New England Clam Chowdah

0011B248-2723-4233-81E2-B1C3CA04E578

Well here I am, once again, months and months since my last post. I know that I haven’t been the most diligent bloggess in the world, but I’ve been busy. I know, right, haven’t we all? But I moved. Again. Just a few short months ago my family and I packed up all of our belongings, pointed our car northeast, and drove 2,000 miles to Boston in what would become our fifth home as a family. Continue reading

Advertisements

Farmers’ Market Ratatouille

IMG_7130

Hi, my name’s Emily and I am a farmers’ market junkie. No really, I have a serious problem. When May arrives and my local farmers’ market reopens for the summer, I visit every week. Sometimes twice. It takes me hours to peruse every stand and talk to every farmer. I usually spend way too much money buying way too much produce - more than my family could possibly eat in one week. When I get home I artfully arrange my trophies in cute little baskets on my countertop, and because I’m a total geek, I take pictures of my displays and text them to my husband with cheesy notes that say: “Look what’s cookin’ tonight!” or “Got Produce?” His replies go something like, “Um, that’s a lot of peppers, honey.” By the end of the week I’ve only used about half of what I bought, and I’m left with extremely ripe, eat-me-right-now veggies that are in threat of going to waste. Which is how I found my other addiction: ratatouille. This super healthy, one-pan meal uses up all my leftover odds-and-ends-produce, freeing up my counter for another visit to the market.

 Farmers’ Market Ratatouille

IMG_7088

This vitamin-rich dish can serve as a vegetarian entrée (say on Meatless Monday), an accompaniment to grilled meat, or an easy sauce when thrown into a pot of cooked pasta. Sometimes I even spoon it over a slice of toasted baguette for a quick lunch. 

Farmers’ Market Ratatouille

Serves 4 as an entrée or 6-8 as a side dish

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 zucchini squash, diced
  • 2 yellow summer squash, diced
  • 1 small eggplant, skin on, diced
  • 4 tomatoes, seeded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, minced (or another fresh herb such as oregano, basil, or parsley)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh crack black pepper

IMG_7108

In a large straight-sided skillet set over medium-high, heat oil until shimmering. Add onions and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add remaining ingredients to the pot, stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low, cover pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything has softened, about 30-40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread to sop up all those lovely juices.IMG_7146

Local Farmers’ Markets

These days almost ever town in America has a weekly farmers’ market (typically open May through October). My local market runs twice a week during the summer, which is a great way to feed my addiction, but come December I start itching for a fix again. Thankfully, I’ve always lived within a stone’s throw of a major city that has a year-round farmers’ market. Usually housed in an permanent structure, these markets are just like the townie ones only on steroids. In addition to selling produce, farm-fresh eggs, and meats, many of these larger markets will offer an array of other attractions such as local cuisine, homemade soaps and lotions, art, flee market items, and rides & games for the kids. I’ve visited quite a few over the years, but my favorites are Pike Place Market in Seattle, Union Square Greenmarket in NYC, and City Market in Kansas City, MO, which I’ve visited a few times this season already…IMG_0070 (1)

IMG_0078

IMG_0084

IMG_0085

IMG_0086

IMG_7370

IMG_6666

IMG_7394

IMG_0079

*To find a farmers’ market in your area, click here.

Stuff My Kid Eats: Chicken Pot Pie

Stuff My Kid Eats

IMG_4946

You’ve heard me mention before that word “chicken” in response to “what’s for dinner?” can insight a riot from my toddler. That is unless the word “chicken” is followed by the word “pie.”  As you can see from the photo above, the little stinker pulled a steps tool up to the counter and started to dig in before I could get her plate to the table.

Chicken Pot Pie

IMG_0153

There’s a lot of different ways to make chicken pot pie, and a lot of different crusts you can use; the way I’ve always done it is by filling individual ramekins with chicken, vegetables, and gravy, then topping them with a light and buttery sheet of puffed pastry. Feel free to skip the individual dishes and use one large one, or alter on the veggies if you want (for instance I add broccoli, which isn’t traditional), and if puff isn’t your thing, then swap it out for phyllo dough. Just don’t forget to thaw the pastry in the refrigerator the night before, otherwise you’re going to end up with a couple frozen, unusable blocks of dough that have no business near your beautiful chicken – I know this first hand. (To adapt this recipe for vegetarians, see Vegetarian Modifications at the end of the recipe.)

Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 6

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. flour plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup Sherry
  • 2 cups chicken stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup diced carrots, from about 3-4 carrots
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled and cut in half (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (from about 3-4 potatoes)
  • 1 cup diced celery, from about 3-4 celery stalks
  • 1 cup diced broccoli
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from bone and torn or cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 sheet frozen puffed pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet set over medium heat, until butter has melted and begins to brown. Add shallots and thyme and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add thyme and garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook until thick and starting to brown. Add sherry, stirring and cooking until liquid has reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Add milk and stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

To the simmering liquid, add carrots, pearl onions, and potatoes and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add celery, broccoli, chicken, peas, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, sugar, and salt and stir until combined. Cook for another couple minutes until all the ingredients are covered in gravy.

Scoop chicken mixture into individual oven-safe baking dishes or ramekins, or one large oven-safe baking dish, filling to the top.

IMG_0150

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out puff pastry dough to get rid of the seams. If you’re making individual pot pies, then with a sharp knife, cut rounds slightly larger than the circumference of ramekins. Place a pastry round over each filled dish, crimping the edges a bit and allowing about ½ of dough to hang over the sides. If you’re making one large pot pie, lay the sheet of dough over the baking dish, with a sharp knife, trim the dough to fit, leaving ½-inch overhang, crimp the edges slightly.

Brush dough all over with egg wash and use a sharp knife to make a few small slits in the top for steam to escape. Place baking dish(es) on a baking sheet to catch the drips.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the inside is bubbling at the edges.

IMG_0139

VEGETARIAN MODIFICATIONS

  • Omit chicken and replace with 1 additional cup each of carrots and broccoli.
  • Omit chicken broth and replace with vegetable broth.

Dublin Coddle Crockpot Version!

Dublin Coddle Crockpot Version!

image

Hey, everybody! I just did a little online research and found out that you can make yesterday’s Dublin Coddle in your crockpot as well, here’s how:

  • 1 lb. bacon strips
  • 8 good-quality port sausages
  • 4 onion, sliced
  • 1 leek, some green tops included, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 starchy potatoes, such as russets, peeled and cut into 2 or 3 large chucks
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon until just starting to crips. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Let cool, then slice in thirds widthwise, set aside.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the sausages to the bacon fat and cook, turning, for about 15 minutes, until evenly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into thirds, widthwise, set aside.

Also in the same skillet, gently cook the onions for 7-8 minutes, until soft but not colored.

Layer the onions, sausages, and bacon in your crockpot, seasoning each layer with plenty of black pepper. Add the leek, herbs, and garlic, and finish with a layer of potatoes. Season with a little more black pepper, then pour in the stock. cook at high (4 hours) or low setting (8 hours) until done.

Dublin Coddle

Dublin Coddle

image

Dublin Coddle is a traditional Irish comfort food that dates back to the seventeenth century. Because practicing Catholics are prohibited from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, it is thought that this dish came about as a way to cook up leftover meat at the end of the week. The first time I tried it was at an Irish Festival in Weston, MO and I was surprised at how flavorful it was for its simple ingredients – onions, potatoes, sausage, and bacon – but wow, I was impressed! Ever since then Dublin Coddle has singlehandedly replaced Chicken Pot Pie as my all-time favorite Irish meal! (Recipe slightly adapted from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook)

Serves 4-6

  • 1 lb. bacon strips
  • 8 good-quality port sausages
  • 4 onion, sliced
  • 1 leek, some green tops included, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 starchy potatoes, such as russets, peeled and cut into 2 or 3 large chucks
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large skillet, cook bacon until just starting to crips. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Let cool, then slice in thirds widthwise, set aside.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the sausages to the bacon fat and cook, turning, for about 15 minutes, until evenly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into thirds, widthwise, set aside.

