Northwest Fishing and Fish Chowder

I know, it’s been forever since I said I was going to do this post. I feel terrible for leaving you hanging so long. I do have a good excuse though, or two…that is, if there is such a thing. :)
You see, I was waiting on some pictures that I just had to include in this post. Then my sister came up to visit, I finished my last day at work, we traveled around visiting friends for a week then headed down to Boise to meet Caleb. The three of us traveled two days to get home, a friend flew in the night we got back, another friend flew in for a week,  Thanksgiving came and went and, well, I think I just realized I’m actually home. Weird,  yeah? What’s really weird is that it doesn’t even feel like I left. Except that…someone changed some things around in the kitchen. 

 One of my favorite things about being in the Northwest is that I get to hang out with some of my favorite people. These particular favorite people do some really cool things that I was privileged to participate in and one of those really cool things was going Mackinaw fishing.

It was cold and rainy, but it was fun and we caught some delicious looking fish. My one regret is that I didn’t save all the beautiful orange fish eggs that were in all those fish. Did you know caviar sells for over six dollars an ounce?!! We would be rich! :)

Being a landlubber from the plains of Oklahoma where the freshest fish you can get is bass or perch from a muddy cow pond across the pasture, I was thrilled to have fresh fish to cook with and eat. Some friends of mine had gone on a trip to Alaska and gave me some of the fish they caught as well – Halibut, King Salmon and Rock fish, so I was in fish chef paradise. :) 
After our fishing camp trip, my friend grilled a very fresh mackinaw for our dinner.

It was amazing.

I topped that trip off with a solo hike up Smalley Creek.

 The “bear hair” hanging from the trees gave the already misty morning a surreal feeling. It was so beautiful and quiet…

 Until I heard something crashing it’s way through the brush. I froze. It froze. I moved. It moved. I think we were both trying to figure out what the other one was. It got scared and ran first. I was scared but I didn’t run. Don’t ask me who was smarter. :D Anyway, from the sound of it,  it was a moose. I was very disappointed that I didn’t get to see it. I’m certain it wasn’t at all disappointed that it didn’t see me. 
Anyway, it was exciting…for both of us, I’m sure.

But, now that I’ve made you all very envious of my adventures, I’ll move on to the fish chowder. After all, this is still a cooking blog…I think. :D
I made fish chowder twice while I was in Idaho. Once with rock fish and the other time with halibut. I’m a huge halibut fan, but it’s all about personal tastes. Any white fish will do in this recipe. 
Another FYI, this soup is super versatile, so I’m not giving any measurements or specific ingredients. Don’t be mad at me please. Just use your creativity and go with what you think sounds good.
Start by placing the fillets in an oiled skillet over medium heat. Season heavily with smoked paprika and sprinkle with salt. Cover and let cook until it looks like the bottom half is done. Flip and season the other side. When the fish flakes easily, remove from pan and reserve for later.

The vegetables can be added according to your taste. From top left clockwise I have celery, red pepper, zucchini, frozen corn and peas and onion.

Add a little more oil to the skillet and saute the onions until caramelized. Then add the other chopped veggies. Saute until slightly soft.

Turn the burner down to low and toss in a handful of flour. Stir the mixture as you pour in chicken broth and/or milk until you have a gravy consistency.  Flake the fish into large chunks with a fork and add to soup.

 Season with salt, paprika, garlic and pepper.

For added smokey flavor, serve topped with smoked Gouda or sharp cheddar cheese.             
A couple more pics before I go. When Anna came to visit me, our friend took us to Smalley Creek Falls. It’s just below where I started my solo hike, so I hadn’t seen it before. It was a beautiful place, especially with the icicles framing the falls.

So, this marks the end of my Idaho summer! I can’t believe 2011 is almost over! I’m guessing this will be the last blog post for this year, so have a wonderful December and a great beginning to 2012!

5 thoughts on “Northwest Fishing and Fish Chowder

  1. Wait a minute! WAIT A MINUTE! This can't be the last blog post for the year…I've waited too long for you to get back into blogging! Please do at least one more in December…pretty please… :OLove the post, Sarah and I love hearing about your adventures!Guess we won't be tasting any of that yummy fish here. Maybe you can come up with a great recipe for venison.Oh!!! I just remembered…here's a challenge for you…PUMPKIN! :)

  2. Wow…I'm so glad whatever it was…ran FROM you! ;)So great!And yes, you have a great excuse and I know your feelings exactly cause it feels like I'm just realizing I feel like I missed out on your welcome home and feel like you never left at the same time. So yeah…I totally get what you are saying!So glad you blogged again…and I agree…its the BEGINNING of December!!! Why won't you be posting again??? ;)

  3. AHHH!!! I love your blog, Sarah! Your writing…and the pictures….and the fact that you had all those cool adventures and lived to tell about it. Please do write more. I promise to read it!!!! ;)Love you!

  4. Sarah, Great to just read about you. I miss you way up here in Idaho. So wish we could spend a moment together when I'm in Colorado in a week. If you get over there, come and see me. :) Love you girl and hope the Lord will cross our paths again, before too long. My family was talking about me being 40 this evening and half way to 44 soon. That made me feel old:) Have a fabulous Dec. whatever you do and God Bless You!!! Big Hugs, Annie B. :)

  5. We made your Fish Chowder and it was fabulous!!!!!!!!! Thank you!Reading your fascinating accounts about your adventures, and seeing the gorgeous pictures …I come away feeling like I have been on an adventure too!

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