Sunday, January 23, 2011

Showers, and Fish (or Vegetable) Chowder

First thing's first: don't eat vast quantities of wonton soup when you're pregnant, no matter how much you might think your body wants it.  The eight pounds I gained in a recent post?  All but half a pound gone by my appointment this past Wednesday.  I'm chalking it up to water retention, due to too much salt.  Of course, I celebrated by having an enormous piece of cheesecake (apologetically thinking about those of you who have gotten pregnant and have to deal with GD).  And JeCaThRe's right; it's all well within the range of "normal," and I need to stop obsessing.

I'm going back to work tomorrow, provided I don't go into labor overnight.  There are still some loose ends I am trying to tie up.  I've scheduled one meeting on both Monday and Tuesday, and have left myself open for the rest of the week, with the exception of an all day meeting on Friday, which I will attend for everyone's amusement if I still haven't given birth.  I am definitely having "practice labor" this time around (my hynobirthing instructor says we shouldn't be using the words "contractions"), which is a little bit freaky; last night, I was lying on the couch, trying to decide whether to worry about the tightness I was feeling, and decided to go to sleep, figuring I'd wake up if I were really in labor.  I did wake up, but by then the feeling had subsided.

My work shower was nice: a light lunch, (purchased) cupcakes, people mingling.  The only really uncomfortable part of it for me was opening gifts: I already feel like we have enough stuff, and even though there were some things we needed and got (case in point: why were the bottles from 4 years ago not BPA free?!), I don't like having to open gifts in front of people, especially if I'm the only one doing so.

My virtual shower, on the other hand, was amazing.  :)  Thank you to everyone who attended ("latecomers" included--though that's the beautiful thing about a virtual shower: you can't be late!), and to JeCaThRe, who is not only an incredibly creative human being, but one of the most thoughtful, generous, wonderful people I know.  My love to you all.

I. had another snow day on Friday, and there's vague talk of yet another storm system here on Tuesday into Wednesday.  Part of me is wondering if we should demand partial tuition refunds from I.'s day care for all of the school closings this year; another part of me is wondering if Mother Nature is trying to ensure that Bean is born in a blizzard, just to make it memorable.

Though I'm feeling less and less like cooking these days, soups and stews are still my meal of choice, and this one is good for wintry days.  I've offered some options to make it vegetarian.  Miso is salty enough (and every so slightly fishy tasting to me) to stand in for clam juice/dashi, and you can toss in beans rather than fish.  If you're living in the Northern Hemisphere, stay warm ... and if you're living in the Southern, please soak up some sun on our behalf.

(Fish) Chowder

2 1/2 c. frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed and divided
8 (vegetarian) bacon slices, chopped
3 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1 1/2 c. finely chopped carrot
1 c. finely chopped shallots
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 T. paprika
3 T. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. whole milk
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 (8-oz) bottles clam juice (or dashi or miso soup broth)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, 1/2" cubes (about 4 cups)
2 lbs. firm white fish fillets, bite-sized pieces (use large white beans for a vegetarian version)

Place 1 cup corn in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Set aside.

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon, re-serving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) to drippings in pan; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in parsley, thyme, and paprika. Remove vegetable mixture from pan; set aside.

Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the flour. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until browned. Gradually add the milk, stirring with a whisk. Add vegetable mixture, salt, and next 4 ingredients (through potatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Stir in fish (beans), pureed corn, and remaining 1 1/2 cups corn kernels; cover and cook 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Discard bay leaves. Top with bacon.
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  1. I can't read today's recipe because the idea of fish or dashi makes me a bit queasy today (but I've already copied the blondies recipe to my phone!). I can't believe they had BOUGHT cupcakes at your shower!! And I agree with the whole cringiness of opening gifts in front of people, especially when you're the only one opening gifts. When I got married, the women in my husband's office (who I had worked with for a while too) threw me a bridal shower, and I think it was the most excruciatingly painful social occasion ever.

    I'm actually sorry my post for your shower wasn't better - my work computer as well as my personal laptops were all at work and I just wasn't feeling up to getting to the office (plus my draft was on one of those laptops!) so I pecked it out on my phone. It's hard to be creative - or even coherent - when typing on a small screen with only one finger!

    Happily I'm feeling much better today (when I don't think of fish or dashi). And it’s nice being on a real computer and being able to catch up with friends; I feel like I’ve been gone forever! I could totally go some wonton soup though - I make the dumplings with shitake mushrooms, ginger, green onions, crumbled tofu, etc.

  2. Oh I hate being the gift opener and centre of attention at social functions like that.

    Your soup sounds delicious. I am surprised you are still working. Not sure when your due date is exactly, but I am sure Bean is going to arrive any day!

    Yesterday I was potting up seeds for my courtyard garden. It made me think of life...and that is what I wanted to write about in my post. So I offer you my gift of salad vegetables and wishes sent on (beeswax) candles for the safe arrival of your daughter.


  3. It can't be a good sign that I feel exactly the same way you do about work and I'm not even pregnant. :) I can't believe how close you're getting to the big day!

  4. Ah! I'm sorry I missed the virtual shower. I guess I'll end up being a really latecomer. :) I've been out of town. I'm sorry I missed it.

    I soaked up some sun last week while at the beach and I'll try to get some more sun in this afternoon while we're outside. Although it's been freezing at night, it's beautiful and kind of warm out today.

    Hope work goes well for you this week, I've been thinking of you. xx

  5. I love fish!

    Hey there beautiful! I just gave you a blogging award – go and check it out!

  6. Hello! I have given you an award or two. Details on my blog.


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