New England (a.k.a. Speonk’s) Clam Chowder

New England (a.k.a. Speonk’s) Clam Chowder

New England (a.k.a. Speonk’s) Clam Chowder

Ingredients

  • 6 8-ounce bottles clam juice
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 lb. bacon, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped celery with leaves (about 2 large stalks)
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 12 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped clams, drained, juices reserved
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring bottled clam juice and potatoes to boil in heavy large pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Sauté bacon in a second large pot over medium heat and cook until bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add onions, celery, garlic and bay leaf and sauté until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Add to the first large pot with the potatoes and clam juice
  3. In the second pot pot melt butter stir in flour and cook 2 minutes (do not allow flour to brown). Gradually whisk in reserved juices from clams.
  4. Add to the first pot with the potato mixture, bacon, onion, celery, garlic, clams, heavy cream and hot pepper sauce. Simmer chowder 5 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before serving.)

This chowder is named after my daughter’s best friend Meagan who I affectionately call Speonk. The nickname comes from one of Meg’s first summer visits to Jenn’s grandmother’s house in Westhampton. As we drove out to the east end of Long Island I would ask her to pronounce the various names of the towns. Well Remsenburgh, Patchogue, Ronkonkama etc. were tough for this sweet southern girl to pronounce. SPEONK however flowed from her tongue like a native. From then on she has been SPEONK to me.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://impromptufridaynights.com/new-england-a-k-a-speonks-clam-chowder/

Grilled Pizzas Common Process

Grilled Pizzas Common Process

Ingredients

  • 1 pizza dough ball
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1-2 cups low moisture mozzarella cheese*
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your gas grill to as hot as you can get it.
  2. Roll out pizza dough until it is 3/8 of an inch thick. Though I have tried to hand stretch it and throw it the way they do at the pizza places in NY, I get the best results by starting by hand, stretching and pulling the dough to get it roughly shaped then finishing it with a rolling pin (or wine bottle).
  3. Cover your pizza peel (a.k.a. paddle) with a thin layer of corn meal. Place rolled out pizza dough on top.
  4. Place the raw dough on the grill, close the cover and let it cook for a few minutes. When the dough bubbles, check the bottom for doneness. You want it to be slightly charred. Slight char/grill marks are good. Burnt is bad.
  5. Take the half-cooked dough off the grill with your peel. Flip the dough so it is uncooked-side down. Spoon on a layer of olive oil and minced garlic, brushing it out to thinly coat the cooked side.
  6. Prepare each pizza with toppings of your choice (i.e. Margherita, Sausage and Mushroom, etc).
  7. Return pizza to the grill. Cook the bottom until it has good grill/char marks. Take it off the grill and place on a baking tin. (I usually make 3 or 4 pizzas on the grill an hour or so in advance and set them aside to cool.)
  8. As the guests begin to arrive, preheat the oven with a pizza stone to 450°.
  9. Finish the pizza in the oven to get them a crispy well done, 5-10 minutes.

All of the pizzas have common ingredients and a common process for cooking. They differ in what you put on top. A helpful hint is: Don’t go crazy with toppings. The tendency is to put too much on one pizza. The best results come with 1 or 2 toppings (3 at the most). *I like the flavor of fresh mozzarella but prefer the performance of the low moisture one. The problem with fresh mozzarella is the moisture. If you use fresh mozzarella without a few precautions, you will wind up with a soggy pizza. When I use fresh, I cut or shred it then let it dry out on a paper towel in the refrigerator for an hour or so.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://impromptufridaynights.com/grilled-pizzas-common-process/

Wild Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Pizza

Wild Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Pizza

Wild Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Pizza

Flammkuchen Grilled Pizza

Ingredients

  • • 2 cups mushrooms (Shitake, Chanterelles, Porcini or Cremini work well)
  • • 2 cups onions, sliced
  • • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • • 3 tablespoons butter
  • • ½ cup shallots, sliced
  • • 1 ½ cups gorgonzola cheese, grated
  • • ½ cup fresh oregano

Instructions

  1. Slice mushrooms (can be done hours in advance).
  2. Sauté onion in butter under medium heat adding 2 teaspoons of sugar to help with the caramelization process (can be done hours in advance).
  3. Lightly sauté shallots in sauté pan (can be done hours in advance).
  4. After you have taken the half-cooked dough off the grill and brushed on olive oil and garlic to thinly coat the cooked side, add a layer (1 ½ cups) low moisture mozzarella.
  5. Place mushrooms and caramelized onion across the pizza.
  6. Add a sprinkling of gorgonzola cheese.
  7. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  8. After finishing to cook the pizza according to the common process, pull it out of the oven and top with oregano.
  9. Slice and serve.

I had the good fortune to work with a world-renowned mushroom expert. Ben Blidjenstien is from Holland and besides knowing about mushrooms, he is also a true gourmand. If you ask me to list 10 of the top meals I have had in my life, probably 5 were with Ben. One of the things I learned from Ben was there is a world of flavor beyond simple white mushrooms. Historically, Americans know of one type of mushroom. The white button mushroom, or what the French call a Champion, used to be all you could get in the States. Today we have all sorts of options.

This recipe calls for “wild” mushrooms, but I am not suggesting one should go into the local forest to gather them. While my friend Ben could forage up an amazing meal of truly wild mushrooms, my definition of “wild” would include Shitake, Chanterelles, Porcini or Cremini mushrooms. Ben and I were once taking the train from Paris to London and overheard a group of Parisians discussing what is the correct mushroom to serve with chicken. Thirty minutes into the conversation it became clear that consensus was impossible. The point of this story is to challenge you to branch out. There is a world of flavor beyond our white/button mushrooms that work really well on pizza.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://impromptufridaynights.com/wild-mushroom-caramelized-onion-and-gorgonzola-pizza/