As a blogger I've often heard that you shouldn't apologize for your lack of posting, but I can't help it, my Mother and Grandparents raised me right and I think its downright rude to leave people hanging for too long even when you have a very good reason. Surely there was time for an email, Facebook status update, something to let people know "Hey I'm sill around" so the first thing I want to say is that I'm sorry. Now that I've got that out of the way I guess you want to know what the heck I've been doing and have I been cooking up anything exciting. If I just say "Work" will that suffice? Probably not. First things first, I've mentioned before that my oldest daughter is on the Autism Spectrum, she attends a special school that is paid for by our home school district as per New Jersey state law. Well it would seem that the home district is a little fed up with paying the significant cost that is required in order to educate my child and they seem to think they can do better in-house. So without making this a big rant about my kid and the screwed up educational system that often exists for special needs children, let's just say I could be forced to send her back to her home school district in the Fall to sit in a self-contained classroom with a handful of other special needs kids that may or may not be autistic...there is a lot more to it than that, but needless to say I'm in for a real fight this summer.
As for work, well, on the newsstands right now is my latest piece in the May issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine. Coming soon will be an article on Ayurveda for Heart & Soul and I'm working on a few projects with this super chic new digital publication called SALT. I'm pressing my way through my cookbook proposal, and probably the most exciting thing of it all is what's going on over at The Blacker The Berry Food. As a side note, I have picked up a little part-time job out of the house...yeah, yeah, I'm a food writer, its so glamorous, working from home, testing recipes, but if you've been keeping up with the latest chatter in the blogisphere than you already know Food Writing sadly doesn't pay all the bills (Right now Mr. Jones has got that covered). I'm back "on the line" two days a week at my favorite coffee house & vegetarian cafe. This little gig is enabling me to pay for my newly acquired assistant. Yes, I am a broke food writer with an assistant. I've decided that I'm building a brand, a mini-empire if you will, and I needed to find ways to work smarter not harder so I've got some help. That's all I'll say for now, since having an assistant seems to be another one of those taboo topics that food writers don't want to talk about. Let's get to the food...
Most of what I've been cooking up lately has either been really simple, seasonal fare that doesn't require too much thought or effort on my part or they are recipes for my upcoming book. Here are few things...give em a try and tell me what you think.
Easiest New England Clam Chowder Ever!
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups veggie/chicken stock
2 cans Trader Joes Cherrystone Maine Clams
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
chives for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large soup pot (at least 4 quarts) and heat over medium-high heat. Add in your aromatics (onion, carrot, and fennel), a pitch of salt and pepper and cook until onions are soft. Add garlic and continue cooking for about 30 seconds. Throw in the potatoes and follow-up with the chicken stock, bring everything to a boil and then simmer cooking until potatoes are cooked through. Add in the clams with the liquid from the cans and continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes. Finish off the soup with the heavy cream, continuing to simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with chopped chives.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 large granny smith apple, cored and chopped (leave skin on)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves
handful of cilantro leaves
1/4 cup of honey
juice from 2 limes
salt & pepper to taste
Place the first four ingredients into the bowl of a small food processor and pulse until combined and the salsa has that signature "salsa" consistency. Slowly add in the honey and lime juice, pulse to combine and taste for additional seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store in a small jar or container in the fridge for up to a week.
* A Few Notes: These recipes are written in a very casual format, not what you would find in a cookbook I've worked on or a magazine article but when I'm cooking for my family it's very improvisational and spontaneous and believe it or not I don't always have my notebook or iPad in the kitchen with me. Feel free to email me with any additional questions. The Trader Joes Clams I used in the chowder are my favorite when I can't get fresh, trust me your guests will never know the difference.
Oh and I replaced fennel for celery as an aromatic because that's what I had on hand.