Cheeseburger Chowder goes to Patriots football game

Friends who have been long term season ticket holders are always looking for a new soup/chowder to take for tailgating at Gillette Stadium. This year I suggested that they try my Cheeseburger Chowder. It is always a hit especially with men as it has a delicious cheesy flavor and plenty of ground hamburger. I suggested they serve them with Snowflake Rolls from Big Y for dunking.

I have highlighted the recipe on a previous blog and I have included a link for you to check it out. It can also be found in the Soup chowder in my first cookbook, the Taste and Tales of Massachusetts.

Fried Clams To Die For

Clams

There are fried clams and then there are fried clams!!  This past week I attended a conference in Freeport, ME.  I asked at the Harraseeket Inn where we were staying who had the best fried clams in the area where the locals ate.  I was told it was the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster on Casco Bay. The weather was quite lovely on the evening we went. The lobster shack was like so many other lobster and clam shacks along the coast of New England. Visitors had the choice of dining in or out, but since there was quite a breeze we decided to eat in the dining room which was simple and immaculate.

Harraseeket_home2_r1_c3

At the window we ordered fried clams and learned you could have them with a choice of batters, crumbs or batter. My friend and I went with the crumbs and it was an excellent choice. The clams with the batter option would have been more batter than clams in my humble opinion. The fried clams with the crumbs were light with just the right amount of batter. One could actually enjoy the taste of the clams. It didn’t hurt that these were most likely the freshest clams I have ever eaten. Literally right off the boat! The order came with fries which were hot and crispy and the order was large enough for the two of us to share one order.

Batter choice

Crab Cakes

As an appetizer, we tried the crab cakes.  Again they were made with Maine crabs and were light and absolutely delicious. If you are heading to Maine this summer, it is a mere 3 miles from L L Bean on Main Street. Just head down Bow St (right across from the main entrance), take a right on South and continue until you see the sign for Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster right on Casco Bay.

Clam Cakes

Fried Clams at Janine’s in Ware, MA

Believe or not, Janine’s in Ware, MA serves delicious fried clams and an excellent lobster roll.  Whenever I have had their fried clams I have requested a light dusting of flour which make them similar to those at Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster.

Fried Clam Recipe from Woodman’s in Essex, MA

For the recipe from the inventor of the fried clam, check out our blog at http://tasteandtales.com/books/chubby-and-the-clam/.

 

Christmas Cookie Recipe

Christmas Cookie Recipe

Christmas Cookie Recipe

Dreamy Island Cookies

If you love coconut and chocolate, you will absolutely love this Christmas cookie recipe.  This is a new cookie and I must say I love the combination of coconut, chocolate and pecans.  I made a slight change to the original recipe because the dough was not binding so I added a little orange juice and voila it came together perfectly.  The OJ added a nice flavor.

1⅔ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1-2 tablespoons orange juice
1¾ cups milk chocolate chips
¾ cup flaked sweetened coconut
¾ cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt in small bowl.

  3. Beat butter, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until creamy. Beat in egg.

  4. Gradually stir in flour mixture until well combined; add a little orange juice to bind dough.

  5. Stir in chocolate, coconut and pecans. Drop by large tablespoons onto baking sheets.

  6. Bake 10 minutes for a chewy cookie.

Yields 4 dozen cookie

Adapted from Meet Me In My Cape Cod Kitchen (2014)

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

COOKIES FOR CHRISTMAS

Cranberry Oatmeal

Everyone loves these Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies as they are nice and moist.  The secret to this recipe is to soak the dried cranberries in orange juice overnight. I use dried cranberries from Decas Cranberries in Massachusetts. You can find their product in stores under the name Paradise Meadows. They are the best!!

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup dried cranberries, soak in
1 cup orange juice
1 cup  butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

    1.  Soak the dried cranberries in orange juice over-night.
    2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    3.  In a medium-bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
    4.  In a large bowl cream butter and add sugar and brown sugar; combine well.
    5.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
    6.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; blend well.
    7.  Drain the cranberries and fold in the oatmeal and cranberries.
    8.  Drop by rounded teaspoons on ungreased baking sheet.
    9.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden.  Cool 1 minute on baking sheet for a few minutes; move to wire rack.
    10.  Store in an air tight container and cookies will keep for several days.

