Saturday, January 28, 2012

Clam Chowder

To continue with my last post Steak House Chili. It's Clam Chowder time. When I think of Clam Chowder I can only imagine New England Clam Chowder. The stick to your bones thick chowder of my childhood. I know there are some die hard Manhattan Clam Chowder people, but to that I say "That ain't Chowder!" It's more like Manhattan Clam Soup- which is fine and dandy.
 Alright now down to my chowder, it has to have nice chunks of potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, clams and bacon. - Yes Bacon! My recipe calls for canned clams- Sorry to disappoint, but clams here are rather expensive, and since the heaviest part of a clam is the shell. I can't afford to be buying 8 pounds of clams just for 3 1/2 pounds of meat. 

Clam Chowder:
4 Slices Bacon
1 Yellow Onion- diced
3 Stalks Celery - diced
3 Carrots- peeled & diced
3 Medium Potatoes- peeled & diced
2 Cups Stock- Fish, Chicken, or Veggie
48 oz of canned clams drained from juice - SAVE THE JUICE!!
4 oz salted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 TBS Dill Weed
1 TBS Red Pepper Flakes
1 TBS Black Pepper
Salt to taste. 

In a large stock pot cook the bacon slices till crispy, take them out and set aside. Add the onion, celery, carrots and potatoes, saute in the bacon fat till the onion is translucent. Add the stock, and reserved clam juice. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 20 min.  In a separate  pan melt the butter, once the butter is melted add the flour. Whisk for 1 min, then  slowly add the milk. Once the milk is Incorporated , let simmer till it is thickened.  Add to the big pot of veggies. Chop up the bacon. Add bacon, clams and spices. Keep on low for 10- 15 stirring so it doesn't burn, or stick to the pan. Serve with nsourdough bread. 

Steak House Chili

Last Friday I was ambitious!  First I started cooking a few of my favorite things Chili and Clam Chowder. Ryan wanted Chili and I wanted Clam Chowder. What the heck right? I had plenty of time and everything I needed.
First off I started with Chili since it cooks longer then Clam Chowder. I looked at a few recipes but then decided to wing it, as I do quite a bit. In no way since I made both in 1 day am I suggesting you do the same. I am just insane.
Clam Chowder is right after the Chili, I just wanted to do two separate posts.

Steak House Chili
3 TBS Olive Oil
3 Pounds Beef for Stewing* (see note) cubed
1 Jalapeno Pepper- Diced 1/2 seeds removed
1 Yellow Onion- Diced
1 Red Pepper-Diced
1 Green Pepper- Diced
1 TBS Minced Garlic
3 (14oz) Canned Beans** (see note)
1 (28oz) Canned Tomato Sauce or 1 jar of  Tomato, Basil & Garlic Sauce
1 (14oz)  Petite Diced Tomatoes
2 TBS Chili Powder
2 TBS Cumin
2 TBS Italian Seasoning
1 TBS Oregano
1 TBS Dill Weed
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro Chopped
1 TBS Red Pepper Flakes - or more if you want it Spicy
1 TBS Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp Salt- add more to taste.

In a large pot over medium heat Saute Beef, Jalapeno, Onion, Peppers, Garlic. Until the meat is browned and onion is translucent. Lower the heat, add everything else. Cover and let simmer for a few hours, till the meat is tender. Serve by it self or over rice, noodles, hot dogs, burgers, nachos. Great toppings are cheddar cheese, diced onions, cilantro, sour cream. The possibilities are endless.

Notes: * This steak is  really tough and needs to be cooked for a long time to become tender. It is relatively cheap. If you like ground beef, pork or turkey that can subbed as well. Even chunks of chicken is good. If you don't have a long time ground meat is the way to go.
** Any variety of beans works well.  I like to use a mixture or Black, Garbanzo, Kidney, Pinto and Chili. If using dried beans you will need  4 cups dried beans that have been soaked overnight and rinsed.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snowy Cooking

Well it looks like it really happened, snow for the first time this season in Seattle. I am not ok with this! I moved to Seattle in the hopes to get away from my snowy childhood of Salt Lake City. For the past few years we have had snow. Seriously Seattle?! I am ok with rain, sleet, and gray days. But not snow!  I now know that embracing the snow is the best thing. I am big fan of staying home and cooking, crafting and all around hanging out by the fire- by all means playing games. Don't get me wrong I am not afraid of driving in the snow-  I am afraid of the other drivers, and the hills. Yes the hills in the snow are what kills me. Growing up in Salt Lake we didn't have that many hills. Not to mention all the snow plows, and salt hence the name. So today I will stay home. I have found a few things that look like fun. I am going to show some Link Love, just perfect for the blustery days of winter.
I will start with the Basics:
This is just funny but Martha does it again:
How to Build a Fire! Seriously? I bet it is the most amazing fire ever- right?

