Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New England

So it's been a while.... I have been super busy with school and life outside of school. I finally said this morning, "I'm updating my blog!" So here I am.

This term I am taking a hands-on lab course called American Regional Cuisine. We are studying the different regions in America such as The South, Floribbean, Pacific Northwest, and of course, New England.

New England was the first region colonized in America. Immigrants who moved, moved for reasons such as political and religious freedom, or because they were to poor to continue to live in England. The living conditions in this new land were hard and often the cuisine resembles that.

The first day back in class we made Clams Casino and Glazed Turnips. Both are classic dishes from New England, and are super yummy. I'm not a big fan of seafood, but I had to taste it and give my opinion. I actually liked it. However there was a slight taste of seawater which I did not enjoy. Glazed turnips when done right should taste somewhat like candied sweet potatoes.

Glazed Turnips

3 C. Turnips- Peeled, large dice (1" cubes)
1/2 C. Chicken Stock (NOT BROTH)
2 TB. Unsalted Butter
2 TB Maple Syrup
Salt and Pepper TT

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saute pan. Simmer until liquid is reduced and turnips are a light golden brown (Be careful not to caramelize- unless you want it sweeter).
2. Season to taste.
3. Serve with Clams Casino.

Clams Casino
1/4 Bacon- Small Dice (1/4" c
2 TB. Shallot- Minced
1 TB. Garlic- Minced
1/4 C. (each) Red and Green Bell Peppers- Small Dice
1 C. bread crumbs
1 Tsp. Parsley- Minced
1 Tsp. Lemon Juice
12 Clams- Whole in shell
1 TB. Butter
Salt TT

1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. Render bacon over medium heat. Add shallots and peppers, cook until the peppers are tender.
3. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
4. Add Parsley, bread crumbs and butter. Salt to taste.
5. In a small pot, steam clams. Place clams in pot and pour water in making sure that more than half of the clam shell is exposed. We do not want to boil the clams.
6. When clam shells open (after about 5 minutes), remove and snap off top shell. Loosen the meat.
7. Top the clams with the bread crumb mixture, place on a baking sheet or in a hotel pan. Bake 8-10 minutes
8. Serve and eat!!

This is very traditional, and reflects the flavors that the early settlers had to work with. Being in the New England area, they ere exposed to all sorts of seafood. Besides clam, they also had crabs, shrimp, lobster and many others. Another traditional dish is the famous New England Clam chowder. Keep coming back, because that is my next post (:

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Feel free to send me recipes to try or perfect. I will add them to my blog so be careful if you don't want me to unleash the secrets of your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother's chunky corn bread. Check back often to see what else I'm cookin' up!