Recipe: New England Clam Chowder

~ This is Day 236 ~

Doom and gloom winter days? This clam chowder will cheer you up! Best is when you use your own clam stock! The flavor is better than the expensive stuff you buy in the stores!

Watch the how to:

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into thin pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 Idaho potatoes, diced into half-inch cubes
  • ½ cup thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 sleeve soda/saltine crackers, unsalted
  • Clam jus/stock/juice
  • 1 quart chopped clams
  • ½ – 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

If you liked any of my tools and stuff from the video, you can get it yourself with these links:

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Recipe: Paella de Mariscos

~ This is Day 182 ~

I’ve posted a couple paellas (1 & 2) in the past but here is the instructive video on how to do it yourself at home! I thought I posted more than 2 on this current website but the other ones were probably from my previous website. Anyhow, watch below:

If you want what I have:

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Makes one 13-inch paella pan. Feeds 3-4 people.

For the Salsa Verde

  • 1 cup parsley leaves, packed
  • 1 cup EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt

For the Rice

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika/pimentón
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups Matiz rice
  • 1100 mL chicken/clam/shrimp/lobster stock
  • Pinch of saffron
  • One 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • Assorted seafood
    • 1 monkfish fillet – cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 12 headless shrimp – deveined, tail left intact
    • 1 chorizo link (forgot to put in the chorizo in my video! But sear this with your pre-partially-cooking process.
    • A few squid tubes and tentacles – cut into thin strips
    • Mussels, de-bearded
    • Littleneck clams – soaked in salted cold water 20 minutes before cooking
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges

Click here for the recipe to making your garlic aïoli!

Recipe: Moroccan Lamb Shanks

~ This is Day 151 ~

Since when did NYT started hiding/charging for their recipes? I saw this via the daily newsletter a few weeks back and when I wanted to go back to it, I couldn’t see it anymore. So I’m writing this recipe from memory and from my adaptation of doing this during my Zoom cooking demo last weekend.

I was testing out how a Zoom cooking class would work so I tried this out with four of my relatives on Zoom.

Ras el hanout is a spice mix found in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. There is no definitive composition of spices that makes up ras el hanout so if your store is out of ras el hanout, you can make it yourself:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

Serves 4.

  • 4 TBS grapeseed oil
  • 4 lamb shanks, averaging 1 lb each, trimmed of excess fat and sinew
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tsp ras el hanout 
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • 3 quarts vegetable stock*, more if needed
  • ½ cup blanched almonds
  • 150 g raisins or currants
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, packed
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Sea salt, as needed

*I always try to make my own stocks if possible because stocks shouldn’t contain salt in them. Every store-bought stock contains salt or low-sodium levels and it’s better to add your own salt in your cooking process. Click on above link for my recipe to making your own vegetable stock.

You should do this the night before: generously marinate trimmed lamb shanks in kosher salt overnight. The salt will help flavor the meat and will keep the meat retain moisture.

Blanch lamb shanks in cold water and bring to a boil. Drain and remove from water. Blanching helps remove excess salt and blood. Rinse under cold water if needed, then pat dry on paper towels. 

Heat grapeseed oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches if needed, sear the lamb shanks until browned on each side (there are 4 sides!). Make sure the oil is very hot before searing, you need to hear the sizzle.

Transfer the lamb shanks to a dish and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add more oil if needed. Sweat the onion, garlic, ras el hanout, and saffron. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once aromatic, return the shanks to the pan with the cinnamon stick. Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Taste and adjust for seasoning. The meat of the shanks should be mostly covered, but not fully submerged in the stock. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully cooked and tender, about 2-2½ hours, depending on the size of your shanks. If it looks like there isn’t enough liquid in the pot or if it’s drying out during the cooking process, add some more stock.

Preheat oven to 400°F and roast blanched almonds for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. When nuts are cool enough to handle, use a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground or chop by hand. Sift through to remove the finer pieces. Set aside until ready to serve.

Pick, wash, spin parsley leaves then chop and set aside.

Once the lamb shanks are fully cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside. Add the raisins and honey to the sauce and gently stir to combine. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to a syrup-like consistency. Taste and adjust for salt-content. There might be impurities coming up as you reduce, so skim those off.

