2 sisters 2 cities

August 21, 2010

Nantucket Birthday Clam Chowder

The day before we left for our 10 day vacation in Nantucket, Husband M had his 30th birthday.  Since we were pretty busy packing and tying up loose ends before we left, we were only able to have a small celebration.  I made one of his favorite easy summer recipes…Martha Stewart Everyday’s Grilled Steak with tomatoes and scallions and a brownie from the farmer’s market.  His Aunt T had thrown him a big birthday party in Maine the weekend prior and I also had plans for a lobster bake while we in Nantucket.  His work also threw him a afternoon party with freshly baked cookies, so all in all, he had 4 birthday parties this year.

For the Nantucket lobster bake, we ordered pre-cooked lobsters and steamers from Sayle’s fish market.  Our little cottage did not have air-conditiong and the day of the party happened to the hottest day we were in Nantucket.  Thank goodness we bought pre-cooked lobsters…I can’t imagine how much hotter the place would have been if I had been cooking lobsters for hours.  They did a great job packing them and they stayed warm for quite awhile.

For a starter, I decided to make a batch of clam chowder.  We were having 10 people over in all and this recipe I put together made well over this amount (if served as an appetizer).  I used Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything No-Holds-Barred Clam Chowder recipe as the base and tweaked it based on a few other recipes I have made in the past.

Nantucket Birthday Clam Chowder

Serves 10+ as an appetizer

Ingredients:
-1/2 pound applewood smoked bacon (or similar high quality), chopped
-2 cups minced onions
-5 cups peeled and chopped baking potatoe
-4 tablespoons flour (I used wheat)
-2 teaspoons dried thyme
-7 five-ounce cans of clams
-4  eight-ounce bottles of clam juice
-S&P
-2 cups milk
-2 cups heavy cream
-2 tablespoons butter
-fresh chopped parsley
-oyster crackers

Directions:
Fry the bacon in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp.  Remove the bacon with a with slotted spoon and put aside.  Cook the onion and potatoes in the bacon fat until the onion softens and is translucent (10-15 minutes).  While they are cooking, drain the canned clams and reserve the drained clam juice.  Add the flour and thyme to the onion and potatoes, and combine.  Add the 4 bottles of clam juice and the reserved clam juice from the cans.  Cook until the potatoes are tender (an additional 10-15 minutes).  At this point, I turned off the heat and put the lid on the pot to keep it warm until the guests arrived.

About 5 minutes before I was ready to serve the chowder, I added the salt, pepper, milk, and cream (put the milk and cream out for about 20-30 minutes to get to room temperature so it does not curdle when you add it).  Add the drained clams and bring to a low simmer.  Add the butter on top of the chowder- the clams will be finished cooking once the butter melts.  I served the chowder with the chopped parsley and oyster crackers on the side.

-m

August 19, 2010

Back from ACK

Filed under: M's post, Vacation — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 2:50 pm

Photo courtesy of Kayak the Rockies via Creative Commons license

We apologize for the lack of posts lately, but Sister K and I have been spending the past few weeks getting ready for vacation, going on vacation, and recovering from vacation.  We spent last week soaking up the sun in Nantucket.

Husband M & I rented a small cottage in Madaket and invited Sister K and the other Sister M to come visit us for part of the week.  We had a great time of hitting up the beaches, going on walks, eating great meals, and napping!  I tried to cook a lot of the meals at our cottage, but we did get a chance to try out or revisit a number of restaurants in downtown Nantucket:

Brant Point Grill at The White Elephant
Black Eyed Susan’s
Cinco
Slip 14
Straight Wharf

I would have to say our best meals were at Black Eyed Susan’s and Straight Wharf.  To get into Black Eyed Susan’s however, you need to wait in a line starting at 5 to put your name on the reservation list for a 7:30 or 9:15 seating.  They also are BYOB, cash only, and do not have a/c.  We joked with our fellow line-mates that we were going to open Sunflower Sally’s across the street where there is plenty of booze, takes all credit cards, and the a/c is pumping 24/7!  Despite all the effort to get into the restaurant, it was well worth it!

Husband M had to briefly take a conference call and need Internet access for a few hours one day…he greatly appreciated the free wi-fi and cold beers at the Brant Point Grill bar area that day.

This weekend, I plan to spend some time catching up around the house (we’ve been traveling the past 3 weekends) and will be posting my special Nantucket birthday clam chowder recipe (especially for Aunt N!)  Check back soon!

-m

June 5, 2010

Western Getaway

I recently got the chance to take a long weekend vacation to the Red Mountain Spa in Utah.  Husband M and I usually like 2 different types of vacation…he is definitely an outdoor adventurer, while I usually lean towards a more relaxing trip.  This resort was the perfect blend of the two.  Awesome hiking and sights to see for Husband M and a spa and pool for me.  The food at the spa was very healthy, but delicious at the same time.  We definitely left feeling very relaxed and happy with our time here.

One of the days, we signed up for a group outing to Zion National Park.  Husband M has had the chance to visit a number of national parks…Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Volcanos at the Big Island, Great Smokey Mountains, and Acadia.  He was excited to check this one off his list.  We were not disappointed.  The views were spectacular:

We hiked the first two miles of the Angels’s Landing trail.  The trail features Walters Wiggles, which looks a bit like San Francisco’s Lombard Street:

Walter Wiggles

Lombard Street, San Francisco

We decided against doing the last 1/2 mile of Angel’s Landing as it was a bit precarious and required you to hold on to a chain to get to the top:

We did get a chance to do two additional trails that day…the Emerald Pools and a trail that was on the other side of the Zion Park tunnel.

Back at the resort, we did an Adventure level hike one morning.  It was a really early hike…6:50 am start time.  When we finished, we were ready for lunch until we realized it was still 10 in the morning!  The hike at adjacent Snow Canyon State Park also offered some beautiful views:

I really hope to go back here one day for another vacation.  It was a great combination of adventure, outdoors, relaxation, and great meals.

-m

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