Tag Archives: Recipe

Recipes – New England Fried Clams

Empire Falls by Richard Russo might be one of my favourite, if not absolute favourite, summer reads. Russo is a great story teller, and the setting of a sleepy New England town combined with flashbacks to Miles Roby’s summers with his mother in Martha’s Vineyard make this novel well suited to beach reading.

11944950_10153285954584081_1641026063_n

In the flashback scenes Mile’s remembers eating steamed clams at a diner and how they were unlike anything he had ever had before. As summer is winding down I decided to try my hand at making New England style fried, rather than steamed, clams. I followed a recipe from this site, but used evaporated milk rather than buttermilk as I find it coats things better.

12000159_10153285954679081_698181199_n

Recipe

For the Fry Mix

  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the clams

  • 1 1/2 pounds of shucked whole-belly steamer clams
  • About 6 cups peanut, canola, or other vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 cup evaporated milk

11997005_10153285954899081_1688568738_n

Directions

To make the new england style fry mix, combine the flours, salt, and both peppers in a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Fry the clams

  • Heat 3 inches of oil to 375°F in a frying pan oven over medium heat.
  • While the oil is heating, pour the evaporated milk into a large bowl, and put the fry mix in another.
  • Drop the clams into the evaporated milk and stir gently.
  • Use a slotted spoon to lift the clams out of the evaporated milk and into the fry mix. Toss gently to coat.
  • Fry the clams in batches, about 1-2 minutes a side or until golden brown.
  • Serve with tartar or cocktail sauce.

Recipes – No Machine Vanilla Ice Cream

Everyone who knows me knows I love ice cream. I always keep my freezer well stocked and often find myself taking walks down the street to the Baskin Robbins on summer evenings.

I’ve always wanted to try to make my own ice cream, but this has proven to be difficult, as I don’t have an ice cream maker. While working as a camp counsellor we made outside in plastic bags with rock salt, but as I live in an apartment downtown this didn’t seem like a realistic method either. I found this recipe and decided to give it a try.

2015-07-19 14.06.45

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. An electric mixer would have been helpful.

Overall it wasn’t terrible, it was actually quite good, but it just didn’t taste like ice cream. It was much denser and not quite as creamy, but lacking an ice cream maker I think this is to expected. I’m also a huge fan of frozen banana ice cream. The kind where you mash up bananas, mix with nutella, and freeze the mixture, which turns into the consistency of ice cream. There are definitely ways to stay cool during the summer and ways to make ice cream without an ice cream maker, but for now I think I’ll stick to my Ben and Jerry’s or my nightly walks to Baskin Robbins.

2015-07-19 14.12.14

Pour mixture into a frozen loaf pan and cover with saran wrap before putting back into the freezer.

While I was reading Susan Gilman’s The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, I found myself craving ice cream reading all her descriptions of different flavors and the processes in which ice cream is made. As I have already written, Gilman’s novel was fantastic and she also provides a brief insight into the history of ice cream. Anyone looking for more information about the history of ice cream should check out a this podcast episode put out by Stuff You Should Know. A relatively new food pocast, Gastropod, also just did an episode about ice cream which also focuses on the history and science of ice cream. Anyone interested in whats new and trendy in ice cream should check out this episode from The Table Set, and while you’re listening to podcasts you should absolutely check out this episode from my favourite podcasters over at Spilled Milk where they teamed up with Dan Pashman from the Sporkful to taste vanilla ice cream.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Without A Machine (From ZoomyYummy)

1 1/4 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
2/3 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

  1. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form
  2. Add the condensed milk and the vanilla extract, gently fold to combine.
  3. Pour the mixture into a container (I used a loaf pan, which I had put in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to filling)
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in freezer for at least 6 hours.

Recipes – Dauntless Chocolate Cake

“At the end of the hallway she turns and says, ‘Have a piece of cake for me all right? The chocolate. It’s delicious.’”

Anyone who pays close attention to food mentioned in books will definitely have made a note of the Chocolate Cake that is the “official” food of those belonging to the Dauntless faction in Veronica Roth’s Divergent. There are a number of recipes out there on the web, but I was curious about the recipe from the “Unofficial Divergent Cookbook,” by Megan Parker.

There’s a link to the book here, but I decided to buy the cookbook for 99 cents on my Kindle. I was somewhat disappointed to find that the recipe was fairly simple. It looks like a perfectly respectable chocolate cake, but nothing really makes it special; there is nothing Daunting about it.

So I decided it needed a little something. The first thing that came to mind was that the cake needed a bit of a kick, something unexpected, something spicy. I did a quick search for chocolate cake inspired by Mexican drinking chocolate and came across a number of recipes that were spiced with cinnamon or cayenne pepper. I also liked the idea of having a very rich, or moist Devil’s food cake, and did some experimenting with different levels of butter, and cocoa.

2015-06-17 18.52.14

“’Let’s go to the cafeteria,’ Will says, ‘and eat cake.’”

Lacking an occasion to serve a cake I made a small batch of cupcakes as a portable, easy to store treat. Hopefully I captured the essence of the Dauntless and especially Triss’ spirit with these cupcakes and that you all enjoy them as well.

