great taste

Escargots à la Bourguignonne

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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The garlicky butter in this dish is almost as delicious as the escargots themselves, and what better use for crusty bread than sopping up this delicious “snail butter.”
But the main event are the escargots’ tender texture and clean, woodsy flavor.
When I was an apprentice back in the mid-sixties, preparing FRESH snails was a most hated assignment, taking hours to remove the snails from the shells and then cleaning and cooking them, then cleaning and sterilizing the shells. I don’t want to go into the less than pretty details, but it was not a pleasant task and as a young kid of 14 years old I thought I would never in my life eat something as shocking as snails.
Boy, was I wrong 🙂
Nowadays snails are among my favorite appetizers in the World and I order them whenever I see them on a menu, which, sadly, becomes rarer every year. 😦
Luckily, I found that canned snails work just as well and turn this appetizer into one that can be whipped up quickly, economical, anytime. I usually buy a case online which lasts me for about a year.
Traditionally,  Escargots à la Bourguignonne  are served 6 ea or 12 ea in their shells on a special metal or porcelain dish, or, if these are not available, on a heat-proof dish covered with sea salt into which indentions the size of the shells have been pressed to avoid the shells to move or topple over and spill their butter. I would not shy off to buy these dishes for my home, plus the special tweezers to hold them and the tiny two-pronged forks to remove the snails from their shells, but the fact is 6 or 12 snails will not do it for me and the whole ritual makes no sense for me at home alone. So I always serve them in a bowl with lots of the traditional toasted bread on the side.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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snail tweezer and fork

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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Escargots À La Bourguignonne

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first bite always goes to Bella 🙂

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Preparation :
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” LION’S HEAD SOUP ” ( SHR ZA TOU )

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” LION’S HEAD SOUP ” ( SHR ZA TOU )

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Meatballs come in many shapes, sizes and flavors. In the western cuisine we are most familiar with Italian meatballs, while in Asian cuisine soup dumplings are the most common.
Among Asian meatballs, Chinese lion heads are probably my favorite plain (no wrapper) meatballs. They are usually served in a flavorful soup, loaded with the Lions heads, black mushrooms, rice noodles and napa cabbage (pekinensis group cabbage).
Whenever I prepare the soup at home, (click here to see a version I usually prepare at home), I usually do the traditional chinese way, as described above. However, when I prepared the one featured here, I had leftover dumpling wrappers and ground pork mix in the fridge from the previous day’s  “CHINESE PORK DUMPLINGS IN TAMARIND BROTH”.  I always have frozen homemade chicken stock in the fridge, so this  ” LION’S HEAD SOUP ”  was a no-brainer and it took only a few minutes to put together. Easy does it when you’re lazy ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Click  Here  or  Here  for  Lion’s Head Meatballs Recipe (different recipes)
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” LION’S HEAD SOUP ” ( SHR ZA TOU )

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More Lion’s Head Soup variations :
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Preparation :
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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon-Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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The texture of beef neck is absolutely stunning. I wish I’d be able to buy just a slab of the meat, without the bones. That would make the perfect goulash or braised roast. In the meantime, I’ll just have to make do with the neck bones and the meat on them. They are of course the same wonderful texture and flavor as a large boneless slab would be, but naturally, the presentation suffers a bit.  😦
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
These bread dumplings are a typical example of the fact that most savory recipe measurements are at best guidelines. In this case, there are too many possible variables for the ingredients to use ANY measurements. Rather, the measurements are loose guidelines. For dumplings especially, experience is the key to a successful dumpling. As I mentioned in previous posts, most young (or old) cooks and chefs have never perfected the art/craft of proper dumplings for that particular reasons  – one needs experience and  “feeling” to get the ratios of the ingredients just right. Dumplings of any type (fish, meat, liver, potato, bread, lobster and so forth must be very light without falling apart while cooking. By just following measurements, because of the many and large variables, this is impossible to achieve. One needs practice, practice and practice – THEN one needs feeling, feeling and feeling. I believe the reason why we hardly see dumplings on menus anymore is the same as the reason why most cooks embraced the idiotic habit of eating fish, pork vegetables and other food items “seared on the outside, raw on the inside”, – any moron can achieve that without any skills, knowledge or experience 😦
Anyway, don’t be discouraged if by the first try you don’t succeed, – just put in lots of practice, lots of love and lots of feeling, and soon you too will be able to enjoy homemade dumplings (and properly cooked protein) as often as you crave it 🙂

