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July 08, 2019

CLAM SHACK CLAM CAKES

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To fully appreciate the New England experience, you need to experience clam cakes. These clam filled fried puffs, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, are quintessential New England and a must try.

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This clam cake recipe was one of my oldest posts on the blog. It was published on December 27, 2013. The clam cakes are so good that I think they are worthy of a repost. I have updated the content and pictures since the original publication.

These nuggets of yumminess are dear to my heart has they are my recreation of a childhood family favorite. I lived in Massachusetts most of my life. Growing up, my family used to frequent this hole-in-the wall clam shack on one of the beaches of Cape Cod. The counter was run by a crusty older lady who seriously lacked customer service skills. It was not unusual to hear her yell at patrons. Because the clam cakes were so good, customers seemed to be willing to put up with her crankiness. (In fact, I think the soup Nazi on Seinfeld might be related to her. Hee hee!)



Those clam cakes were heavenly! They are puffy dough-y balls of goodness—hot and crispy on the outside; tender and with a taste of the sea on the inside. Perfect oceanside food!

I played around with numerous variations and declared success when I created the recipe you see below. It has all the boxes checked: deep golden brown color, crispy exterior, tender interior, and slightly chewy chopped clams.

Clam Shack Clam Cakes

My secret ingredient for making these awesome clam cakes is instant nonfat dry milk. Although there is only a small amount used, it is an essential ingredient. Omitting is not recommended. It serves several purposes: to help keep the dough tender; to provide color (browning); and to a lesser extend in this recipe, add flavor.

Why not just use regular milk? I like to fully maximize the flavor of clams and therefore use clam juice exclusively for the liquid component. Adding regular milk would dilute the flavor of the clam juice. With that being said, if you don't want to use powdered milk, swap out 1/4 cup of the clam juice for regular milk.

How To Produce Tender Clam Cakes?

Do not overmix the dough. It creates gluten which results in a dense, tough end product. Mix the batter until everything is just combined. As mentioned above, powdered milk also enhances tenderness.


How to Keep The Clam Cakes Crispy?

Once fried, drain on layers of paper towels or a cooling rack. Do not place directly of a flat cold surface. This will promote condensation at the point of contact and creates sogginess. For maximum crispiness, the clam cakes are best eaten immediately. They will lose crispiness once stored. To restore crispiness, a quick refry will provide the best result. Reheating for a few minutes in the oven will also bring back some crispiness.





How To Serve?

Many New Englanders like to dip or drizzle the clam cakes with malt vinegar. Tartar sauce is also delicious condiment. If you’re a hot and spicy fan, hot sauce is also an option. As for me, I think these clam cakes are perfect plain!

Clam Shack Clam Cakes

Summertime means seafood time! There is plenty of it to be found here in New England. You can also find clam cakes at many seafood establishments along the coast. If you are a seafood fan, I hope you whip yourself up a batch of these tasty clam cakes!

Making that batter is super quick and easy and requires only one bowl. Fry time? I think you will like that too. This recipe yields 12. At about 4 minutes per batch, they take very little time to cook!



Shop online at Amazon for supplies recommended for this recipe! Any commission made on purchases makes these posts possible and helps support my blogging addiction. 



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CLAM SHACK CLAM CAKES

Clam Shack Clam Cakes


INGREDIENTS:

2 (6.5 oz.) cans chopped clam
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
5 tsp. non fat dried milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 rounded tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 rounded tsp. sugar
Oil for frying


INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oil in a deep fryer or skillet to 360 degrees F.

Drain clams, reserving liquid. Add 3/4 cup of clam juice to dry. Set aside

Whisk together the remaining eight ingredients. Blend in clams and clam juice until just combined. The batter should the consistency of thick pancake batter. Add more clam juice, one tablespoon at a time, if the batter is dry.

Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop batter into hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway through. Do not crowd pan. Drain on paper towels. Yields 12-14 clam cakes.



Recipe Notes:


  1. If there isn't enough clam juice once drained, use milk to make up the difference or bottled clam juice if available.
  2. If you don't have dry milk, swap out 1/4 cup of the clam juice for 1/4 cup of regular milk.




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June 26, 2019

PEPPERCORN BEEF AND SNOW PEAS

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If a deliciously quick and easy meal is what you're looking for, make this Peppercorn Beef and Snow Peas. It cooks in less than 15 minutes! Serve on a bed of rice for an ideal weeknight dinner.

