Steamer Season

 

a00c52d41d0953a50c3d05731af2a16dIt’s officially summer! Time to uncover the outdoor propane cooker and unearth the lobster pot from its winter home on a basement shelf. Also time to repost one of my favorite recipes for summer entertaining.

This method elevates steamed clams to complete meal status. If you add potatoes, onions, kielbasa, and shrimp to the steaming kettle, you’ll have a meal that will satisfy everyone at the table. A bowl of cole slaw, a basket of bread, cold beer and wine, and dinner is served.

Ingredients (for 8)

6 pounds of steamers
2 pounds of shrimp (approx. 20-24 shrimp/pound)
small whole red potatoes (2 per person)
small whole onions (2 per person)
kielbasa ( 2-3 pieces per person)
extra sliced onion, chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil

Method:

1. If your fish market has a filtration system, rinsing should be enough. If your clams are sandy, soak them for an hour in a mixture of 3 cups of cold water and 1 tablespoon of non-iodized salt. Rinse well after you soak the clams. You’ll need more liquid for a lot of clams, but that’s the proportion of water to salt.
2. Saute a sliced onion and a chopped clove of garlic in a little olive oil in a deep pot. A big lobster pot is great for this. Season with salt, pepper and a few shakes of red pepper flakes.
3. Once the onion is soft, add about four inches of water to the pot. I sometimes add a couple of tablespoons of pesto for extra flavor. Or some thyme leaves. Add the potatoes and whole onions. Cook until the potatoes are close to done.
4. Add the kielbasa chunks; heat through.
5. Add the clams. Cover the pot and steam the clams until they open. It’s okay to open the pot and stir things around. Steaming should take about five minutes.
6. Add the shrimp a couple of minutes before the clams are completely opened. I use cleaned and deveined shrimp with just the tails on. They only take about two minutes to cook.
7. Serve with cups of broth and melted butter. I like to put the melted butter in a glass pitcher, so people can serve themselves. Makes it easy to re-heat the butter in the microwave part way through the meal if needed.

Note: If you decide to eliminate the shrimp to make it a classic clam boil, you should plan on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of clams per person.

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Babied Basil

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pampered coddled herb
positioned for sun by day
tucked inside at night

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Rosa Rugosa

wild beach roses
improbably springing
from mere sand
flourishing
on windswept dunes
cultivated
by nature’s hand
to add a splash
of color
to rocky shores

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Morning Walk

Something
simply
right
about the feel
of sand
between your toes
on a chilly
morning
beach walk
quiet now
in the peace
of early June.

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There’s Color Here

Passed a nursery yesterday
tempting gardeners in with a sign
that read, “There’s Color Here.”
Happily, there’s color here,
there, and everywhere now that it’s June!
Rhododendrons and Azaleas 
burst into bloom almost while we watch.
Crabapple trees mirror spun sugar at a carnival
before coating all surfaces with showers of pink flowers.
And then there’s the glorious green surround.
The lushness of leaves that catch the raindrops
and let them slide more gently to earth.
The leaves that shade our porches
and patios from the heat of day,
and form a canopy overhanging country roads.
The sign was right to celebrate the arrival
of color as an early summer treat. 

 

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Farm Egg

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Not just any egg. A farm egg
with tight albumin and rosy yolk.
A local egg purchased from
a purveyor you call by name.
Comparison to store bought
a mere accident of size and shape.
A world of difference in quality and taste.
“Buy Local” more than slogan.
More an entry to safer, better nutrition
while supporting the farmers
who toil to provide this bounty.

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Farmer’s Market

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Spring at the farmer’s market.
Pent up enthusiasm for the new harvest
resulting in a  scamper to gather up
armloads
of lettuce crisp with
the flavor of sunshine and showers.
Reaching for freshly gathered eggs, 
their softly tinted shells
protecting richly hued yolks.
The stalls will groan with
towering piles of produce
as the summer gathers steam,
but the joy of the early market
with its current treasures
and the promise of the largess to come
is its own reward on a lovely day in Spring.

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