Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Red or White, no Blues allowed

I know I am ALWAYS complaining about the weird California weather, but seriously people, have you heard about what's been going on lately? While the rest of the world has been facing some serious heat waves, it's been downright cold here in California. We had a week where we barely made it into the 60s. 50 degree weather in Southern California...in JULY?

And then came last week, when all of a sudden, it was as if someone had poked Mother Nature and woken her up. Oh, riiiiight, July = hot! Seriously hot. It got so bad that Thatboy accused me of trying to kill Thatdog. See, Thatdog and I are now up to 4.5 miles on our weekday runs (I leave him at home for my long weekend runs). Normally he just does fine on these runs and I haven't needed to bring water for him. Although I'm now aware that it's because of the abnormally cool weather. Last Thursday we were on our way home on our run when Thatdog decided he was done. He just...stopped...dead in his tracks. We were in a neighborhood, under a tree, with a nice breeze, and I think he just thought it was the perfect time for a break. And so I let him take a little break, kicking myself for not bringing him something cool to drink. Eventually his standing in one place turned into a little sit down, as he hung out and eyed the road, making it look like he was just waiting for me. Hah. I let him sit as long as he needed and finally he was up again. I told him I thought we should walk the remaining 2 miles home, but he wanted to run, and so I trotted beside him, making him go a little slower than he would have liked. And he took 3 more breaks on the way back - to roll like a crazy dog in the dirt on the trail.

And because the weather here is extremely unpredictable, later that day the sun disappeared and it rained. And we had thunder and lightening storms. In July.

Because of the cold weather, while my friends around the country are enjoying their grills and green leafy salads, we've been eating a lot of soups. In July. But that means we can play fun soup games! Like New England v. Manhattan Clam Chowder! I have to say - I've lived in both New York and New England, so I don't have any loyalties there. And yet, I have always had a strong preference for the white stuff. Maybe because it's usually far more fattening? This New England Clam Chowder is made with milk, not cream, and since I usually use skim milk for everything, it cuts down on the fat and calories substantially. But you really don't lose anything, it's still delicious. And while I usually prefer the New England variety, this Manhattan clam chowder definitely holds its own. It might be safe to say Thatboy and I both preferred it. But I leave the recipes in your hands for you to decide for yourself.



New England Clam Chowder (from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)

  • 3-4 cups shucked or steamed chowder clams with their juice or broth
  • 1 1/2 inch cube salt pork, diced small
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • salt
  • pepper

  1. Measure the clam juice/broth and add water to make 2 1/2 cups.
  2. Cut the clams into small pieces and set aside.
  3. Cook the salt pork slowly in a small skillet until the fat has mtlted and the scraps are brown.
  4. Strain, set aside the scraps and put 2 Tbsp of the fat in a large pot.
  5. Heat the fat, add the onion, and cook slowly until golden.
  6. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes and clam juice or broth.
  8. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  9. Add the clams and simmer 10 minutes more, or until the clams are cooked and the potatoes are tender.
  10. Add the milk, butter, and salt and pepper to taste, and heat until the butter has melted.
  11. Serve with a few crisp pork bites in each bowl.



Manhattan Clam Chowder (from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)

  • 2 cups shucked or steamed chowder clams, with their juice or broth
  • 1 1/2 inch cube of salt pork, diced small
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups stewed peeled tomatoes or chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Measure the clam juice or broth from the shucked or steamed clams and add water, if necessary, to make 2 1/2 cups.
  2. Cut the clams into small pieces and set aside.
  3. Cook the small pork slowly in a small skillet until the fat melts and the scraps are brown. Strain, set aside the scraps, and put 2 Tbsp of the fat in a large pot. Heat the fat, add the onion, and cook until limp.
  4. Stir in the potatoes and claim juice. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and simmer 10 minutes more.
  6. Stir in the clams and thyme, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the clams and the potatoes are done. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with a few crisp pork bites in each bowl.

3 comments:

  1. I bet Cali can't possibly have weirder weather than New England, you should be used to that!

    And if you wanted to make a blue... how about NE chowdah with purple potatoes?! I've never seen it but I bet that could work.

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  2. I have had some of the best clam chowder in Pike Place market but have never attemptred to make my own. These both look like amazing recipes.

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