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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Tomato and Roasted Garlic Soup

I have been in California for nearly two weeks and am just getting my head back in the game.  When I left for the West Coast it was still warm and a little muggy here, with the first hints of fall, but when I returned it was full on sweater weather.  Even some of the leaves around my house are starting to turn orange and red.  Surprisingly I still had a few tomatoes in my share –  I used them to make this cozy, silky, and deceptively simple soup. I say deceptive because the depth of flavor is so rich and layered, giving a nod to summer produce but looking ahead to fall. Hopefully this soup recipe comes at the right time to take advantage of the last of your tomatoes, while staying warm at the start of what is arguably the best time of year here in New England.

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Roasted “Mountain Magic” Tomato and Vegetable Tart in Sour Cream Dough

This tart is delicious, almost shockingly good.  I made one large tart, and then we ate it for four days, and I could make another one right now and be very happy to eat it again.  The star of the dish is really the Mountain Magic tomatoes – they are beautiful, plump, juicy, and flavor packed.  About the size of a large cherry tomato they are perfect for roasting, they keep their moisture and gain a lovely rich and sweet flavor after about an hour in the oven.  These tomatoes when combined with roasted zucchini, zeypher squash, eggplant, a flakey sour cream pie dough, and held together with melty gruyere cheese make a total knock out of a dish.  This is something that, like us, you could eat as a side for a few days or serve it with a green salad for a lunch entree.  If you aren’t as selfish, share the love and give this tart as a gift or bring it as offering to the next party you attend – it will not disappoint.

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Squash and Goat Cheese Pizza, on the grill

I have a new (used) grill and an unstoppable desire to cook on it every night.  I love being able to cook outside when my kitchen becomes too hot to bear, not to mention taking advantage of the long daylight hours before fall returns.  These pizzas make an incredibly soft dough that has a wonderful crispy texture in just 5 minutes of cooking on the grill.  Using summer squash was a no brainer because I have gotten several pounds of squash every week and was looking for something fun to do with it – the colorful squash mixed with the tomato sauce and fresh cheve makes this pizza beautiful and super tasty.

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