You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2020.

I worked at the King Ko Inn in King Salmon, Alaska during my teenage years in the mid-1970s. Most of that time I was a maid, but for a few months in my senior year of high school I was a waitress. The clientele were German sport fishermen and road laborers working on the upgrade of the road to Naknek. The inn’s manager was this mountainous rough woman named Bea. She was all seeing, all knowing. She cruised through the inn like a giant tanker, trailing a wake of fear behind her. She was fiercely protective, however, of her young employees. One thing you could count on when Bea was cooking on Fridays was her Manhattan Clam Chowder. Most places, in the western United States at least, serve clam chowder on Fridays, but it is New England style. Bea’s Manhattan Clam Chowder is so memorable that I have been trying to duplicate it ever since. I finally found it here at Food 52 a few years ago.

  • Ingredients
  • 16 oz. (2-8 oz. bottles) clam juice
  • 12 oz. (2- 6 oz. cans) chopped clams, drained, reserve juice
  • 4 oz. diced bacon
  • 1-1/2 cups small dice onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped leeks (white part only)
  • 1 cup small dice celery
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/8 heaping tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups 1/2″ dice peeled potatoes
  • 28 oz. chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. horseradish sauce

In a large pan, fry bacon until nearly crisp. Stir in vegetables and saute until soft. Stir in spices. Stir in clam juice and reserved clam juice, salt, pepper, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer until potatoes are cooked through. Stir in tomatoes and clams. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in horseradish sauce. Serve. Oh, yum!!!

Notes: This will serve 4 easily. I like to serve with a crusty bread or oyster crackers. If you’ve never used leeks before, make sure you clean them appropriately. I slice mine in half lengthwise and then run under cold water while I flip the layers of leek, like pages of a book. Leeks hide sand and bugs and have to be cleaned well. Then I chop them up. This is a gluten-free dish.

This is my new favorite pizza dough recipe. I’m not a pizza crust connoisseur by any means, but this crust made me pause and ask, “Where have you been all my life?” The recipe originates at babysavers.com.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup warm beer
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzle
  • 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 cups flour (I have used both bread flour and all-purpose to great effect)
  • Favorite toppings

This recipe makes one 16″ pie or a couple smaller ones.

Mix beer, water, yeast and sugar together and let sit until foamy. Stir in salt and olive oil and 1 cup flour. Stir and stir and stir to build the gluten. Stir in more flour in half-cup increments until it’s a bit shaggy. If you’re using a stand mixer, keep mixing and adding smidges of flour until the the dough is smooth. If you’re doing this by hand, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth. Place the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl and drizzle more olive oil over the top. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare your pan(s) by covering with parchment paper or lightly greasing or oiling or spraying with non-stick spray. Prepare your toppings.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ and set on your prepared pan(s). BAKE FOR 4-5 MINUTES (PARBAKE)!

Remove the parbaked crusts from the oven and sprinkle with your favorite toppings. Return to the oven and bake 8-12 minutes or until crust is golden and toppings melted.

Notes: What I liked about this was the flavor coming off of the beer. I heat my beer in the microwave until it’s warm to the touch, but not scalding hot. Don’t want to kill the yeast. The beer makes for a deeply flavored crust. My 89-year-old dad said it was the best pizza he ever had, so that’s saying something. The last time I made this I increased the ingredients a little bit because I didn’t think there would be enough pizza. I was wrong because we ended up with leftovers, but it turned out well, so now I know it works. I just eyeballed and added about a third more of everything and then made one pizza on a very large baking sheet and the other one on a smaller baking sheet. I think the key is the parbaking. It means the sauce doesn’t cause the crust to get soggy or worse, remain raw.

The topping ideas are endless: Italian sausage, pepperoni, chicken, mushroom, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, pesto sauce, Canadian bacon, pineapple (euw), bacon, peppers, tomatoes, onion. I remember eating a kabab pizza in Sweden, but I can’t remember what constituted the kabab. It was yummy, though. Some kind of meat with some kind of white sauce drizzled over. I really love a spicy Thai pizza with chicken and sweet chile sauce and peanuts and bean sprouts. This is making me hungry.