Peppercorn Beef and  Snow Peas
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If you visit this little blog regularly, thank you so much!! I truly appreciate your support! You might know a little about me. But to know me is to also know that I don't dance. I have two left feet and can't keep a rhythm. Try as I might to resist attempts to get me onto the dance floor, I somehow end up there under protest anyway. I have always hated every minute of it.

June 12, 2019

BERRIES AND PEAR WATERCRESS SALAD WITH POPPY SEED VINAIGRETTE 

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If you have never had a watercress salad, why not start today? This Berries And Pear Watercress Salad With Poppy Seed Vinaigrette is simple, nutritious and is sure to get you hooked!

Berries And Pear Watercress Salad With Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
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Hi there!! I would like to start with a public service announcement: when writing a post that involves poppy seeds, it is imperative to proofread and to turn on spell check. I caught myself typing poopy seeds several times. They, my friends, aren't a good marketing tool when it comes to food. Haha!!


When I first made this salad, I shared it with my next door neighbors. They LOVED it! And what's not to love? There is the pepperiness of the watercress, the sweetness of the fruits; the satisfying crunch and nuttiness of pecans; and the cheesy and saltiness of Gorgonzola. To tie everything together is a honey sweetened poppy seed vinaigrette, which perfectly compliments and mellows the spicy watercress. 


I made a resolution to incorporate more watercress into my diet because it is so beneficial. Do you know that it is a superfood? It's in the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables, which includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli, arugula, cabbage, and kale. Watercress has a plethora of benefits and contains over 15 essential vitamins and minerals. This vegetable is packed with vitamin K which promotes blood clotting, and in conjunction with calcium, helps prevent osteoporosis. In fact, one cup of this veggie has over 100% of RDI of vitamin K. Also in high abundance are iron, calcium, and vitamin C.

Watercress is also high in antioxidants, which prevents cell damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. These molecules increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Also worth mentioning, watercress also has blood pressure reduction properties. You see how I need to get more of this green healthy goodness in my life?




And guess what? If you are looking to lose a few pounds, say hello to your new best friend! One cup of chopped watercress has only 4 calories! 4 calories!! Incorporating it into your diet is easy. There are so many ways to use it apart from salads: in sandwiches, in smoothies, pasta dishes, casseroles, omletes, frittatas, soups, stir-fries, pesto, or simply sautéed. 


HOW TO CHOOSE  WATERCRESS?
Select ones that have unblemished and unbruised healthy green leaves. 

HOW TO STORE?
Using it quickly for freshness is best, but watercress can keep up to five days when stored properly. Refrigerate, wrapped in a damp paper towel and place in a plastic bag. Or, refrigerate in a glass of water loosely covered with a plastic bag.

OTHER MAIN TYPES OF CRESSES:
While watercress may be the most popular, there are two other less known types:
  • Upland Cress (winter cress or creasy greens): Upland cress looks like watercress but with thinner stems and tender leaves. It is often sold with the root on and packaged in a bag. It has a slightly milder flavor than watercress. Like its cousin, the upland cress is also nutrient packed.
  • Garden Cress (curly cress or pepper cress): It is more pungent and peppery or horseradish like in taste. It too has many health benefits. The seeds are edible and are loaded with iron, folate, vitamin A, C, E as well as fiber and protein.



Shop online at Amazon for supplies recommended for this recipe! Any commission made on purchases makes these posts possible and helps support my blogging addiction. 





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BERRIES AND PEAR WATERCRESS SALAD WITH POPPY SEED VINAIGRETTE 



INGREDIENTS:


1 (6 ounce bunch) watercress *
8 ounce (12 large or 18 medium) strawberries, sliced 
1 cup blueberries
1 medium pear, diced
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup Gorgonzola 


For The Poppy Seed Vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise 
5 teaspoon honey
1/4 generous teaspoon poppy seeds
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
tiny pinch of salt



INSTRUCTIONS:

Trim and discard any tough or extra long watercress stems. Add watercress to a large salad bowl. Top with strawberries, blueberries, pear, and pecans.

To make the vinaigrette, add shallot, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and honey. Whisk to combine. Slowly add oil, whisking continuously. Whisk in poppy seed and salt. Pour over salad just before serving.

Makes 4 starters or 2 main course servings.



*No need to trim stems if using baby watercress.

References:



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