bacon

Controversial California Clam Chowder

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Listen, here’s the thing. I know there are some ingredients you wouldn’t find in clam chowder very often. Like goldfish crackers and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. I also know you usually would cook this with fresh clams, but I like the smoked flavor you can get from tinned clams and that you don’t have to fight anyone to rinse off sand. So if I acknowledge that this could be controversial and label it as Californian, perhaps I won’t offend diehard New England chowder aficionados.

First, we make a roux. Melt two tablespoon butter in a small pan then add in two tablespoons of flour. Allow to cook for about five minutes over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add 1 large diced onion, 3 finely sliced stalks of celery, one finely diced leek, greens removed, 1/4 cup minced garlic, 3 bay leaves, one large carrot, peeled and shredded, 1 russet potato, washed, peeled, and diced, 4 strips of cooked and diced bacon, and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Stir frequently and allow vegetables to soften, about five minutes. Add 1 3/4 cup half and half and 2 tins smoked baby clams. Cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups clam juice (two 8 oz. bottles). Cook 15-20 minutes, then stir in roux. Cook at a gentle simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Finally, remove bay leaves and stir in 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 2 teaspoons Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.

Pour into bowls and top with Goldfish crackers in lieu of oyster crackers. Trust me.

 

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Brussels Sprouts

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You guys, I’ve checked out the only book the local library system has on food photography. That and I read a blog post about food styling, so only time will tell how much of it I’ve internalized.

These Brussels sprouts are pretty easy. And yes, it really is “Brussels” sprouts. Don’t make it weird.

Trim ends off 4 cups of Brussels sprouts. Quarter, then rinse clean. Spin dry in a salad spinner. Be sure to keep the loose leaves that spin off, they’ll be the best chips. Transfer all the green goodness to a large bowl. Sprinkle in 1 tsp. large grain kosher salt. Stir to coat. Let sit for 5 minutes to draw out some of the water.

Add 1 tsp. garlic powder, stir well to coat. Drizzle 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil over, mix gently. Transfer to foil-lined baking sheet. You want the sprouts to have a little room to breathe and in a single layer, so you may need a second pan.

Bake at 450 for about 25 minutes. Give the pan a good shake about half way through to move them around a bit. If using an air fryer, cook at 400 for approximately 12 minutes.

You can add finely sliced bacon to the sheet pan before cooking begins if you feel so inclined. Or if you’re making them for Graham. You can also use some fresh minced garlic in addition to the powder, but be advised it will burn.

Serve on its own or with a balsamic glaze drizzled over. Trader Joe’s makes a great glaze if you’re not about that reduction life.

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