Category Archives: Food

Rocky Point Rhode Island Style Red Clam Chowdah

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…wanna see a grown woman cry?  …take a staple of her childhood away from her for a decade..add sub-par substitutes that don’t really measure up.. then give that staple back.

Tonight I made Red clam chowder.. the kind I grew up with at Rocky Point.. an amusement park in Warwick Rhode Island I went to every summer as a kid;  Where, for 5 bucks, you could have all you can eat Clam Cakes and red Clam chowder at the shore house overlooking the Atlantic.  I would leave so full my stomach would hurt but I didn’t care.. the pain was worth it..  it was that good.  You always went on the coasters before you eat though.. trust me.

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They closed Rocky Point down around 20 or so years ago.. it’s now this sad beaten down shell of an easier time.  I still smell the moldy stale smell of the House of Horrors.  It wasn’t really scary, just dark with a lot of twists and turns and these really badly made wax or paper mache werewolves and Frankenstiens.   The Corkscrew was my favorite though.  It was my first ‘grown up’ roller coaster.  ..and while my brother was still not quite “this height” to ride it, and my cousin wasn’t quite brave enough, I was the first to get in line for those double loopity loops.  I felt so big riding it.. like the oldest 11 year old you’d ever know!

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My first time hearing Metallica was on the Enterprise.  I thought it was noise.. those crazy long haired 80’s rockers..  they reminded me of my older boy cousins who dressed in black and wore AC/DC shirts all the time..  (Back then I believed the only good music came from boy bands named NKOTB.)

…so as you can see, this chowder carries a lot of weight.  Many different restaurants have tried to measure up weren’t quite right..  it doesn’t take me back to all of that.  I’ve stood in lines at some restaurants that have the ‘best Chowder in Rhode Island’ …and while it’s good, it’s just not the same.

…I moved to Texas at the age of 12 and that made it even harder to get the good stuff.  I remember in college one year my dad over-nighted me some clamcakes and chowdah from their offshoot restaurant after the shore house closed..  it was heaven but ridiculously expensive.   And then that offshoot closed and any semblance of Rocky Point was gone forever.

…some of you may have searched google for similar recipes..  I have.  That was my first go-to.  I tried making one once and decided “never again”  …it made a huge batch and called for a GALLON of clam juice.  (no that was not a typo)  …it literally tasted like drinking sea water.  It was horrid.  Tonight, in honor of my beloved Red Sox being in the World Series, I decided to make another attempt.  I took a recipe I found that called for far less clam juice and then ripped it apart and made it my own.  …the result brought me to tears.  It was like going back to the shore house.  There was no overpowering clam water taste..  it was the right blend of tomato puree, onions, bacon, and potatoes.  The potatoes are soft and break apart when they hit your tongue..  mm… I really just need to go back and get some from the fridge!  I would too if I wasn’t so full from the 2 bowls I ate earlier that my stomach wasn’t hurting..  But at least now I don’t have to go to the East Coast to get my fix of this delicious childhood memory..

…so here it is.. the heavily modified experiment turned permanent staple in my comfort food arsenal.

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Rocky Point Red Clam Chowder

Serves: appx 8-10 depending the bowl size

1 slice bacon
1 – cup diced yellow onion
1 – 8 oz jar clam juice
5-6 cups water
3 – russet potatoes, peeled and cut up
1- 10.75 can Tomato Puree
1 – 10 oz can whole baby clams (Use 2 if you like it extra clammy) (set aside juice for use later)
1/2 tsp – paprika
salt & pepper to taste
Oyster crackers to thicken (optional)

1. In a large stock pot, brown bacon until fat begins to melt on medium heat.. then take out and dice up.
2.  Stir in diced onions with bacon and cook until soft, but not brown.
3.  Add clam juice and the reserved juice from baby clams
4.  Add potatoes, salt, pepper, paprika & tomato puree.  Stir until simmering and then allow to simmer until potatoes are soft.
5.  Add baby clams last.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes but not too long lest the clams become rubbery.
6.  Serve with oyster crackers if you choose.. though I never add any myself.
7.  Enjoy with your own memories of your childhood.

…next time I’ll be trying a recipe for Clamcakes.. if it’s tasty I’ll post it along with this.  🙂

Mexican Sweet Coffee

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I’m about to rock your ever lovin’ coffee drinkin’ world.

Ready for it?

Mexican sweet coffee.  Oh yeah.  I said it.  You think you’ve had great coffee?  They have great coffee in Mexico.  You say “I’ve traveled the world and Mexico does NOT have good coffee..  France has good coffee.  Italy has good coffee.”  …well sit down, sister..  Mexico puts France and Italy to shame.  Somewhere in Italy there’s a Barista sobbing from what I’m about to teach you.

