Category: Comfort Food


ClamChowder53

Soup Season is almost upon us and I am thrilled!  I think there is nothing better than those first few cool days in September when you can curl up on the couch with a blanket, good book, and a comforting bowl of soup.

For me, the soup I turn to when I want comfort food, is clam chowder.  It takes me back to my childhood and time spent with my dad.

I was inspired to make my own when I saw a bag of frozen clam meat at the grocery store.  I know some of you may balk at the idea of frozen meat here, but I must work on a budget, and honestly it tasted great.

Because I didn’t use fresh clams, I was lacking clam juice so I substituted fish stock instead, homemade in this case.  Other than that I tried to keep everything as traditional as possible.

Except for the bacon……there had to be bacon.

 

My New England Style Clam Chowder

Ingredients

1 lb bag frozen clam meat (uncooked)

1/2 pound bacon, chopped

1 medium white onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, finely diced

1 large Yukon gold potato, diced

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups fish stock (or 1 cup fresh clam juice + 1 cup water)

1-2 cups milk

2 sprigs fresh thyme

salt and pepper to taste.

In a large heavy bottom pot, brown the bacon.Once cooked, remove it from the pot and set aside. Drain some of the fat, but leave enough to sautee the veggies in.  Add the onion, celery and potato to the pot and cook on medium high heat until the onion and celery are softened.  Add the butter and stir until melted then add the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the stock a little at a time, still stirring constantly.  Once all the stock has been added it should have the consistency of a thick stew.  Reduce heat to medium and add the milk, use enough to get to the consistency you like.  You could even use cream if you were feeling especially indulgent, I won’t judge you.  Once you each your perfect consistency, add the clams and the bacon you had set aside, this is also the time to check your seasoning and add in any fresh herbs you like…I used thyme because that’s what I had on hand.  Cook just until the clams are cooked through, about 5 minutes, do not over cook the clams or they will taste like little rubber balls in your soup…not what we are going for.  Remove from heat and serve with oyster crackers or some slices of hearty crusty bread…honestly this soup is good enough to stand on its own.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Shrimp Scallop Tomato Linguine_0023 120dpi @ 10 

I have been craving seafood like crazy lately.  Prices have been through the roof and fresh shellfish is not so easy to find in Southern Ontario, so, in this dish, I had to use a bagged combination of frozen bay scallops and shrimp.  If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh, by all means, use it!

 

Ingredients:

1/2 lb linguine

1 lb bag frozen shrimp and scallop mix (or 1/2 lb each of fresh, cleaned)

2 beefsteak tomatoes, cubed (seeds in)

1/2 red onion thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup white wine

1 tbspn olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 handful fresh basil, torn

1-2 tbspn grana padono, grated (or to taste) (Parmesan will also work)

 

Method:

Get a large pot of salted water boiling and cook linguine according to box directions.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over med high heat.  Add onions and salt and cook until softened.  Add tomatoes, garlic and pepper, cook for about 3 minutes.  Add wine and reduce by half.  Then add the shellfish and continue cooking over medium heat until they are cooked through.  Roughly 5 minutes.  Add basil and check seasoning, adjust as needed.  

Drain the pasta and stir it into the skillet.  Plate and top with the grated cheese.

 

This is a great dish when you want something fresh and super quick.

Serves 2.

Ready in 15 minutes.

 

 

 

Apple Crisp

This is a dessert that always takes me right back to my childhood.  It was my absolute favorite.  My dad loved apples and we always had them in the house, so at least once a week I would ask my mom to make us some apple crisp.  I was ecstatic when I learned to make it myself around the age of 10.  That’s how easy it is.

