Sunday, October 26, 2008

Swamp Dogs + Made-from-Scratch Clam Chowder = Sunday Culinary Adventure

I knew Hubby would be leaving me today. So I had a plan. He doesn't like clam chowder. I ate some in Maine that was REALLY good. So I decided to experiment on myself.

That was the plan.

The execution of said plan meant going to Costco for some fresh clams. They didn't have any. So I had to go to the local seafood place. It's the sort of place that sells all sorts of fresh seafood. They sell cooked seafood, too.

That's where I got into trouble. Not trouble really, unless Hubby digs backwards in my posts when he gets home on Thursday and reads this! Let's just say that's where my plan changed.

This is a swamp dog. It is a really big, blue crab, steamed Maryland style. This one is sitting on a platter.

It was big.

The plan was to have clam chowder for lunch. But the crabs smelled so good, I decided to buy a couple. Here's the swamp dog from another angle.

I didn't go completely astray. I bought clams, too. About 50 little-neck clams (they're small ones). I'd never bought clams before. Or prepared fresh ones. It was an adventure.

After lunching on the swamp dogs and watching the second half of the football game (the Ravens kick Oakland's butt) while I quilted, I prepared the clam chowder for dinner.

I soaked the clams in clean, clear water for a while, swooshed them around, changed the water, soaked them some more. Repeated. Then I had to scrub them. They have sand on their shells and inside their shells, too. And they're still alive. So they peek out of their shell while you aren't looking at or touching them and then "clam up" when they're disturbed.

Here they are all cleaned and ready to cook. If you look closely, you can see a couple of them are hanging open.

And here they are in the pot.

I totally felt like the Pioneer Woman as I was doing this, by the way. Don't worry, though. I won't make a habit of it.

The clams only had to steam for about 10 minutes until they all opened and I could remove the innards from the shells. Some of those innards, fully cooked, are pictured below.

The small bowl in the following photo contains the meat (the cooked innards). The big bowl contains the leftover shells.

It doesn't look like much, does it? Once I minced them, it was actually a good bit.

I couldn't resist presenting the bowl of shells to Moses, my 18+, pain-in-the-ass cat. She just kept sniffing and meowing. Sniffing and meowing. I think she was saying, "WTF? What'd you do with the meat!?!"

The picture above is the finished product. I served it (to myself) with sourdough garlic bread.

Oh. My. God.

The chowder really was quite tasty. It was totally worth the effort.

I forgot to mention the sangria. I make killer sangria, so I had some of that, too. While I was cooking.

That was my day.

That and I finished quilting my quilt between lunch and dinner. Now I just have to bind it. That's fodder for another post though.

Right now, I am in serious need of a nap.


  1. What's funny is that when I read swamp dogs in the title- I was thinking the dogs had found mud puddles to roll in after the rain yesterday!

  2. i should not have read this post!!!! i've been craving steamed crabs since we left MD. and your sangria is to die for!!!

  3. Sorry Meghan. I know you can't do much in Switzerland to satisfy the crab craving! I'm honored that you remember my sangria, though. (-:

  4. I have to say, putting aside my aversion to dairy mixed with seafood, the chowder looks pretty tasty!

  5. Eric is having his for lunch today. I'll let you know what he says. I am anxious to see if I am totally biased or not.


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