Hungry Hapa Clam Chowda (Adapted From Taste of Home)

After our trip to Seattle, Hapa and I were craving some good ole homemade chowder.  We doubled the original recipe, which can be found here, but only ended up using 4 small potatoes, 3 cans of clams, and 3 cups of half and half.  In place of the reduced sodium chicken bouillon granules, we used 2 teaspoons of better than bouillon.  Overall, it was absolutely delicious!  I mean who can resist creamy soup topped with bacon?!?! Serve with  shrimp cocktail, hot rolls, and a roasted red pepper and feta salad for a complete and tasty meal!

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Ingredients:

  • 8 center cut bacon strips
  • 4 chopped celery rips
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
  • 2 teaspoons of Better Than Boullion  
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups fat-free half-and-half, divided
  • 3 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) chopped clams, undrained

Directions:

  • In a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Saute celery and onion in the drippings until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the potatoes, water, clam juice, bouillon, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour and 1 cup half-and-half until smooth. Gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Stir in clams and remaining half-and-half; heat through (do not boil). Crumble the reserved bacon; sprinkle over each serving. 

 

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Minetta Tavern-marrow and burger heaven

I decided to surprise hapa for his birthday by taking him to the famous Minetta Tavern located in the West Village. Hapa’s only restaurant criteria was that we eat at a place with NO hipsters (we went to the meatball shop a while back and Hapa was not impressed),so this place definately fit the bill. I have been wanting to go to Minetta for the longest time, so this was a belated birthday gift to myself.

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Our reservation was for 6pm and the place was packed (but thank god, no hipsters). I would have preferred to eat a little later, but when I called 1 month in advance to make a reservation (yep, 1 month), the only times they had available for was 6pm and 9pm.

We started off by ordering the roasted baby beet salad and the roasted bone marrow. Beet salad was amazing (Hapa does not eat veggies, he says he is allergic, haha), but we both could not get enough of the tasty, fatty, rich, Flintstone size bone marrow.  ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! A MUST TRY! We still have the bones in our freezer, for our dog…I mean our fish.

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For our entrees, the hapa ordered the tavern steak (no picture) and I ordered the famous Black Label Burger, a Pat LaFrieda meat blend of  dry aged ribeye, skirt steak, and brisket. I have been dreaming about this burger for the longest time, and guess what, it totally lived up to all its hype and its 26 dollar price tag.  It was cooked to perfection (medium rare) and literally melted in my mouth. No cheese, no ketchup, no mayo was needed; this burger stood alone.

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When I mentioned that it was hapa’s birthday, our waiter brought out a delicious slice of coconut cake, free of charge. Overall, this was an amazing experience! Great food, old school atmosphere, and  good company :)

Minetta Tavern on Urbanspoon

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Chicken pot pie, and I don’t care

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Lamb Stew with Puff Pastry Lid

Lamb Stew with Pastry Lid

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Fajita Night

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Stuffed Hungry Hapa Peppers (Adapted from Simply Recipes)

Stuffed Hungry Hapa Peppers (Adapted from Simply Recipes)

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Ingredients

  • 6 bell peppers
  • Salt
  • 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb of meatloaf mix (ground veal, beef, pork)
  • 1 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes  (drained)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 cup-1 cup shredded cheese (we used Monteray Jack)

1 Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cut top off peppers 1 inch from the stem end, and remove seeds. Add several generous pinches of salt to boiling water, then add peppers and boil, using a spoon to keep peppers completely submerged, until brilliant green (or red if red peppers) and their flesh slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool.

2 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Remove skillet from heat, add meatloaf mix, rice, tomatoes, and oregano, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well.

3 Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil inside the peppers. Arrange the cut side of the peppers up in a baking dish, then stuff peppers with filling. Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, then spoon over filling. Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 55-65 minutes. Remove peppers, top with cheese, and bake until cheese melts.