Now on the to good stuff- DRINKS!!
Block Island Fog from Country Living- I have new heard of this drink but I looks interesting for the coffee drinkers out there. Give it a try and let me know!
Soothing Ginger Tea From Martha-  This drink has many advantages. Ginger is really good for you and is low fat.
Mulled Cider with Red Wine - From Martha- This will make the house smell Awesome!
Honey Bourbon Toddy- From Bon Appetit- I had a Chef make me drink this when I told him my throat was sore and it was the beginning of a busy night!
Hot Buttered Rum- from Single Minded Women- I didn't know this But National Hot Buttered Rum Day is January 17th! So get ready it's right around the corner.
The Best Hot Chocolate! - from Food Network- Saved this one for last- I LOVE hot chocolate, I didn't care much for skiing but when we got to go the lodge and have Ho Cho- I was happy. And if you make the marshmallows for the top, that's a special treat.

Cooking- on cold days you need something to warm your core! And if playing in the snow is for you then something to stick to your bones!
Quinoa winter squash & carrot stew -  from Bon Appetit this  looks yummy and to add it is Vegan and Gluten Free. If you haven't had Quinoa it's a must. Look for it in the bulk section of the store, it cooks like rice.
Mushroom and Potato Stew - From Bon Appetit- this one will come together rather fast.
Chicken Pot Pie- Thanks Emeril! Pot pie is great as a easy casserole you can toss in the oven.
Sausage Lasagna- From the Food Network- Delish! I think we are having that tonight!

Desserts and Breads! My favorite is making the house smell like brownies and homemade bread!
Monkey Bread! From Smitten Kitchen- let me just first say I LOVE her blog and you should check it out sometime  I wish I could blog like her- maybe one day!
Brownies- from Allrecipes- gooey brownies are the best when they are hot.
Chocolate Chip cookies from Smitten Kitchen again! But like I said before Deb is amazing! I am a big fan of  M & M's instead of chocolate chips. I'm not really sure why.

I think I got enough here to get anyone started, I like doing posts that have many links as to add some variety. Not everyone likes the same stuff.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chicken Phad Thai

Hello- and welcome to the New Year! This year I plan on doing many fabulous things with my blog. But as of now I am without Internet at home so it might be a little slow.  However I live very close to one of the most bad ass libraries ever. Free Internet and wifi, I just need to plan better and make trips when I can. 
 Over the holidays I made so much fun stuff while visiting my family. And of course I forgot to take photos.
A few of my posts will be without photos, or using stock photos from online. But the recipes will be great, no worries on that. I know  what you are thinking-BLAH BLAH BLAH- Shut up already and give me the recipe: so here you go the most delicious Phad Thai I have ever made (had it for dinner last night!). Word of advice- when closing the cap to fish sauce- don't put it near the face! Just sayin' I got fish sauce in my face, and that stuff stinks!

Chicken Phad Thai:
12 oz dried Rice Noodles
3 Chicken Breast
1/4 cup Olive Oil
5 eggs
1 head of garlic minced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBS Paprika
2 TBS Siracha or more if you want it spicy!
4 green onions- sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
3/4 cup Peanut butter (optional)

First get that chicken cooking, easiest way is to bake in the oven, Put them whole on the sheet pan and bake at 350 for about 30 min. Chicken should read at 165 in the thickest part. (Restaurants cook chicken at 165 or higher to be safe from disease, so invest in a meat thermometer so you can be safe at home too!) When the chicken is ready pull it out and dice in medium size cubes.
Once the chicken is baking, soaking the rice noodles is the next longest task. Soak them in a large bowl in warm water for 30 min, or till they are soft. If the rice noodles are still a little stiff no big deal.
When the noodles have been soaking for about 25 min it's time to make magic!  In a large frying pan, and yes I mean LARGE! Heat up the oil on medium heat, add the garlic and saute for a a min. Lower the heat then add the eggs. Scramble the eggs with the garlic.  When the eggs are all scrambled drain the rice noodles and add to the eggs. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Using tongs make sure the toss the noodles in the pan, cook till the noodles get soft and sticky. While the noodles are cooking they may look dry, slowly add up to 1/2 cup water- it cooks out quickly.  When the noodles look all clumped together and sticky it's time to add the fish sauce, sugar, paprika and siracha. Just dump them all in a once and toss. Cook for another 3-5 min or when the smell of fish sauce is faint. All there left to do is add the green onions, bean sprouts, peanuts, and chicken chunks. Ryan likes to add peanut butter to his, I do admit it is pretty tasty but not necessary.  Voila dinner! 
Yield- 4-5 servings - delish for leftovers!