I just reached a major culinary milestone. In a lady-balls-to-the-wall moment, I approached the seafood counter at Whole Foods with nothing but bivales on the brain. After probing the seafood man for his expertise (Clams or Cockles? Jersey clams or Maine clams? Boxers or briefs?), I walked away with two pounds of Littleneck clams and a totally unnecessary and premature sense of accomplishment.
I’ve had no experience with clams save for a few encounters with clam chowder, so I was pretty glued to the recipe I found on Epicurious. It was meant for cockles, but the Whole Foods man said he favored clams (they’re sweeter and less briny, apparently) and steered me in that direction. It called for:
12 oz linguine (I used whole wheat)
2 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp tarragon
1/4 tsp saffron
2 pounds cockles ( I used clams)
It also requested I add whipping cream, which I excluded because I can. I love exerting my power over dairy. You start by cooking the linguine as the box instructs, and melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and sautee for a couple of minutes, and then add the wine, half the tarragon and the saffron. Bring to boil, add the clams, and cover the skillet. They took about 8 minutes to cook, and suddenly all the clams pop open and, like, all but unhinge! It looked just like the Reach toothbrush cartoon, but an edible version. Side bar: what happened to Reach? Anyways, you toss the cooked linguine in with the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and then top with the clams. I added some crushed red pepper flakes for some spice, but the tarragon and saffron did a pretty good job of seasoning. I really enjoyed the whole clam experience.
In sweaty news, I’ve been going at this whole workout thing with a new perspective. Harder, faster, stronger, if you will. I used to be all “treadmill for 20 min a day? Done.” Now I’m all, “Treadmill for 20, Cybex for 30, Stair master for 15? Done,” or some variation of that. It’s swimsuit season much too soon, so it’s go time. I will never stop wishing there were pools in the city, though, because I loooove to swim. I also enjoy that whole “fetus in the womb” feeling of floating around and doing somersaults and whatever. Also, it’s sweatless exercise. Something to think about, NYC.
While looking through my repertoire of recent eats, I realized that my most photogenic recipe was another from Epicurious. Is there such a thing as a recipe app addiction? If so, I suffer from it.
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely chopped canned chipotle chile with sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
8 slices whole-grain bread
2⁄3 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta
1 medium avocado, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tomato, cut into 8 slices
You start by boiling 1 cup water with vinegar in a small saucepan. Add onion; turn off heat; let sit 30 minutes; drain. I love red onions more than life itself, and this was a delicious way to prepare them. They’re almost pickled. Epi then wants you to puree beans and cumin in a blender. Mix mayonnaise, chipotle (I used a jalapeno) and lime juice in a bowl, and spread on 4 slices of bread, which I toasted. I’m normally not a mayo fan, but I figured it was alright to include as long as lime and jalapeno were involved. Top remaining slices with bean puree, onion, cheese (I used goat cheese due to the overwhelming absense of feta in Whole Foods that week), avocado, cilantro and tomato. I’ve made my fair share of well documented veggie paninis in the past, but this was by far the most hearty. It’s also arguably the prettiest, and I’m showing it here in all its openfaced glory. See below: