Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mom's Clam Chowder

My Mother is a fabulous cook! One of my favorite things that she makes is Clam Chowder soup. She makes it every year for Christmas. I usually only get to eat it once a year. I got the recipe from her last year and decided to make it at home. When the weather got colder this fall, I knew what I must do...make Mom's Clam Chowder!!! This is the recipe that she emailed me. I have kept it in her words because her descriptions make me smile :) If you are a Clam Chowder fan, you have to try this!
--- Made famous by Mom
16 cherrystone clams, preferably fresh  (I use around 4 cans of diced or minced clams)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup clarified butter - I clarify the butter somewhat
1 large clove garlic, minced - I use 2 cloves
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 tsp thyme - I use my lemon thyme if I have it - and probably more of it
Optional:  white pepper
Optional: 1 bay leaf --  I use one
Approximately 32 oz. clam juice, including that reserved from steamed clams ----& chic broth if you need to
1 large potato, diced - I like 2 potatoes
1 pt whipping cream
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash clams thoroughly.  Place them in a heavy-bottomed pot with water.  Cover tightly and steam until clams open, approx three - five minutes.  Remove clams from shells; chop coarsely and reserve, along with broth in a separate container. I have never done this but it sounds like fun -  fresh clams in Nebraska - kind of scary
In the same pot, gently heat clarified butter and add garlic; saute two to three minutes. Add onion, celery, thyme and optional spices. Saute until onions are translucent.
Add flour to make a roux, stirring constantly to avoid lumps and cooking one to two minutes.  Be careful that mixture does not brown or burn.
Slowly add clam juice, stirring to avoid lumps. Simmer one minute.  Add potatoes and cook until tender.  Stir well to avoid clumping.  Add cream and clams; return to a quick boil and season to taste with pepper.  Makes  8-10 servings.
-------------------------------------------- My version:
I start by draining the 4 cans of clams and saving all the liquid - you need 32 oz of liquid, I usually use a combination of liquid from the cans, bottled clam juice and/or chicken broth. It is best to get at least one bottle of clam juice, but if you can't find it, just use chicken broth to get the liquid up to 32 oz.   Just set this all aside.
Next melt in your soup pot - 1/2 cup butter  - I usually clarify it a bit, but I quickly get tired of doing that, so I don't do it completely or properly -- add 2 cloves of garlic minced and saute just a couple of minutes, Add chopped onion, chopped celery, lemon thyme, and optional spices -- saute until onions are translucent.
Add 1/2 cup flour in little bits at a time,  to make a roux, stirring constantly, and cooking 1-2 minutes - don't brown it-  or you have to start all over
Slowly add the 32 oz of liquids, stirring to avoid lumps.  Simmer one minute, stirring constantly.  Add potatoes and cook until tender. Stir well to avoid clumping.  Add the cream and clams; return to a quick boil and season with pepper & salt to taste.
Greta and Miles rating: Greta loved this so much. Miles ate his crusty bread soaked in the soup, but wouldn't eat the soup with a spoon. Interesting kids.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cuban Sandwiches

Mmmmmm! Here is another recipe I created to copy something from a restaurant. We'll just call this particular Town. :)
I love this sandwich. It has a bunch of things that I don't usually care for individually; pork, ham, and mustard.  But, put them all together and something magical happens! This is definitely not an authentic Cuban sandwich, but I'd venture to say that it is an authentic copy of  "Rock Town's" version.
Cuban Sandwiches
3 lb. pork sirloin roast
juice of one lime
1/3 c. sherry
3 T. Olive Oil
2 t. salt
1/4 t. crushed black pepper
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 t. oregano
Combine marinade ingredients and pour over roast in crock pot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until meat is done.
6 slices deli ham
6 slices provolone cheese
6 ciabatta rolls
Prepared mustard (use your favorite, I used Grey Poupon, yes that name still makes me giggle :))
sliced dill pickles
Garlic Aioli:
1/3 c. mayo
3 garlic cloves, pressed
juice of 1/2 lemon
Cook pork in crock pot. Remove from heat. Mix ingredients to make aioli.
When pork is warm, slice into 1/2" thick slices.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice  and toast ciabatta rolls. Spread top slice with mustard and bottom slice with aioli. To assemble sandwiches: top the bottom slice of ciabatta with a layer of pickles, pork, ham, then provolone.  Place on cookie sheet. Leave top slice of ciabbatta (with mustard) off of sandwich, place mustard side up on cookie sheet. Bake open faced sandwiches and sandwich tops for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Place top slice of ciabatta on sandwich and serve.
Greta and Miles rating: Miles at his entire sandwich! Greta just kind of nibbled.