Please allow some deviation from my normal recipe giving threads as I tell you of my own personal history with Mexican sweet coffee.  Shaun and I travel extensively throughout the world.  (yeah right.  If by travel you mean to Target and back) and this year or ventures took us to the Yucatan Peninsula for a much needed and well deserved vacation.  Aside from the excessive rain that comes with an unplanned tropical storm that decides it doesn’t want to move for days, we actually got to do a bit of sightseeing and exploring.  We went to the ruins of Tulum and Xel-ha.  Which is awesome because all it is is cliff diving, drinking, snorkeling, drinking, tubing, drinking, hiking, drinking, swimming through cenotes, drinking, and eating.  Between all that drinking we found this little earthen stone pot in the middle of the buffet of awesomeness. (we both devour mexican food like it’s manna from heaven and this was authentic mayan food.  Sold.)  They give you espresso sized cups to “try” this black liquid with a little card by the side that says ‘mexican sweet coffee’  …the heck you say.

Now I’m not one for drinking coffee wherever I go.  I have a distinguished (snobby) taste for coffee and it takes a lot to please my picky pallet.

This.  was.  Amazing.

Let me explain.  If I could have lifted the earthen pot they had the batch in and guzzled it without actin’ a fool it would have happened.  But the last thing I wanted was for a whole bunch of native Mexicans pointing and laughing and calling me a silly gringo tourista.  …pretty sure they did that anyways, just without the pointing and laughing.

My husband was equally enamored with the coffee.  I think we *might* have had more of this coffee than we did free alcohol.  …I know.. blasphemous.  Even with those stupid tiny cups they came in.

So when I got home I looked up how to make it.  Apparently a lil history lesson.. it’s served at funerals and can also be called funeral coffee.  They stay up all night mourning and needed something to drink and this was it.  ….now I’m not much for funerals but if funerals around here served this coffee I wouldn’t mind staying up all night to mourn either.

…so without further adieu, I bring you…the best coffee you will ever taste:

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Mexican Sweet Coffee
Points:  Who cares??!
Serves: 1 (but double, quadruple, whaddever if you want to share)

3 cups water
2 full tablespoons medium roast coffee ( I used Starbucks blonde roast)
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp panela or piloncillo (or Mexican Brown Sugar…brown sugar will work but c’mon.. do it right) You can get this at Mexican food stores.  but don’t go in there speakin your english cuz it don’t work there.  😉

1. Bring water to a boil.
2.  When boiling, add coffee, cinnamon stick and sugar (you can break it off from the block with a serrated knife.  If it’s really hard then you can microwave the block for a few seconds and it will soften up.)
3.  Boil for about 30 seconds and then strain and pour into cup to drink.  I poured it into my french press.. it was just easier to strain that way.  (feel free to add cream or milk if so inclined.  I do.)
4.   Sit back and enjoy and envision yourself in Mexico! ( …but not at a funeral cause that’s just creepy.)

Where Easter Leftovers Go To Die

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Ok so let us assume that you’re one of those freakish people that can bake a potato correctly to where when it comes out of the oven it’s done all the way through. If that’s you then A) I have no idea why you’re reading this blog because clearly you’re more adept at cooking than me, and B) …there is no B. you shouldn’t be reading this blog. You should go back to your perfect potato cooking world where all recipes come out as read. You…Pinterest freak of nature.

Moving on. I consider myself a decent cook. So when I originally saw this recipe:

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I immediately thought to myself “self…you can do this with your eyes closed and your Kitchenaid turned off.”

I was wrong.

Let me start with this lovely picture:

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Notice in the recipe how it says to “carve out the inside of the potato leaving 1/4 inch around”.

Yeah right.

I decimated one potato to crumbs and the remaining either split in half or fell apart. What Michelangelo potato sculptor created that first work of art?? And what tools were they using because no ordinary utensil did that, I tell you. That was some freak of nature science experiment utensil. I’m willing to think that it was placed on the tele-port machine ah la Star Trek and the inside pulp was transported out of the potato. That’s what I choose to believe.

Anyways…so after I was finished hacking these poor innocent potatoes into shells that even their mother wouldn’t recognize, I decided it would indeed be much easier to use my Kitchenaid. Because Kitchenaid can fix everything, right?

Wrong. It can’t fix this.

What came from my mixer was this chunky mass of goop that I was able to fork uneasily into their once comfortable shells. (This is how I pictured my own innards after my child was done after 9 months inside me kicking me to hell.)

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The end result was husband approved and wasn’t too unappetizing aside from the lumpiness of the potatoes. Caleb wanted nothing to do with it but he is the only child on earth who wants nothing to do with anything potato related. So on the Derby scale we give it a reluctant 1.5 out of 3 stars.

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Mexican Style Stuffed Peppers

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Can I just say that my dad makes the most amazing Italian style stuffed peppers? He’s been making them since I was a kid.. and there’s not much that he can make that’s good. But these? Bellissimo. My dads stuffed peppers are not weight watchers approved however. So I need an alternative that won’t make my trainer or my leader angry with me. (And I gotta say, they aren’t too hard to eat either!)

WW Points: 10 points per pepper
Cook Time: 10-20 prep time, 1 hour cook time

What you need:

-3/4 cup Spanish or Mexican Rice (I used Zatarain’s and made that first to mix in. There was left overs. Must use precooked rice)
-1 lb ground turkey (I used 93/7 but the leaner the better)
-5 Bell Peppers of assorted colors
-1/2 diced yellow onion
-8 oz canned enchilada sauce
-1 1/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 400*
1. Dice up 1/2 a yellow onion. Add one cup of enchilada sauce with diced onion into a sauce pan and cook on medium until onions are soft.

