blogging by mail and chowdah!

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!

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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

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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?

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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).
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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!

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24 thoughts on “blogging by mail and chowdah!

  1. Psychgrad says:

    Very cool! Such a nice package. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this event next time around.

  2. Grat gifts! I recognize the postcard of the old Citgo sign in Kenmore Square (near Fenway Park), and the bags from Tealuxe. And I love the chowder recipe, because it doesn’t start with salt pork!

  3. Peter says:

    I love the crackers and the chowdah! of coase!

  4. linda says:

    I love the lobster crackers, very cute!

  5. Erin says:

    Awe! This is a great post. I grew up in Maine and live in Boston now so that lobster cookie cutter is right up my alley. Also, do I spy some fabulous Tealuxe Tea? That’s right down the street from me. Their Lady London Derry is my favorite.

  6. Cindy says:

    Haha that lobster is cute!

  7. Donald says:

    I am a clam chowdah fiend! This looks great. I have been planning to make some homemade before the weather breaks.

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  8. Shandy says:

    What a great surprise package! That was so sweet of her and your inspiration to go along with the lobster cookie cutter is so fun! Thank you for sharing her clam chowder recipe with the rest of us. I absolutely love clam chowder and can not wait to give this a try along with the cracker recipe you shared.

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  10. Morven says:

    Too cute! A great BBM package. Love what you did with the crackers.

  11. Aran says:

    genius cracker! thanks for sharing the cracker recipe because i’ve been trying to make some myself.

  12. April says:

    What a great package! I love the lobster cracker!

  13. Ann says:

    Wonderful gifts! And I love the chowder with lobster cracker!

  14. uhm- nothing short of brilliant! there are restaurants everywhere (but mostly on the East Coast) wondering why they didn’t think of this genius. Very cool idea!!

  15. LisaRene says:

    I too am participating in BBM, it’s a great idea and such fun to see what everyone is receiving. Love that you made lobster crackers!

  16. barbie2be says:

    i’m allergic to shellfish, but i love that you used the cookie cutter to make those crackers. brilliant!

  17. Deb says:

    WOW, what a package! Look at all those goodies! And the lobster crackers, so cool! The chowder sounds yummy and with those lobsters jumping into your bowl…too good!

  18. Stefani says:

    That so cute! Love the idea of a cracker that matches the type of soup. I think all soups should come with a cracker that represents the soup. That would be so fun!

  19. Pam says:

    I’m so glad you liked everything! And using the cookie cutter for crackers for the soup was brilliant! And apparently I sent down some cool weather too, if it got blustery enough for chowder…

  20. delicious soup with lovely lobster cracker! wish I was there! lol!

  21. megan says:

    Those crackers were so very clever!
    I think I’ll try both those recipes this summer when we go to the ocean! Love chowder at the ocean!

  22. coco says:

    I love your star plate and your lobster cookie cutter!

  23. Christiane says:

    Those crackers are to die for!! I love them.

  24. Antonia says:

    I love that cute lobster cookie cutter! I sent Pam a ‘teapot’ shaped cutter in my BBM box as a typically British ‘shape’. I love that you made crackers with it and that chowder looks so warming and comforting!

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