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Pasta with Hot Italian Sausage, Kale, Garlic, and Red Pepper Flakes (adopted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

Pasta with Hot Italian Sausage, Kale, Garlic, and Red Pepper Flakes (adopted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

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Ingredients:
3 links (12 oz) hot Italian sausage
8 oz. kale leaves, thinly sliced (about 12 cups thinly sliced kale)
6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (I would not use garlic from a jar for this recipe)
3 T + 1-2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (use more or less to taste)
1 can chicken broth
1 pkg. (13.25 oz.) Barilla Plus Pasta
salt for pasta cooking water (at least 1 T)
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Instructions:

Heat the 1 or 2 tsp. olive oil in a small frying pan, squeeze sausage out of casings, and cook until sausage is nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks.  (If you use hot turkey Italian sausage  you’ll need 2 tsp. of olive oil; sausage with more fat will not need as much oil.)
While the sausage is cooking, wash kale leaves and shake dry (they don’t need to be perfectly dry.)  Pile up a stack of leaves and then thinly slice them crosswise, continuing until you have about 12 cups of thinly sliced kale leaves.  Slice the garlic cloves and then coarsely chop.
In the same pan I cooked the sausage, add 3 T olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper flakes.  Turn heat to medium and cook until you can barely start to smell garlic, then add the thinly sliced kale.  (Don’t let the garlic brown.)  Cook kale and garlic 2-3 minutes, turning over several times, until the kale is all wilted.  Add chicken stock or broth and cooked sausage to the kale and lower heat to a gentle simmer.  Let this simmer while you cook the pasta.
Fill a medium-large pot half full with water, add a generous amount of salt, and bring the water to a boil.  Add pasta, stir, lower heat, and cook until barely al-dente, following package directions for cooking times.  (I cooked the Dreamfields Rotini exactly 9 minutes.)  Save 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.
Gently mix the cooked pasta into the sausage/kale mixture, adding as much pasta cooking water as you think you need for it to be moist enough.  (I used about half the water.)  Then mix in the Parmesan cheese and serve pasta hot, with extra Parmesan cheese to add at the table.

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Ireland

Killkenny, Ireland

Driving into Killkenny

First Guinness in Ireland

  Hot Chicken & Ham Vol-au-Vents

Hot Chicken & Ham Vol-au-Vents

Cork, Ireland

Shamrock Guinness at The Oliver Plunkett

Kinsale, Ireland

Charles Fort

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Raw Oysters

Fish and Chips

Blarney Castle

Line to kiss the Blarney Stone

Kissy Kissy

Killarney, Ireland

Balcony view

Double Rainbow

Fresh Mozzarella at The Castleough Restaurant, conveniently located in our hotel

Lamb 3 ways

Sirloin with mushrooms and caramelized onions

Rhubarb and Strawberry crumble pie with vanilla ice cream

Seafood Chowder with traditional Irish brown bread at Mac’s of Main Street

Smoke Salmon Plate

Cottage Pie

Portmagee, Ireland

Guinness at The Fisherman’s Bar

Fish and Chips at The Fisherman’s Bar

Dingle, Ireland

The Dingle Pub

Guinness in Dingle

Dublin, Ireland

Guinness in Dublin (The Temple Bar)

Whiskey sample at Gallagher’s Boxty House

More seafood chowder

Bacon and Colcannon

Last Guinness in Dublin Airport :(

Kytelers Inn on Urbanspoon

Fishy Fishy Cafe on Urbanspoon

Castlelough on Urbanspoon

Macs Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlour on Urbanspoon

Gallaghers Boxty House on Urbanspoon

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Squid Ink Linguine with Seafood

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New Orleans, 2012

Seafood Gumbom with extra seafood

Seafood goodnessRed Beans and Rice with Sausage---best in nola

Cafe Du Monde

Late night snack at Cafe Du Monde

Emerils Nola

Duck Confit and Fried Egg Pizza
with Parmesan Cheese, Truffle Oil and Baby ArugulaApple Cider Braised Pork Shank
with Goat Cheese Polenta, Herb Roasted Tomatoes, Walnut-Rosemary Gremolata and Natural JusApple Cider Braised Pork Shank with Goat Cheese Polenta, Herb Roasted Tomatoes, Walnut-Rosemary Gremolata and Natural Jus

Absinthe

Acme Oyster House

Crawfish

Dozen Raw Oyster, all for me!

Fried Oyster po-boy, which totally hit the spot after a long day at jazz fest

Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro

Big ass plate of fried calamariCheddar Burger (Medium Rare) with loaded baked potato

Coop's Place on Urbanspoon

Café Du Monde on Urbanspoon

Nola on Urbanspoon

Acme Oyster House on Urbanspoon

Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro on Urbanspoon

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