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Archive for February, 2013

From Dish Rachelle:
Clam chowder
I’m pretty sure that in my lifetime I’ve done some serious damage to the clam population of the Northeast. Some of my favorite dishes – and my family’s favorite dishes – center around this one simple ingredient. I grew up eating fried clam strips with tartar sauce with my Mom at Howard Johnson’s at brunch on Sundays and at fish fry places on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore. I always ordered the chalky New England clam chowder at Friendly’s when I was little (and we know what a big part Friendly’s played in my childhood). I’ve known my father to cook three dishes, and three dishes only: 1) “Cheese eggs” (aka scrambled eggs with American cheese) 2) Linguine with white clam sauce and 3) Baked clams (see the bottom of this post for a neat trick he taught me). I love Zuppa di Clams and even raw ones on the half shell with cocktail sauce. This is really just starting to sound like a survey of New Jersey restaurant menus.

I’ve made Manhattan clam chowder before (“red”) but never New England. I was very pleasantly surprised. Sorry, clams – this might become another go-to.

Ingredients (makes 2 entrée-sized portions or 4 appetizers)

18 raw whole clams, shells on
2 strips bacon, chopped
Olive oil
½ large yellow onion, chopped
splash of dry white wine
1 large baking potato, diced small
clam stock (see below)
1/3 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
Ground pepper

Start by steaming your clams open. In a large, deep saucepan, place rinsed clams (shells on) in about a half-inch of water. Cover and steam over medium-high heat, giving the pan a shake every few minutes. Cook until the water looks foamy and the shells are all wide open, about 10 minutes.
Steamed clams
With tongs, remove the clams to a bowl. Do not drain or discard the clammy water at the bottom of your saucepan, because this will become the base of your stock! Remove the clam meat from the shells and reserve for later. Place the empty shells back in the saucepan and add about a pint and a half of water, covering and bringing it up to a simmer. Let this cook while you prepare your other ingredients.
Coming out of their shells
Clam stock
Cook the chopped bacon in a soup/stew pot over medium heat. When it looks about done, add the onions and a little bit of olive oil so they don’t stick, and soften. Deglaze with the white wine and add the potatoes.
Diced potato
Return to your clam stock and taste it. It will likely be very salty. Remove shells* and pour the liquid through a cheese cloth to remove any sand or grit that has come from them, and then pour the strained liquid straight into your soup pot. Add some fresh water if necessary to cover ingredients and dilute the salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, mostly covered, about 15 minutes.

Check your potatoes and make sure they’re done. If so, roughly chop the clam meat and add to the pot along with any liquids that emerged. Add the corn and stir. Cook, mostly covered, over low heat for another 5 minutes.
Chopped clam
Add heavy cream and if you prefer a thicker soup, the cornstarch (you can dissolve it in a little bit of warm water first to make a paste so that it’s not gritty in your mouth). Plate and season with ground pepper.

*You can toss them, or rinse and save them for another use. My Dad used to make baked clams using canned clams – easy, but without the benefit of shells for easy baking and nice presentation. No problem: when he ordered clams casino at a restaurant, he used to ask the waiter if he could keep the empty shells so that the next time he felt to urge to make baked clams he’d have them on hand.
Mutual admiration society, clam edition

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Vinegar Asparagus Salad

This week Saucy Little Dish welcomes Guest Dish Leah Damour!  Leah is a friend/coworker of Dish Nicole’s and we are psyched she sent us one of her favorite recipes.

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Well Hiya!

Leah here, tuning in from Astoria, Queens. I am originally from upstate New York just like Dish Nicole (only way…way farther up)! Here’s a little dish I snagged from a neighbor here in the city.

Whenever I go over to a friend’s house for dinner, I feel like I am newly enlightened to side dishes and “stand bys” that I never would have considered. You know the one– that easy and delicious side that you always just shove next to something to make the meal complete. Usually mine are dirty mashed potatoes (thanks mom) or lately, bok choy sautéed in olive oil with oyster sauce. Drool. When my boyfriend and I went to our friend Justin’s for dinner in Astoria, his standard side dish which blew me away was this red wine vinegar asparagus salad. Yum! I went crazy for it. I hope you do too!

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You will need:

1 bundle of asparagus

1 smallish red onion, diced

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of red wine vinegar

Salt & pepper to taste

1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

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Start by breaking the hard woody ends off of the asparagus. You can toss those.

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Slice the remaining asparagus stems into nice diagonal cuts so they look pretty. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Add these to a mixing bowl with a lid. Dice your red onions and add them to the asparagus.

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Add your cheese and mix the dry ingredients.

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Pour in your vinegar, and mix it up!

Let this set in your refrigerator for at least an hour, it’s worth the wait!

Add your salt and pepper to taste right before serving and enjoy!

