Friday, January 21, 2011

Food Fact Friday: Clam Chowdah

Happy Friday! Today is National Clam Chowder Day. In most parts of the country,  it’s a perfect day to eat a nice steamy bowl of this goodness….even better in a bread bowl. Here is some history about chowdah…

According to the food historians, the word chowder and its application to fisherman's stew comes from France, where they have “la chaudree”, which basically means cauldron. Chowder was traditionally a fish stew (no clams), that was brought over from Europe with the settlers. It was a great way to for fisherman to use all the parts of the fish in an economical and palatable way.

As the years went on, clams and quahogs were found to be plentiful in New England, and chowders were often made with those ingredients instead. But due to regional differences, there are many interpretations on clam chowder. Here are the two basic types.
New England Clam Chowder: Most likely the first type of clam chowder created, there is no “authentic” recipe per se. They often include clams, cream, butter, pork fat and potatoes. By 1836, New England clam chowder was already well-known in Boston and served at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, the nation's oldest continuously operating restaurant.

Manhattan Clam Chowder: Some characterize it more as a vegetable/tomato based soup with clams. It was said to have its roots in Rhode Island, where cooks were known to add tomatoes to New England style chowders. Tomatoes were plentiful, and they believed it was an obvious choice to add them to the chowder.

New England Clam Chowder is my favorite, I used to eat bowls of it working at an Oyster House here in Florida. What’s your favorite type of Clam Chowder??

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Step Closer to Oprah

Happy Hump Day! I love today for three 4 reasons…

1. I finally went on my morning run. Today I woke up bright and early at 6:30 and ran/walk for 3 miles. I averaged a 10:20 pace today. It’s been a WHILE since I ran. I’ve been bad! I got so pumped when I heard Glee’s version of Don’t Stop Believin’ about halfway through my run. But, a few moments after that, I felt very dizzy (which also happened the last time I ran). Has this happened to anyone? Any fueling tips for early AM runners?

2. The work week is halfway over. Why are days SOOOO long lately? Ugh! I have a great thing to look forward to this weekend…going to Universal Studios in Orlando for some Harry Potter action, oh yeah!

3. Top Chef is on tonight. Hopefully Marcel gets kicked off soon, he is so despicable. This is definitely one my favorite shows right now…my all time favorite is True Blood but the take SO long to get to the next season.

4. I get to see my hubby! Well….I see him every day, but every day is the best when I see him walk through the door after work.

One of my devious coworkers brought this in today…

It was the Chicago Mix from Garrett’s Popcorn, which was featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things show recently. Of course I’m screaming to everyone, “OMG, this popcorn was on Oprah’s favorite things!”, like a little kid. So obviously I had to try it (especially after seeing the hefty price tag) and it was good! The caramel was crispy and not overly sweet. The cheddar was melt in your mouth good…like the cheese invaded every single cell of the kernel. The combo of both of them was outrageously good.

Now let’s see what Thursday brings…hopefully another run!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Locavore Dinner

Market 17 is a new restaurant in Fort Lauderdale that’s part of the farm-to table-movement. They use organic and local products in all their dishes. I was so excited to be able to go there for a delicious dinner recently!  (Sorry in advance for the food pics, I was only with my trusty iPhone that night).

I even got a chance to chat with the Executive Chef, Daniel Ramos, about the cuisine. He spent months researching local foods and meeting with local farmers to develop his menu, which changes daily. Everything from Lettuce to Lobster is local.

Now it was time to eat! After drooling over the menu for a while, I had my choices ready.

First up the fresh baked bread, the brown smear is olive spread, it was delicious!  But I think my favorite bread was the one in the middle, chock full of raisins.

Next up some crispy pork belly, it was melt in your mouth yummy!

This is duck confit ragu.  I love luck confit and fresh homemade pasta.  But together? Oh yeah! It was delicate but rich at the same time.

 Guess what this is?  Monkey bread!  It was insane...especially topped with the banana caramel ice cream.  I could eat this every day.

Nope, this isn't's Key Lime Pie.  Key Lime Pie is my all time favorite Florida food.  The filling was so creamy and tangy, perfectly complemented by the buttery pistachio and graham crust.

Our dinner was spectacular, and so was the service. Also, the owners are sommeliers so they have an excellent wine list as well.

Hopefully I’ll be going back soon for Dining in the Dark…it’s a crazy experience where you are literally sitting in complete darkness trying Chef Daniel’s specialties. The server has night vision goggles and guides you to your utensils and food. You don’t find out what you’re eating until afterwards. Sounds like an adventure!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Happy Monday everyone!  Unfortunately I have to work today, but I hope most of you get to enjoy a day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Thanks to Stephanie from The Cookie Battle for awarding me the Stylish Blogger award! I’m so glad to participate by writing 7 random facts about myself.

1. I worked at TCBY in college. I thought it would be great to get discounts on a healthy treat! I got to taste so many samples of the yogurt-y goodness (and the ice cream). I loved topping the White Chocolate Mousse with hot fudge and wet walnuts.

 2. I’m taking a trip to Ireland this Spring. We’re heading there at the end of April to hang out with my brother in law and his girlfriend, who live in London. Can’t wait to drink Guinness and see the sites!

3. The smell of hard boiled eggs makes me want to puke. I can’t even put a picture up, they are so gross to me. It all started with a bad experience eating one at preschool. If you want to get me totally freaked out, go ahead and put a deviled egg right in my face.
4. I was a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off. I went in 2008, my recipe was Blue Cheesy Prosciutto Appetizer Pizza. I was so lucky to have such an amazing experience competing in Dallas for the Million Dollar Grand Prize! I’m starting to develop recipes for the 2012 contest.

5. I’m obsessed with cheese sauce. Nachos, mac and cheese, on a burger…you name it I love it! There is something about that yummy, gooey cheese that makes me so happy.

6. I’ve only seen snow fall once. It was on a trip to Michigan when I was 23, and I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was so excited and everyone thought I was crazy. Nobody could believe I had never seen it snow before.

7. My husband proposed to me while sky-diving. It was my 30th birthday, and one of the best days of our lives. He popped the question as soon as we landed. I was so happy and surprised I couldn’t even say yes, I just nodded my head and hoped he understood what I was doing, hehe.