I like to add twists to most of my recipes, usually.  Updating or tweaking when the mood strikes me, but in this case I kept it basic and simple.  I do not believe something as sacred as apple crisp should be tampered with.  But, if you see fit, add whatever twists or flavors you like to this.  I wont mind…much.  😛

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What you will need:

5 medium baking apples

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup orange juice

pinch of salt

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar (white or brown)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup melted butter

pinch of nutmeg

Method:

  1.  preheat oven to 350 f
  2. Core and slice up the apples.  Peeling them is up to you, I prefer leaving the skins on for added nutrients.  Place them in a bowl with the orange juice.  Generally lemon juice is used to keep the apples from browning, but I was out of lemons, and this worked great.
  3. toss the apples with the cinnamon and flour and a pinch of salt and place in a prepared baking dish.
  4. Mix together the flour, sugar, oats, nutmeg and melted butter until a crumble like texture is reached.  Sprinkle evenly over the apples.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes until the tops is slightly browned and the apples are bubbling underneath.  Let cool slightly before serving.

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This would be great served up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some whipped cream, or even just a splash of milk.  Its tangy as well as sweet and is the perfect dessert for a cool fall night.  I hope you enjoy 🙂

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*Disclaimer:  This is by no means your traditional Shepard’s Pie.  Because I used leftover pulled pork, I am officially calling this “Farmer’s Pie”.  The thought process being that farmers raise pigs, not cows or lamb which are used in Shepard’s Pie and Cottage Pie.

It’s the last day of the leftover pulled pork from https://pixieinthekitchen.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/perfect-pulled-pork/.

I had been thinking about making a Sheppard’s for a while now.  Lamb is not easy to come by where I live, and there is just not enough flavor for me in ground beef.  Thankfully, I still had some pulled pork laying around in the fridge from Sunday’s dinner.

As I have said this is by no means traditional, but it is scrumptious! Instead of peas for the veg, I made a cremini mushroom and onion gravy, which added a ton of earthy flavor and paired nicely with the bbq flavor in the pork.

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 Get a big pot of water on the stove to boil.  Peel and cut 5 medium sized potatoes.  Boil until cooked through.  Mash with a bit of butter and milk and set aside.

While your potatoes are cooking, slice up the mushrooms and onions and sautee in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Add in salt and pepper, and a bit of thyme.  When the veg is tender, add a couple tablespoons of flour to the pan and cook for another minute.  Slowly stir in some chicken or beef stock to form a gravy.

Add your meat (whatever you have used), already cooked to a pie plate.  Top with the mushroom gravy.  Spread the mashed potatoes on top.  Bake in a preheated 400 f oven for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are brown and crispy on top.

Serve and enjoy!

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What you will need:

2 cups pulled pork (or any other cooked beef or lamb that you have as leftovers)

5 medium potatoes, peeled

1 large onion

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1 cup chicken (or beef) stock

2 tablespoons of flour

1 teaspoon thyme

2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper

Perfect Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is one of my favorite things to eat, but something I have never attempted to make myself.  Until now.  I found some really nice pork butt (my step daughter was giggling uncontrollably when we bought it.) at a local market and decided on a whim to try out this dish at home.  I was surprised at how simple it was to prepare.  It takes some planning, and a little care, but it is so worth it.

As I have seen done on tv, I let my pork sit overnight in a spice rub I made up myself.  Then cooked it slowly in a low oven the next day.  I really did just fall apart when I touched it with a fork.  So flavorful and moist.  I was in Heaven!

I encourage you to try this one out.  So much cheaper than buying it at a restaurant, and so much better, as you can add the flavors you want.  And lots of leftovers!

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What you will need:

1 tblspn cumin

1 tblspn coriander

1 tblspn garlic powder

1 tblspn onion powder

1 tblspn instant coffee

1/4 tspn cayenne pepper

1 tspn paprika

1 tblspn thyme

1 tspn cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

salt and pepper

3 lbs pork butt (shoulder)

1 large onion

3 cloves garlic

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tblspn tomato paste

1 bay leaf

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Instructions:

Blend all of your spices together in a spice grinder to make a nice powder.  Use half the spice blend on the pork the night before.  Rub it all over thoroughly, wrap the meat in cling wrap and set in the fridge for about 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 f.

Place the onion cut into quarters (skin on) and the garlic cloves in a deep sided metal baking tray.  Set the pork on top of the veg.  Pour in the apple cider vinegar, and enough water to come up the roast about half way.  Add in the rest of the spice rub mix and the tomato paste.

