formats

Happy as a Clam at High Tide: Three Clam Appetizers

*Clam & Corn Fritters*

*Baked Stuffed Clams*

*New England Clam Chowder*

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Thoughts of cooking shellfish typically surface with the first days of summer, but as I gaze out at the snow piling up outside, I am thinking of ways to turn that seafood into a steaming, piping hot dish. Fresh clams make delicious dishes, but I have opted for fresh chopped to shorten the prep time. Better than canned, I use an excellent brand that has proved to be as close to fresh clams as possible…they are wild caught, hand-shucked (not steamed) and packed in their own juices.

 

Clam Fritters

Fried foods typically not a part of my culinary repertoire, but after an attempt at creating a baked version of these, I accept that there is a reason why fritters are fried. My baked versions were dry, tasteless, lumps…there is probably someone who can make them baked, but not me. Made the conventional way, they are satisfying, crunchy appetizers when accompanied by a creamy buttermilk dip

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Recipe:

Baked Stuffed Clams

This recipe is easy, quick and delicious, but not for those who prefer the traditional baked clam made with the whole, fresh clam. I have found a brand of natural chopped  clams that are hand-shucked with no salt or preservatives…they are fresh and tender.

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Recipe:

New England Clam Chowder

This chowder is the indulgent, full-bodied sister to the healthier Manhattan clam chowder, but it is worth every calorie. With most of us placing an emphasis on better nutrition, my soup regime is typically lentil, bean, minestrones, butternut squash, chicken…you know the ones.  Certainly all delicious, but having commended myself for eating healthy soups,  I decided I’m entitled to a second bowl of this creamy clam chowder.

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formats

HOT POTATOES THAT ARE COOL

Smashed Potato Appetizers

*Minted Peas*   *Steak*    *Kale or Spinach*

 

 

Smashed Potatoes with Minted Peas, Filet Mignon & Kale

Smashed Potatoes with Minted Peas, Filet Mignon & Kale

 

 

 

 

I feel as if I am cheating because this posting did not require the amount of time normally devoted to this process. Working a few less hours did not diminish the quality of this recipe as a worthwhile appetizer. The smashed potato…love the perfect description…is everywhere, with an endless choice of toppings. A friend suggested caviar…consider toppings you may be using for other appetizers. My choices were based on some of my favorite ‘potato and’ combinations as well as what I had in the fridge on that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe for Smashed Potatoes…

Recipe for Minted Peas…

Recipe for Steak…

Recipe for Kale or Spinach…

formats

A Hill Of Beans: Three Cannellini Bean Recipes

 

 

  *Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)* *Cannellini Beans and Red Chard with Toasted Walnuts*

*Cannellini Bean Salad with Anchovies & Orange Segments*

 

 

Cannellini Beans

 

As a child, who knew the popular rhyme about beans being good for your heart was in fact, true. Apparently kidney beans have a multitude of health benefits and the white, cannellini beans, have been a part of my diet since childhood. Tricked by a mother into eating delicious meals that were nutritious and economical…well, my mom was always ahead of her time.

Cannellini beans are creamy and will absorb a variety of flavors and spices, making them perfect for a wide range of recipes, both hot and cold. There is a long list of dishes and these are three of my easy favorites. Another benefit is the canned beans are as good as cooking the dried beans, so opening a can of beans and adding a few ingredients is a quick meal. The dark red kidney beans are in the same league, but I usually reserve those for meals requiring a longer cooking time or simmering because they hold their shape. Red ones are delicious in all sorts of salads, too, but recipes for another time.

 

 

 

 

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta & Beans)

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta & Beans)

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta & Beans)

 

A dish with as many different recipes as there are cooks and mine is a slight variation on my mother’s recipe. Although one of the simplest, it took me many attempts to achieve just the right flavors and consistency as in her dish…and still not quite as tasty. It probably has to do more with the emotional childhood, food and family connection that always makes her dishes remain the best…but that is a good thing.  Attempts at additions or changes always return me to the original version…simple and satisfying.

recipe…

 

 

 

 

Cannellini Beans with Red Chard & Toasted Walnuts

Cannellini Beans & Red Chard with Toasted Walnuts

Cannellini Beans & Red Chard with Toasted Walnuts

 

The texture of the cannellini beans and the addition of some grated cheese make this a creamy side dish.

recipe…

 

 

 

Cannellini Bean Salad with Anchovies & Orange Segments

 

Cannellini Bean Salad with Anchovies and Orange Segments

Cannellini Bean Salad with Anchovies and Orange Segments

 

 

A prerequisite is that you like anchovies in order to enjoy this recipe. If made without the anchovies, then it is a green salad with beans. A substitution could be a can of tuna packed in olive oil, but then you are headed in the direction of a salad Niçoise.

recipe…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

formats

Savory, Crunchy or Sweet: Cabbage and Fennel Pairings

*Cabbage, Fennel & Pork Chop Casserole Alsatian Style*

* Asian Cabbage & Fennel Slaw*

*Warm Cabbage, Fennel  & Pear Salad with Gorgonzola and Toasted Walnuts*

Cooking cabbage dishes such as corned beef and cabbage or cabbage with pork and potatoes were recipes learned from my mother, whose name is mentioned each time I cook one of these recipes… stuffed cabbage is another story. However, after living in Switzerland for a few years and traveling through the Alsace-Lorraine region to visit good friends in Strasbourg, there are new associations for cabbage recipes. Driving past field after field of cabbages was an unexpected part of the journey that required my French friends to help me make the connection to an area renowned for the best sauerkraut and classic cabbage, pork, sausage & potato dishes.  I decided to try a cabbage and fennel combination and believe they complement each other, both hot and cold.

 

 

Cabbage, Fennel & Pork Chop Casserole Alsatian Style

Cabbage, Fennel & Pork Chop Casserole Alsatian Style

Cabbage, Fennel & Pork Chop Casserole Alsatian Style

An amazing woman and beloved friend, Soeurette, was the inspiration for the addition of juniper berries to this recipe. Apparently, she always used juniper berries as a standard ingredient in this dish and as a native of the Alsatian region and a force to be reckoned with, I am a believer.

Recipe:

Asian Cabbage & Fennel Slaw

Asian Cabbage & Fennel Slaw

Asian Cabbage & Fennel Slaw

Of the three dishes, this is the one that required the most tweaking. You know how it goes…more ginger, less ginger…adjust the mayo…add less honey…and so on. The original recipe called for the basil to be blended as part of the marinade, but I did not like the taste, nor the green-colored dressing, and prefer the flavor as an ingredient with the cabbage & fennel. By the last batch, I needed a break from cabbage consumption and left it in the refrigerator for a day or two. I was pleased to discover that it continued to be tasty, crunchy and not at all soggy.

Recipe:

Warm Cabbage, Fennel & Pear Salad with Gorgonzola & Toasted Walnuts

Warm Cabbage, Fennel & Pear Salad w/Gorgonzola &  Walnuts

Warm Cabbage, Fennel & Pear Salad w/Gorgonzola & Walnuts

This recipe is satisfying as a substantial appetizer to a meal or as a light lunch accompanied by a slice of crusty French or Italian bread.

 Recipe: