Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm So Excited - Pink Clam Chowder

I never know what I'm going to find when I type a phrase into google.  I was looking for the lyrics to the Pointer Sisters' song, but up pops the Tenth Doctor.  What?  What?  Who?

Well, it so happens I am excited because of the weekend.  Weekend before Thanksgiving, which means it's time to go shop for the majority of ingredients.  I love food shopping this time of year.  I love the smells of cinnamon and spit-roasted chickens and bread rising in the bakery.

Saturday of this weekend the Magic are playing the new, Lebron-less Miami Heat, and Rob and I are going to Amway Center to watch them.  Maybe we'll win; we've got a pretty strong team this year, with Nick Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and Victor Oladipo.

I'm excited that I tweaked the Thanksgiving menu again.  Forget the cranberry mold, I'm going to make Ree Drummond's recipe for cranberry sauce.  Fresh cranberries, fresh oranges, and real maple syrup. And I am going to spatchcock the turkey before roasting it.  No maple ginger glaze this year.

And I can't help being excited that it's only 15 days to my next cruise.  Carnival Sunshine to Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk.  New ship, new itinerary, old husband.  Very nice combination.  Heh heh.

Today is National Adoption Day, and although I have had a number of adoption finalizations throughout the year, I have four today.  Each of those were hard-fought cases to insure the children's well-being and permanency, and I could not be happier. Big happy ceremony at the courthouse, with so many children (my four are only part of the total) finally, legally becoming part of their forever families.

But best of all, Friday night I am meeting up with some very dear friends from my New Paltz days, my freshman year, College Hall.  I couldn't vote or drink, but I was living away from home for the first time, and independence felt sweet.  Over the years, I have gotten to see them all - Barb and Lynn and Kathy and Mark and Sandy - but never all together at the same time.  Maybe someday.

Finally, I am excited because I am sending you a double dose of inspiration today.  Here's a recipe I created back in 2011, and it involves clams and some crabmeat, and today is Friday:

Friday, FI - ISH, all you happy children, we wish the same to you!

From August 13, 2011 - I had an idea in my head about what sort of chowder I was trying to make.  For some reason I am obsessed with "pink" chowder, a diplomatic compromise between the creamy New England variety, and the earthy, tomato-based Manhattan variety.  I debated long and hard between Worcestershire and Vermouth, and decided that the Worcestershire better represented my seasoning goal in this case.  Except once I got started, I realized there had to be a touch of sherry to finish it off.

It is a rather good, but untraditional clam chowder.

4 slices bacon, diced small
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 stalks celery, medium-diced
3 carrots, medium-diced (about 15 baby carrots)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2-8 oz. bottles clam juice + the juice reserved from the drained clams
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 drops Tabasco sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup milk, heated in the microwave
3-6 1/2 oz. cans chopped clams, drained, juice reserved
1-6 oz. can lump crabmeat, drained
1/4 cup sherry

In a stockpot, cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is well-rendered.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and  add 1 tablespoon of butter to the bacon fat in the pot.  Add the onions and cook over medium low heat for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, celery carrots, potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper and saute for 10 more minutes, adding another tablespoon of butter if necessary.  Add the tomato paste, stir well, and cook another 30-60 seconds.  Add the clam juice, the Worcestershire, and the Tabasco, and simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add the clams and heat over low heat while you prepare the roux.

In a small pot, melt the butter and whisk in the flour.  Cook over very low heat for 3 minutes, whisking constantly.  Whisk in a cup of the hot tomato clam broth then pour this mixture back into the chowder.  Simmer for a few minutes until the broth is thickened.  Add the hot milk and the crabmeat and heat gently for a few minutes.  Stir in the sherry.  Taste for salt, pepper, and Tabasco.  Serve hot.

No comments:

Post a Comment