- Date: Saturday, September 4, 2010 -- 6pm
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Kitchen: Our House
- Fellow Chef: Matty
- Recipe Rating: B
I went to Ann Arbor a couple weekend ago to grocery shop and came back with some clams, so my special gentleman and I made this clam chowder. His contribution: shucking all the clams! After the incident where our clam knife got confiscated by TSA at the San Francisco airport, I had to buy a new one -- this was our first chance to put it to good use. So, my special gentleman started by shucking many, many clams. Meanwhile I cooked onion and celery in butter. I added peeled diced potatoes, chopped canned tomatoes, and minced garlic and cooked for a few minutes. Then I strained and added the clam liquor which my special gentleman had reserved while shucking. I also added some tomato juice, bottled clam juice, basil, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. I simmered the soup until the potatoes were tender, then stirred in the shucked clams and some parsley and cooked for a couple minutes. I seasoned with salt and served. My special gentleman and I both assessed this one as OK but nothing special. The broth didn't have much depth of flavor to it. Often even tomato-based clam chowders will have some bacon or something to contribute smokiness. In this case there was none of that and broth was a little bland. The potatoes were nicely cooked and of all the ingredients I appreciated them the most. We both ate some of the soup but neither of us were itching for a second bowl.
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Our friends Vigleik and Shihchi and their son Henrik are staying with us tonight. They live in Chicago and are on their way to Niagara Falls for a short vacation. They are staying with us tonight on their way there, and later in the week on their way back. I have known V and Shihchi since before I ever started this crazy project, so they were project eaters from the very beginning. Back in the day we all lived together in Boston. They moved away to Chicago though, and then I moved to Indiana, and now Michigan. So in the last few years I haven't had the chance to eat too much book food with them. They were here for dinner tonight though so I jumped at the chance to make a book dinner! We had a nice meal consisting of one very edible dish from The Book and one much less edible dish -- one of the many nice things about old friends is that I don't feel too bad feeding them the more questionable dishes from The Book! After dinner we all graded the dishes. This used to be a tradition that I strictly enforced -- everyone had to declare their grade for each dish no matter how uncomfortable it made them! I have since relaxed about this and many a meal have gone by with no grading discussion at all. I realized tonight that it is nice to have input from people besides just me and my special gentleman. I might bring back the mandatory grading! Anyway, it was a nice evening -- we ate dinner on the porch and sat around after dinner, chatting and eating brownies with ice cream. It's so nice to have friends visit! We have a bunch of visitors coming in the next couple months and I am delighted to have the company. I am looking forward to cooking and eating many of these last 81 recipes in the company of family and good friends!