Saturday, May 28, 2016

SOUTHERN-STYLE CLAM CHOWDER

When our children were young, we spent several summer vacations on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. We loved the New England Clam Chowder served at the Brotherhood of Thieves Restaurant. I've been making clam chowder ever since. This is a southern version of the New England Classic because it contains corn and and southern hot sauce. 


4 dozen cherrystone clams or 5 dozen, littleneck clams
8 oz bottle of clam juice
1 cup dry white wine
½ lb bacon, diced
6 T unsalted butter                
1 yellow onion, diced                                     
4 stalks celery, diced
1 large leek, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced                                   
½ cup instant mashed potatoes or ¼ cup all-purpose flour 

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes                               
2 bay leaves                                                                          
½ t dried thyme                                                                   
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears) or frozen corn, thawed         
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk  
1½ cups whole milk                                                  
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
2 T minced Italian parsley
Paprika, for garnish
Crystal or Louisiana hot sauce, optional
Oyster crackers, for serving

In a large bowl, add clams and cover with cold water.
Let the clams soak in water for 15 minutes to let them release any sand.
Drain clams into a colander. 

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot and add the bottle of clam juice and white wine. 
Bring to a boil, carefully add clams, cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes for smaller clams and 7 to 8 minutes for large clams. 
Remove clams with a slotted spoon and set aside. 
Discard any clams that do not open.
Pour liquid through a fine wire mesh strainer into a heatproof measuring pitcher and set aside.
Remove clams from shells, chop and place in a bowl and set aside.

In the same Dutch oven, fry bacon until crisp. 
Remove and set aside. 
Pour off most of the grease and add the butter.
Sauté onion, celery, and leek for 10 minutes. 
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Stir in instant mashed potatoes or flour, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. 

Gradually stir in reserved clam liquid and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. 
Add potatoes, bay leaves, and thyme.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring often, 
for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Mash a few on the side of the pot. 

Add corn, evaporated milk, whole milk, and Worcestershire sauce to the pot. 
Bring to almost a boil; add clams, reduce heat, and slowly simmer another minute. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Turn off heat, stir in parsley, cover and let sit for 10 minutes, for flavors to develop. 


Ladle into bowls, top with bacon, a dash of paprika, and hot sauce, if desired. 
Serve with oyster crackers.

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a first course.


HASSELBACK POTATOES

Hasselback potatoes were first introduced in the Hasselback Restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden in the 1940s. This is another classic recipe from the past. They would be excellent served with a steak or pork chops.


4 medium size Yukon gold potatoes
4 T unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ t paprika
½ t garlic powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse and scrub the potatoes.
Place the potatoes on a cutting board and cut off a thin slice from the bottom of each potato and discard. This will keep the potatoes standing upright.

Place two long wooden handle spoons or wooden chop sticks on the side of each potato. This will keep you from cutting through the entire potato.
Using a sharp knife, make cuts all the way until you hit the spoons.

In a small bowl, add the melted butter, grated cheese, paprika, and garlic powder.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the potatoes in a baking sheet and spoon half of the butter mixture over the potatoes.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and pour the rest of the butter mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle with a little more grated cheese.

Place back in the oven, uncovered, and bake an additional 20 minutes, until golden brown.


Serves 2 to 4

Friday, May 27, 2016

CHICKEN DIVAN CASSEROLE


My family always loved this casserole. It was an easy way to get my kids to eat broccoli. I don't normally cook with processed foods, but in this case, two cans of soup are essential in making this casserole so delicious and easy.


3 boneless chicken breast halves, cut in half, lengthwise
3 cups chicken broth or stock
1 large bunch broccoli, cut into small florets, stems removed
1 T unsalted butter
1 large shallot or ½ yellow onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup dry sherry
1 can cream of wild mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 t curry powder
½ cup grated Gruyère or Swiss Emmentaler cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 butter crackers, smashed or ½ cup plain bread crumbs
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
2 T butter, melted
1 t paprika

Cooked rice

In a large skillet, fitted with a lid, bring chicken and broth to a low simmer. 
Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  
Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. 
When cool, cut into ½-inch cubes and place in a baking dish or large cast-iron skillet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the same skillet, cover and simmer broccoli in the broth for about 2 minutes. 
Remove broccoli and scatter over the cubed chicken.
Pour the remaining broth into a medium bowl and set aside.
Add the tablespoon of butter to the skillet and sauté the shallot for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and sauté a couple more minutes.
Spoon evenly over the chicken and broccoli.

In the bowl with the chicken broth, stir in the sherry, soups, curry powder, most of the cheese, and lemon juice.  Stir to combine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour over chicken and broccoli and mix in. 

Toss cracker crumbs and panko with melted butter and paprika and sprinkle on top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly hot and serve over hot cooked rice.

Serves 4



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

ATLANTIC BEACH LEMON PIE


Lemon pie is a staple of the South and often served at seafood restaurants in the Carolinas. You can make a meringue for the topping or whipped cream. I made it with whipped cream and butter crackers, for the crust instead of Saltines. Keebler has the 'Club Cracker', Pepperidge Farm has 'Golden Butter', 'Townhouse' is another brand and Trader Joe's has 'Social Snackers'. Add the whipped cream per serving.





Butter Cracker Crust
1½ cups butter crackers, 1 sleeve (you can use saltine crackers, if preferred)
¼ cup granulated sugar
6 T unsalted butter, melted

Break up the crackers and place in a food processor.  
Add the sugar and melted butter and pulse until combined.
Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Dip your fingers in water and press along the bottom and sides of pan to form a border around the edge. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, you can tidy it up before it goes into the oven.
Place on a large plate and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pie pan on a baking sheet or pizza pan to keep crumbs from falling on oven floor.
Bake until lightly brown, about 15 minutes. 
Remove from oven and let cool while making filling.

Filling
4 egg yolks
1 T grated lemon zest
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat the egg yolks and lemon zest at high speed until very fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, about another 3 minutes.
Lower the speed and slowly add the lemon juice and mix a few more seconds.
Pour into the crust and bake pie for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely then cover and refrigerate until completely cold.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T granulated sugar
½ t pure lemon extract (if desired)

Whip until medium peaks are formed and spread on top of pie slices before serving.