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New England Clam Chowder

When I was a teenager on the farm I worked at a Gun Club on Sundays setting skeet traps. Skeet shooting is a recreational and competitive activity where participants, using shotguns, attempt to break clay disks mechanically flung into the air from two fixed stations at high speed from a variety of angles. My mother was a weekend cook and one of the women who prepared clam chowder for the competitors, using cans of clams and water…yuck! I detested this version. Later on in life I came to love New England clam chowder. Recently I came across this recipe which turned out very well.

New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks (reserve tender leaves) trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 (10-ounce) cans chopped clams in juice
1 cup heavy cream or Media Crema
2 bay leaves
1 pound Idaho potatoes, cut into 1/2- inch cubes I cheated and used canned potatoes chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and saute until softened, mixing often. Stir in the flour to distribute evenly. Add the stock, juice from 2 cans of chopped clams (reserve clams), cream, bay leaves, and potatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring consistently (the mixture will thicken), then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes, stirring often, until the potatoes are nice and tender. Then add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper, cook until clams are just firm, another 2 minutes.

Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dave-lieberman/new-england-clam-chowder-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Trying out a new look for 2015…hope you like it!

We were in Cuba in February and came to enjoy the red beans and rice. Looking for a similar dish, I found a recipe for Cajun Red Beans and Rice on my friend Kevin’s site www.closetcooking.com

I used a smoked pancetta as Andouille is not common down here. The flavour was great. This recipe makes enough for four hungry people!

Cajun Red Beans and Rice (adapted from http://www.closetcooking.com)
Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1/2 pound Andouille sausage or smoked Pancetta (cut into small pieces)
• 1 cup onion (diced)
• 1/2 cup celery (diced)
• 1/2 cup green pepper (diced)
• 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
• 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
• 2 (19 ounce) cans red beans (rinsed and drained)
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4 cups cooked rice (I like to go with Basmati)
Directions
1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat add the sausage and sauté until lightly golden brown, about 5-7 minutes, and set aside.
2. Add the onions, celery and green pepper to the pan and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the stock, beans, sausage/pancetta, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for at least 1 hour
6. Remove the bay leaves.
7. Mash or puree about a quarter of the beans if desired.

If you feel there is too much liquid, just let it simmer down.
Just before serving add the cooked rice.

Filetes a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets in the style of Veracruz)

Lee was asking for some fish dishes a while back. Today and next week, I will post two excellent fish dishes which never fail….here’s my first favourite… you can also search here for salmon…

 

Filetes de pescado a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets Braised with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives & Herbs)
No matter where fish is served, you can be sure that pescado a la Veracruzana will be on the menu. It’s a delicious blend of Old and New World ingredients: Capers, olives, herbs, and garlic weave their way through two of America’s greatest contributions to Mediterranean cuisine – tomatoes and chilies. Though practically any firm, white-fleshed fish would work well, when the dish is made with fresh Gulf snapper – as it often is in Veracruz – it’s a revelation.

This is a company favourite in Mexico….well worth the prep time!
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of chopped tomatoes)
• 1 cup sliced pitted manzanilla (or green) olives, divided
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup capers, divided
• 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, divided * (optional)
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 6 (6-ounce) red snapper or other firm white fish fillets
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
Preparation
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup olives, water, 2 tablespoons capers, 2 tablespoons jalapeños*, parsley, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until reduced to 6 cups. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Discard bay leaves.
Arrange fish in a single layer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; drizzle with lime juice, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes; discard marinade.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spoon sauce over fish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup olives, 2 tablespoons capers, and 2 tablespoons jalapeños*. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Potato Gratin

After much consideration, I bought a good mandoline while in Canada! Of course, this was going to be my first recipe using it, and it worked out great! I managed not to slice my fingers and both the potatoes and onions were oh so evenly sliced. I made a few changes to Jamie’s recipe, like dropping the chestnuts and substituting onions. In case you are wondering, these are not scalloped potatoes with mushroom soup like our mothers made, but it is equally tasty…

Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Potato Gratin (adapted)

Serves 4 hungry men!

