Warm up to your mother with homemade chowder

Not quite sure what to cook for mom this weekend?

For starters, warm up to her with homemade corn chowder with the recipe from Brittany Durchuck of Tutu’s Cafe in Kalaheo.

“My family loves it,” she said.

“It’s real easy if you just follow the recipe. And it’s real good because of the weather we’ve been having lately.”

But not only does her family love it, local diners of Tutu’s Cafe love it too.

The chowder is made from scratch, just how mom used to cook everything.

“When you cook from scratch, you control what goes into it,” she said.

“You can always take the carrots out if you don’t like carrots. You control it, and how it tastes. I tend to put a little more sugar than most.”

So maybe in Durchuck’s case she’ll be sweetening up to her mother.

“There’s always the pride factor, too. ‘Look, I made it from scratch,’” she said.

Twenty-four year old Durchuck moved to Kaua‘i a little over a year ago from Honolulu, where she honed her culinary skills at Kapi‘olani Community College.

She’s been cooking for as long as she can remember.

“I had an Easy-Bake Oven, the fake plastic food and the fake plastic pans,” she said as she reminisces about her play times.

She used to throw little pretend cooking parties, but now she does them for real.

“We always do them, going to each other’s houses and bringing food. I’ve had people who love the corn chowder (so much) that they’ll eat it cold from the pan,” she said.

But don’t serve it to your mom that way. Show a little love, and put some warm effort into it.

“Anybody can do it. You have to be a little bit patient,” she said. “Just wait till it simmers so it can thicken,” she said.

Homemade Corn Chowder

1 pound bacon

1 medium to large yellow onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

3 to 4 red potatoes, washed and diced

2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel yellow corn

1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel white corn

1 can evaporated milk

21/2 cups milk, reserve 1/2 cup to use for thickening

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons sugar

Parsley for garnish (optional)

Cut the bacon and brown until cooked through. Leaving the bacon frozen will make it much easier to cut. Drain grease. Add onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and let steam until vegetables are tender.

Be careful not to stir mixture too often, being that it will mash the potatoes as they cook. Add evaporated milk, 2 cups of milk, sugar and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer.

Mix cornstarch until dissolved with 1/2 cup reserved milk. Add milk and cornstarch mixture to soup. Bring back to a simmer, while stirring constantly.

If soup seems too runny, mix another half cup milk with a tablespoon cornstarch, and add to soup.

If soup is too thick, just add more milk. Do either until desired consistency is reached.

Garnish with parsley and serve with bread and butter, like they do at Tutu’s Cafe, or serve with crackers.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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