Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cold Front

It's cold here! I know Californians are total weather wimps (see Exhibit A, courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel). We act like a bunch of idiots as the local news teams tell us to brace for the "coldest nights you've ever experienced," but I mean it this time. It was 35 degrees this morning. That's cold no matter where you are! 

Exhibit A

I went to a 6 am spin class this morning and someone was telling a story about how shocked they were to find frost on their car windshield and admitted she didn't know what to do. She thought flipping the windshield wipers on would do the trick, yet realized that was not happening. But like an inexperienced (yet resourceful) Californian, she said she used her credit card to scrape her window. I know, right?! Not a person I've spoken to owns an ice scraper. 

And when it's cold, few things seem to warm you better than a nice bowl of soup. Although summer seems like it was a long, long time ago, I can still remember one of the highlights. It was a clam and corn chowder I ate here while visiting my high school bestie in Annapolis.It left quite an impression on me. Honestly, I still fantasize about it. I took a picture of it on my phone and I find myself browsing through my camera roll from time to time and pausing to gaze at this lovely bowl of deliciousness. Food porn. 

As the temperatures dip "precariously," I thought it would be the perfect time to try to recreate the dish and conjure up memories of warmer days. It's not a replica by any means, but it's damn good—and surprisingly quick to put together. 

It's also the perfect bread-sopping soup, so make sure you pick up a baguette to eat with it. The whole milk and heavy cream definitely make this taste luxurious but it's not heavy and gluttonous. The corn adds a sweetness and crunch that is the perfect foil to the briny clams.I should just say that I know clams can be alienating but if you buy them fresh they will have no odor and should be tender when cooked. Overall it's very well balanced and incredibly satisfying. You'll want seconds but there likely will be none. 

Stay warm!  

Clam and Corn Chowder 
from Gourmet

3 bacon slices, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 bunch scallions (5 or 6) 
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
2 cups of corn cut from about 4 ears (can use frozen)
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 (8-oz) bottles clam juice
1/2 cup water
2 lbs small clams, well scrubbed
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Cook bacon in a 4- to 5-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring until slightly browned but not crisp. 
2. Chop white and pale green parts of scallions and add to bacon along with 1 Tbsp butter. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in corn, potatoes, clam juice, water and 1/2 tsp pepper and bring to a rolling boil, uncovered. 
3. Add clams and return to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until clams are just opened, 5-8 minutes (discard any clams that remain unopened after 8 minutes). 
4. Chop 1/2 cup scallion greens and add to chowder along with milk, cream and remaining Tbsp butter. Cook, stirring, until heated through (do not let come to a boil). Season with salt and pepper.