All’s Well That Ends Well; And Even Better When It Ends With Corn Chowder (Part Three)

New Orleans Police Captain Jordan Booth held the vicious Bullpup shotgun behind his leg as he rapped on Mr. Candy’s door. With its triple magazines capable of twelve to fifteen shells, it was an effective weapon. Its appearance alone was sufficient to end most fights.

“Open up. Police.”

Jordan heard scuffling inside. The noise wasn’t coming toward Jordan. It was moving away from him. Toward the back door. Jordan didn’t hesitate to kick in the front door. He did so just in time to see the old man not in a wheel chair but walking, albeit it slowly.

The man known as Mr. Candy in New Orleans was surprised to be greeted by Lieutenant Nancy Patrick of the Richmond, California, police department. He was even more surprised with the Mossberg precision rifle she held trained directly on his chest.

“Hello, Smoky,” she said. “Surprise!”

Sheriff Jack Blake called Nancy after his conversation with Darcey regarding Mr. Candy and his daughter a few days earlier. Nancy had notified him recently asking him to be on the look out for a family that sounded like the Candy family. They were wanted in California for kidnapping wealthy women with young daughters. The old man was far too friendly toward little young girls. His daughter used the fear he caused the mothers to extort money from them.

Nancy was closing in on them when they suddenly disappeared. Now, thanks to Darcey and Sheriff Blake, she had them. Jordan accompanied her to serve an out of state warrant, which had been approved by the governors of both states.

She held out her hand.

“Hand it over, Smoky,” she said.

The old man didn’t argue with Nancy’s rifle. He pulled the snub nosed Chief’s Special revolver from his pocket and meekly passed it to the no nonsense cop.

The old man’s daughter rushed into the room but immediately dropped the Glock she carried when she caught sight of Baron’s threatening shotgun.

“Jordan, meet Smoky Denton and his daughter, Diana,” Nancy said.

“That’s what these out of state warrants say, even though they’ve been calling themselves Candy down here,” Jordon replied. Then he spoke directly to the old man and his daughter.

“Smoky and Diana Denton, you are both under arrest. You will be our guests in New Orleans until the court approves your extradition. I think I can guarantee that won’t be long, given the nature of the charges against you.”

The atmosphere in the old house on Governor Nicholls Street in the Vieux Carre’ was considerably lighter that evening. With Darcey’s mother, Betty, and Trent Marshall’s surrogate mother, Ivy, together in the kitchen, everyone else knew it was wise to let the two older women rule their domain without interference. Only young Kelli was in the kitchen with them. Betty and Ivy found small chores for her so she could say she helped make dinner.

Nancy was staying with Darcey while she was in New Orleans. Jordan joined them after he got off work. The three of them were in Trent’s library enjoying refreshing rum and cokes. Trent had already flown to Anchorage. Darcey, Betty, Ivy, and Kelli would join him in a few days.

In the kitchen, Betty and Ivy had a pot of corn chowder bubbling on the stove.

It had been a day of tense moments.

The relief of the evening was enough to warm the huge house.

Corn Chowder by Betty, Ivy, & Kelli

3 slices bacon, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium potatoes, unpeeled, diced

4 ears corn, with kernels cut from the cobbs

3 cups milk

salt & pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, saute’ the bacon.

Add the onion and potatoes to the bacon and its grease. Cook until the vegetables have softened and begun to brown, about fifteen minutes.

Toss the corn into the vegetables and add the milk.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Let the chowder simmer for another fifteen minutes. The fresh corn will cook quickly. Don’t over cook.

As they say on Governor Nicholls Street in New Orleans, Bon Temps!

Always a Lot of Good in Oyster Artichoke Soup But Can the Same Be Said for People? (Part Two)

Sabine Parish Sheriff Jack Blake was enjoying a Saints game on a Sunday afternoon. There were pleasant sounds coming from the kitchen. Sounds of food being prepared by people who knew what they were doing. Jack’s wife, Jennifer, was making oyster artichoke soup under the guidance of their friend, Sasha. The sheriff had been friends with Sasha’s parents when they were in college. A generation later, Sasha had befriended Jack and Jennifer’s son when they attended the same university as had their parents.

After living in New Orleans for several years, Sasha now spent most of her time in Europe. But whenever she came home to visit her family, she always made time for a day or two in Sabine Parish with the Blakes.

Now, while he waited for the soup like a Percheron after a hard day’s work, he thought about his recent conversation with Darcey Anderson. She had expressed concern about a Mr. Candy and his daughter, Lottie. They concerned her, she said, because they seemed overly friendly, especially toward Kelli.

He hadn’t mentioned the report he had received only that week regarding the disappearance of three children and their mothers. In all three instances the mothers were single parents and wealthy.He didn’t want to alarm Darcey unnecessarily. He decided to make a phone call and see if he could find a connection. But first, as the two women came out of the kitchen to place a large stock pot and three bowls on the dining table, he would enjoy Sasha’s oyster artichoke soup.

Sasha’s Oyster Artichoke Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Creole mustard

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 14 1/2 oz can artichoke hearts

1 14 1/2 oz can artichoke bottoms, chopped

2 pints oysters with liquor

2 cups heavy cream

salt & pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a stock pot. Saute’ the shallot in the hot oil. Add the garlic and cook for only a minute or two before stirring in the Creole mustard. Mix well.

Pour in the wine. Let it simmer until reduced by about three-quarters.

Add the chicken broth, artichoke hearts and bottoms along with the oysters and their liquor.

Sasha’s Oyster Artichoke Soup

Finish with the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Simmer until the edges of the oysters begin to curl. Don’t over cook.

As Sasha would say, Bon Temps!