Tag Archives: celery

New England Clam Chowder – My Secret Ingredients!

New England Clam Chowder – My Secret Ingredients!

This Creamy New England Clam Chowder bursting with clam broth flavor, tender clams, melt in your mouth potatoes and a hint of smokey from the bacon I can make 12 months of the year! My secret ingredients in this homemade New England Clam Chowder push it right over the top! My mother was whipping up creamy New England clam chowder when I was little so making homemade soups just comes naturally to me. This clam chowder recipe kind of reminds me of my no-nonsense crab cake recipe, no extra fillers! Topped with a little dollop of butter, a few dashes of tabasco and some oyster crackers brings me to chowda heaven!

My first secret ingredient in this New England Clam Chowder is dry cream sherry. De-glazing and simmering with dry sherry brings it to a whole new level. It really gives the chowder that extra something special everyone will be trying to figure out! If you have the time you really ought to pick up the Spnanish dry sherry called Amontilado for only $11 a bottle. It will last a while in your cupboard and help you to create amazing dishes.  I would never not think of putting a big splash of dry sherry into my chowder! You will understand why once you try it this way …you’ll never go back to sherry-less chowder!

My second secret ingredient is Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour, it’s a godsend. You don’t have to bother with a roux and worrying about lumps in your soup, sauce or gravy ever. It will change the way you cook! You can add the Wondra at any time during the creation of your dish and it magically dissolves. Now granted, sometimes we need a roux, like for making a gumbo and you need to devlop a nutty flavor from the roux working it into deep, dark golden color but we don’t want that here in the New England Clam Chowder so why add the extra work!

Sure it’s nice if it’s the right time of the year and you’ve set aside time to find and buy fresh whole clams to cook up for your chowder but my recipe can be made at the snap of your fingers, 12 months of the year and taste like restaurant quality chowder! It’s easy to do. I always stock my cabinets with snows clams and broth for chowder or linguine and clam sauce!

This New England Clam Chowder is especially great for parties like Memorial Day, which is right around the corner! Another great party dish you may want to add is Buffalo Chicken DipBEST Guacamole Ever, Salsa 101, Homemade Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce, or a gorgeous and most delicious Pavlova for dessert!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients (NOTE- Quantities can easily be halfed OR quartered …it’s still delicious!):

  • 6 cans “Snows” clams – 5 “chopped” clams & 1 “minced”
  • 5 Bottles “Snows Clam Broth = 6 cups broth (5 cups bottle + 1 cup comes from the cans after you drain the clams)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3/4 cup good dry cream sherry -(the pink one) Spanish Dry Sherry “Amontillado” is one of my favorites (1/4 cup to de-glaze onion/celery and 1/2 cup to simmer with broth base)
  • 2 slices minced bacon (smokey flavor ONLY not maple)
  • 2 extra lg potatoes or 4 small diced to 1/2″ size
  • 1 celery stalk grated or finely diced
  • 1 whole sweet onion grated or finely diced
  • 1 bunch rosemary tied with string … just a flavor bundle – to be removed
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground pepper
  • 3 sprinkles of “Wondra-Quick Dissolving Flour”

Directions:

  1. Slice lg onion in 1/2, peel outer layer and grate OR finely chop whole onion
  2. Grate OR finely chop or 2 celery stalks, if grating….just grate the underside of stalk ending with ourter stringy rib section to discard
  3. Slice 3 slice of smoked bacon, then dice that
  4. Add diced bacon to large pot and begin to sauté on low, just want the bacon to become slightly golden…not dark
  5. Add in grated onion and celery and saute until lightly golden
  6. De-glaze with 1/4 cup dry cream sherry
  7. In 1 minute add in diced Yukon potatoes and all the clam broth from cans and bottles and 2 bay leaves and 1 tsp salt
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender but FIRM because the potatoes will continue to cook even after you take them off the heat
  9. Tie off a bundle of fresh rosemary with cotton string
  10. At the 5 minute mark of simmering the potatoes ADD in the rosemary bundle and 1/2 cup of dry cream sherry and bring back to a low simmer
  11. At the last 2 minutes of simmering the potaotes ADD in 3 cups of heavy cream, 1/4 tsp finely ground blk pepper and possibly 1 tsp more of salt (you need to taste here to see if your chowder needs this addition of salt) and bring back to a low simmer
  12. Take the New England Clam Chowder base off the heat and gently stir in all the clams
  13. Remove the the rosemary bundle and the bay leaves and serve with Tabasco and oyster crackers
  14. If this is for the following day cool chowder completely at room temp allowing space with the cover for the soup to evaporate, place in frig
  15. When re-heat the soup watch carefully not to bring to a boil …just heat thru…mmm! Enjoy!

