Oktoberfest in Germany begins Saturday, September 22, 2012, and ends Sunday, October 7, 2012...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New England Clam Chowder -- no bacon please

I am always on the hunt for a recipe that will come close to the best Clam Chowder I’ve ever tasted - from a little place called the Chowder Bowl at Nye Beach, on the Oregon coast.   Most of the cookbooks I own use bacon and other items that just don’t belong in “my” clam chowder.    The following recipe by Dave Lieberman of the Food Network comes pretty close.   The following is my adaptation.    You will see a link to the published recipe below.   

Serves: 6


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces  --  reserve the leaves, chopped fine to sprinkle over top of bowls.
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2  (8-ounce) jars of Clam Juice  -- I used Snow’s
2 (10-ounce) cans chopped clams in juice
1 cup heavy cream
4 Russet potatoes, cut into 1/2- inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 teaspoons of butter – to plop on top of your bowl of chowda!


Open the two cans of clams and drain the juice into a bowl.   Set the clams aside to add later.

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until softened, mixing often. Stir in the flour to distribute evenly.

Add the clam juice and the juice from 2 cans of chopped clams you previously drained into a bowl, cream, and potatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring consistently (the mixture will thicken), then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes, stirring often, until the potatoes are nice and tender. Then add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper, cook until clams are just firm, another 2 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with celery leaves, then top with butter .      Enjoy!

Link to original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dave-lieberman/new-england-clam-chowder-recipe/index.html

Sautéed Chayote in butter with sugar and cinnamon

What in the heck is a Chayote …?    Many of us were asking that question recently when we picked up our Saturday Bountiful Baskets.   Well, per the Wikipedia, it is a squash of some sort.   I used two of mine in a Weight Watchers soup and the other one I sliced like an apple and sautéed in butter with sugar and cinnamon – just like you would make fried apples.    It turned out really good.   We used it as a topping over coconut rice.    I only have pictures of the process because the finished dish was gobbled up before I could take a picture of it.    Try this process next time you find yourself pondering what to do with a Chayote...


1 Chayote
1 or more Tablespoons of butter for frying pan
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Wash and thinly slice Chayote – set aside.

Melt butter in frying pan over medium high heat and add the Chayote slices.   Toss as if stir-frying.

Add the sugar and cinnamon and continue to toss until tender.

Serve over ice cream, cake, oatmeal or just eat it warm and gooey as a standalone.

Chicken Fried Venison

My husband and boys all hunt big game in the Autumn.   Nothing is more pleasing to our men than making a meal of the harvest they worked so hard to bring home.   One of our favorites is Chicken Fried Venison.   Who can resist a crunchy, fried, flour coated piece of meat – smothered in a mushroom gravy ….?    My inspiration for this method came from the Sunday paper and was created by Tyler Florence of Food Network (His recipe calls for beef steaks).  The following is my adaptation.   There is a link at the bottom of the page for the original recipe. 

Serves 6   (more like 4 in our house)


    * 2 pounds Venison – or any beef or pork chop or steak
    * 2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    * 2 tablespoons onion powder
    * Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    * 3 whole eggs, beaten
    * 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
    * Hot sauce, to taste
    * Vegetable oil
    * 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
    * 1 cup buttermilk
    * 1 cup whole milk
    * Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    * Hot sauce, to taste


In a medium flat dish add the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and combine well. In another flat dish stir together the eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce, to taste, and season well with salt and pepper, to taste. Cut meat into 4 (1/2-inch) thick slices then pound out using the teeth side of a meat mallet. This tenderizes the meat. Dredge each piece of meat in the seasoned flour, then in the seasoned buttermilk and back into the flour, allowing excess to drip off. Set out on a rack fitted over a baking sheet and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes before cooking.

Add about 2 inches vegetable oil to a large cast iron pan and heat over medium-high heat to 365 degrees F. Once heated and working in batches, fry steaks 2 to 3 at a time until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove steaks and drain on a paper towels.        

Top with Mushroom Gravy --  recipe to follow.

Easy Mushroom Gravy     (This is my recipe.  I am sure Mr. Florence would never make a gravy using soup shortcuts)


    * 1 can of Campbell’s  condensed cream of mushroom soup
    * 1/2 envelope of a dry onion soup mix  
    * 1  cup water

Combine ingredients in a medium sauce pan and mix well.   Cook over medium high heat until bubbly and then lower to simmer for about 5 minutes or until mixture is creamy.    Spoon over your Chicken Fried Steaks.

