to the small fingerlings (they can also be fairly expensive), you could use a waxy red-skinned potatoes as a stand-in. The chowder is pretty chunky and a little on the thin side still by the time the potatoes have become tender, so to add some viscosity, we used an immersion blender to puree just a portion of the mixture. You can also get the same effect by processing a couple cups of the mixture in a blender and then adding it back into the pot. The sweetness of the corn played off well against the chunky potato pieces and smoky bacon - I loved the creamy texture the corn and potatoes added when a portion of them were forced into submission by the immersion blender.

Corn and Fingerling Potato Chowder with Applewood-Smoked Bacon


  1. Since it's still 90 degrees here in Houston, I will have to wait a while to try this recipe, but it looks delicious. Your serving dishes are gorgeous. So glad you are getting settled in. Jancd

  2. Jancd - yeesh! Still quite warm I guess. It is getting nice and cool here - suppose to be in the upper 50s for highs next week!

  3. Corn chowder is one of my favorites, and I only make it during fresh corn season (which is just winding down here in New England). The fresh corn makes the chowder so sweet that sometimes a little hot sauce is the perfect balance for it.

  4. How did you prepare the corn you stashed in the freezer? It's too late for me to do this year, but maybe next year. I love your blog! The recipes you post are very much like my style of cooking.

  5. Lydia - I wish I would have thought to add that dash of hot sauce... that would have been a great touch!

    Cindy - Usually I just blanch the cobs, shock them and cut the kernels off. I then freeze them on baking sheets all separated and place in zip-loc bags (this way it does not create big clumps).

  6. Made this last night, we've finally gotten rain here in Virginia, and it was a great night for soup. Had to use Yukon gold potatoes and doubled the recipe for leftovers. Really quick and easy.

    Thanks, Anne

  7. Ladysmithknitter - Thanks for the feedback! I'm happy to hear you liked it!