This recipe only makes six cupcakes but you can easily double, or triple the recipe.

½ all purpose flour
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch process Cocoa Powder
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons boiling water
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less depending on taste)
3 tablespoons milk (or water if lactose)

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients (flou, cocia powder, baking soda, sugar, and spices) together in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the egg, oil, water, vanilla, and milk
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and divide batter between six cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

For the icing I bought a can of chocolate icing and added ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. A recipe for the same kind of icing made from scratch can be found here.

Recipe – Kiev-Style Raspberry Jam

I will just say this, it took me forever to get through. In Gilmore Girls, Dean complains to Rory about this book (teasingly) blaming her for wasting his time with it. I don’t really blame Dean at all. The book is long, dense and the names confused me more often than not. The characters are also not that likeable.

However it is easy to see why this book is widely regarded as the “best novel ever written.” It deals with important themes, especially those of fidelity, family, marriage and society. Anna is a tragic character and is a reflection of her time; after falling in love with another man and leaving her husband Anna loses everything else so dear to her, her son, her friends, and her social standing. Despite the fact that I found Anna unlikeable, I was still able to sympathize with her and see her as a woman trapped.

The book also depicts Russian high society prior to the Revolution. My favourite parts of the book were when we saw Kitty and Levin in their country estate. I loved the scene where while making jam, all the women involved had different opinions on how “properly” to make jam. Out of the whole book, I felt that this was the most relatable scene, mothers, grandmothers and daughter all with different opinions on the “proper” way to do something.

So I decided to try my hand at making a Russian, or Kiev-style, jam. Essentially the defining characteristic is that it is made without water. This is the method that Kitty introduces to her new mother-in-law who is skeptical.

Fresh Raspberries

Fresh Raspberries

On the terrace were assembled all the ladies of the party. They always liked sitting there after dinner, and that day they had work to do there too. Besides the sewing and knitting of baby-clothes, with which all of them were busy, that afternoon jam was being made on the terrace by a method new to Agafea Mihalovna, without the addition of water. Kitty had introduced this new method, which had been in use in her home. Agafea Mihalovna, to whom the task of jam-making had always been intrusted, considering that what had been done in the Levin household could not be amiss, had nevertheless put water with the strawberries, maintaining that the jam could not be made without it. She had been caught in the act, and was now making jam before everyone, and it was to be proved to her conclusively that jam could be very well made without water.” (Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Part VI, Chapter II)

2015-05-18 12.02.09

Cover with sugar, lemon juice, and vodka and refrigerate for at least three hours

I don’t blame poor Agafea Mihalovna, I too was skeptical, but it turns out that jam can indeed be made without water. This method produces a jam that is much more like fruit preserves, as the structural integrity of the fruit is maintained.

Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved

Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved

2015-05-18 15.51.39The jam is perfect spread on a scone or roll of bread served with some good Russian tea. The Russia tea ceremony is quite intricate and involves a special brewing pot called a Samovar. Lacking in resources I settled for a cup of Four Red Fruit tea from Kusmi, a tea company originating from St. Petersburg.

Recipe
3 cups raspberries
2 ½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
¼ cup of vodka

  1. Place raspberries in a pot and cover with vodka, sugar, and lemon juice. Refrigerate overnight or for at least three hours
  2. Prior to cooking jam sterilize your jars either by boiling them or placing them in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Place pot on stove and cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.
  4. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. The raspberries with give off a heavy fragrance and the liquid in the pot will darken
  5. Simmer for 15-20 stirring the mixture occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and jar your jam
  7. Remember to place the full jars into a pot of boiling water in order to seal them properly.

J.B West – Upstairs at the White House (1973)

Upstairs at the White House

In honour of American Thanksgiving, I’ve included one of my favourite books about the Presidency, AND a recipe for apple pie. Enjoy!

It is not easy to write about the Presidency and not get political. West does just that however, and while some might be looking for more of a political slant, West does not, and will not provide it. This book must be read for what it is, an account of the presidents and their families who occupied the White House for the years that West was in service there. West’s loyalty as a White House Butler is to the White House and the Presidency itself, not to the individual men or their families.

West came into service at the White House just as Roosevelt was entering his final years. He then served in the house through the Presidencies of; Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon. Each family getting its own set of chapters with details about their decorations, family traditions, favourite meals, and personalities. West provides charming details into the lives of the families he worked for including how different having the Kennedy’s in the White House was, simply because they had young children, and how Mamie Eisenhower’s style broke with that of earlier first ladies in that she wanted everything to be pink and frilly. Throughout his writing however, West maintains his professionalism and never writes anything that betrays the confidence of the families he worked for.

One of the most interesting aspects of this book was the financial side of things. Presidents have a very limited salary and were always allocated a specific sum to be used to redecorate the White House. I find that even though we see the President as having a domestic life, we don’t always think about things like managing a household budget. The anecdotes that make up West’s work make this book worth reading; he puts a more humane face to the Presidency (even Richard Nixon) and provides and compelling behind-the-scenes look at life in the White House

Serve With

Homemade Apple Pie!

While there are a number of White House cookbooks and websites that provide information about the favourite meals of various Presidents, in honour of American Thanksgiving I decided to make a traditional all-American apple pie.