Friday, April 15, 2011

Healthy Dinners: Clam Chowder & Chocolate Chip Cookies

I cannot describe HOW MUCH I LOVE clam chowder.

Good golly, it's Friday, and it's raining. Again.  With the chance of snow.  Just when I got my hopes up to start my garden this weekend!  Boo.  At least we're starting to see green grass and buds on trees, right?  I'm trying to stay optimistic here!  But let's talk clam chowder.

I adore clam chowder and I have since I was a kid.  I think my mama may have just called it 'chowder' until I got older, but I'm not sure of that entirely.  I was never a kid that hated fish, in fact, we usually ate fish about twice a week.  We do nowadays in my house too.  We've started introducing that fish can be cooked a million different ways than just breaded and fried.  So far, both kiddos have been pretty receptive.

Last night, we actually had salmon with roasted carrots and lentils and they were huge fans.  I had hesitations on that- salmon and lentils are usually two 'love or hate' type dishes for lots of kids.  But, we used a yummy orange-Dijon marinade, dolled up the lentils a bit, and every plate was clean!  It may be over kill to some to have clam chowder the very next night, but on cold, rainy, spring evenings- I crave hunks of sourdough bread with chowder, a good book or movie, and lots of cuddles.

A nice Friday night bubble bath never hurts either, but I don't want to dream big here. :)

I do go fairly heavy on the veggies in my chowders and my two secret ingredients in my clam chowder are fresh or bottled clam juice and a cup of cheap, dry white wine.  I do also add some crushed red pepper for a bit of kick, but nobody has ever complained that the chowder was too spicy.  I think fresh herbs make a big difference too, but we can't always get them, so you use what you've got on hand.

Oh, they are delicious!
I am also linking you to this AMAZING chocolate chip cookie recipe we made today.  These cookies are soft and tender, have plenty of chocolate chips, and the nifty part of the website is that you can actually adjust how many servings, etc you want to make and it will adjust the recipe for you!  The recipe originally makes SEVENTY-TWO cookies, but I cut it in half and voila!  36 absolutely delicious cookies.  They have pudding in them and it makes a HUGE difference.  I hope you guys love them as much as we do!  Have a fantastic, albeit rainy, weekend!

Sara Rose's Clam Chowder

-1 lb fresh or canned clams, rinsed will
-1 bottle or 12-16 oz of clam juice
-1 cup of dry white wine
-32 oz of chicken or vegetable stock
-4-6 small red potatoes, scrubbed, and diced to about 1 1/2 inch cubes (I leave the skins on)
-2-3 turnips, scrubbed, peeled, also diced at about 1 1/2 inch cubes
-4 carrots, scrubbed, diced
-1 bunch of kale, rinsed very well. torn into bite sized pieces
-2-3 shallots, minced
-2-3 garlic cloves, also minced
-3 Tbs unsalted butter
-2-3 Tbs flour
-2-3 tsp of dried herbs- thyme, oregano, savory, or marjoram are all lovely in this
-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

-In a large stock pot, start melting your butter over low heat. Go ahead and saute the shallots and garlic, then whisk in your flour.  When the flour is a golden brown, add in the stock, wine, and clam juice.
-Add your herbs and pepper in and bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat.  Add in your clams and vegetables (except the kale).  Let it thicken and simmer, stirring frequently, until the veggies are fork tender.  This usually takes between 30-45 minutes, and taste to adjust seasonings if you need to.
-Before serving, stir in kale so that it wilts slightly.  Serve in big bowls, with sourdough bread, and stay warm!
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Heidi Jane Blankets said...

LOVE those cookies! I posted about them a few months ago,I just made a batch 3 days ago. I use cheesecake flavor pudding and use 1 tbsp MORE vanilla.

Sara Rose said...

Ooooh Heidi thats a totally AWESOME tip. I thought about trying it with banana pudding too. As for vanilla, I ALWAYS add more than what's called for, lol.