Jovina cooks seafood: New England Clam Chowder

America’s Culinary Food Stories-New England Clam Chowder
by Jovina Coughlin

From Manhattan to New England, clam chowder is known for its competing varieties as much as for its comforting briny flavor. It seems every state on the East Coast has its own take on the popular soup.
New England clam chowder is the most well-known and popular clam chowder. Though it’s named after New England and associated most with Massachusetts and Maine, food historians believe that French, Nova Scotian, or British settlers introduced the soup to the area and it became a common dish by the 1700s. The soup continued to gain popularity throughout the years and, according to “What’s Cooking America”, was being served in Boston at Ye Olde Union Oyster House (the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country) by 1836.
New England clam chowder, occasionally called “Boston Clam Chowder,” is made with the usual clams and potatoes, but it also has a milk or cream base. It is usually thick and hearty; Today. the soup can be found all over the country but is still most popular in the North East.
New England Clam Chowder
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Ingredients
3 strips thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 medium leek, washed and sliced
2 celery ribs with tops cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
3 medium-size white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (optional, you can thicken the soup by using double cream and cut down on the seafood stock)
4 cups seafood stock or bottled clam juice, divided
1 pound chopped fresh clam meat with juices or 2 (6.5 oz) cans of clams in broth
Kosher salt to taste
2 cups half & half
1 teaspoon white pepper
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Directions

Place a 4- to 6-quart pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook, turning occasionally, until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pot, and crumble into small pieces onto a plate; set aside.
Add the butter, onion, leek, celery, thyme, seafood seasoning and bay leaves to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until onions and potatoes are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
Return the bacon to the pot and increase the heat to medium-low.
Dissolve the flour in 1 cup of the clam broth or seafood stock. Add the mixture gradually, stirring continuously, until incorporated. Stir and cook 5 minutes. (or you can take the worry about lumpy soup by not using it at all!)
Increase the heat to medium and slowly add the remaining clam broth or stock, 1 cup at a time, incorporating it into the mixture before adding more.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the clam meat with its juices. Keep stirring 5 minutes, until the clams are tender.
Add the cream slowly; then stir in the white pepper.
Discard the bay leaves before serving. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley.
Note
Many USA supermarkets carry frozen, chopped clam meat in 1-pound containers, which is fresher than canned and just as convenient. Simply defrost before using.

My comments: I’ve had the pleasure of having several different versions of clam chowder in various parts of the USA and the creamy version without added tomatoes is my favourite. I’ve had it in New England and San Francisco.  I can’t remember where I had the one that had tomatoes in it, but I was rather disappointed. How you make this soup will depend on how low you wish to cut carbs and how tolerant of wheat you are. Clam chowder is very filling so you will need only light accompaniments eg a salad or fruit.

 

Low carb store: Aubergine bake

AUBERGINE BAKE

INGREDIENTS
2 shallots, peeled & chopped
100g mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 aubergine
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn
Sea salt & black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 mozzarella ball, roughly chopped
100g strong cheddar, grated

CREATE IT
1. Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and soften the shallots over medium heat.
2. Add the mushroom and cook until beginning to soften (use more oil if needed).
3. Add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute.
4. Drain most of the liquid from the tinned tomatoes and add to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper, keep on a low heat whilst you cook the aubergine.
5. Slice the aubergine into rounds about 1/2cm thick and use the remaining olive oil to brush each side.
6. Cook the aubergine in batches in a hot griddle pan to soften and colour, turning half way through (2-3 minutes each side). Place on a plate to uselater.
7. Take an oven dish and add a layer of the tomato sauce to just cover the base.
8. Layer half the aubergine on the sauce and top with the tomato slices.
9. Scatter the chopped mozzarella on the tomatoes.
10. Use the remaining aubergine to add another layer.
11. Stir the basil through the remaining tomato sauce and pour over the aubergine.
12. Top with the grated cheddar cheese.
13. Place in a pre-heated oven on medium heat for 30-40 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
14. Serve with a fresh green salad.

Jovina bakes low carb: Banana bread

Banana Bread
Ingredients
1 banana
1 and 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon almond flour (ground almonds)
3 eggs
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup low carb sugar substitute
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts plus 15 walnut halves
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mash the banana with a fork.
Process the eggs together with the mashed banana and the melted butter with a hand
blender or hand mixer to a smooth dough.
Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl. Pour into the bowl with the egg and banana
mixture and stir well.
Add the chopped walnuts and fold into the batter.
Line an 8-inch bread/loaf pan with baking paper/parchment with the paper extending over the ends of the pan. Coat lightly with cooking spray. Pour in the bread dough into the pan and place the walnut halves in five rows across the top of the dough.
Bake the bread for 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Check the bread after 30 minutes. If the top is brown, cover it loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the low-carb banana bread from burning.
Let the banana bread cool and then lift out with the aid of the parchment paper. Cool completely before slicing.

