Resolutions? We don’t need no stinkin’ resolutions!
Okay, well I’ve got one that’s food-related. A vegetable with every meal. And I don’t mean onions or home fries, or just that sprinkling of cilantro — I mean something green and/or brightly antioxidant colored, and serving-sized. This may be hard if I have to grab breakfast out, but it’s manageable at home. Once I get back to work and need to dash out the door, it may mean just eating a small salad — shred up some greens, toss on a splash of olive oil and vinegar — instead of making, say, eggs Florentine, or as with this morning, sautéed baby bok choy.
Anyhow, today I figured we’d start out the blogging season with a recipe for lunch that requires no cooking. Littleneck clams, dipping sauce, and a salad of greens.
Prep time: 15 minutes. (But for ease of shell opening, freeze the clams a minimum of 4-5 days in advance; let thaw in fridge.)
Cook time: NOPE
Rest time: NOPE
Recipe below is written to serve one, just multiply.
Littleneck Clams Served Raw, with Dipping Sauce and Salad
- Clams, 9 or 10 per person
- Dipping sauce (1 tablespoon Ponzu marinade (NOT PONZU SAUCE) + 1/2 scallion chopped fine) and/or oyster mignonette and/or Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
- Parsley (or cilantro) as condiment.
- Serving options are mentioned below.
- Green leafy salad
Salad (this green leafy is a suggestion. You may choose to make this into a heartier item):
- 3-4 handfuls of leafy greens per person.
- 1 heart of palm, cut bite-sized
- 1 tablespoon rinsed capers
- vinaigrette of choice
- optional parsley (or cilantro) as condiment
Note about the Ponzu Marinate: This is a translucent yellowish sauce without soy, based on citrus. Make an approximation by using lemon, lime, and a splash of rice vinegar, with a little water to mellow things down a bit.
For the salad: Simply assemble and toss individual bowls, adding the parsley or cilantro on top.
Before freezing the clams: rinse them in cold water, then let them soak a couple hours (in the fridge) in salted water:
Drain, lightly dry them, then freeze them away for at least 4-5 days.
The reason to pre-freeze the clams for at least 4-5 days — they open on their own accord and you don’t need a sharp knife to wrestle with them. The taste isn’t any different.
If you are being informal, people can open their own clams. If you want to serve it as an appetizer platter, get a large platter that can hold some liquid, spread out crushed ice, and pre-open the clams, being careful to lose as little of the juice (liquor) as possible. Use a knife or a spoon to separate the clam from the shell, including those adductor muscles, and lay the clam back on one shell half with as much liquor as possible. You can keep both shells, or if you are short on space, just leave the half with the clam on the platter. Sprinkle the platter with cilantro or parsley (I simply had a surplus of parsley from something else).
For the ponzu marinate: add the scallions. Find a very small spoon for serving — ideally people will use about 1/8th a spoonful per clam. (I have one here, but cannot find, and I refused to use the ugly yellow plastic 1/8th measuring teaspoon for this purpose…) For the mignonette, the same volume is probably ideal. It is ideal to let people spoon these things themselves, of course.
You can add the Tabasco directly to the ponzu marinate (just enough for a bare hint of heat), or let people hit the sauce (ahem) as they will.
If serving as an appetizer on a platter, optionally consider a bed of large leaves of lettuce, along with lemon wedges.
~Many notes for the New Year ~
Over at Lin’s Recipes I volunteered to try my hand at making Camaron Rebosado by month’s end, for her Rare Recipe Exchange. It’s a shrimp dish, usually served with rice. To add to my challenge, I’m going to make it gluten-free – I’ll try rice flour and maybe a few shrimps with other flours that happen to be in my house, since that’s how this blog rolls. There are a few other recipes on her challenge list left as I write this, if you are interested… Anyhow, expect the recipe for this later this month. I’m looking forward to it!
Other things I’m planning this year for: Vietnamese spring rolls. I tried my hand at them last February and couldn’t get them to roll up properly for beans. (Or for the ingredients I did use…) I think I know where I went wrong: I need to keep a bowl of water right at my workspace in the dining area, rather than running back and forth to the sink… (this is a terrible kitchen!)
There are a bundle of things in Maangchi’s cookbook (Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking), (and on her blog and YouTube channel) that I’m dying to try. There are a bundle of things, likewise, in Russ Crandall’s cookbooks (The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle and Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites without the Junk), and on his blog (The Domestic Man), that I’m also dying to try… and I did test-drive his hot and sour soup for the latter cookbook before publication, trying it both with home-made chicken broth, and with boxed broth — this is my definitive food to judge Chinese eateries by — maybe I don’t bother with this soup in the heart of authentic Chinatown, but I think you know what I mean.)
I also plan to explore true Mexican cuisines — it’s hardly all Tex Mex.
I’ve been working on a makeover of one of Mother’s old chicken dishes — her “fried” chicken. She called it “fried” although she baked it, because it had batter. I’m trying to find a substitute for the bread crumbs, and seem to have hit upon one. (Yes, almond flour works, but I’m having digestive issues with tree nuts.) Expect that recipe soon!
And I want to explore more vegetarian entrees — taking my cue from parts of the world where the diet is largely vegetarian — because it is there that true vegetarian food comes into its own, because it has been eaten this way for centuries. Here in America, vegetarian “cuisine” often seems to be driven by the Standard American Diet concept of food — just pull out a Gardenburger or a slab of repulsive-looking Fakin’ Bacon, and call it “good”. I’ve just purchased a fascinating book by Dahlia Abraham-Klein: Silk Road Vegetarian. These are recipes from along the Silk Road from the Mediterranean through Central Asia, and my mouth is watering. (It is also a gluten-free cookbook.)
My own hopes for this blog, technically speaking: I want to post recipes at least twice a month; I want to punch up my photography — I’m back into using Adobe LightRoom for post editing, which is great, but will wait until I can move around better to set up full staging for the meals, on the more suitable dishes I have (but which are hard to get to right now).
PS: the above was breakfast this morning, first meal of 2016: a good healthy one to start the year off right. In a skillet: a splash of avocado oil, followed by half a small onion, coarsely chopped, some turmeric, garlic powder, black pepper. Then when the onion was translucent, in went a baby bok choy, and one farm-fresh duck egg. I covered the top so the egg white & veggie would cook through, then served with coffee.
Dinner? Dinner will involve golden beets, other stuff to be decided later… Happy New Years!!! And a big shout out to the 100th Fiesta Friday link party!