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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New England Clam Chowder

Annd... I'm back. Well, wow. The bar exam is over. I am no longer a manic mess. I can sit at the computer without shaking so much that I spill coffee and water all over the place. I can walk around the neighborhood without reciting statements of law. I am falling asleep and staying asleep. It's a nice feeling. Thankfully, I'm also slowly moving away from the horrible, unsettling feeling that I will need to retake the exam. I am no longer telling Ron about the answer I should have picked. I am no longer tormenting myself by looking up my inaccurate statements or incorrect answers. I'll deal with the results when they come. And if there is a next time, I know what I need to do differently.
This past Thursday, I turned 29 years old. I spent most of the day walking around, watching the waves crash, and basking in the sunshine. And I ate a really gigantic piece of cake. This past weekend, Ron and I took a trip up to Vancouver, British Columbia. We spent the time enjoying eachother's company, having lengthy discussions about our future, and realizing that it was our last weekend hurrah before our little girl arrives! Yes, that's right. We're getting a little girl! Surprise! It's time for the Reed's to expand.... our four-legged family. This has been a long time coming, a discussion that has occurred for over two years, and an ongoing decision process since early November with a lot of pro/con debates. In January, the decision became final and I am happy to announce that our little family will again be four. This weekend, we will open our home and heart to a puppy. I am very excited. Ron is very excited. And Cali is very excited. I'll keep the name private until I can show you her beautiful little face on Monday's post.

I wanted to post the best cookie recipe ever but I can't find the pictures. Argh. So, I'm posting this amazing chowder that Ron and I had a few weeks back. Since moving to Seattle, I haven't eaten as much seafood as I thought I would. I often walk past the fish guys at the farmers market, near the fish counter in the grocery store, and view seafood items on the menu. Yet, I rarely get seafood. This is bizarre because I love seafood and I'm in a prime location for it! I've decided this should change. So I started with something easy. Ron and I loved this soup. It was from the "Light Issue" of the January/February Food Network magazine but you would have no idea that this soup was a light version. If you have any seafood fans in your house, definitely check out this recipe. It doesn't stink up your kitchen, it takes an hour to make, and it's absolutely delicious!
New England Clam Chowder
from Food Network magazine
Yield: 6 servings
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon, diced (2 ounces)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 6 stalks celery, diced (about 2 cups)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 1-pound containers frozen clams packed in their own juice, thawed, juice reserved (I used fresh with extra clam juice, you can also use cans)
  • 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • hot sauce, for serving, optional
  1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the Canadian bacon and cook; stirring frequently, until crisp, 3-4 minutes. Transfer bacon to plate.
  2. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil, onion, celery, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper to the pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the reserved clam juice (about 1 1/2 cups), the potatoes and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
  3. Partially cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Whisk the milk, cream and flour in a bowl until the flour is dissolved. Slowly add the mixture to the pot, stirring constantly. While stirring, bring the soup to a simmer (do not boil). Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the clams and simmer 2 minutes more. Discard the bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Right before serving, stir in the bacon. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

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