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Braised Beef Neck In Merlot/Mushroom Sauce With Bread Dumpling (Geschmorter Rindernacken In Merlot/Champignon -Soße Und Semmelknödel)

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Semmelknödel – Bread Dumpling

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Preparation :
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Chinese Pork Dumplings In Tamarind Broth

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Chinese dumplings in soup – there must be a thousand and one variations. Different stuffings, different shapes, different wrappers to enclose the dumplings, dumplings without wrappers (spherical), different broths/soups, thick soups, clear soups, different vegetables to include in the soups, etc, etc, etc.
Then there are all the other Asian countries who have their own traditional versions of all of the above. So, basically, there is probably a MILLION and one recipes out there, one better than the other. 🙂
I have prepared many different ones myself over the decades, both while working in Asia and learning from the locals, as well as creating my own versions of some of the ones I learned to prepare over the years.
The point is, there are too many Asian dumpling soups to mention, but here I give you the most basic, delicious and quick version there is. Once you master this, you will be able to build on that knowledge and practice, preparing your own versions with the ingredients which are the most easy to obtain, the most affordable and the most delicious for your own preferred taste and texture. For this basic recipe, I suggest that you use store-bought wanton wrappers, ground pork and tamarind broth. Then, next time, move on to shrimp, lobster, scallops, chicken or whatever protein you prefer, then use any vegetables or mushrooms you have at hand, any broth/soup such as chicken, beef, fish, sour, spicy, with or without egg, thickened or clear, with or without garlic, with or without ginger, sesame oil, chili oil, fresh lime, calamansi, or – WHATEVER !
Just try to make the whole soup a harmonious combination of flavors and textures. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  CHINESE NEW YEAR EGG DUMPLING SOUP ( 蛋饺 ) ( DAN JIAO )  on  ChefsOpinion    (Click here to read about : The Year of the Pig begins on Tuesday February 5, 2019)

Click here for more  Dumplings  on  ChefsOpinion

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P.S.
To prepare the tamarind broth, season chicken beef, seafood or Vegetable broth with tamarind paste or granulated tamarind to taste
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Just a pretty set………

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Pork Dumplings In Tamarind Broth

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Pork Dumplings In Tamarind Broth

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Preparation :
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Gordon Bond

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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Cod –
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Kabeljau / Dorsch / タラ Tara / Morue / Bacalao / smk alqadi / Treska / Turska / Γάδος Gádos / Kele / Torsk / треска, etc, etc. 🙂
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Until a few short years ago, cod (kabeljau), and especially cod in mustard sauce was a very popular dish in Europe. It was very cheap, tasted great, looked good and was widely available.
It could be found  at least  once a month on Fridays in private homes, in restaurants on “Daily Specials”, as a choice in school- and factory cafeterias and everywhere else where people did not eat meat on a Friday because of religious reasons, or simply because they loved the dish and welcomed it as a change from the usual daily meat or vegetable offerings.
I would love to eat cod at least 3 times a week, breaded, poached, sautéed, grilled, in tacos or sandwiches, plain or with sauce or condiments, and so forth. However, the exuberant pricing of at least $ 10 a pound prevents me from enjoying cod more often. 😦
But once in a while I spoil myself and Bella and go all out, no matter the cost. 🙂


Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Poached Cod Fillet With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce And Pomegranate Pilaf

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Preparation :
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Grilled Pork Belly & Green Asparagus

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Grilled Pork Belly & Green Asparagus