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From Dish Nicole:
Ginger scallion - 09

It’s always nice to have a recipe that’s an old standby when you have little or no time to come up with something.  It’s also nice when said recipe is simple and delicious and does not need to be improved upon what so ever.  My new “old standby” is David Chang’s ginger scallion sauce.  Just to give a little background, David Chang is a Korean-American chef and is chef/founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, which includes Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Má Pêche, Milk Bar and Momofuku Ko in NYC just to name a few.  I have only been to the Noodle Bar and my taste buds did a happy dance when I took the first bite into my ginger scallion noodles.  I am slightly ramen obsessed and I would definitely say this was my favorite ramen dish to date.  I decided that I should make my old standby for my old standby (Dish Danielle) when she came over after work one night.  You can make the sauce ahead of time, in fact it’s recommended for flavor infusion, so you have plenty of time to catch up with your pal.  I also had some bok choy on hand so I decided to sauté that up and serve up with the noodles along with a lovely little cucumber salad.

Ginger scallion - 01

Cucumber salad:

2 medium cucumbers thinly sliced

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

I started out by making the cucumber salad and setting aside to garnish the noodles with later.  Simply slice and mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Ginger scallion - 02

For the sauce:

2 1/2 c. thinly sliced scallions (greens & whites from 1 to 2 large bunches)

1/2 c. finely minced peeled fresh ginger

1/2 c. grape seed or other neutral oil

1 1/2 tsp. light soy sauce

3/4 tsp. sherry wine vinegar

3/4 tsp. Kosher salt, or more to taste

2 packages dried ramen noodles (I use the Ka-me Chinese noodles)

Ginger scallion - 03 Ginger scallion - 04

To make the sauce mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and add more salt or soy sauce if needed.  Make the sauce at least 15-20 minutes before you plan to serve it so the flavors infuse.

Ginger scallion - 05 Ginger scallion - 06

Set aside the sauce and boil water for the noodles and prep your bok choy.  I like to leave the bok choy in thin long slices and I sautéed with minced garlic and a little sesame oil until soft (approx 5-8 minutes).

Ginger scallion - 08 Ginger scallion - 07

Cook the noodles for 3 minutes, drain and serve with the ginger scallion sauce, cucumbers and the bok       choy.  For those of you that like a little kick in your food, add a little sriracha and enjoy.

Actually I’d say best served with a best friend and gossip.

**Another great thing about this sauce is that it keeps well for several days and its delicious served on fish, eggs, rice etc.

Ginger scallion - 10

 

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From Dish Deanna:

lobster

The last time I had lobster mac & cheese I was on a date about a year and a half ago. We went to this really nice restaurant on the water and because it was on the water I obviously had to order some sort of fish. I’d heard good things about the lobster mac & cheese and couldn’t help myself. It was literally the best thing I’d ever eaten. Unfortunately, the date didn’t really work out (we’re still friends!), however, the mac & cheese made quite an impact.

I was feeling pretty adventurous when I woke up this morning and said to myself, “I NEED to make lobster mac & cheese tonight.” I don’t know what came over me. I already had a recipe for homemade mac & cheese but it was missing a few key ingredients, including the lobster. Here’s my own take on the most fattening and delicious dish ever.

Ingredients:

  • One 2 lb steamed lobster
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup fontina cheese, grated
  • ½ cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 and ½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 and a ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground, powdered mustard
  • ½ lb of pasta (I prefer Cellentani for this recipe but you can use Elbows or Cavatappi, or really anything)
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • Salt & pepper to taste

lobster meat

The first thing you should do is cook your lobster. I went to the store today and they offered to steam it for me. When it came time to shell the lobster, it was already cooked perfectly.

cheese

Prep all your ingredients. Grate all your cheese (make sure your measurements are correct- don’t eyeball it), take out the butter, & pour the buttermilk into a measuring cup. If your lobster is already cooked, take this time to shell it and cut the meat into bite size pieces.

First, boil water in a saucepan and add your pasta. Add salt and olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking. Cook the pasta to your liking. In a separate saucepan, on medium heat melt the butter completely and then add the flour. Stir continuously until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the buttermilk and stir until the liquid thickens. It should be thick enough that it coats the back of your spoon. This should take around 10 minutes. Don’t forget about your pasta during this time! If it is ready, strain and set aside for later.

buttermilk mixture

When the buttermilk has thickened, add in the cheese mixture and the mustard. Stir continuously until the cheese is completely dissolved. Add salt and pepper.

When the mixture is completely blended, add the pasta and lobster meat to the saucepan with the cheese and stir until it is coated.

Grease your casserole dish lightly and transfer the mac & cheese into it. Sprinkle plain breadcrumbs on the top until it is completely covered. Pop it in the oven for approximately 8-10 minutes at 300 degrees. It is my personal preference to brown the top of it but that is completely up to you! If you choose to brown it, keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn!

finished

ENJOY THE BEST MAC & CHEESE EVER!!!

me

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