Monday, September 26, 2011

Clams in wine sauce

Things I have learned recently: Cooking clams is kind of creepy. Fresh cooked clams are delicious. I will somehow have to reconcile these facts.

I love seafood. However, I have never personally cooked fresh clams before. I consider myself a pescetarian, and am slightly weirded out by cooking animals in general. But how can you not be, really? I suppose I sort of knew they were still alive when I purchased them, but I wasn't prepared to hear them making noises when I cleaned them. They also make a noise when you cook them, which might be attributed to the shells opening in the heat, or them suffering in hot liquid. And because I felt guilty about all that, I almost did not eat them. That would have been a mistake for two reasons: 1) they were already dead at that point 2) they were fantastically delicious. Sorry clams.

While this is beginning to sound like an altogether unappealing post, if you decide to cook clams, I say go for it. Someone else will eat them if you don't. Here's a simple recipe if this is your first try:

1 lb of fresh clams (cleaned)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch dried parsley
1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
small bunch of fresh chives (optional garnish)

Melt butter in pan, add garlic and saute briefly. Add wine, dried herbs, pepper and clams. Steam with the lid on for about 5 minutes (until all the shells open up). Ladle clams and broth into bowls. Snip fresh chives over bowls. Serve with toasted bread, and a glass of chardonnay. Serves 2 as an appetizer or light dinner.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

my favorite pie!

Could it really be that in all my talk of berry season and berry picking, I forgot to post my berry pie recipe? It seems I did!

LoveDog Ranch Black & Blue Pie

You will need:
4 cups fresh blackberries or blueberries or a combination of both
3/4 cup sugar (more or less to your own conscience)
3 tablespoon corn starch
2 pie shells (secret: I use store bought. gasp.)

1. Pick blackberries & blueberries. Don't skimp the triple wash. It really makes a difference!
2. Preheat oven to 425. If you are using frozen store-bought shells, pop one out of the tin to allow it to thaw flat for the top of the pie. Thaw the other in the tin.
3. Mix the berries, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

4. Pour mixture into bottom shell.
5. Cover with top shell and use a fork to crimp edges to create a good seal between top and bottom crust. Laugh at the longing eyes of your puppy dog.

6. Use a knife to make vents. These are not just for looks-- make sure you get a good clean puncture, otherwise the filling may vent out the edges*.

7. Put pie in oven on middle rack. Lay a piece of tinfoil loosely on top of the pie.
8. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
9. Remove piece of tinfoil, and place pie onto a cookie sheet. Turn oven temperature to 350, and return pie to oven for 30 more minutes on the cookie sheet, uncovered.
10. Remove, allow to cool, and admire your lovely pie. Then EAT IT! And maybe share some with your friends.

*evidently my vents didn't "vent"... but still delicious.

Friday, September 9, 2011

hunters and gatherers

I may be the gatherer at LoveDog Ranch, but this guy is clearly the hunter.
He also makes some delicious smoked salmon.

And even better smoked salmon benedict.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So much good stuff

Like millions of people in small towns across America, over Labor Day Weekend Justin and I went to the fair. I don't remember the last time I went to a fair, but I had no idea it was going to be so cool. Yes, that might make me a small town hick, but this hick was impressed. Small town America knows how to have a good time. Have YOU ever seen a pig race?

There were farm animals galore--every breed of chicken, rabbit, pigeon, sheep, cow, pig, and goat. Well, maybe not every breed, but enough to overwhelm the non-farmer.

And on top of all of this, we ate ridiculous quantities of fried foods, saw a Nascar* race and a lumberjack competition (log rolling, pole climbing, ax throwing, sawing, and other things I know nothing about but which were equally enthralling). AND on top of that, a RODEO! I can't really express how much I love the rodeo. I know, Peta* will be disappointed once they find out, but rodeos are so exciting. And neither animal nor rider were injured. So everyone wins. But especially me.

If you did not have the great pleasure of attending a fair this weekend, you can look through the rest of the photos here, and better luck next year. And if you live near Puget Sound, you can still catch the Puyallup Fair!

*spell check tells me it's NASCAR and PETA but I thought I'd refrain from shouting (though I'm nearly deaf from the car race so I couldn't hear myself if I shouted anyway). And to be clear, I do not believe in injuring animals for entertainment. There is a delicate balance between the recreational use of an animal, and watching a cowboy be tossed through the air for bragging rights. In which case, I do believe the animal takes his revenge anyway.

Friday, September 2, 2011

simple + smart

one of the reasons i love the blog capes, coffee, and the color orange is that it is smart and thoughtful, much like annie vp herself. it also has the effect of making me think about life in simple categories: something empowering, latest trends/addictions, and something noteworthy. today, in homage to capes, coffee, and the color orange, here are my own latest and greatest:

cape [empowering]: don't let a wishbone grow where a backbone ought to be. make it happen. even if that means one small step at a time.

coffee [addiction/trend]: s'mores in the microwave. because you don't have to be camping to want some (more). put the marshmallow on the graham cracker, zap it for about 9 seconds (so fun to watch it get huge), then add the chocolate and the top. want a super deluxe s'more? use Theo Bread & Chocolate and add a slice of fresh strawberry. delish.

orange [noteworthy]: pinterest is my new favorite internet tool. sign up for an account, download the button, and start "pinning"-- it makes it easy to collect inspiring photos, recipes, and craft ideas you find while surfing the web all in one place. check it out!

(photo pulled from - now on my pinterest!)