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One of the greatest mysteries in our Universe is without doubt the fact that pork belly is not the most popular food there is !
In my opinion, it should be treasured and respected with the likes of caviar, foie gras and lobster. 🙂
It certainly is a delicacy if prepared by a Chinese master chef and transformed into a pyramid, or if just simply roasted or simmered, with lots of spices or just sea salt and pepper, in chinese buns, in a kaiser roll or as Szechuan-style or Shanghai-style braised pork belly ( hong shao rou,  红烧肉  ) or any of the never-ending list of pork belly recipes from around the world.
While I have cooked many of these pork belly dishes, nothing is more satisfying than the dish featured here – it tastes like a million bucks, yet takes less than 5 minutes of actual prepping time (plus a few minutes for the asparagus). It’s like playing the Lotto for a dollar and winning the jackpot 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Grilled Pork Belly & Green Asparagus

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Grilled Pork Belly & Green Asparagus

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Grilled Pork Belly & Green Asparagus

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grilled asparagus & chili relish

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Preparation :
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Szechuan Beef Noodles

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Szechuan Beef Noodles

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The food at our house is usually flavorful and piquant, but not “fiery hot”.
However, once in a while, I crave Szechuan food. Not the watered down version you get in Western influenced restaurants, but the real, Szechuan deal. ( When you look at the pictures of the noodles with sauce below, that bright red comes from the Szechuan chili oil and Szechuan chili paste) If you prepare this recipe, you might want to add the chili oil and chili paste at the end (STEP 2),  in VERY small increments, until you reach a level of hotness that almost hurts. The beauty of Szechuan peppers is the fact that after a few seconds of eating them, your mouth becomes almost numb, to the point where you can tolerate spice to a level you did not previously imagine you could.
This might sounds a bit like a bit of senseless torture (to the novice to Szechuan cuisine it certainly is), but it will also provide you with an extreme satisfaction of your taste buds 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Szechuan Beef Noodles

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Szechuan Beef Noodles

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Szechuan Beef Noodles

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Szechuan Beef Noodles

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Szechuan Beef Noodles

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Szechuan Beef Noodles

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Preparation :
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Breaded Chicken Sandwich With Guacamole, Sweet Chili Relish & Fried Egg, accompanied by Hummus and Small Salad

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BREADED CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH GUACAMOLE, SWEET CHILI RELISH & FRIED EGG, ACCOMPANIED BY HUMMUS AND SMALL SALAD

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Usually, I have a variation of breaded or grilled chicken sandwich at least once a week, always accompanied by some easily prepared salad. As for the chili relish and hummus, I usually make them fresh at home, but I also sometimes use store-bought items. Nowadays, many grocery stores have such great quality conserves that it does not always make sense to prepare them oneself, not so much because of the work involved but because of the limited space in the fridge. Since I have prepared all this stuff a thousand times from scratch, I sure know how to do it and don’t have to be embarrassed to admit to store-bought items, at least once in a while 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !

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Click here for Hummus Recipe
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BREADED CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH GUACAMOLE, SWEET CHILI RELISH & FRIED EGG, ACCOMPANIED BY HUMMUS AND SMALL SALAD

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BREADED CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH GUACAMOLE, SWEET CHILI RELISH & FRIED EGG, ACCOMPANIED BY HUMMUS AND SMALL SALAD

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BREADED CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH GUACAMOLE, SWEET CHILI RELISH & FRIED EGG, ACCOMPANIED BY HUMMUS AND SMALL SALAD

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BREADED CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH GUACAMOLE, SWEET CHILI RELISH & FRIED EGG, ACCOMPANIED BY HUMMUS AND SMALL SALAD

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BREADED CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH GUACAMOLE, SWEET CHILI RELISH & FRIED EGG, ACCOMPANIED BY HUMMUS AND SMALL SALAD

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Preparation :
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Seafood Salad….(Worthy Of The Holidays)

