Sunday, January 25, 2009

Clam Chowder

This was delicious but a little thinner than clam chowder I had in New Hampshire. I added 2 Tbsp cornstarch to thicken, but other options would be to double the potatoes, or drain two of the cans of minced clams, or add 1/4 cup flour to the onion and bacon mixture when it is done cooking. You can use 4 cups fresh shucked clams instead of the canned.

1 (8 oz.) bottle clam juice
2 med. baker's potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 thick strips bacon, chopped finely
1 med. onion, diced
4 cans minced clams
1 cup half and half cream

In a medium saucepan, bring clam juice and potatoes to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, in a pot, cook bacon on medium heat then add onions and cook until tender. Add canned clams and potato mixture and heat to boiling, then simmer.

In a small saucepan, warm half and half (you could do this in the microwave too) then add to pot, stirring slowly. Heat through but do not boil or this will cause the cream to separate.

Makes about 4 servings.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Anna's Spaghetti Sauce

I have always been a fan of spaghetti (exhibit A below). But I first decided to make my own spaghetti sauce when I was inspired by watching the Godfather. The recipe I used originally came from the Betty Crocker cookbook, but I've adapted it on multiple people's advice.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground sausage, turkey, or beef (I used to use beef, then I used hot pork sausage which was amazing, now I use turkey, because pork is not so good for you)
2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 Tbsp dried basil
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 or 2 dashes Worcestershire (optional: if you are using turkey, this gives it a more meaty flavor)
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt to taste

Saute onions and bell pepper in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add meat and brown and crumble. Drain as best as you can. Return to heat. Add diced tomatoes with liquid, tomato paste, and spices. If it is too thick, add 4 to 6 oz. water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 15-30 minutes. Suits most types of pasta.

Basic Miso Soup

Many grocery stores carry miso paste nowadays, but you may have to venture to Cost Plus or your nearest asian grocery to find dashi granules. I used Hon-Dashi.

4 cups water
1-2 tsp dashi granules (start on the low side and go up as you like)
2-3 Tbsp miso paste (I used mellow white, but the brown kind is ideal)
1 block tofu (10-12 oz.), in small 1/2 inch cubes
A couple handfuls of fresh spinach (optional)
2 green onions, chopped (optional)

Bring water to a boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Add dashi granules, tofu, spinach, and green onions. Cook until spinach is soft and bright green. Remove from heat. Add miso paste and stir until blended.

Makes 2-4 servings

Note: You don't want to boil the miso as many people believes this kills off the good bacteria in the miso.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Aunt Lisa's Black-Eyed Peas and Turnip Greens

From Aunt Lisa:

"I saw on the dining blog that Anna was talking about black-eyed peas as a New Year tradition, particularly in the South, and I wanted to add a comment. The southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens is that the peas you eat represent coins you will get in the coming year and the greens represent paper money. The recipes below are the traditional method of preparing these dishes. Collard greens are really hard on the system for me so I always do turnip greens.

Black Eyed Peas

-1 lb. Dried Black Eyed Peas
-1 large meaty hambone or ham hocks (I use the bone from the Honey Baked Ham we have at Christmas – throw it in the freezer until New Years)
-1 large onion, chopped, preferably Vidalia
-Red Pepper Flakes

Sort and rinse peas and then soak overnight. Drain peas. Add hambone or hocks to large pot with 6 cups water. Add onions and peas. Add a tablespoon of salt (more or less to taste) along with pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 2 hours or until peas are tender. Add water as needed.

Turnip Greens with Smoked Turkey

-1 lb Turnip Greens or other greens of your choice
-Smoked Turkey Wing
-salt to taste
-1 tsp sugar – essential to counteract bitterness
-Black pepper
-Cayenne Pepper

Serve with Hot Pepper Vinegar – I use Glory Foods brand

Brings 6 cups of water to a boil an add turkey wing. Boil wing for 10 minutes and then add greens, salt, sugar and peppers. Cook on low for an hour or so until greens have softened to your taste. Serve in a bowl with lots buttered cornbread to soak up the pot liquor. Pass the pepper vinegar so everyone can add as they like.

Oh and I forgot, after the peas or greens are done, remove the ham bone or the turkey wing, chop up all of the meat and add back to the pot.

Also if you don't use the meat in the greens you could start out with stock instead, either vegetable or chicken."