Let's eat!

Hi. My name's Carol, and I love food. No, you don't understand. I love food. If I were on the Titanic, I'd be in the galley (kitchen) eating up the chocolate pudding and the roasted quail. I go to most events, activities and parties just for the food. The company and the conversation are secondary. Here, I'll try to document everything that goes into my mouth. Aren't we excited? Oh, hey, are you gonna eat that?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Manhattan Clam Chowder

I think I'll welcome fall and winter with soups, make that a tradition of my very own. Tonight, it actually felt like fall with a crisp wind and a strange chill in the air. Nothing beats the cold better than something hot going down the throat and in the tummy. Besides, I tend to do better making soups than, say, roasted chicken, potato and artichoke hearts.

I don't think I've ever screwed up a soup. Okay, maybe that time a famous chef on TV convinced me her lentil soup was different. It wasn't. I threw it away. Lentils. Yuck.

October is also a good month for trying out pumpkin bread recipes, which I'll also be doing, as well as continuing my Halloween tradition of chili and hot dogs before and after trick or treating. I'll be inside watching a horror movie over a nice, piping spicy hot bowl of chili with all the fixings.

Even though I kind of started the soup thing several weeks ago with my chicken and basil dumplings, I'm officially starting it today with the Manhattan Clam Chowder I just finished whipping up, c/o For the Love of Cooking.

I didn't (couldn't) follow her recipe to the letter. For one thing, I forgot to read the part where I'm supposed to take the fried bacon slices out of the pan and keep them out until I add the crumbles in toward the end. For another, I didn't even use pork bacon. I used turkey bacon, so I don't even think it mattered. There wasn't any regular bacon fat to take out of the stock pot, so I just left everything in there, even added some olive oil. Some of the turkey bacon crumbled. But the rest I had to cut.

I added even more canned chicken broth than she says to, because those 14.5-oz. cans don't equal cups. Two cans of chicken broth is about three cups plus some change; doesn't equal four by a long shot, so you have to go over with three cans. Go over. It's better to have more soup than filling.

As far as I can see, there are no 15-oz. cans of chopped tomato. There are 14.5-oz. cans. I wound up using a 28-oz. can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes I'd already had on hand in the pantry, plus one 14.5-oz. can of chopped tomatoes--without pureeing them in any blender. I don't know about you, but I prefer my Manhattan clam chowder chunky, including the tomatoes. It's what I remember of my dad's, and he made the best, the spiciest, the most mouth-watering in his little crockpot.

The recipe doesn't say whether to peel the carrots and potatoes. So I went ahead and did it. I also threw in leftover Yukon Golds from the disastrous roast chicken, potato, artichoke bake. More potatoes than normal, but I like it that way too.

I also added onion and garlic powders, a combination of Kosher salt and regular table salt, and a bottle of extra clam juice. It didn't make sense to me to add the clams at the end until I was ready to serve, because soup is served every day for weeks until it's gone. You don't just make soup one time. But I put the clams in at the end.

Smells great, tastes even better. The chowder will really hit the spot after soccer practices when we're too tired to go pick up food or cook.

My husband's trying it out right now. He just came over and said it was the best Manhattan Clam Chowder he'd ever had, but just a tad too spicy. If you're a spice virgin like him, leave out the crushed red pepper.

Of course, if there are any leftovers, I may package some for friends to enjoy. They seemed to love my chicken noodle soups in the past. You want some, too? Come over.

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