Carrot Sheet Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Not only do I love cookbooks, I love all the awesome blogs out there in "Blog Land".   One of my favorites, and inspiration to try to start one myself is  “Mel’s kitchen café” .   It is there that I found a recipe for carrot cake that is sooooo good, I get more requests for it than anything else I bake.   The following is my adaptation.   You will find the direct link for Mel’s recipe at the bottom of the page.   I really encourage you to take a look at her blog.   You will find some wonderful keepers there.

4 large eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 scant cups dark brown sugar (do not pack)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 pounds carrots, peeled and ends trimmed.   
½ cup currants
½ cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup butter, softened   ROOM TEMPERATURE
8 ounces cream cheese, softened    ROOM TEMPERATURE
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
and ½ cup chopped walnuts to top the frosting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour an 11X17-inch rimmed baking sheet.

Peel and cut the ends off the carrots.  Pulse them in a food processor to desired consistency.   I like small bits rather than big shreds.   This method results in a more delicate crumb and cake.   Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, oil, applesauce, water and vanilla. Then, add the sugar to combine and turn up the speed and mix on high for just a minute to incorporate more air to lighten and lift the cake.

In a second bowl vigorously dry whisk the flour, spices, salt, soda and baking powder to combine and aerate. 

Now, pour the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and using an electric mixer to combine, mix on medium just until moistened. 

Now, gently fold the carrots, walnuts and currants into the batter until evenly distributed.

Now, pour the batter into prepared sheet cake pan and bake for 30-32 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely.

For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, vanilla and butter with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the frosting and whip to combine (don’t over mix or the frosting will become too stiff). The frosting should be smooth and creamy.

Spread evenly over cooled cake.

 Top with the other ½ cup of chopped walnuts.

Buttermilk Pound Cake with Tres Leches Sauce

A gal asked me recently what she could use buttermilk with.  As we have all experienced, you buy a pint of buttermilk for one recipe and you have a cup or so left over.  So,,,, what to do with the rest before the expiration date….well, here are some suggestions:  muffins, pancakes, meat marinade, cakes, cookies – the list goes on.   The following is a recipe for Buttermilk Pound Cake.  My inspiration is taken from “Cuisine at Home” magazine.   I tweaked it a little after baking the cake a couple of times, so this is what I found to work best……

Buttermilk Pound Cake
(using buttermilk in this version of pound cake not only adds flavor but it’s acidity also helps keep the cake crumb tender)

3 cups sifted cake flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter (8 Tbsps.) room temperature
1 stick margarine (8 Tbsps.) room temperature
2 scant cups of sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Room temperature ingredients will mix together easier and because they will, you will be less likely to over mix them into a tough cake.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 10-15 cup Bundt pan with baking spray or butter and flour it to allow an easy release when cooled.

Set out two bowls – one for the dry ingredients and one for the wet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or second bowl with a hand mixer.  Next, add the sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved – about 5 minutes.  

Next, whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a measuring cup and add to the creamed mixture. Continue to beat with mixer until fully incorporated.  

Next, add the buttermilk to the creamed mixture and beat on med-high for 3 minutes to insure the wet mixture has a good amount of air incorporated.

Now you are ready to add the flour mixture.   Do so slowly on low speed so the batter will not be over mixed and stiff.

Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan.  Smooth the top and place pan on top of a baking sheet.

Bake until golden and a skewer inserted all the way to the bottom of the cake comes out clean.  Baking time will generally run for 55 – 70 minutes, depending on your pan size and type.

Allow cake to cool in pan on a cooling rack 15 minutes, then turn out of pan onto cooling rack to cool completely.

To serve, pour warm Tres Leches Sauce over top of cake.   Recipe to follow.

Tres Leches Sauce

This sauce is very simple but needs babysitting to prevent scorching.   Be prepared to not walk away from it.  Two things are key to its success:  Use a large saucepan.  With the larger cooking surface area, the mixture will reduce a little faster and be less prone to boiling over.   Next, stir the sauce constantly!!!!

1 can sweetened condensed milk  (14 oz.)
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
½ heavy cream
½ cup dark rum  ( a little more if you want a more intense flavor)

Combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream, and rum in a large sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.  Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and continue simmering and stirring until reduced to about 2 cups.  This may take as long as 25 – 30 minutes.
Transfer sauce to a heatproof container and cool to room temperature.  Once completely cooled, top your cake.   If you have any left-over (which is unlikely because this is a creamy caramelly sauce that is hard to resist) you can cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.


Link for Cuisine at Home: http://www.cuisineathome.com/