February 21, 2015

Market Street Clam Chowder

When I was 15 years old, my family moved from western New York state to Utah.  We settled near Salt Lake City and were surrounded by the beautiful Wasatch mountains.  One of our favorite restaurants in the area was Market Street Grill in downtown Salt Lake and one of our favorite things at Market Street was the clam chowder.  My mom and I would go there just to get a bowl of clam chowder and then share a dessert. 

Fast forward 5 years later, I was a student at Brigham Young University in Provo and engaged to my now husband.  He loves seafood, so I introduced him to Market Street and it became one of our favorite spots.  While planning our wedding, we would drive up to Salt Lake on weekends to meet my mom and often we would stop at Market Street for lunch.  Which of course meant more clam chowder!

After we were married we stayed in Utah for a couple more years before grad school and work took us elsewhere.  Whenever we came back to visit, we would try to make a trip to Market Street again.  On one of our visits, I found a stack of recipe cards on the front counter.  Guess what recipe it was.  That's right, clam chowder.  I couldn't believe it wasn't a secret!  Of course, I took one with plans to make it at home.

With the chilly weather recently, I've been craving clam chowder.  Unfortunately, I lost that recipe card a long time ago.  So, I did a little searching online and found this recipe again.  This time it was printed in The Salt Lake Tribune.  It's been a really, really long time.  Would it be as good as I remembered?

Ingredients (printable recipe)
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced potatoes *see notes
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced celery
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced onion
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced green pepper
1 cup (1/2 inch) diced leeks
3/4 cup chopped clams, *canned or fresh
3/4 cup clam juice (from canned clams or purchased separately)
3/4 Tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt *see notes
3/4 Tablespoon whole thyme
6 bay leaves
1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco recommended)
2 cups water
2 quarts half and half
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine melted butter and flour in oven-proof container. Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile...
2. In large saucepan, combine remaining ingredients except half and half. Simmer until potatoes are thoroughly cooked (about 15 minutes).
3. Stir the butter-flour mixture into chowder and stir until thick. Mixture will be slightly less thick than cookie dough. Remove from heat and stir in half and half until blended.
4. Return to heat and warm to serving temperature, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.
Makes 12 servings

Notes: If using canned clams, I would reduce the amount of salt to 1 Tablespoon. I used 2 (6.5 oz.) cans of clams which yielded 1 cup total, plus I had plenty of juice, too. 
Also, my husband suggested adding an extra 1/2 cup of diced potatoes.

Adapted from Gastronomy, Inc. (printed in The Salt Lake Tribune)

First, I put the melted butter/flour mixture in the oven. Then, I chopped and prepared the rest of the ingredients.
I never used leeks before, so I searched for websites that explained how to clean and prepare leeks. Here are two that were useful: Simply Recipes and a video from Real Simple.
Lookin' Good!
This is what my butter/flour mixture looked like after it baked for 30 minutes.
Here's step 3. I stirred in the butter/flour mixture and it got thick.
Pouring in the half and half.
It really wasn't difficult to make.
The Results... 
Market Street Clam Chowder is rich and creamy with a blend of hearty vegetables and tender clams. This was the first time that I made clam chowder from scratch.  It was much easier than I thought it would be and I even learned how to use leeks! 

Our son gave this chowder 4 1/2 stars (out of 5).  He really liked it!  My 10 and 7 yr. old girls gave it 3 stars.  They thought it was OK.  My 3 yr. old refused to eat her chowder and put orange slices inside her bowl and swirled them around (I'm guessing that means she didn't like it at all). 

My husband and I really liked this chowder, but there were a couple of things we would change next time.  It was a bit too salty for us and we thought it could use more diced potatoes. 

Overall, this is a great recipe to have on hand and if my memory serves me well, this tastes very much like the clam chowder we enjoyed many years ago at Market Street Grill.  Now I can make it at home!

February 15, 2015

Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread

In our last post, Blueberry Oatmeal Bread, I mentioned that I've been looking for excuses to bake because it is soooooo cold here.  I wasn't kidding.  Today the high is predicted to be 4 degrees.  We have a wind chill warning until tomorrow afternoon because with the wind chill it can feel as cold as -30 degrees!  We usually spend Sunday mornings at church, but it was cancelled.  So, we are all still in our PJs.  My husband is getting ready to start a fire in the fireplace and I've been looking for more excuses to turn on the oven and bake. 

This time my excuse is Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread.  I love quick breads because they're simple to make, mix up quickly and then hang out in the oven for about an hour.  The house smells amazing and everyone here loves to eat them!

Ingredients (printable recipe)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups strawberries, rinsed, dried and chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
2. Cream butter, sugar and cream cheese together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add buttermilk and only stir until combined; do not over mix!
4. Carefully fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick. Pour into prepared pan.
5. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.) Remove from oven and let rest in pan for 5 minutes. Then, remove bread from pan and let cool completely on cooling rack.
Makes one loaf

Adapted from My Baking Addiction

Creaming the butter, cream cheese and sugar
After adding the eggs, vanilla and flour mixture, the dough gets thick. The buttermilk helps thin it out.
I usually don't buy strawberries out of season, but the store had lots of decent looking strawberries out for valentine's day.
Ready for the oven!
The Results...
Overall, Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread received 3 1/2 stars (out of 5).  It was tasty, but we wanted more strawberry flavor.  My husband suggested adding more strawberries or making a strawberry sauce or glaze to go with this bread to kick up the flavor. 

This would be a great recipe to make again during strawberry season.  I think a slice of this bread with some fresh strawberry sauce and whipped cream on top would be amazing! 

February 3, 2015

Blueberry Oatmeal Bread

It's February and it's freezing around here.  According to Punxsutawney Phil, it's gonna be cold for at least 6 more weeks.  So, I've been looking for excuses to turn on the oven.  I think Blueberry Oatmeal Bread is a pretty good excuse!

Ingredients (printable recipe)
One Loaf
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 Tablespoon
1 cup old fashioned or quick oats
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Two Loaves
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tablespoons
2 cups old fashioned or quick oats
2 cups (16 oz. container) sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream butter and sugar together
3. Add eggs one at a time
4. Add vanilla
5. In a small mixing bowl, combine baking soda, salt, flour and oats
6. Alternate dry ingredients and sour cream, mixing together all ingredients until you have a thick, creamy batter.
7. Toss one cup blueberries with 1 Tablespoon flour for one loaf or toss 2 cups blueberries with 2 Tablespoons flour for two loaves.* Gently fold blueberries into batter.
8. Pour into greased and floured bread pan(s). Smooth out top and sprinkle lightly with oats. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes in pan, remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

*Tip: Tossing blueberries in flour before adding to the batter is suppose to help the berries not sink to the bottom of the pan while baking.

Adapted from Cherished Bliss

Creaming the butter and sugar before adding the eggs and vanilla.
Dry Ingredients
Tossing the blueberries in a little flour.
Folding in the blueberries
Sprinkling some oats on top
The Results...
4 out of 5 stars.  5 out of the 6 of us liked this bread.  My 7 year old declared today that she doesn't like oatmeal or anything with oatmeal in it!  So, according to her this was terrible. 

The rest of us thought this bread tasted sort of like a blueberry muffin.  We like blueberry muffins and we like oatmeal.  So, it's not really surprising that we also like Blueberry Oatmeal Bread.  If you don't hate oatmeal (or blueberries), I think you might like it, too!