Patrick's Turn...Smoked Turkey and Corn Chowder with Rotini...and canoe-snatching thoughts...

{The lovely sweet blog, Life on Blackberry Farm, by Kimberly, has featured "Thyme" over on her site today.  Kimberly is one of my favorite writers and I often escape to her farm in Washington state to see how her beautiful country life on a farm with four boys is going...Visit Kimberly, her family, and her wonderful'll love it there}

"Cry me a river." I thought to myself, while slowly shaking my head from side to side with a smirk etched into the side of my mouth.

...Like when someone is sitting comfortably and knowingly watching another person across the way do something utterly ridiculous.  They shake their head from side to side...with a smirk etched into the side of their mouth.

It's hot.  It's humid.  My bemoaning these dog-days of summer are like an old record player hiccuping over and over again with that annoying scratching thump.  (Wait a minute...I'm really not old enough to remember record players...just thought I'd clear that up.)

So, what do I seem to be stirring up pot after pot of in my cool safe-haven-from-the-heat-kitchen?

Soup.  Chowders. All varieties of soup...and chowders.

"Cry me a river." I lament...shaking of  head...smirk in corner of mouth... you get the picture.

Simple, quick, lunches are easy and cooling.  But, dinners seem to be continuous pots of hot soup.  It was Patrick's turn to pick out our soup of the week.

I love watching him flip through the pages of my big "Soup" cookbook.  I can pretty much pinpoint which recipe will grab his attention.

Yep.  Smoked Turkey and Corn Chowder with Rotini

Chowder was on the stove and Chester and I took off for our walk.  There is this man in the neighborhood who always takes his canoe out in the evenings.  He paddles calmly up and down the lake.   Families are out biking, walking their dogs, and generally just happy to be getting outside as the heat begins to dissipate.

I would just love to flag him down and step right into the back of that canoe. I would introduce myself, and polite and exchange a few pleasantries.

But, then I would sit back...and imagine his humble canoe to be a gondola in Venice, Italy.  It would be wonderful to sit back and look up at the endlessly blue summer sky while drifting along.  Maybe instead of sitting, he would graciously stand up and punch his canoe paddle in the murky lake know, like a real gondola driver.

Every time I see him in his canoe, I think  "Yoo-hoo!"  Could my little Chester and I just quietly sit in the back while you paddle along...Gondola in Venice-style, please kind stranger?"  

Vision fades in steamy mist...Italian gondola ride bubble pops and we all float lazily back to this chowder. 

This chowder was easy, tasty, and fun to make.  I had an extra red pepper, so I tossed that in.  It added flavor and gave a nice color to the chowder.

The smoked turkey I cut up into cubes and it paired well with the light sweetness of the corn.  What would be really delicious is to roast some corn on the grill and then add the kernels to the soup.  

Mmmm.  Maybe I'll make this again and add that smoky  corn off the grill...since I seem to be choosing to make pot after pot of soup in our 100˚F weather.

The other day that cute little canoe was tied up to a tree.  I didn't see anyone around.  Chester and I stood in front of it for a minute...or two.

Would that man mind if we slipped off into the lake?  I would be in plain site in the middle of the lake if he needed to "Yoo Hoo!" to call me back in for his turn.

Eh...Probably not the best of ideas for fitting in well with the neighborhood.  Chester might bark.  And, with a daughter heading off to college in the fall, the drama probably wouldn't look too good on her.

I don't know.  I just don't know...(resuming the shaking of the head and planting the smirk of the mouth in the corner again)

It's about decisions like making pot after pot of soups in the dead heat of summer.

It's about making decisions with a mind heavy with humidity 

It's about not taking some strangers canoe and gliding in plain sight in the middle of the lake...with a dog.

The heat has my mind a bit deranged these days... muddled and bathed in canoe-stealing-mind-grappling decision daydreams.

Hot...steaming chowder...anyone?  Takers?  Any takers?

It's good!

Smoked Turkey and Corn Chowder with Rotini
(serves 6-8)

1 small red bell pepper
1 pound diced potatoes
2 cups canned, grilled fresh, or frozen corn kernels
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 bouquet garni
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 up rotini pasta (or really any pasta you have)
oil, for frying
5 ounces diced smoked turkey
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Seed the red pepper and dice it.  Cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse.

Put the potatoes into a saucepan with the corn, onion, celery, diced pepper, bouquet garni, and stock and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the ingredients are tender.

Add the milk and salt and pepper.  Process half of the soup in a food processor or blender and return to the pan with the pasta.  Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet.  Add the turkey and fry quickly for 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir the turkey into the soup.  Enjoy!