2. Cut tops off of bell peppers. Remove stems and seeds and dice the tops of the bell peppers.

3. Pour 1/3 of a cup of water into the bottom of a casserole dish and arrange bell peppers.

4. In a large mixing bowl or Kitchenaid mixer with paddle attachment, combine one pound of uncooked ground turkey, onion/enchilada sauce mixture, diced bell peppers, 1 cup of shredded monterey jack cheese, 3/4 cup of cooked rice and stir.

5. Fill bell peppers with ground beef mixture.

6. Cook on 400* for 1 hour. Keep an eye that they don’t dry out. If they seem a lil dry just baste tops of peppers with the water from the bottom of the pan.

7. Remove from oven and sprinkle about 1/4 cup monterey jack cheese on top and enjoy!

Panko Breaded Flounder with Dijon Mustard

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I’ll try to take a better picture of this the next time I make it; as it was this was a pic I took months ago and it has since become a yummy staple in our house.  The best thing about this fish recipe is it’s EASY!!  If you’re like me, fish can be daunting.  It falls apart so easily..you can under or overcook it.  It’s something I try to leave to the professionals.  But This one can change your mind.

WW points:  5 points per Fillet
Time:  15 minutes

What you need:

Olive Oil
Frozen or fresh flounder fillets
dijon mustard
Progresso Italian bread crumbs (or ones like them.  However these are my favorite)
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400*
Drizzle about 1 tbsp of olive oil onto a metal cookie sheet and spread around with a basting brush.  Lay fillets down on cookie sheet and spread about 1 tbsp dijon mustard per fillet with basting brush.  Sprinkle enough bread crumbs on top for a thin coat. (about 1-2 tbsp)  Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over that.

Bake in the oven at 400* for 6-8 minutes then use a thin spatula to lift off the cookie sheets to serve.  This will keep it from flaking apart.

The end result is a yummy, easy dish that doesn’t need tartar sauce to cover up the fish flavor.  I love to eat this with a plain cup of steamed rice and some green beans.

The Last Bread Recipe You’ll Ever Need

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Yes I’m going to be that cocky and say that literally.. you will never have to spend long, sleepless nights scouring pinterest again for the perfect bread recipe.  Then spend the better half of the next day making it, only to discover it is definitely not worth the wasted flour.  I’ve already done the work for you!  In my scientific lab (200 sq ft kitchen) I have adjusted ingredients, combined ancient grandmothers recipes, calculated weight watchers points, and finally.. FINALLY.. come up with the tastiest derned bread that will ever come out of my oven.  Let me tell you.. it takes a while to rise like all bread does (I am not the most patient baker) but after you get it down it doesn’t seem like such a pain and it is melt in your mouth delicious!

WW Points: 3 points per slice.  16 slices per loaf

This recipe makes 2 loaves, but I cut it in half to make 1 at a time.  You can freeze half for later but I personally haven’t done it.  The best way I’ve heard is to freeze it in a gallon sized plastic baggie so it has room to rise a bit just after kneading, then when it’s time to use it, remove it from the freezer and set it on the counter until room temperature.  Then continue on to the normal rise process.

3 cups luke-warm water
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 Tbsp. rapidrise yeast
1/3 cup oil (I use olive oil) (update:  Though I abhor using it, I ran out of olive oil and canola oil makes for some super soft and yummy bread)
1 Tbsp. salt
6 – 7 cups King Arthurs Unbleached Bread Flour

In a large measuring cup, dissolve yeast in warm water and honey. Let sit 10 minutes. Pour into large mixing bowl or standmixer bowl. Add the oil and the dry ingredients starting with 6 cups of flour. Mix all together. Knead the dough thoroughly with dough hook until all ingredients are incorporated and dough is smooth, elastic, very slightly sticky, and pulls away from the bowl (6-10 minutes). As you knead the dough, you may add more flour as needed, and repeat the process until dough reaches the desired consistency.

While the dough is kneading, lightly grease a large bowl with butter or cooking spray. Once the dough is ready, place the dough in the greased bowl and turn over to completely coat the dough with butter/cooking spray. Cover, and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. ( I turn the oven on for about 30 seconds and place the bowl on the top rack, and a bowl of hot water beneath it. )

After an hour, punch down dough and divide it into two portions. Working with one loaf portion at a time, roll (with a rolling pin or pound down with hands) the dough out into a roughly 12″ x 12″ square, making sure that the thickness of the dough is even. Slowly and tightly roll up the square, sealing the edges firmly. Tuck the ends of the roll tightly under the bread and place into your prepared loaf pan. (this is what makes the slightly swirled pattern in bread) Repeat with the second loaf. Cover the loaves, set in a warm place (warm oven), and let rise until doubled, about another hour.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the baked loaves from their pans immediately, and place on a cooling rack. (I rub some salted butter on the top afterwards) After cooling for about 10-15 minutes, slice and enjoy!