Monday, December 17, 2012

Pimento Cheese Dip

Ganked from Brigid on the Home on the Range blog.

1/2 package cream cheese (about 4 ounces)

1 cup grated sharp cheddar

1 cup grated Monterey Jack

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning (or mix of salt,pepper, garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne)

3 heaping tablespoons pimentos, smashed

splash of Worcestershire sauce

pinch of grated lemon zest

1 generous teaspoon finely diced sweet onion

Beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy with a small electric mixer.

Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Manhattan Clam Chowder

8 pounds quahog or large cherrystone clams, scrubbed and rinsed, opened clams discarded
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
3/4 cup diced carrot

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (can be a little spicy, could cut to 1/4 tsp)

1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes or
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper (not really needed, with the red crushed pepper)


 In a large stockpot bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, quickly stir clams well with a wooden spoon, and recover. Allow clams to cook 5 to 10 minutes longer (this will depend on the type and size of clams you are using), or until most of the clams are opened. Transfer clams to a large bowl or baking dish and strain broth through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. (You should have about 6 cups of clam broth. If not, add enough water to bring the volume up to 6 cups.) When clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set clams and broth aside. In a large heavy pot add bacon and render until golden and crispy. Pour off all fat except 4 tablespoons. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Do not allow to color. Add garlic, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add potatoes, reserved clam broth, and chicken stock and bring to a boil, covered. Cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the broth has thickened somewhat. Add tomatoes and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add reserved clams and parsley and season with pepper and salt, if necessary. Allow chowder to sit for up to 1 hour to allow flavors to meld, then reheat slowly over low fire if necessary. Do not allow to boil.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Ganked from the Kraft Velveeta Cheese box - copyright Kraft Foods 2012 1/4 cup chopped onions 1 tbs butter or margarine 1 tbs flour 2 cups milk 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed 1/2 lb Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, cooked, drained 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1/8 tsp pepper Cook & stir onions in butter in medium saucepan on medium-high heat 3 to 5 min. or until onions are crisp-tender. Whisk in flour until well blended. Add milk, cook and stir on medium heat 2 min., stirring occasionally. Add cream cheese, cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until melted. Stir in remaining ingredients, cook 5 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally. This is absolutley delicious! One could improve it by using fresh steamed broccoli instead in my opinion, and perhaps a dash more pepper (I used white pepper to blend with the light color of the soup).