The Soup’s On!

Hi and welcome to the blog!  It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  There have been a few opportunities to camp but between work and the weather things have been tricky.  I plan to go on Monday and do some good cookin’.

One of the dishes planned for camping was a tasty fish chowder (recipe below) using local bass caught earlier this fall.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to camp that evening but the chowder was made on Friday and turned out delicious.  The last of it went down the hatch Sunday night.  Like so many foods, the flavors mingled over time and got even better.


This one became soup!


For those of Scottish heritage, this soup turned out something like “Cullen Skink” – a rich fish chowder made from smoked haddock.  Their soup originated in northeast Scotland in the town of Cullen.  It is supposed to contain smoked haddock which I didn’t have.   Rather, I made my soup using thick bass fillets and shrimp.  The recipe was compiled looking at various other chowders and cooking it to taste.  Chowder is so yummy!

This last Saturday the owner of the fast food restaurant where I work was talking about Cullen skink when we discussed fishing and chowders.  There is a Scottish brand called “Baxter’s” which is expensive but sounds like it’s delicious.  Perhaps I will try it some day.


Chillin’ outside on Sunday, she’s ready to go on the next adventure.


It’s currently Sunday and I’m trying to get things in order for another trip between snowflakes.  Monday should be a good night for camping; I only work till noon and have Tuesday off.  Jenny is getting antsy to play outdoors –  she will likely ride along this time.  I’ve got another soup recipe idea (a conglomeration of various steak/ vegetable ideas.)  It will simmer in the crockpot while at work and then finish cooking in the van.  We’ll see how that goes!

That’s about all that’s new.  I’ll post the steak soup recipe when we get back on Tuesday.  In the meantime here’s the chowder.  Just about any old white fish would work great.  And as far as the wine goes, it wouldn’t have to be used either (but adds a lot of flavor!)

Safe and happy camping!   🙂

Brad and Jenny and Mister Duke
Jones County Iowa

Thick and hearty, this delicious and flexible chowder is sure to delight the seafood lover!


Hearty Bass and Shrimp Chowder

8 ounces fresh bass or other whitefish
12 oz cooked shrimp
2 15 oz cans low sodium chicken broth
16 oz carton of half-and-half, divided
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup soup type veggies (celery, corn, carrots)
1 cup shredded, thawed hash browns
1/3 cup real butter
1/4 cup Wondra flour
1+1/2t Old Bay Seasoning
1t fresh ground black pepper
2t Italian seasoning
1/8t cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt or garlic salt to adjust taste

In the soup pot, melt the butter over low heat and gently cook
the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the other veggies,
broth, wine, hash browns, and spices.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat
to a simmer.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Set aside a cup of the half-and-half.
Add the other part of the half-and-half and the fish.  Increase the heat
and bring to a gentle boil.  Mix the flour with the remaining half-and-half.
Add to the soup along with the shrimp.  Simmer until soup starts to thicken.
Adjust pepper and salt (or garlic salt) to taste.

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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