Jovina bakes low carb: Ricotta cheesecake

Ricotta Cheesecake
Makes one 8-inch square cheesecake, to serve 12
Cheesecake Ingredients
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar substitute ( I use monk fruit)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs
Zest of 1 orange
Blueberry Topping
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (10 oz)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons low carb sugar substitute
2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder mixed with 2 teaspoons water
Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter or cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and orange zest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until set. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Cover. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled with the blueberry topping.

Jovina cooks: Tomato and vegetable soup

My comment: this dish needs some advanced preparation to make the tomatoes easy to peel or you could use tinned tomatoes if the summer glut is over.

Homemade Tomato Soup
Ingredients
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts, diced
2 carrots with green tops, diced including the tops
3 stalks celery with leaves, diced
The top of one fennel bulb with fronds, diced (save the bulb for another recipe)
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 lbs fresh plum tomatoes
4 cups  chicken stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons honey (or a teaspoon of sugar)
A few dashes of hot sauce eg Tabasco
Directions
I freeze the tomatoes and then defrost them overnight. The skins slip off easily. Or you can bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the tomatoes to the boiling water and cook 4-5 minutes, or until skins loosen. Carefully remove tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon. Set aside until tomatoes are cool enough to handle; carefully slip off the skins and discard. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch Oven ( Le Creuset casserole dish or similar) over medium-high heat; add the garlic, leeks, carrots, fennel, celery and sauté 3-4 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped tomatoes.

Add the broth and honey. Simmer for 15 minutes. Use a handheld stick blender and process until smooth and creamy. Add the hot sauce and serve.

Jovina cooks Italian: Shrimp Saltibocca

My comment: this dish can also be cooked on the barbeque as long as you oil the shrimp first.

Shrimp Wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma (Saltibocca)
2 servings
Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
6 pieces Prosciutto di Parma, sliced very thin
Coarsely ground fresh black pepper
Directions

Cut each piece of prosciutto in half, lengthwise. Place a sage leaf on each shrimp. Wrap one Proscuitto half around each shrimp. Refrigerate for a few hours if you have time.

Heat a stovetop grill. Coat the pan with olive oil. Place the wrapped shrimp on the grill and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. The prosciutto will get crispy. Sprinkle with the black pepper and remove to a serving plate.

Paleo Canteen recipe book

Ally and John are Scottish chefs who have a van in Glasgow from which they sell reasonably priced, interesting, low carb fare.

Paleo canteen recipe

They are releasing their first recipe book in the next few weeks and you can get  a sample version of the book  here:

bit.ly/cooklowcarb

paleo canteen

They both have extensive educational backgrounds, having both studied for PhDs before leaving physics and philosophy behind them,  to take up chef’s whites and knives.  Both have worked across a range of cooking genres at excellent restaurants such as Ottolenghi’s in London  and Rogano’s in Glasgow.

Their full book includes meat, particularly moderately priced meats, poultry and fish, vegetables, soups, salads, sauces and desserts. They are aware that low carbing has a reputation for being pricey and they want to make delicious meals with the five star touch accessible to all.

 

 

 

Emma Porter: Cheesy bread pizza base

Emma has more recipes at http://www.thelowcarbkitchen.co.uk and is the co-author with Dr David Cavans of “Type 2 Diabetes Low Carb Recipes” which is available at bookshops and Amazon.

As promised this is Emma’s recipe for a cheesy bread recipe that can be eaten on its own or used as a pizza base. You can watch her make this on the PHC conference 2020 on You tube.  The recipe is at the end of the video and also here.

Ingredients:

180g grated mozzarella (150g for the dough and 30g to put on the top at the end)

3 garlic cloves

75g ground almonds

3 tablespoons Greek Yoghurt

Some fresh parsley

one teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

olive oil

salt

butter

one teaspoon baking powder

 Method: 

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees

Fry the finely chopped garlic cloves in olive oil.

Then add the 150g mozzarella gradually to melt it a bit.

Take it off the heat and start making your dough.

Add a little salt, 3/4 of the parsley, yoghurt, one teaspoon garlic powder (optional for more garlicky tasting base) and  baking powder. Mix thoroughly.

Now add in your almonds, and beaten egg and form the dough.

Form a ball then roll this out on a sheet of greaseproof paper or baking parchment or silicone liner.

Form into a rectangle, oval or circle according to your plans.

Bake for only 5 minutes.

Now take out and add the rest of the cheese and parsley for the cheesy bread.

If this is your aim put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Then take it out and eat.