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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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Before I went to get some last-minute shopping done this morning, I contemplated my probable food-intake for the next two days. It downed on me that if I don’t want to gain at least 10 lbs over the holidays, I must offset the gluttony with sensible breakfasts and luncheons, so I started today with this simple and light salad;
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“Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa”
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P.S.
For seafood salads, I always like to “refresh” refrigerated seafood in a mixture of room temperature-water, lemon juice, garlic paste, kosher salt and cayenne pepper. (Keep in liquid for ten minutes)
For all hot dishes, I like to “refresh” refrigerated seafood in a mixture of room temperature-whole butter, lemon juice, garlic paste, kosher salt and cayenne pepper. (Keep in butter for ten minutes)
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Mix romaine lettuce, cucumbers and rainbow grape tomatoes with a simple honey/mustard vinaigrette, plate on serving platter.
Top with pomegranate seeds, blueberries and mango, refresh seafood according to instruction on this page.
Top with seafood.
Drizzle with avocado dressing/salsa.
Serves – well, that depends entirely on you.  🙂   (This one was just the perfect sized meal for Bella and me)
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Avocado Salsa/Dressing Recipe:
In a food processor, blend 1 cup honey/mustard vinaigrette and juice from 1 lime with meat from 1 to 2 ea Hass(Haas) Avocado (depending on size) until smooth, stir-in 1 tblsp finely chopped cilantro.
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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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Romaine Lettuce With Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws, And Fruits, Dressed In Avocado Salsa

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I could eat just the salad on its own……….

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Preparation :
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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Clam Chowder

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Clam Chowder

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(Below find excerpts from Wiki.com and Mobile Cuisine.com)
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Clam Chowder Fun Facts: Clam chowder is any of several chowders containing clams and broth. Along with the clams, diced potato is common, as are onions, which are occasionally sauteed in the drippings from salt pork or bacon. Celery is frequently used. Other vegetables are uncommon, but small carrot strips might occasionally be added, primarily for color. A garnish of parsley serves the same purpose. Bay leaves are also sometimes used as a garnish and flavoring. It is believed that clams were added to chowder because of their relative ease to collect.

  • Fish chowders were the forerunners of clam chowder. The chowders originally made by the early settlers differed from other fish soups because they used salt pork and ship’s biscuits.
  • In 1832 newspaperwoman, novelist, and ardent advocate of women’s rights, Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) published her cookbook called The American Frugal Housewife. She described the standard layering technique of chowder-making, but also suggested additional ingredients such as lemons, beer, tomato catsup, and the first written directions to add clams.
  • Clams and oysters were consumed in such quantities along the Atlantic coast by the American Indians that, in some favorable gathering-places, empty shells were piled into mounds ten feet high.
  • January 21st is National New England Clam Chowder Day.
  • February 25th is National Clam Chowder Day.
  • New England clam chowder shares the number one spot of most served soups in the United States with chicken noodle.
  • In 1939 Maine, Assemblyman Seeder attempted to pass legislation in 1939 making it illegal to put tomatoes in clam chowder.
  • THE BEST CLAM CHOWDER IS PREPARED BY HANS “SOUPI” SUSSER.
    (Recipe follows on this page) 🙂 

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History

Clam chowder with whole clams

The earliest-established and most popular variety of clam chowder, New England clam chowder, was introduced to the region by French, Nova Scotian, or British settlers, becoming common in the 18th century. The first recipe for another variety, Manhattan clam chowder, known for using tomatoes and its consequently distinctly red coloring, was published in 1934. In 1939, the New England state of Maine debated legislation that would outlaw the use of tomatoes in chowder, thereby essentially prohibiting the “Manhattan” form.

Primary variants and styles

Since the popularity of New England clam chowder spread throughout the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, many other regions have introduced their own, local twists on the traditional recipe.

Delaware clam chowder

This variety typically consists of pre-fried cubed salt pork, salt water, potatoes, diced onions, quahog clams, butter, salt, and pepper. This variety was more common in the early and mid-20th century, and likely shares most recent common ancestry with New England clam chowder.

Hatteras clam chowder

Served throughout North Carolina‘s Outer Banks region, this variation of clam chowder has clear broth, bacon, potatoes, onions, and flour as a thickening agent. It is usually seasoned with copious amounts of white and/or black pepper, and occasionally with chopped green onions or even hot pepper sauce.

Long Island clam chowder

Long Island clam chowder is a variant that is part New England-style and part Manhattan-style, making it a creamy tomato clam chowder. The name is a geographical pun, noting that the location of Long Island, just like the recipe, is about halfway between Manhattan and New England. This variant is popular in many small restaurants across Suffolk County, New York.