 

 

 

Bloody Mary Shrimp & Mango-Curry Shrimp At Nancy’s

Bloody Mary Shrimp & Mango-Curry Shrimp At Nancy’s

Bloody Mary Shrimp & Mango-Curry Shrimp in Wonton Cups

These two homemade shrimp appetizer’s are fun and delicious! Bloody Mary Shrimp and Mango-Curry Shrimp in wonton cups will soon be on your go to list for summer appetizers! My good friend Nancy passed these wonderful recipes on to me which she found at epicurious.com. They certainly have a an enormous assortment of recipes there to choose from and sometimes it can be overwhelming finding the ones you like so I feel fortunate to have a fellow foodie pass these on.

These two shrimp appetizer’s just might be the easiest and most delicious recipes you’ll have this summer. The Bloody Mary shrimp is so flavorful with all the same condiments that make up “the” cocktail including the vodka but in little nibble sizes.  Serving up this appetizer on a spoon makes for a lovely presentation too. You can find these spoons at party stores and sometimes even at Stop & Shop.

The Mango-Curry Shrimp in wonton cups is another winner with a variety of fresh flavors from the green curry sauce to the mango chutney which both come prepared from the specialty section of the grocery store totally saving you time in the prep department …Hallelujah! You know me with the mayo thing … as much as I love my Hellman’s Mayo I do like to cut the mayo with some plain Greek yogurt to give it a little tang and a wonderful fresh texture so I give you that option in the list of ingredients for this appetizer.

It was an enjoyable day shooting this show and having my good friend Nancy share with us a couple of her favorite appetizer’s that she frequently entertains with. We will definitely be back cooking with Nancy this summer and visiting her garden to pick heirloom tomatoes for that scrumptious homemade Tomato Tartan! Hope you enjoy the show and let me know how you like the Bloody Mary Shrimp & Mango-Curry Shrimp appetizer’s.

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Ingredients For THE BLOODY MARY SHRIMP:

  • 1 pound medium shrimp in shell, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery (2 -3 ribs)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 6)

Directions For THE BLOODY MARY SHRIMP:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 2 quarts water) to a boil.
  2. Add shrimp, then remove from heat and let stand in water until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain in a colander and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  4. Cut shrimp into thirds and transfer to a large bowl with celery and scallions.

Ingredients For THE SAUCE:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup vodka (preferably Absolut Peppar)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons bottled horseradish (not drained), or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco OR Siracha (also found where the tabasco is shelved at the store)
  • S&P to taste

Directions For THE SAUCE:

  1. Whisk together all sauce ingredients
  2. Just before serving, stir sauce into shrimp mixture.
  3. Spoon 2 shrimp pieces with vegetables and sauce into each soup spoon and arrange spoons on a platter.

NOTE: Shrimp can be cooked and tossed with vegetables 4 hours ahead, then chilled in a sealed bag. Sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Mix the sauce and shrimp right before serving.

Ingredients For THE MANGO-CURRY SHRIMP:

  • 12 wonton wrappers (from one 12-ounce package), each cut into squares
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise OR split the 1/3 cup mayo in half with Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 5 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons mango chutney
  • 1 teaspoon Thai green curry paste (Thai green curry paste is available at Asian markets and in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets)
  • 12 ounces peeled cooked medium shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Fresh cilantro leaves coarsely chopped

Directions For THE MANGO-CURRY SHRIMP IN WONTON CUPS  – Pre-Heat oven to 325º:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place wonton squares on work surface and brush lightly with oil
  3. Press each into miniature muffin cup, oiled side down
  4. Bake until wonton cups are golden brown, about 10 minutes
  5. Cool completely in tins -Can be made 3 days ahead
  6. Remove cups from tins and store airtight at room temperature
  7. Whisk mayonnaise, chopped fresh cilantro, lime juice, chutney, and curry paste in medium bowl to blend
  8. Stir in shrimp. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Salad can be prepared up to 1 day ahead – Cover and refrigerate
  9. Place wonton cups on serving platter
  10. Spoon 1 tbsp shrimp salad into each cup
  11. Garnish with cilantro leaves

 

Homemade Pasta Fagioli

Homemade Pasta Fagioli

This homemade pasta fagioli dish is a traditional Italian soup where the recipe differs from family to family and region to region. Every single version is different which makes it nice because it’s very personal that way. It’s what ever you were used to having in your own home or at your relatives growing up. Originally, pasta fagioli was made without meat, then there were versions that started the dish off by sauteing pancetta and now there are so many different recipes floating around. It’s what ever floats your boat really! It’s supposed to be easy gourmet…what ever you have in the pantry and refrigerator will work.