Yields:  4 dozen

Best View of Nauset Beach

Ocean from Nauset KnollImagine waking up in the morning and looking out and seeing this view of the Atlantic Ocean from all 12 rooms at the Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge in Orleans, MA.  In June I make my annual tour around Cape Cod with the cookbooks and since I changed my usual route I needed to stay further out the Cape and since I wanted to see water, I located this motor lodge built in the 50s. Fortunately, someone had cancelled and I was lucky enough to get room.

I had heard about the “Best Onion Rings” in the world were at Liam’s at Nauset Beach which was on the other side of the shrubs so I made sure I would get there by 4 p.m. However, the wind was blowing as you can see by the flag and the weather was headed downhill.  I had to literally hold on to my hat when I signed in.  Instead of walking down I drove and the young man at the booth let me through as there was literally no cars in the parking lot and Liam’s was closed.  The only vehicle in the parking lot was a satellite truck from a TV station in Boston who I guess thought that the shark (named Freckles) lurking off-shore was going to come in for an interview.nausetknoll windmill

Since Liam’s wasn’t open and I wanted my annual meal of whole belly clams, I headed to Sir Cricket in Orleans.  They have been voted best on the Cape several times. Dinner was quite tasty, but I regret not being able to have those from Liam’s.

Below is a recipe telling how you can steam a lobster at home.  Recipe is courtesy of Sir Crickets.

How to Steam the Perfect Lobster

Fill a large pan with 1-2 inches of water, and bring it to a boil.
Place the lobster(s) in the pan*, and cover.
Keep the flame on high, and when it begins to steam, start your timer!
– 12-15 minutes for 1¼-1½ pounders
– 20 minutes for 1½-2 pounders
– 25 minutes for 2-3 pounders

*If this makes you squeamish, place the lobsters in the freezer for a minute to stun them before steaming!

Hidden Gem in Hardwick, MA

Rose32 logo1

Population of Hardwick, MA is under 3,000, but it has a bakery and cafe that draws in customers from many miles away, Rose32.  The owners began baking breads in the 1970s in San Francisco.  After 4 decades of growing a 1 shop bakery into 4 retail stores, a distribution network both retail and wholesale, they sold the big business and moved to the hamlet of Gilbertville, a part of Hardwick.

Renovated gas station

After a year or so, they decided to become bakers once again and a lot of people are so glad they did.  Next they needed to locate an outlet for the bakery so the search began.  Finally they determined that the former service station that had served the community and travelers on Rt. 32 for many decades would make a grand bakery.  It took nearly 1 1/2 years to renovate the service station into the beautiful bakery and cafe.

This past Saturday a friend and I went to Janine’s Frostee for their lobster roll and as we left, I decided that it would be a good time to try and locate Rose32.  It is about a mile from where Rt. 9 and 32 intersect.  The cafe has many outside table and inside there are a few large tables along with the bakery.  They are open Wednesday through Sunday from early morning through mid-afternoon.

Begin with breakfast either scrambled eggs, an egg sandwich or a hash scramble with diced ham, potatoes and green onions topped with Cabot cheddar. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m., while lunch is served all day.  You will need to get their early as the lines are long on weekends.

All breads and bakery items are made on the premises.  The breads are made in small batches with only flour, water and salt.  They have a bread called the Hardwick Loaf with wheat grown in Hardwick that is milled fresh at the bakery each day. They say it is amazing and the next time I am out that way I will definitely buy a loaf.

Plugra-Foodservice-Stacked

They also carry European-style butter or what is known as cultured butter.  It is definitely more expensive than store bought butter, but true bakers use it when making pie crust and other layered baked goods such as scones and croissants.  European butter is made more slowly which allows for a stronger flavor. The main difference between the butters is the fat content.  European butter has a 83-86% fat content while non-cultured butter is about 81%. Butter with more fat has less water thereby creating a lighter pastry.  It is not important when making cookies, bars or even brownies, but if you are making scones or kouign anam which have what is called a laminated dough you will want to use a European butter.