When the sauce is ready, return the lamb shanks to the pan to warm them through and coat them with the sauce. Add in chopped parsley. Garnish with almonds and serve immediately with fluffy couscous.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Recipe: Vegetable Stock

~ This is Day 151 ~

I always try to make my own stocks if possible because stocks shouldn’t contain salt in them. Every store-bought stock contains salt or low-sodium levels and it’s better to add your own salt in your cooking process.

Makes 3-4 quarts.

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled & cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 head fennel, cut into large chunks
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 TBS whole black peppercorns
  • Parsley stems
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally

In a 7.5 quart dutch oven, on medium-heat, sweat the onions, carrots, celery, and fennel with the olive oil for 5 minutes. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and sweat for another 2 minutes before filling the pot with cold water. Bring up to a boil and reduce to a simmer and reduce by half.

Strain and cool. If you’re not going to use it immediately, you can freeze it.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Recipe: Mussels with White Wine & Tomato

~ This is Day 75 ~

I get asked how to make this quite often from friends and family so I’m just going to write this really quickly. This is my favorite way to make mussels and clams. The best part after the mussels/clams? The bread dunking into the rich broth and into your mouth part.

  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes (or substitute one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes)
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • ¼ cup butter (optional)
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon

Finely chop the onion and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Dice your tomatoes if using fresh ones. Finely chop your parsley, reserve some for garnish.

Scrub the mussels and toss out the dead/damaged ones. If they’re open and don’t close when you poke them, they’re bad. Remove the beards if they have them. Set aside.

In a large pot with lid, heat up enough olive oil to almost cover base of pot. Sweat onions and garlic until aromatic and tender. Add in diced tomatoes and thyme. Season a little with salt, turn heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes, then add in the tomato paste and cook that out, 3-5 minutes. Add the butter if adding and let the butter emulsify with everything. Once butter has melted, add in the mussels. Turn heat to high, season with salt and black pepper, and add the white wine. Cover with lid, mussels are ready once they open completely, 5-7 minutes. Before you take them out and off the heat, add in most of your chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon, stir to combine well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Once in a bowl, add the remaining parsley on top as garnish. Serve with toasted bread. I always eat it with ciabatta. Any bread will suffice, pick your favorite!

*For clams, I like to add bacon and hot paprika to this.

Quarantine Paella

~ This is Day 15 ~

It’s almost April!!! The month of March seemed like it took forever to get by. Oh my gosh… What will I do for the entirety of next month???

I’m calling this “quarantine paella” because ingredients are difficult to come by. I try to only go outside to grocery shop when I absolutely need to, i.e. when the fridge is empty. Grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market has all the basic stuff but sometimes the things that I want are out of stock. There are also limits on certain things that you’re allowed to buy. I had hoped to buy 15 lbs of AP flour today but I was only allowed to buy 1 unit, which was 5 lbs. There is no “2-day” prime delivery on Amazon anymore. Everything takes the old regular amount of time (5 business days) or now, even longer to arrive! Jeff Bezos should reimburse us with some Prime membership fees! Totally not going to happen though.

Anyway, with my limited resources and ingredients, I made this paella last night and I’m so glad that I can cook! Thinking about my friends who cannot cook as well as I do… what are they eating? All I want to do is share!! I usually make soffritto ahead of time and just keep a quart in my fridge – it’s good with everything, especially rice! But again, don’t have the excess of ingredients to do things ahead of time. I only put head-on shrimp and bay scallops in this paella, the least variety of sea creatures that I have done in my paella history.

Duck Carnitas

This was the fourth course to my Friendsgiving 2017 dinner.

For those of you new to the site, and to me, I dislike turkey, which is why I always serve duck instead during the holiday. Besides, duck tastes better than turkey. I will even cook chicken before I cook a bleeping turkey!

I usually split the breast and legs for separate courses but this year, I decided to confit both parts and serve them up family-style with tortillas and other accoutrements. I was inspired from Cosme‘s Duck Carnitas – I’ve only read about it, I haven’t had a chance to go in and try it. Hopefully, this was equally amazing!

Along with the Duck Carnitas, I served it with Pickled Onions, freshly shaved Watermelon Radish, Serrano Peppers (not in photo), Micro Celery, Lime (not in photo), and warm Tortillas.

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