Pasta fagioli is a savory comfort food that I just love. It consist of several universal ingredients like ditalini pasta,  cannellini beans, some kind of tomato base and a liquid of either chicken, or vegetable and I have even seen water used. It’s been considered a soup which is perfect for dunking that crusty bread but there are versions that make it more like a thick saucy “pasta” dish. The liquids do evaporate quickly after the pasta is added to the pot and cooked through so you have to be careful at this point to keep an eye on that if you want it to have a looser soup-like consistency.

The pronunciation of the word has evolved to “pasta fazool”. Then again, there are many variations of that as well 🙂 So enjoy this Italian soup…I know you will love it. If you need an appetizer to go with this gourmet homemade pasta fagioli you may want to check out my sea scallops wrapped in bacon, scallop cerviche, or even a refreshing fennel and citrus salad with tangerine dressingAnd how about some Pavlova with fresh pineapple and berries for dessert!

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INGREDIENTS For Pasta Fagioli (makes enough for many…15-20 side dishes):

  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup ditalini pasta ( 1/2 if you want it looser soup-like consistencey …remember it just keeps getting thicker even after you take it off the stove as the liquid evaporates)
  • 1 qt. (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine-pinot grigio or what ever you are drinking -(1/2 to deglaze pancetta and veggies and 1/2 when you add stock
  • 1/3 cup each diced carrots, celery and onion
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes with some juice, broken up with your hands – NOTE: USE 3 cups if you are not using a cup of “leftover pork & sauce”
  • 1 cup pork in tomato sauce OR 1 lb. sausage taken out of the casing ready to sauté OR omit all together
  • 2 1/4″ sliced of pancetta diced up
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and 2 of fresh thyme tied in up with string
  • Fresh basil -julienne to add at the end
  • grated Reggiano Parmigiano and some to shave for decoration
  • good olive oil to drizzle at the end
  • 1/2 tsp salt -add 1/4 tsp at the addition of sauteing veggies and 1/4 tsp when you add beans and broth
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes if you like a pinch of HEAT

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add diced pancetta to a large pan and begin to sauté for 8 minutes on med heat
  2. Add in broken up sausage to brown with the pancetta If you do not have “pork in sauce”
  3. On med/low heat add diced carrots, onion, celery and garlic with 1/4 tsp salt (along with 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes if you want a little heat) to the same pot with 1 tbsp olive oil extra – sauté til veggies are tender 10 minutes
  4. De-glaze with 1/2 cup white wine and simmer 5 minutes
  5. Add in beans, pork-sauce, whole peeled tomatoes, herb bouquet, chicken stock, 1/4 salt, 1/4 pepper and simmer for 30 minutes
  6. Remove herb bouquet from soup
  7. Take 4-5 ladles of beans out of the soup to puree for a little creamier then adding back in
  8. Simmer 5 minutes and add in 1/2 cup ditalini pasta
  9. Cook til pasta is cooked – approx 7 minutes
  10. Plate up and drizzle olive oil, sprinkle parmigiano cheese and fresh basil and mangia mangia!

 

Bolognese Sauce Easy Gourmet

Bolognese Sauce Easy Gourmet RECIPE

025This homemade gourmet bolognese Sauce is like no other that I have ever had. Over the years I have worked hard to perfect this recipe to match a dish I used to have in Urbino, Italy. So all the hard work is done for you and now all you have to do is follow my recipe and savour over the most amazing and unique Bolognese sauce you’ll ever have.