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Cover the pan tightly with tin foil and cook for 4-6 hours (mine took about 5) until the meat is literally falling apart when touched.

Remove the meat, strain the liquid and place it in a medium saucepan over med high heat to reduce, tasting and adjusting as needed.  Then pour the sauce over the meat after you have “pulled” it apart using two forks.

There are many ways you can serve this.  Traditionally it is in a sandwich with some kind of slaw.  I served mine over homemade super sized buttermilk biscuits with some pickled carrots from a previous recipe.  I think the  leftovers are going to be in a sandwich for today’s lunch .  The possibilities are endless!

*Side note:  I generally like to take a photo of the finished product, but in my excitement to  serve it up and eat, I just plain forgot 😦

I spent a good amount of time this morning fretting over what to make for dinner.  My fridge was getting low and my pantry failed to inspire me.  I decided to head out to the grocery store in the hopes of finding some inspiration there.  Chicken was on sale for a change.  Then I passed through the ethnic foods isle and saw cans of enchilada sauce, BINGO! (I did not buy the canned sauce, however, as it is so easy to make from scratch.)

Mexican it is.

enchilada

In a small saucepan, heat some tomato puree (I still have an abundance of tomatoes from my garden so I made this myself), add 2 tablespoons of chili powder, a teaspoon of ground cumin, a tablespoon each of garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper.  Leave it on medium low heat to warm through.

enchiladasauce

Meanwhile, cut 2 good sized chicken breasts into small chunks, and heat in a skillet with a small amount of olive oil, over medium high heat, until cooked through.  Add 1/4 of the sauce (above) and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese.  Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

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Now to put it all together.  You will need 6 large flour tortillas (corn works well here too and adds a bit of flavor.)  Dip each tortilla in the warm enchilada sauce to coat.  Place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the center, and roll it up.

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Place the rolled enchiladas into a glass baking dish just big enough to hold them all snugly. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Bake at 400 f for 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden on top.  Let cool.

 

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Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole or whatever you like 🙂

What you will need:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • olive oil
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 large flour (or corn) tortillas
  • tomato puree

Deep Dish Pizza

ImageIn honor of National Pizza day, I’ve decided to stray from my oh so loved ultra thin crust pizza and make a meaty deep dish pizza. Something about the idea of baking a pizza in my cast iron skillet excites me.  There is no real recipe here, but I will post my recipe later today for my pizza dough (I need to give actual measurements for that).  Other than that its just pizza sauce, lots of cheese and meat, and any other veggies you like. Me, i’m going with Italian and breakfast sausage, green peppers, mushrooms and green olives, pepperoni. This is not a meal for the health conscious.  Nor is it something I would eat very often, but hey, we all deserve a treat now and then, right?

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All you need to do is make sure your meat is precooked, spread the dough into a 12 inch skillet (oven safe), layer in the toppings (I do 2 layers of cheese, 1 between and one on top) and bake in a 400 f oven on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes.  Voila, meaty goodness!  Let it cool slightly, serve and enjoy 🙂

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Curried Lentils

I was a bit worried that my hubby would turn his nose up at this one.  He’s not too keen on food he is not familiar with.  I served it with some Italian Sausages to appease his meat and potatoes palate.  It was a winner!

Curried Lentils

A yummy comfort food dish for a cool late summer afternoon.

1 Large Onion
1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
2 pods cardamom (shells removed)
tspn fennel seed
tspn ground coriander
tspn cumin seed
tspn turmeric
2 tblspn curry powder (or more, that part is up to you)
salt and pepper to taste
1 large carrot (optional)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup lentils (rinsed)
2 cups veg stock (or water)
1 140z can coconut milk
cinnamon stick
2-3 bay leaves

Pulse the onion, garlic and ginger a few times in the food processor to make a puree. Add a bit of olive oil to your pan and cook the mix over medium heat for a few minutes.
Add the spices and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the lentils, veg stock (or water) and carrots, turn the heat to med high and simmer for about an hour. (lentils should be al dente)
Add the coconut milk, peas, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and salt and pepper and continue to simmer over medium heat for another 30 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!

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