Sweet Roll Rose32

To the left is their pecan sweet roll and the kouign anam is to the right.  I had never had or heard of the latter so a little research was necessary.  Kouign anam ( (pronounced [,kwiɲˈamɑ̃nː]), is a little cake from the town of Douarnenez in Finistère, Brittany, where it originated  around 1860.   It is light and flaky due to the layers of butter and noted cookbook author David Lebovitz has a delicious recipe with great instructional pictures as to how to make this caramelized treat.

So go to Rose32 in Hardwick and enjoy the many delicious baked goods.  It is a little gem in a small town in Central Mass.

Great Food at Blue Marlin in Essex, MA

Blue Marlin ImageFriday evening, I was visiting friends in Gloucester when we decided to go out to dinner.  The original choice was the Windward Grille, but since we didn’t have a reservation we would have had to wait over an hour.  Decided instead to go up the road a piece and dine at the Blue Marlin Grille on Rt. 133.  We all started out with Clam Chowder and I must admit it was delicious.  Could actually stand my spoon up, it was so thick with clams and potatoes.  Told it won the Chowder contest at the Essex ClamFest.  We all had something different, I did Surf and Turf with baked shrimp and tenderloin tips – excellent.  Our waitress was great and considering it was graduation night and the restaurant was packed, everything arrived perfectly. Must also state they had excellent cole slaw – just right. You can have a peek at these guys if you have the idea of opening up a new restaurant of this franchise around your locality.

Clams and Essex are synonymous.  Nearly 100 years ago at Woodman’s a mile or so down the road, Chubby Woodman in response to a dare, fried a few clams and an instant hit occurred.  On July 4, 1916, Chubby and his wife Bessie, presented his Fried Clams to the residents of Essex during the parade.  People across New England are always looking for the best Fried Clam. Personally, I don’t like a lot of batter, but others do.  Be prepared for long lines.

Chubby and Bessie’s Fried Clams

26 ounces whole belly clams
12 ounces evaporated milk
4 cups corn flour
Lard (Crisco can be used). Do not use olive oil.

Fried Clams

  1. 1.   In a 4 quart saucepan, melt 2 3/4 pounds lard or vegetable oil to a depth of 2-inches in the pan. Heat to 350 degrees F. Using two bowls, pour evaporated milk into one, and corn flour into the other. In small batches put   the clams in a hand-held strainer, and submerge into the bowl of evaporated milk to coat. Remove the strainer from the bowl and shake off the excess milk.  Next dredge the clams until they are well covered with corn flour (you may want to use a clean dry hand-held strainer to shake off the excess flour).
  2. Carefully place the clams into hot lard or oil. Be careful, because lard will spatter.  Cook in small batches, turning to cook both sides, until they are golden brown.  Using a slotted scoop remove from oil. Shake gently to remove excess oil. The clams will take approximately 1 1/2 minutes to cook. The color is the most important. They should be a golden brown.  Serves 8 (appetizer-sized servings).

For those few who have never been to Woodman’s, the restaurant is located on Main Street (Rt. 133), Essex, MA.
Courtesy of Woodman’s of Essex — Five Generations of Stories, 100 Years of Recipes

Recipes from Taste and Tales of Coastal New England

CNE Front Only

Cheeseburger Chowder for These Cold Winter Days

Cheeseburger ChowderFor the past few weeks, Massachusetts has been experiencing a taste of winter – snow, snow, and more snow, cold and winds. The cold isn’t so bad if it were not for the wind which goes right through you. On days like this, there is nothing like a hot bowl of soup or chowder and my Cheeseburger Chowder fits the fill. Serve it with a salad, some artisan bread and a glass of wine and you have a delicious hardy meal. The recipe is from the Taste and Tales of Massachusetts.

Cheeseburger Chowder

Ingredients

2 medium green peppers, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 pound (8-ounce) hamburg or ground turkey
1 quart chicken broth
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pint half & half or milk

Directions

1. Saute onions and peppers in large pot. Add hamburg and brown.
2. Add chicken broth. Mix flour with 1/4 cup of broth and blend well before adding to mixture. Bring to a boil.
3. Add cheddar cheese and half & half (or milk). Stir until cheese is melted.
4. Season to taste. Serve hot with a salad and French bread.

