Marie Tomlinson <tomlinmc@DUVM.BITNET>

New England Clam Chowder

(Serves 4) Shuck clams and reserve the juice. Chop the tough meat surrounding the soft centers and set aside. Cut soft centers in half and reserve separately on a plate. Strain the reserved juice and set aside 1 cup of the liquor.

Dice potatoes and boil until tender but still somewhat resilient to the bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid and set aside.

Boil diced bacon for about two minutes and then drain and pat completely dry. Then fry in 1 Tbs. butter over moderate heat until crisp and drain on paper towels.

Add the onions to the fat remaining in the pan, stirring frequently and cook until translucent (not brown!).

Stir in the clam liquor, the 1/2 cup of potato liquid and the finely chopped clams. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the halved clam centers and simmer 3 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, in separate saucepan, warm the milk and cream over moderate heat until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan.

Pour the hot milk-mixture into the simmering clam mixture and mix well. Then stir in the thyme, salt, a few grindings of pepper and the bacon. Add more salt if needed.

Ladle into soup plates and place a dab of butter on top of each serving.

(Flavor improves if chowder is allowed to rest unrefrigerated for about an hour, and reheated before serving. Warning: this advice is the opinion of Yankee traditionalists).

Cranberry Muffins

(makes 1 dozen 2 1/2 inch muffins) Preheat oven to 400F. Brush the softened butter over the inside surfaces of a medium-sized 12-cup muffin tin.

Wash the cranberries under cold running water and pat the berries dry with paper towels. Put them through the coarsest blade of a food grinder (or chop moderately with a sharp knife). Place in a ceramic bowl and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and sift into a deep mixing bowl. While stirring constantly, add the milk in a thin stream. When the milk is completely absorbed, stir in the egg and the 4 Tbs. of melted butter. Add the ground cranberries and continue to stir until all ingredients are well combined.

Ladle about 1/3 cup of the batter into each of the muffin-tin cups, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes or until the muffins are puffed and brown on the top, and the toothpick test is a success. Loosen from the tin by running a knife around the inside of each cup, then turn them out of the tin.

Excellent if served immediately, but may be allowed to cool before serving.

Yankee Baked Beans

(serves 6) Soak the well-washed pea beans overnight in cold water. Drain, cover with fresh water, and bring slowly to a simmer. Cook until the skins burst when you take some on a spoon and blow on them. Scald 1/2 pound salt pork, cut in two pieces and poke 1/2 inch deep holes with a fork around the rind. Put one piece of the pork in the bottom of a bean pot (a casserole dish does fine).

Drain the beans and put them in the pot. Mix together the maple syrup, sugar, dry mustard and salt. Moisten with a cup of boiling water. Bury the mixture over all just to cover the beans. Cover and bake in a slow (300F) oven for 8 hours, adding more boiling water if necessary. Half an hour before the beans are done, remove the cover and let them brown.

(Note: I usually cook the beans while I sleep and brown them later.)

Yankee Pot Roast

(serves 4 - 6) Mix the flour with the salt and pepper, and dredge both sides of the roast with the mixture. Melt the butter in a heavy casserole and when sizzling hot, place the meat in the pot and brown both sides.

Heat together the tomato juice and the consommé and pour over the meat, and add the chopped onion, cloves and bay leaf. Cover and allow to simmer gently for about 2 hours, turning the meat once.

At this point add the carrots and the whole onions and continue simmering for another hour, turning the meat once more. Add the potatoes and cook until they are tender through or for about 1 hour longer. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes or so, then skim off as much fat as possible. Reheat, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Cooking Hint: Cleaning Clams

Scrub clams with a stiff brush, wash thoroughly in cold water. Change water as often as it becomes dirty. To remove all sand from clams, hold them a few minutes under cold running water.

To open clams for serving on half-shell, insert a strong, sharp slender knife between shells and cut around clam through the muscle. Twist knife slightly to pry shell open. There is a special knife for this purpose. Loosen meat in shell. To use in Chowder, turn juice and meat into a bowl. If sand adheres to meat, rinse off quickly in cold water. If sand is in juice, let stand for sand to settle, then drain off juice and use with clam meat.

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