Sorry I'm late this morning! It's raining here ...finally, a beautiful steady downpour on a very cool autumn Tucson day. It is without question a perfect Monday and to take advantage of it, I just had to go run with the dogs in the back yard and catch raindrops. Needless to say we were all soaked to the skin and cold so it took us a little longer to dry off and warm up than anticipated but boy did we have fun!
Not only that, I had to make a quick run to the Veterinarian for some medication for Finnigan. You see not only did he come to us with a smashing personality and a cute face but he also arrived with coccidia, a parasite that is incurable and rears its ugly head from time to time especially when he gets over excited. We took the boys to the dog park yesterday and he had a blast trying to "make love" to a rather large golden retriever. Talk about huge aspirations - I mean there's only about a 60 pound difference in their weights. To appease his little neutered ego he tried the same trick on the cat later in the afternoon. It wasn't pretty!
Last night's Sunday Soup Supper was my version of a New England Clam Chowder and actually the first recipe I ever posted way back in April 2009. I've certainly made it many times since and haven't changed it a bit which is a miracle around here.We've created quite the selection of chowder's on this site, but this one remains one of our favorites, likely due to the fact that it is loaded with some of our homemade maple smoked bacon and includes clams the Big Guy harvested from Waldport Bay in Oregon.
The recipe may be a little different than the one you make, and likely different from one a tried and true born and bred New Englander would make but isn't that what cookin's all about. Different doesn't make it wrong - just different and this version involves making a buttery golden flour roux to enhance the flavors and thicken the chowder because we prefer it that way.
To top off our comforting Sunday dinner and celebrate a perfect autumn day in Tucson, I whipped up a tasty caramelized pear gingerbread upside down cake. Created from perfectly ripe but firm Bosc pears, peeled, sliced and placed atop a buttery sugary caramel in my favorite cast iron pan and topped with an old fashioned spicy sour milk gingerbread it smelled glorious as it was baking and tasted even better with a touch of Bourbon flavored whipped cream.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret - because we're into extra flavor around here, I added cinnamon, cloves and allspice to the gingerbread and dusted the top of the pears with some coarse ground black pepper as well. Pepper goes very well with gingerbread and the added flavor is very subtle but incredibly delicious.
By the way, if you're in need of a little edumacatin' on the different types of pears and what's best for baking, head on over to Epicurious' Visual Guide to Pears.
Clam Chowder – New England Style (a JBug’s Kitchen original inspired by the New Basics Cookbook)
2 cups steamed, prepared clam meat coarsely chopped *
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into small dice
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups chopped onion (1/4” dice)
3/4 cup flour
4 cups red potatoes, peeled & cut into ½” dice
2 Tablespoons old bay seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 bottles clam juice, or reserved juice from cooked clams
2 cups whole milk (or more depending on how thick you like your chowder)
2 cups heavy cream (didn’t say it was diet chowder)
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
(20 cockles, or 2-1/2 dozen cherry stone clams, scrubbed & steamed in 2 cups of water. Reserve juice & strain. Discard any clams that do not open. Clean & chop meat.) Cook bacon over low heat, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned. Remove from pan.Add butter to fat remaining in pan. Add flour. Cook & stir until roux becomes a light yellow color – approximately 10 minutes. Add chopped onion. Cook until onion is transparent (approx. 10 minutes). Add seasonings & cook for 2 minutes before adding potatoes and clam juice. Cook stirring often until potatoes are al dente’ (approx. 12-15 minutes). Mixture will be very thick! Add milk and cream. Cook until potatoes are completely cooked through & soup is smooth & thick. Do not let boil. Add clams & heat for 5 more minutes. Check for seasonings.Garnish with parsley, & serve with oyster crackers. Makes 10 to 12 portions. Download Clam Chowder - New England Style
Caramelized Pear Gingerbread Upside Down Cake (inspired by Purity Cookbook)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 firm but ripe pears, peeled cored and sliced
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup sour milk or buttermilk
Using a 9 inch cast iron pan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and cook, stirring occasionally until sugar melts and turns golden in color – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Carefully place pear slices on top of caramelized sugar/butter mixture. Sprinkle with coarse ground black pepper and set aside. Preheat oven to 325.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and spices until well combined. Using a medium bowl and electric mixer, cream shortening and brown sugar until light. Add egg and molasses, mixing until well combined and light in texture. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix only until combined. Pour on top of pears in prepared pan and spread to level. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and rest for a few minutes, then carefully flip upside down onto a plate. Remove cast iron pan. Serve gingerbread with sweetened whipped cream. Download Caramelized Pear Gingerbread Upside Down Cake
A year ago - Lemon Chicken Wings