New England Clam Chowder

farmshare-chef-steamed-clams-new-england-clam-chowderI have lived in Boston for nearly 10 years now, and just like Lobster Rolls in the summer, this is one of those dishes that makes me love living in a place with truly distinct regional cuisine. New England Clam Chowder is particularly heart-warming on cold winter days, like today.  Chowder purists – of which there are many in these parts – may take offense to my addition of shrimp but to be honest I didn’t want to spend $30 on clams – so I used fewer clams and substituted some chopped shrimp for seafood flavor and texture. I took cues from a few different recipes, some used wine, others chose salt pork over bacon, and some used multiple types of potatoes.  This recipe makes the best use of what I had from my share as well as what I had on hand in my kitchen. If you’re calling me a heretic for the addition of shrimp and fennel, I feel you; I have those same strong feelings about chiles rellenos. For a really traditional chowder, skip the shrimp, substitute more onion for fennel, and double the amount of clams by weight, while keeping everything else the same. However, as a New England Clam Chowder lover I am a fan of this recipe – it’s not super thick, it is slightly unorthodox, but it is very, very tasty. Pass me a spoon and a Guinness and I will make it though the winter just fine.

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Honey, Thyme Roasted Carrots and Turnips, Rosemary Mashed Potatoes & Baked Pork Milanese

farmshare-chef-finished-pork-milanese-roasted-carrots-turnips-rosemary-mashedpotatoes

This easy dinner was very quick to make, provided a little vacation from our usual pork chop preparation, and used four of the items in this week’s share. This is a pork chop that is usually pounded, breaded, and pan-fried. I went for a slightly healthier ‘shake and bake’ method, pounding and breading in the same way, but then baking on a rack. These rosemary-mashed potatoes are one of my favorite things right now. The rosemary is infused with the butter so you get a ton of flavor and aroma without the little bits of chopped up rosemary. I always use a ricer or food mill with mashed potatoes, it is fast and they end up so creamy… of course, I use cream too. This roasted vegetable recipe could work for any root vegetables – turnips and carrots is what was in the box this week. I added a quick sauté spinach for a little balance in color and freshness. This is a satisfying and attractive meal that can be made in less than 45 minutes.

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Butternut Squash and Kale Gratin

It has been awhile since my last post, and may be a little time before the next. My summer share from Two Field Farm ended in October and my winter share won’t start until January.  In the between time  I hope to post about some holiday food that I’m making, then get back into the swing of things in January.  Which brings me to this recipe.  I had a single butternut squash and a couple onions left from my summer share, so this truly represents the last of summer/fall for me.  I roasted the squash with some spices and tossed with caramelized onions and kale that I purchased at Wilson Farm in Lexington, then topped everything with blue cheese and crisped it under the broiler.  The spice in the squash hangs out subtly in the background and the cheese brings it together in a delicious, funky way.  I served this when some friends came over for dinner last week and the next day was asked for the recipe, so I am not the only one who thinks it is really good! This very pretty looking side dish can be made  ahead of time then popped in the oven shortly before service to reheat, and melt/brown the cheese.  This is a very easy and tasty Thanksgiving side to prepare for your own guests, or bring to the home of friends or family as a local offering. I am heading back to California tomorrow to spend the holiday with my family – assuming what I make isn’t a disaster I’ll post some pictures and recipes from that meal when I get back.  Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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Sweet and Hot Peppers with Seared Pork, Avocado Crema and Rice Pilaf

I was in one of those dark places the other evening where I was very hungry and very tired – the idea of cooking was stressing me out, but every time I thought of ordering out I felt like I was betraying all the food in my fridge.  So I sucked it up and, as it always goes, getting in the kitchen bettered my mood immediately. This dish is what came of my culinary prozac.  I used the beautiful varieties of sweet and spicy peppers and the onions from this week’s share, along with my Costco impulse buy of six avocados for seven dollars.  I served this with a seared pork chop, because that is what I had handy – but this would work very well with chicken or fish as well. All in all the meal took about an hour, time well spent for a tasty homemade dinner.

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