Manhattan clam chowder

Manhattan clam chowder has a reddish color from ripe tomatoes

Manhattan clam chowder has red broth, which is tomato-based. The addition of tomatoes in place of milk was initially the work of Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island, as tomato-based stews were already a traditional part of Portuguese cuisine.

In the 1890s, this chowder was called “Fulton Fish Market clam chowder” and “New York City clam chowder.” Manhattan clam chowder was referenced in Victor Hirtzler’s “Hotel St. Francis Cookbook (1919).

Minorcan clam chowder

Minorcan clam chowder is a spicy traditional version found in Florida restaurants near St. Augustine and the northeast corner of Florida. It has a tomato broth base, with a “secret ingredient”, Spanish datil pepper, an extremely hot chili comparable to the habanero. The datil pepper is believed to have been brought to St. Augustine by the Menorcan settlers in the 18th century, and tradition holds among Menorcan descendants that it will only thrive and grow in two places: Menorca, Spain and St. Augustine, Florida.

New England clam chowder

New England clam chowder, occasionally referred to as Boston Clam Chowder in the Midwest, is a milk or cream-based chowder, and is often of a thicker consistency than other regional styles, even though traditionally it is rather thin (with many late 19th and early 20th century recipes using condensed milk as the base). It is commonly made with potatoes, onion, and clams.

New England clam chowder is usually accompanied by oyster crackersCrown Pilot Crackers were a popular brand of cracker to accompany chowder, until the product was discontinued in 2008. Crackers may be crushed and mixed into the soup for thickener, or used as a garnish.

Traditional New England clam chowder is thickened with oyster crackers instead of flour. (Oyster crackers do not actually contain any oysters.)

New Jersey clam chowder

Its primary ingredients are chowder clams, onion, bacon, diced potatoes, pepper, celery powder, parsley, paprika or Old Bay seasoning, asparagus, light cream, and sliced tomatoes.

Rhode Island clam chowder

Traditional Rhode Island clam chowder—going back decades—is a red chowder and is served as Rhode Island clam chowder throughout the state. Rhode Island clam chowder has a tomato broth base and potatoes, but unlike Manhattan red chowder, Rhode Island clam chowder has no chunks of tomato and does not contain other vegetables. The origins of traditional Rhode Island clam chowder are reportedly Portuguese immigrants in Rhode Island dating back over a century. This recipe has been served for decades with clamcakes at memorable establishments like Rocky Point and Crescent Park. Rhode Island clam (red) chowder is served principally and especially at long-established New England restaurants and hotels.

A secondary Rhode Island clam chowder has a clear broth and be found commonly along a stretch of the south coast of New England from eastern Connecticut to southwestern Rhode Island. In southwestern Rhode Island, this clear clam chowder is sometimes called “South County Style” referring to the colloquial name of Washington County, Rhode Island, where reportedly it originated; however in other parts of New England, this clear clam chowder is called Noank Clam Chowder. This clear clam chowder, which generally contains quahogs, broth, potatoes, onions, and bacon, is served mostly along a stretch of the south coast of New England from southwestern Rhode Island, including on Block Island.

Other variations

Some restaurants serve their own unique clam chowders that do not fall into any specific categories. For example:

  • Clam chowder is sometimes served in sourdough bread bowls, especially in San Francisco, where sourdough bread is popular with tourists, and has been considered a signature dish since 1849.[8][9]
  • Except for the substitution of smoked haddock for clams, the chowders are remarkably similar to the traditional Scots broth cullen skink.
  • Fish chowder is similar to clam chowder except that shredded fish, often cod, is substituted for the clams. Other ingredients are often onions and potato. A clam and fish chowder can be made with both clams and fish.
  • In Pacific Northwest cuisine, such as the cuisines of Seattle and Portland, Oregonsmoked salmon is sometimes added to clam chowder. Salmon chowder is also a popular fish chowder

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Clam Chowder

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Clam Chowder

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Clam Chowder

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Clam Chowder

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Preparation :
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