During my college years I had the opportunity to go school in Urbino, Italy for a summer and fall semester. Urbino is a little Renaissance town located in the Marche region of Italy. It was two hours East of Florence (near the town of Pesaro on the east coast). It’s where black and white truffles are prevalent. The picture above is of Urbino, The Palazzo Ducale which now houses part of The Marche National Gallery. This renaissance town of Urbino is also where the great artist Raffaello was born in 1483. I had the opportunity to study renaissance art, restoration and language in Italy at the University of Urbino …being an art major and all I was in heaven living here!

Urbino was a magnificent place to be for all those months (which never seemed long enough) allowing me to fall in love with their art, their culture and the people there in Italy and what it’s really all about …big kinds hearts with a passion for enjoying life, and an amazing culinary appreciation!

The tender Prosciutto di Parma to mouth watering homemade pasta dishes found most places in Italy is to die for but there’s one bolognese dish in particular that I had in a restaurant in Urbino made with “strozzapreti” pasta which really stood out for me. The sauce was made with sautéed ground veal, ground pork, veal stock, heavy cream, red wine and fresh rosemary where the aromas alone will knock your socks off!  This is the dish, the bolognese sauce, in which I have derived my recipe from and the one in which I wish to share with you.  You should note that homemade gourmet bolognese recipe is NOT to be made with BEEF because it completely changes the flavors and does not taste at all like the oringinal bolognese recipe from Urbino.

I recently found this uniquely shaped pasta that they served the bolognese sauce with in Urbino called “StrozzaPreti” at one of my favorite local specialty shops, a gourmet cheese shop called Fromage right here in Old Saybrook, CT.  See, you can make my bolognese sauce and have it with the original pasta it was meant to be with. And while you are there you should pick up some white truffle oil to drizzle over the pasta sauce.

If you want this recipe to be gluten free you could always substitute out the pasta or gnocchi with a rice noodle and if you can’t have heavy cream you can substitute that with coconut cream and it would be just as delicious.

A marriage made in heaven is this bolognese sauce on my light and fluffy homemade potato gnocchi! Or try it on your own homemade pasta, and don’t forget a Caesar Salad! Last but not least you will need to tame that sweet tooth with a dessert like Pavlova, or Death by Chocolate Meringue Pie! Enjoy! 🙂

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INGREDIENTS: Serves 10-12 people or more if for appetizers.    

NOTE: THIS SAUCE FREEZES AMAZINGLY WELL so if you have sauce left over freeze in a container right away and all the hard work is DONE!

  • NOTE: DO NOT USE BEEF …this recipe will NOT have the right flavors if you use beef
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/3  cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup grated celery
  • 1 cup grated Vadalia Onion
  • 2 extra lg garlic cloves
  • 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes and juice
  • 2 slices applewood smoked or plain bacon cooked and finely chopped (approx 3 Tbsp finely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups good red wine
  • 2 cups heavy cream (or 2 cups coconut cream)
  • approx. 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Reggiano Parmesano cheese and more to finish
  • 1  tsp  and 1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • White Truffle Oil (Optional)
  • 1 lb. dried Egg fettuccine or Strozzapreti pasta found at Fromage

Directions:

  1. Add 3 tbsp olive oil to lg pan on medium/low
  2. Add grated carrots, celery, onion and smashed garlic cloves to olive oil and sauté for 12 minutes til light golden and soft
  3. Deglaze by adding 1/4 cup red wine, stir, add 1/2 tsp salt and continue to sauté until wine evaporates
  4. Add these cooked veggies to food processor with 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes and juice
  5. Pureé and set aside
  6. Add 3 tbsp olive oil to same pan and bring to med/high temp and then add 1 lb. only of veal/pork (1/2 veal, 1/2 pork)
  7. Keep on med/high temp and brown meat
  8. Deglaze first batch of meat with 1/4 cup red wine, stir, reduce and set aside in a med bowl
  9. Add 3 tbsp more olive oil back to same pan to brown next 1 lb. of ground veal/pork
  10. Repeating steps 6-9
  11. Put all browned meat back into pan and add in 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, pureed tomato/veggie mixture, and 1/4 cup red wine, 3 tbsp finely chopped crispy bacon, and 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  12. Cover (leave small opening for steam to evaporate) and simmer for 1 1/2 hrs. stirring every 20 minutes making sure to let steam from inside cover drain out of pan when you lift it off to stir
  13. Add in 2 cups heavy cream, 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, 1/2 cup red wine and s&p to taste and simmer for 5-8 minutes …just need to warm thru
  14. Boil 1 lb. pasta and add to bolognese sauce …mangia mangia!