If you would like to make a pizza,  don’t add the extra cheese topping after 5 minutes. Keep the dough in the oven for the full ten minutes. Once it is fully cooked, add the toppings such as cheese, THEN passata or tomato puree, more  cheese and then whatever you fancy/have available such as  mushrooms, ham, prawns, or peppers and then put it back in the oven for 5 minutes. Passata directly on the base can make the pizza a bit soggy in the middle.

You are then ready for your pizza or cheesy bread.

 

 

 

Public Health Collaboration conference online a great success

The Public Health collaboration online conference 2020  was very successful.  The videos are available on You Tube for free making the conference even more accessible for everyone who needs advice on what to eat to stay healthy.

If you are able to contribute to the PHC fund to keep up our good work please do so. Sam Feltham has suggested £2.00.  This is via the PHC site.

This year there were contributions from mainly the UK but also the USA.

Visitors to this site will be very pleased to know that keeping your weight in the normal range, keeping your blood sugars tightly controlled, keeping your vitamin D levels up, and keeping fit from activity and exercise, are all important factors in having a good result if you are unfortunate enough to be affected by Covid-19. We have been promoting these factors in our book and website for several years now, mainly with the view to making life more enjoyable, especially for people with diabetes, now and in the future. The reduction in the severity  to the effects of   coronavirus is a side effect of these healthy living practices.

Several talks went into the factors and reasons for this, but in a nutshell, if you are in a pro-inflammatory state already, you will have a much more pronounced cytokine inflammatory response to the virus than is useful for clearing the virus, and you end up with inflammed lung tissue which leaks fluid thereby impairing your blood oxygen levels.

A talk that I found particularly apt was the talk from a GP who had had a heart attack at the age of 44 despite a lack of risk factors except for massive stress. He gives a list of self care practices that helped him. I would also include playing with your animals. Emma and I are cat lovers and can vouch for this!

My talk is about VR Fitness, which was the only talk this year which was specifically exercise related. The Oculus Quest has only been out a year and has been sold out since shortly after New Year. I was fortunate enough to buy one in anticipation of my imminent retirement, and it has been great as an exercise tool over the long, cold, dark winter and more useful than I had ever anticipated over the lockdown as a social tool.

There were several very professional cooking and baking demonstrations on the conference this year, and indeed, this could not have otherwise happened on a traditional stage format.  We had low carb “rice”, bread, pancakes and pizza demonstrations which may well help you if you prefer to see how it is done step by step or if you want to broaden your repertoire.

I was particularly taken with the pizza base idea from Emma Porter and I will follow up with this in a later post.  The whole video is available from the PHC  site which takes you to all the videos on You Tube.

 

 

 

Jovina cooks South African: Piri-piri chicken and cucumber sambal

Piri-Piri Chicken with Piri-Piri Sauce
Piri-Piri (sometimes spelled peri-peri) is Swahili for ‘pepper pepper’, or ‘strong pepper’ and refers to an African-style chili sauce. Piri-Piri Chicken is marinated in a hot chile pepper marinade, then grilled. This dish evolved in Angola and Mozambique (once Portuguese colonies) after Portuguese explorers and settlers brought American chili peppers to Africa.
The most basic piri-piri marinade recipe calls for just oil, cayenne pepper or minced fresh hot chile peppers, and salt. Many piri-piri recipes add an acidic liquid (usually lemon or lime juice, or vinegar, or possibly wine or liquor) which adds a tang and tenderizes the chicken. More elaborate versions also include additional flavorings and spices.
This recipe makes quite a bit and since I cook for two most days, I cut the recipe in half. This dish is delicious and the chicken turns out quite tender and juicy. The sauce has a bit of a kick but not overly spicy.
6-8 servings
Ingredients
4 lb chicken cut into parts or 4 lbs of your favorite chicken parts, about 8 pieces.
Peri Peri Marinade
3 red chilies (reduce for less heat or remove seeds), finely chopped or use 2 tablespoons red chili paste
1 green chili, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
Peri Peri Sauce
3 tablespoons reserved marinade
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
Directions
Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken parts and blend well.

Reserve 3 tablespoons of the marinade in a small storage container and the coat the chicken with the remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight.

Heat an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan.
For the Piri-Piri Sauce
Add reserved marinade, water, and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to boil. Cook for 2 minutes, remove from the heat and keep warm.
To cook the chicken
Place chicken bone side down on the grill. Cook for 10 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook for 25-30 minutes. Turn chicken over once more and grill for another 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and drizzle the sauce over the grilled chicken.

African Cucumber Sambal
Ingredients
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 green chili (jalapeno pepper), minced
1 teaspoon sugar or natural sweetener (honey, agave nectar, etc.)
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 mint leaves, minced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, quartered and thinly sliced
Directions
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir and toss well to cover.

Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.
The Sambal will store up to 4 days refrigerated in a tightly covered container.