Recipe: The Best Seafood Chowder

recipe adapted from ina garten's seafood chowder

seafood chowder recipe

elegant seafood chowder

I think if I could only eat seafood and vegetables for the rest of my life, I could definitely make it work. I just adore fresh fish and shellfish. There’s something about it that feels special and luxurious, no matter the occasion at a restaurant or how might be preparing it at home. Granted, depending on the seafood it can sometimes be a little pricey, which is why I save dishes like this Seafood Chowder for a special treat. It’s based off a wonderful recipe from (who else?) Ina Garten, and I love how fresh and elegant it tastes versus its more ubiquitous, creamy, and — meh — gloppy counterparts. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the classic white New England clam chowder can be a thing of beauty, but I think it’s rare to find a truly great one, and most of the time, they’re so rich they just make my stomach hurt.

Ina’s version is unique in that it doesn’t have a purely dairy base, so it feels lighter while you eat it (I say feels because, let’s be honest, this recipe still calls for LOTS of butter and a touch of cream!). I built off her base recipe and added in additional flavorings, such as fennel, herbes de provence, white wine, and lemon — I think it gave the chowder a little southern French touch. We cooked up a batch of this on the Fourth, and despite the French flavorings, I thought it was deeply patriotic. For while the dish has its origins on the western coast of France, it was extremely popular during colonial American times, what with the abundance of seafood on the east coast (if you want to food-nerd out, check out this article on the history of chowder).

History lessons aside, if you love seafood, I promise you will love this chowder. I’m already scheming up another “special occasion” so that I can splurge and make it again! Here’s what you do:  Read the full post +

This month's quote: "Trust the timing of your life."

Recipe: Mixed Berry Crumble with Ice Cream

mixed berries

mixed berry crumble

fourth of july dessert recipe - mixed berry crumble with ice cream

While I can’t say that I have much of a sweet tooth, the Mixed Berry Crumble is undoubtedly, year after year, something I look forward to making every summer. And wouldn’t you know it, I always seem to crave it right before the Fourth of July (which is perfect, given its colors!). I’ve made a similar version before with apples, but wanted to share the process using berries in case anyone wanted to whip this up over the holiday weekend.

Super simple to make: you basically combine the fruit of your choice and pile on a crunchy, sweet, buttery topping, then bake. Serve with ice cream, and you’re done. I often like to add lemon juice to my fruit mixture, just to balance out some of the sweetness (and the pectin helps create a nice, thick sauce); this time, to make the crumble extra special, I substituted limoncello for lemon juice. I’ve been keeping a bottle of the stuff in my freezer, and I loved how it imparted the necessary acidity and also eliminated the need to add extra sugar to the fruit mixture. As another shortcut, I also used an store bought granola mixture in the topping — very easy, very crunchy.

There’s honestly nothing like the flavor of roasted fruit, buttery topping, and cold, melting ice cream. I think it’s the perfect summer dessert. Try it, and I’m sure you’ll agree. Here’s how to make it: Read the full post +

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Recipe: Pasta with Tomato Porcini Cream Sauce, Pancetta and Peas

pasta with tomato porcini cream sauce, peas and pancetta

recipe - pasta with porcini tomato cream sauce and pancetta

pasta with porcini tomato cream sauce

And then there’s the opposite of eating salads and pretending that you’re paleo. There’s pasta. With cream sauce. And pancetta. And you know what? It’s glorious, and everything you imagine it will be. Even more so when you’ve been eating too many salads.

I made this a couple Fridays ago, when the mister was having a down day, and requested something that would soothe the soul. Specifically, he said, I want pasta. You were aware that pasta was soul soothing, weren’t you? We used to go to this restaurant in SF for anniversaries, and they had this pasta on the menu that was doused in the richest, creamiest porcini tomato sauce, and dotted with big chunks of pancetta. I was totally inspired by that and decided to re-create it at home! Mine wasn’t quite as rich (I realized HOLY BUTTER AND CREAM — their version really IS decadant!), but nevertheless, was so satisfying. The good news is that while this is total comfort food, it’s easy to make, so you can whip it up on any random Tuesday when you need a little hug in the form of carbs. And, you can substitute any shape of tube pasta you want — rigatoni, penne, even farfalle would be really great!

Give it a try! And let me know if you do. Here’s how to make it: Read the full post +