I’m not all that picky when it comes to Manhattan vs. New England Clam Chowder. Frankly, I would just assume have a bunch of fish thrown into a pot with some tomatoes and eat the result. But, when it comes to clam chowder, I lean towards Manhattan but don’t discriminate. That said, if I am going to eat New England Clam Chowder, I want it to be thick. I want it to be slightly thinner than wallpaper paste. Runny New England Clam Chowder just doesn’t cut it. And that’s what this recipe yielded. Yes, it was designed to include corn, so I actually cut back on the liquid. It didn’t matter. Actually, adding frozen or canned corn would have only made it worse as the veggie would likely drop its liquid and thin the soup out further.
My hypothesis was simple. A pizza shell would work better for grilling than dough because it would be less brittle or prone to tears.
I was incorrect.
The first thing the shell did when I put it on the grill was break nearly in half. The shell was rather thick and dried out much quicker than fresh dough. Worse, it pitched a tent, going convex on me and letting the toppings roll off onto the grill surface.
My cup of Starbucks is empty, all 30 oz. of it coursing through the coffee processing plant that is my body. Thomas & Friends is chirping in the background, though The Kid has taken a break to go potty with The Wife. In the distance, The Wife is in negotiation with The Kid about coming back downstairs, and who will be joining me at Wegmans in a few minutes.
It’s a beautifully content morning her at Al Dente HQ.
The Wife’s birthday is on Tuesday, so we had a small gathering of well-wishers (actually just The Mother-In-Law came over since The Father-In-Law was sick) to consume seafood. It was the usual menu of splendor in celebration of The Wife, though I was a little disappointed in the clams. I expect a little sand in my clams when I buy them from Hinderwadel’s; it’s natural. This batch was disgusting. We probably tossed 15 clams last night because they were too sandy. We threw out about 5 to 10 that didn’t open.
Tonight, we gather with some friends for non-birthday related cheer and alcohol consumption. At some point before we leave, the plants have to go inside. The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for tonight, so my tender and vulnerable herbs and tomatoes have to go in. It could be worse. We could live in Lake Placid. Yikes.
The Wife celebrated birthday number 34 on Saturday. We officially celebrated the occasion with dinner at The Mission, but for the evening of her birth I wanted to do something different. I had planned on making boeuf bourguignon, the classic French dish, but ran into an issue. While I love bacon, the thought of standing over a pan to fry a slab of bacon and then render the fat later on sounded both disgusting and painful (oil splattering sucks).
So, rather than reach out to the land of Julia Child, I went for an old standby. The Wife loves fish, particularly shellfish. For her 30th birthday, I bought a bushel of clams and five of us killed it. It was the ultimate display of gluttony, I must say. Anyhow, anyone can steam a clam, but that leads to melted butter and a messy meal. As a kid, we never just ate steamed clams. My father always prepared “clams provincial.” Clams provençal is a French-style of cooking clams, steaming the shells in a boiling broth of butter, wine, garlic and herbs. In less than 10 minutes, dinner is done. Continue reading Saturday Dinner: Clams Provençal, Steamed Shrimp and Broiled Scallops
It’s not seasonal affective disorder, though I’ve had enough of Winter 2011. The glutton in me is jonesing for a seafood boil. My co-worker Melissa and I have already started talking about this year’s version. She hosted my first in 2009, a drunken spectacle that saw her take a spectacular header in her hallway and, somehow, me being the only one sober enough to handle the cooking duties. We had to skip 2010 as The Wife was preggo, but let me tell you how I’m so very looking forward to this year’s version.
Crawfish are delicious, but highly labor intensive and really expensive to import to the Northeast. This is a little more accessible and, if I were up for the mess, something I could do inside. The truth is that this boil is really made for an outdoor boiler, where the Old Bay-flavored fish broth can splash all over and be hosed down later.
The 2009 boil was done in a turkey fryer using crab legs, shrimp, scallops, clams and lobster tails. I’m not a big fan of lobster to begin with, but it is almost wasted in this form. The sweetness you expect from lobster gets overwhelmed by the garlic, Old Bay, andouille, lemon and other fish flavors. Conversely, the shrimp and crab legs taste terrific. Continue reading Can we get to June finally?