Golf and Clam Chowder

Winter here in Thailand. This morning it is 20C/ 68F but should increase to around 30C / 86+F by 13:00. Went golfing with another couple at a golf course called Wangjuntr Golf Park in Rayong, Thailand on Thursday. It was cool, so we walked! There are presently two courses, the valley course and the highland course. The highland course requires a golf cart and caddy – the cart to get over the rough terrain and the caddy to guide you where, otherwise you could get lost up there. Needless to say, we walked the valley course. You have to be a mountain goat to climb around on the highland course. Tough course but enjoyable.

Wangjuntr has the world’s worst caddies – and, of course, you are required to have a caddy. The caddy I had did not know how to keep score, which I did not discover until we were finished and back at the clubhouse. I guess I will have to keep my own score and just use the caddies take care of the golf clubs.

I like Wangjuntr, because you can shower afterwards. I always smile when we reach the ladies’ changing room; the attendant always greets us with the “Sawsadi Ka and 20 THB” which she wants us to put in her tip box. She then gives you a key to a locker and a towel. Nice to have a shower after golf. We then meet in the restaurant and have our usual, fried rice with chicken, crab or shrimp. A lot of Koreans come to this golf club because there are two golf courses and rumor has it that they are building a third course which they will call the jungle course. Think I might avoid that one along with the highland course.

Beach 3 Seaview, Mae PhimHad a nice session with some of the residents at Seaview. Jørgen and I provided beer, wine and water. One of our friends and I arranged for snacks. The two cleaning girls and Nuch, the juristic person who oversees the maintenance of Seaview, stayed to help serve and tidy up. There were about 30+ people. Afterwards we went out for Thai food (what else?) with friends and their visiting son and family. Today we will just potter here, maybe go for a walk on the beach and a swim in the pool.

There seems to be a shortage of shrimp. There were few shrimp when we were here in November, but there seem to be even fewer now. And the price has doubled at least. The restaurants still have shrimp on the menu, but I noticed that both the price has increased and the quantity diminished. Last year the shrimp, which are farmed, developed a virus. I heard a few people got food poisoning and ended up at Bangkok Hospital. We were fortunate, because we did not have any problems. So, no shrimp, so I buy fish and whatever other seafood there might be on the market. Found some fresh minced clams in one of the supermarkets or the first time ever here, so I will make fresh clam chowder for dinner. Might stop at Poppies Bakery just down the street and pick up some bread for garlic bread to go with the chowder. I discovered some unsweetened evaporated milk, which I will use in the chowder instead of the fattening cream, which the recipe calls for. Most foods here have a high sugar content. Restaurants tend to go a little overboard on the palm sugar and MSG, a flavor enhancer. I think one of the reasons food here looks so colorful and tastes so good is that there is a generous use of palm sugar and MSG.

Monday it is a “pillow” party – one of our friends is hosting this for a couple, who are involved in child education to which proceeds will be donated. Child Care Thailand is an organization based on voluntary work, supporting Thai children who are either poor or orphaned, to achieve a basic school education. Child Care Thailand is managed by a Swedish couple living in Laem Mae Phim in the winter months. The couple felt that they needed to contribute and have a meaningful activity while they are here. I think it is a very worthy cause. Having been a teacher myself, I am a strong advocate of education to improve the lives of people. I will make a cake to bring along for the occasion. The pillowcases are of silk and designed by the Swedish designer, Jim Thompson.

Yup, life is tough here. We are right into the expat life without a hitch. Sun, sea and smiles, plus good Thai food.    Sawsadi Ka!

My Best Clam Chowder Best Clam Chowderm-chowder/

A delicious, traditional, cream based chowder, this recipe calls for the standard chowder ingredients: onion, celery, potatoes, diced carrots, clams, and cream. A little red wine vinegar is added before serving for extra flavor.”

8 servings

3 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams

1 cup minced onion

1 cup diced celery

2 cups cubed potatoes

1 cup diced carrots

3/4 cup butter – I used ½ Cup

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 quart half-and-half cream – I used a bit less but then unsweetened evaporated milk

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

ground black pepper to taste

Note: Can add oyster sauce/juice, fried bacon pieces, thyme, dry sherry, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce

Drain juice from clams into a large skillet over the onions, celery, potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover, and cook over medium heat until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in cream and stir constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in vegetables and clam juice. Heat through, but do not boil.

Stir in clams just before serving. If they cook too much they get tough. When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.