Also in the same skillet, gently cook the onions for 7-8 minutes, until soft but not colored.

Layer the onions, sausages, and bacon in the bottom of an oven/flame proof casserole dish (or Dutch oven) with a lid, seasoning each layer with plenty of black pepper. Add the leek, herbs, and garlic, and finish with a layer of potatoes. Season with a little more black pepper, then pour in the stock.

Cover the casserole dish tightly and bring to a boil on top of the stove. Transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Sidekicks: Serve with plenty of dark Irish soda bread to mop up the juices and a Guinness.

image

New Orleans Red Beans & Rice

New Orleans Red Beans & Rice

IMG_0082

Guess what, folks? Fat Tuesday is just a week away (which means Spring is fast upon us), and what better way to close out the winter season of gluttonous eating than with a big bowl of red beans & rice (even if it is the healthy version)! In New Orleans, red beans & rice was traditionally served on Mondays, because that’s when the women of the house would do the weekly washing — a chore that would take all day. Before scrubbing the clothes, they would take the left over ham hock from Sunday night’s dinner, add it to a pot of beans, then set it atop the stove to simmer. Nowadays, we don’t typically wash our clothes by hand, or serve a large ham for dinner on Sunday night, but that doesn’t mean we can’t honor this Southern tradition, especially at the kickoff of Mardi Gras. And not to get too modern on you, but this recipe calls for a crockpot. Gasp! “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” as they say in New Orleans, or “Let the good times roll!” (To adapt this dish for vegetarians, see Vegetarian Modification at the end of the recipe.)

New Orleans Red Beans & Rice

Serves 4

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups dried red kidney beans
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried sage leaves
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ¾ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (see Tips)
  • ¼ tsp. red-pepper flakes (see Tips)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 14 oz. package Andouille sausage, sliced into ½-inch coins
  • 1 ham hock (see Tips)
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 3 cups cooked long-grain rice
  • ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced, for serving

In a crockpot, combine all ingredients up to the ham hock. Stir well, then nestle ham hock into the middle of mixture. Cover and cook on LOW heat for 8 hours or HIGH heat for 4-6 hours.

Find bay leaves and discard. Gently remove ham hock and set aside. Once cool, cut meat away from bone, dice, and mix into beans. Season with salt and pepper, then spoon over top a bowl of cooked long-grain rice. Top with sliced green onions.

Sidekicks:

  • I like my red beans & rice SPICY! so I always have a bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce on the table, that way I can add as much heat as I want.
  • Because of the aforementioned spice, I need something cool to extinguish the fire, and beer does just the trick. Try something crisp and light like a Pale Ale or Lager.
  • If you prefer wine over beer, uncork a bottle of Beaujolais, Shiraz, or Gewürztraminer instead.

Tips:

  • I wait to add the cayenne pepper and red-pepper flakes until after I dish my toddler’s serving. If you don’t like too much heat, omit one or both. Also, in that case, the spicy Andouille sausage can be replaced with a mild smoked sausage.
  • Fresh ham hocks can be purchased at your local butcher, or prepackaged ones can be found in the meat section of most grocery stores with the spiral cut hams.

Vegetarian Modification:

  • Omit the sausage and ham hock
  • Add 1 vegetable bouillon cube to the crockpot
  • Substitute smoked paprika for regular paprika

Soup’er Bowl Food – Cincinnati Style Chili

Soup’er Bowl Foods

With Super Bowl XLVIII quickly approaching, I wanted today’s soup to be something hearty enough to sustain you while you’re cheering for your favorite team. Even if you aren’t a football fan, as I am not, you may likely find yourself either attending or hosting a party this Sunday. With that in mind, I’m dedicating this week’s recipes to dishes that can be enjoyed by Seattle and Denver fans alike. Go Hawks! (My husband made me add that last part.)

IMG_3298

Moving around the country as much as we do, I’ve been able to taste a wide variety of chilies. It seems that everyone has their own unique recipe with a “secret” ingredient they’ve vowed never to share, not even under the threat of torture. I am one of those people. When I was writing this blog, I did a lot of soul searching as to whether or not I wanted to post my chili recipe. There are very few recipes that I don’t share, and this is one. I considered including an abbreviated version, leaving out a few key ingredients, but alas, my conscience got the better of me. So here it is, folks, the full, unadulterated version of my Cincinnati Style Chili.