Ingredients

  • 1 small knob butter
  • 200 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 300 ml double cream (I used a 335 ml tin of Carnation Evaporated milk)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2.5 kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (8)
  • 1 handful fresh thyme (I used dried thyme).
  • 1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • olive oil
  • 6 rashers higher-welfare streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 handful vac-packed chestnuts, peeled and crumbled (optional)
  • 1 sliced white onion

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish, around 30cm x 30cm, and at least 6cm deep.

Pour the milk and cream into a wide pan with the bay leaves and garlic. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

Add the potatoes to the cream mixture and most of the thyme leaves and stir well. Spoon one-half into the gratin dish and shake to even everything out. Add the sliced white onions. Follow with other half of potatoes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan then cover with an oiled piece of foil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a little olive oil until crispy and golden or use Ready Crisp precooked bacon.  Add the remaining thyme and stir in the chestnuts. (I skipped the chestnuts and used more onions). When your gratin is ready, remove the foil and spoon the bacon and chestnut/onion mixture over the top. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes until gorgeous and crispy on top.

Carnitas de Michoacan

While on our trip to Patzcuaro and Janitzio, we passed through the state of Michoacan.  We did a day trip to Tzintzuntzan and Quiroga. In Quiroga, we sampled the wonderful Carnitas Carmelo (pork).  Unable to convince the owner to share his secret recipe, Larry set out to make his own. The original one I posted on the travel blog – www.mexico1012.wordpress.com, but we never actually made it.

 With the end of the Maya calendar fast approaching, we decided to have our “Last Supper” with a dozen of close friends. What to serve? Well, he already had purchased the copper pan in Santa Clara del Cobre…so why not make the famous carnitas? Pouring through the Internet he came up with four recipes. Larry being Larry, he decided to improvise using parts of all four recipes. Et voila! Here is HIS version…

CARNITAS DE MICHOACAN

Feeds  12 carnivores!

Prepare this the day before.

Ingredients

2 kilos boneless pork shoulder, cut into approx. 2 inch cubes

1 kilo pork ribs

1 kilo back bones

1 kilo pork fat

¼ cup soya sauce

2 cups safflower oil, or similar

One slab of pork skin with fat left on, about 12 x 12

One large white onion thickly sliced

1 tsp  of whole cumin seeds

2 Tbs  of Mexican oregano

3 bay leaves

One 4 inch stick of cinnamon

2 Tbs of chopped garlic

6 whole cloves

3 cups of water

1 cup of orange juice

3 oranges

2 Tbs of course salt

Add chiles to suit your taste!!!

 

Preparation

Marinate the pork cubes in ¼ cup of soya sauce for about 30 minutes.

Heat the pork fat and oil and add the onion, oregano, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, cloves and garlic.  Cook until the onions are well caramelized in color. Remove onion, bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves.  Set aside to be added again later.

Brown all of the meats, in small portions, in the hot oil. This is necessary so that the meat does not lower the temperature of the oil and allow the meat to become saturated before sealing the outer surface.

When all of the meats have been browned, add the oranges, orange juice and water to the oil, add in the spices and onions that were set aside.  Now add in all the meats.  Cover the meat in the with the pork skin.  Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for approximately 2 to 3 hours.   Remove the meats.  Allow to cool.  Remove all bones from the ribs and spine.  Add the meat to the boneless pieces and mix together.   Remove the onion and other spices from the hot mixture with a strainer.  You can add the onions to the meat mixture.   Place the meat and the liquid in separate containers in the fridge overnight.  Before you combine the liquid with the meat the next day, remove as much of the congealed grease as possible. Reheat the meat in the broth, adding more water if necessary.

 Serve in soft tortillas or ‘Italian’ ciabatta buns. Top with onions escabeche (Recipe follows)