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

-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
-2 cups milk
-2 cups heavy cream
-2 tablespoons butter
-fresh chopped parsley
-oyster crackers

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.


January 10, 2010

Hummus and Toasted Pita Chips

Filed under: M's recipes — Tags: , — 2sisters2cities @ 5:34 pm

This past weekend we hosted some college friends that were visiting Boston.  I also made a small road trip yesterday our to Chicopee, MA to pick up some letterpress supplies for my new press.  When I got home, my husband was entertaining the crew sans snacks.  I also was starving as I only had a small breakfast.  I decided to whip together my favorite last minute recipe.  It’s also a great recipe as I tend to have all of these ingredients on hand.

-1 can chickpeas with liquid (omit some liquid if you prefer your hummus less watery)
-3/4 tsp kosher salt
-2-4 garlic cloves
-1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste…you can find this in the international aisle in the Middle East or Greek section)
-6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
-8 dashes Tabasco sauce
-1  or 2 package pitas
-olive oil
-salt & pepper
-seasoning: you could use rosemary, italian seasonings, or any other similar type of spice mix

Peel the garlic and through in the food processor until chopped thoroughly.  Place the chickpeas, kosher salt, tahini, lemon juice, and Tabasco sauce in the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed.  Taste for seasoning and serve chilled at room temperature.  I also like to drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the hummus before serving.

Set the oven to 400 degrees F.  Chop the pitas up in small triangles and put on 1 or 2 baking sheets.  Pour a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and brush the oil over the pitas.  Season the pitas with a bit of salt, pepper, and any additional seasoning you desire.  Put the baking sheets in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping the pitas over halfway through the cooking time.  Take out of the oven once the edges start turning a golden brown.

If you have any extra vegetables on hand such as carrots or bell peppers, these also make great items to dip into the hummus.


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