Cincinnati Style Chili

Serves 8

  • 1½ lbs. ground Beef (20% fat)
    1 lb. ground hot Italian sausage
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    1 white onion, chopped
    2 green peppers, chopped
    3 celery stalks, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
    1 6 oz. can pesto/basil tomato paste
    2 bay leaves
    1 can of light beer, preferably a lager
    2 Tbsp. dark molasses
    4 cups homemade beef stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks)
    2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    1 Tbsp. flour
    3 Tbsp. water
    Chili Spice Blend (recipe below)
    Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

In a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, brown the ground meats in two separate batches. Drain and set aside.

In a large stock pot, sauté onion, peppers, and celery in olive oil until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add diced tomatoes (breaking apart with hands) and juice, tomato paste, minced garlic, bay leaves, and molasses. Add ¼ cup Chili Spice Blend. Stir and cook until the juices from the tomatoes thicken and become bubbly, about 5-8 minutes.

Add beer and cook until liquid reduces by half, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in beef stock and reserved meat and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. In a separate bowl or shaker cup, mix flour and water to create a “slurry” — you’ll want to whisk or shake the mixture until flour has dissolved and the slurry is smooth with no clumps remaining. Add to chili. Taste and season with salt & pepper and more Chili Spice Blend as needed.

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS:
Partially cover and simmer for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. 15 minutes before removing from heat, add drained beans and continue to cook.

CROCKPOT INSTRUCTIONS:
Pour chili into crockpot and stir in dried kidney beans, cover, and set on LOW heat for 8 hours.

*This chili is best when made a day ahead, as time in the refrigerator allows the flavors to marry and the chili to thicken.* Pour chili into a storage container and chill, uncovered, until cool. Cover and continue to chill overnight.

Reheat slowly over medium heat, stirring often so that chili doesn’t burn to the bottom of pot. Remove bay leaves. Taste and season with salt & pepper and more Chili Spice Blend if needed.

Chili Spice Blend

IMG_0504

This recipe makes about ¾ cup of seasoning. I use the entire ¾ cup in my chili, but start by adding ¼ cup at a time, then add more as you see fit. 

In a bowl or small jar, mix the following ingredients:

2 Tbsp. each of:
brown sugar
cinnamon
coco powder
cumin

1 Tbsp. each of:
chili powder
dried oregano

1tsp. each of:
allspice
cayenne pepper
coriander
garlic powder

½ tsp. each of:
cardamom
ginger
nutmeg
red-pepper flakes

Sidekicks:

  • You’re gonna want a beer with this chili! Not only is it a Super Bowl tradition, but beer will cut the heat you’re likely feeling after a few bites. Try a German hefeweizen, who’s banana notes pair well with the sweeter spices, or another light beer, such as a lager or pilsner. If you’re not a beer drinker, uncork a bottle of zinfandel instead.
  • Also, cornbread. But not the overly sweet stuff you get from a box-mix. The recipe below is quick and easy, and can hold up against the weight of this chili.

Savory Skillet Cornbread

IMG_0490

The addition of red bell peppers, leeks, and savory spices makes a nice accompaniment to this hearty chili. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, use a 9-inch square baking pan. (This recipe has been adapted from Everyday Food)

4 Tbsp. butter
2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. herbs d’provence (dried rosemary or thyme can be substituted)
2 large eggs
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ leek, white and light green parts only, diced
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°. Put butter, peppers, and leeks in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet; place in oven until butter is melted and peppers and leeks are soft, about 5-8 minutes.

IMG_3304

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, herbs d’provence, black pepper, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk.

Carefully remove hot skillet from oven; immediately pour butter, red peppers, and leeks into the buttermilk mixture, and whisk to combine. Using a pastry brush, coat bottom and sides with remaining butter.

Stir cornmeal mixture into buttermilk mixture until just moistened. Scrape batter into hot skillet; bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.