East Meets West: Vaishno Meets the Sea – New England-ish Chowder, Manhattan-ish Chowder, Potato and Cornmeal Cakes, Cheesy Potato Cakes in Broth, and Best of the Sea Scalloped Potatoes

Good morning everyone,

Wow.  We’re at the shellfish portion of The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.  Pages 372 – 374.  The bounds of my creativity are definitely being tested by this project and Common Sense Me (from the last EMW post) is tittering away in the back of my head.  Challenge accepted though!

The original recipes are New England Clam Chowder, I’ll Take Manhattan Chowder, Steamed Littlenecks, Portugese Clams and Scalloped Oysters.  Our versions are New England-ish Chowder, Manhattan-ish Chowder, Potato and Cornmeal Cakes, Cheesy Potato Cakes in Broth, and Best of the Sea Scalloped Potatoes.

These recipes remind me of growing up on the Bay of Fundy, digging for clams and steaming them.  Or eating fried clams from Village Fries.  Eating steamed periwinkles until we were sick.  Days and days of salty breezes coming off the bay while we kept and eye on the highest tides in the world.  Keeping another eye out in the deep red mud for the tiny airholes that revealed where the clams would be found.  The seafood eating days are over but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the same sort of nostalgia in my vaishno diet.

New England-ish Chowder

Ingredients
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbls olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups Light Vegetable Broth (recipe here)
2 tbls unsalted butter
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped finely
2 large onions, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice
2 tbls unbleached all-purpose flour
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
1 green chili, chopped finely
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 3 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp ground dulse or nori
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 400F.  In a bowl, mix together the olive oil and paprika.  Toss with cauliflower florets.  Spread the florets in a single layer on a baking pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.  The cauliflower should still be firm.

In a large pot, add the butter and onions, and cook, stirring, until the onions are wilted, about 10 minutes.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, another 5 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth, peppers, potatoes, chilies, thyme, dulse and pepper.  Simmer 5 minutes longer.  Add the cauliflower florets and simmer, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.  Add the milk and cream and stir well over very low heat until hot.  Do not allow the milk and cream to boil.  Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve immediately.

Manhattan-ish Chowder 

Ingredients
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbls olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbls unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped leeks
2 green chilies, chopped
2 tsp ground dulse or nori
1 (15 oz) can low-sodium plum tomatoes
1 cup Light Vegetable Stock (recipe here)
1 1/2 cups diced peeled potatoes
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 sprig fresh thyme
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 400F.  In a bowl, mix together the olive oil and paprika.  Toss with cauliflower florets.  Spread the florets in a single layer on a baking pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.  The cauliflower should still be firm.

In a large soup pot, add the butter and let it melt over medium heat.  Add the onions, celery, green pepper, yellow pepper, carrots, and leeks.  Reduce heat to low and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add chilies, dulse, tomatoes, stock and potatoes to the pot.  Cover, and simmer 15 minutes.  Add the thyme, and salt and pepper.  Cook, uncovered for another 10 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Potato and Cornmeal Cakes

I tried to capture the flavours of the steaming broth from the original dish, reducing the fat and removing the alcohol and the ‘taste of the sea’ along with some ‘meaty’ texture in the patties.  The dish is nostalgic of the east coast without the clams.

Ingredients
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 carrot, grated finely
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 potatoes, grated
4 green onions, chopped finely
1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp dulse or nori, ground
Olive oil for frying the cakes
1/2 cup unsweetened white grape juice
1/2 cup water
2 tbls unsalted butter
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 tbls fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 ripe plum tomato, diced
1/2 tsp cornstarch
A little water for the rue

Method
Mash the beans with a fork or a potato masher, in a medium bowl. Add the carrot, onion, potatoes, green onions, besan, cornmeal, and dulse and mix until well combined. Shape the mixture into palm sized patties. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the patties until the patties are cooked, about 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.

In a small pot combine the grape juice, water, butter, shallots, cilantro, garlic and tomato.  Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer, 5 minutes until reduce by roughly half.  Add 1/2 tsp of cornstarch to a little water in a bowl and whisk. Add to the pot and simmer another 5 to 6 minutes until a sauce begins to form.  Pour half into one shallow bowl and half into another.  Place two or three potato cakes in the bowl and garnish with a few more cilantro leaves if you like.   Use any remaining potato patties in sliders or for another use.  They will freeze well.

Makes 2 servings.

Cheesy Potato Cakes in Broth

Ingredients
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup grated paneer
1 carrot, grated finely
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 potatoes, grated
4 green onions, chopped finely
1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1 thumb ginger, peeled and minced
2 tsp dulse or nori, ground
Olive oil for frying the cakes
1 cup unsweetened white grape juice
1 tbls unsalted butter
2 tbls olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp coriander powder

Method
Mash the chickpeas and paneer together with a fork or a potato masher, in a medium bowl. Add the carrot, onion, potatoes, green onions, besan, and dulse and mix until well combined. Shape the mixture into palm sized patties.  Add additional besan flour until the mixture holds together, if necessary.  Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the patties until the patties are cooked, about 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.

In a medium skillet combine the grape juice, butter, oil, garlic, lemon zest and coriander powder. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; cover and cook 5 – 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Spoon this mixture into four shallow bowls, place 2 or 3 patties into each bowl. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve immediately.

Best of the Sea Scalloped Potatoes

Believe it or not, we’ve cut the butter in half in this recipe. We’ve also removed the oysters obviously, the Worcestershire sauce and added some of our own ingredients, including what we think is best of the sea – dulse.

Ingredients
5 tbls unsalted butter
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 3/4 cups unsalted cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 – 5 large potatoes, sliced in 1/4″ slices
1/2 cup unsweetened white grape juice
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp ground dulse or nori
1 tsp capers
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves, crumbled or 1 sprig fresh thyme, stem removed
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 350F. While the oven is heating, melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet. Add the shallots and wilt over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and using a fork, stir in the cracker crumbs. Spread half the crumb mixture over the bottom of a 8 x 8 inch ovenproof baking dish. Lay the potato slices evenly over the crumbs. Cover the potatoes with the remaining crumb mixture.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the grape juice, milk, dulse, capers, Tabasco, thyme leaves, pepper and salt. Pour over the potatoes. Bake on the centre rack of the oven until browned and bubbly, about 30 – 35 minutes.

 

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