I love getting mail. There’s something really satisfying about finding a handwritten note or card from someone who cared enough to take the time to send it. Sadly, in the age of e-mail and mobile phones, those days are few and far between. So, most days, my trip to the mailbox is rather unfufilling. Bills and junk mail. Junk mail and bills. Perhaps the occasional interesting catalog. The good days bring a magazine or two. But, birthdays and holidays aside, rarely much more than that.
That’s exactly why I signed up for Stephanie’s Blogging by Mail event. A reason to send and get really good mail? Oh yeah!
Last weekend, my package from Pam arrived. I tore into it like it was Christmas and, with each item that I pulled from the box, the bigger my smile grew. What a great box of goodies!
Here’s what Pam sent in her New England-themed package:
Two bags of incredible tea from her favorite tea shop
Chocolate covered cocoa nibs
A lobster sucker
A star bowl
Chocolate covered dried cranberries (YUM!)
A purse-sized recipe journal
Two postcards – one with a great note from Pam and one with a great recipe from Pam
An uber-cute lobster cookie cutter
Awesome! Thank you, Pam, for a wonderful package!
I knew when I saw her recipe for Clam Chowder that I had to try it out before every trace of cool weather was gone. I was given just the opportunity last night when a day of blustery wind actually blew in some rather chilly temperatures. So, I ran to the store for clams and got to work.
The problem? I had really wanted to feature the adorable lobster cookie cutter she sent as well, but I just didn’t have the time to pull together rolled cookies. Then, inspiration struck! I didn’t have time for cookies… but I did have time for crackers! And what goes better with chowder than crackers?
That’s right. Clam Chowder with Lobster-Shaped Crackers! Not only was it fun, but it was incredibly tasty. That’s some good chowdah! I highly recommend working it into your menu before Spring arrives (though, in Pam’s family this is apparently a classic “summer day at the beach” food – so you really could do it any time!).
Since it’s just the two of us and the Husband is a little weird about leftover seafood, I knew that there was no way I could make the full batch as she had written it. So, I cut the recipe back and made just one small adjustment and… it really (REALLY!) hit the spot.
Clam and Corn Chowder
(adapted from Mom’s Clam Chowder, by Pam @ Cave Cibum)
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup white onions, chopped
2 large potatoes, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons AP flour
1 can minced clams
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 cups whole milk
1 cup fresh corn kernels
salt and pepper
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and potatoes and saute until onions are translucent. Stir in flour until incorporated and cook to form a roux. Add clams (including the juice in the can), cream, and 1 cup of milk, and corn. Stir. Cover and simmer over low heat until potatoes are soft, about an hour. Add extra milk if you like a thinner broth. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with oyster crackers OR homemade crackers (see below).
Crispy Homemade Crackers
(adapted from various recipes across the internet)
1 cup AP flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup milk (approx.)
1/2 cup butter, melted and divided
Salt for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour in 1/4 cup of the butter. Stir in just enough milk to make a stiff dough. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8″ thickness.
Cut cracker dough into squares or desired shapes with cookie or pastry cutters. Place crackers on lightly greased or silpat lined cookie sheets and pierce with a fork.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with additional salt. Allow to cool to room temp. Enjoy!