Yields 6 – 8 servingsMA front cover 6-08a

Introducing new website

Today, begins a new era with this beautiful website designed by Erin Sweeney.  It is crisp in its design, fresh looking and easy to use.   Though the years you might say I’ve had a bit of an identity crisis.  While the books are published by Bass Pond Press, customers do not connect the name with the books.  To be more confusing the name of Phoebe’s Kitchen is also connected to the books.  This past fall when I was at the Harvest Festival in Rockport, a woman said to me, “Oh, you are the author of the taste and tales series.”  A light bulb went off, that is who we are.  From now on our blog will reflect not only on good food, but on tales about a restaurant, museum, city, etc and will have a recipe
that goes along with it.MA front cover 6-08a

For instance, the two previous blogs talk about Woodman’s in Essex and introduces their new cookbook that celebrates their 100th anniversary, but also tells the history of Chubby and the fried clam. This recipe can be found in the Taste and Tales of Massachusetts.  The next one talks about Cortez Fishing Village in Bradenton, FL.  Though I have been going to and living in Florida since the early 70s, last year was the first time I had actually visited the village.  It is one of the last old Florida fishing villages left in the state, Cedar Key being another on the west coast of Florida.  While it does n0t have a recipe, I have to say it was the best cole slaw I have ever had at the Star Fish Market.  Wish I could get the recipe for it. I’ll try when I go this year.

 

 

Chubby and the Clam – Woodman’s celebrates 100 years

6a012876db717c970c01a3fd11bc5d970b-320wi“The ubiquitous fried clam was invented on July 3, 1916 at Woodman’s in Essex. Whether on purpose or by accident, Lawrence “Chubby” Woodman dropped a clam or two into a fryer while he was making a batch of french fries and lo and behold, the fried clam was born. To true New Englanders, a fried clam must have the belly and they must be Ipswich clams; those small, yet ever so succulent, bivalves (shells consisting of two halves, or valves). The Ipswich clam is really a bivalve king, monarch of the mollusks. Dug from tidal flats along the Essex River, the clams must, by law, be taken only by a hand rake and not dredged.”  Taste and Tales of Massachusetts

On Sunday, I saw an article about a new cookbook, Woodman’s of Essex — Five Generations of Stories, 100 Years of Recipes.  Immediately e-mailed a fellow food, Heather Atwood of Gloucester, who said it was great.  It came today and has all the famous recipes that countless thousands have enjoyed throughout the years, but one!  I figured it would be the fried clam recipe and I was wrong, it is the fried onion recipe.  So whether it is Nannie Woodman’s, Lemon Pie or the great cole slaw, they are all here.

Chubby and Bessie’s Fried Clams

  • 26 ounces whole belly clams
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 4 cups corn flour
  • Lard (Crisco can be used). Do not use olive oil.

 

  1. In a 4 quart saucepan, melt 2 3/4 pounds lard or vegetable oil to a depth of 2-inches in the pan. Heat to 350 degrees F. Using two bowls, pour evaporated milk into one, and corn flour into the other. In small batches put the clams in a hand-held strainer, and submerge into the bowl of evaporated milk to coat. Remove the strainer from the bowl and shake off the excess milk.  Next dredge the clams until they are well covered with corn flour (you may want to use a clean dry hand-held strainer to shake off the excess flour).
  2. Carefully place the clams into hot lard or oil. Be careful, because lard will spatter.  Cook in small batches, turning to cook both sides, until they are golden brown.  Using a slotted scoop remove from oil. Shake gently to remove excess oil. The clams will take approximately 1 1/2 minutes to cook. The color is the most important. They should be a golden brown.  Serves 8 (appetizer-sized servings).

For those few who have never been to Woodman’s, the restaurant is located on Main Street (Rt. 133), Essex, MA.

Courtesy of Woodman’s of Essex — Five Generations of Stories, 100 Years of Recipes