When I think of Seattle my first thoughts are of Karrin & Heather, two of my very best friends. Then of course comes seafood, wide open waters and dreamy green flora. I just came home from a weeklong visit filled to the brim with incredible food and fresh air.
I had the most beautiful week of Seattle weather. One of the 60 degree days was spent with my friend Tyler, hanging out in the garden and cooking in the kitchen, a dreamy combination! My friends have a beautiful house in Ballard surrounded by gorgeous flowers and within walking distance from sunsets over the Puget Sound. This particular day, Tyler and I spent the early afternoon picking out seeds and starters for their first backyard garden.
We mended the soil, created a compost pile, weeded the beds and planted. From kale and brussels, to onions, basil and strawberries these guys are going to have a beautifully fruitful garden, and I can’t wait to see the progress.
After getting our hands dirty, we stepped into the kitchen, washed up and got started on a homemade clam chowder. I was so excited to be near the water and have fresh clams from a local fish market. I’ve never cooked with clams before, but it was super easy. Steaming them is as simple as it sounds, but the interesting part is the “clam nectar” or water and juices leftover from cooking that is just as prized and savored as the clams themselves.
inspired by Northwest Essentials by Greg Atkinson
Preheat Oven to 375 degrees
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 lbs clams
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 2 large potatoes, cut into 1 inch dice
- 1 granny smith apple, julienned
- 2 cups milk
- 7 oz bacon
- 2 cups water
- Steam the clams using the 2 cups of water for about 12-15 minutes (or until clams open). Remember to SAVE the clam nectar, and set aside!
- Put the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven until done, reserve the bacon fat.
- In a medium pot bring milk and potatoes to a slow boil, stir occasionally until potatoes are tender.
- In a large pot saute onions, garlic, and celery in the leftover bacon fat. Toss in the apples when onions are translucent.
- Add flour & 1 cup of milk from the potatoes to the large soup pot, stir continuously.
- Combine remaining milk, cooked potatoes and clam nectar together with the ingredients in the large soup pot.
- Remove the clam meat from the shells, chop the meat and add to the soup.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes
- Season with salt & pepper
- Serve, topped with crumbled bacon!
It was a characteristically Northwest meal to compliment a beautiful Seattle day, so beautiful in fact that we ate dinner outside with whiskey drinks and no jackets. I have to tell you my snow-covered Michigan mind was screaming with delight!
Its amazing what a little sunshine can do, not to mention the laughter and light that best friends bring. This last week was amazing. I feel renewed, refreshed and so very excited for the season. I can’t wait to get outside, out from under the snow and into my own garden.
Its officially spring, and I feel it. Its not in the weather yet, at least not in Michigan, but its an overall attitude. One of excitement, a desire to get moving, and new things on the horizon.
Lets get going.