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 WITH CHEESE

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.


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

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the garlic, most of the Parmigiano cheese, and paprika.
Heat for one minute then turn off heat and set aside.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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 chopsticks 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.

Place the potatoes in a baking sheet and spoon half of the butter mixture over the potatoes.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush each potato with the rest of the butter mixture and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese.

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


Serves 4

Monday, May 16, 2016

IZETTA'S SOUTHERN-STYLE BAKED BEANS

My mom made delicious baked beans and this is pretty much her recipe. They are an excellent side dish with ribs, barbecue chicken, or pulled pork sandwiches. 


5 slices bacon, cut in half
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 (14 oz) cans navy, Great Northern or pinto beans, drained
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup unsulphured molasses
3 T apple cider vinegar
3 T dark brown sugar
2 T English dry mustard
1 T Worcestershire sauce
½ t hickory flavoring
1 T dark brown sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Fry bacon in a large cast-iron skillet until almost cooked through.
Remove bacon to a plate.
Drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.

Add onion to skillet with bacon drippings and sauté for 10 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.

Add the beans and rest of the ingredients.
Stir to combine.
Top with the bacon slices and sprinkle top with dark brown sugar.

Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake an addition 10 minutes.

Serves 6


Sunday, May 15, 2016

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH GARLIC & PARMIGIANO CHEESE

Cauliflower is one of the superfoods and is often an overlooked vegetable in our diets. It is rich in vitamins and minerals. It's an excellent source of vitamin K which is critical in keeping your bones strong and your arteries clear. Cauliflower is also an anti-imflammatory and known as one of the healthy Cruciferous vegetables. Another important thing . . . roasted cauliflower is delicious!



1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
2 T extra-light olive oil or grape seed oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 T chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place cauliflower florets into a large bowl.
Mix in the oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and half of the grated cheese.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour into a casserole dish.
Place in oven and roast for 40 minutes.
Stir after 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese.

Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with parsley before serving.


Serves 4