January 21 is New England Clam Chowder Day and it is a perfect dish for January. Chowders, or “Chowdah” as it is said in New England, is a rich soup or stew based on seafood, potatoes and usually milk or cream. There are chowders with corn, potatoes with bacon or ham, or vegetable chowder. There are chowders which have a light clear broth and/or often include tomatoes. Manhattan clam or seafood chowder or a Southwestern Chicken and Corn chowder are examples. Chowders are easy to make. With a winter salad and crackers they are filling meals. A few good New England style chowder recipes, a winter salad and a citrus dessert recipe follow. February will feature All about Chocolate!

Winter Salad with Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

Orange Vinaigrette Dressing: Combine in glass bowl or jar …. 1/3 cup orange juice concentrate, this is frozen orange juice just defrost Use 1/3 cup of the defrosted orange juice concentrate, no water added 2 Tablespoons water 1/2cup olive oil or good quality canola oil 1 Tablespoon fresh grated orange peel from orange in salad before you peel and slice … about the peel from 1 medium orange 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped or dried parsley or cilantro May add 1Teaspoon Herbs de Provence or spice of choice. Stir or shake dressing well before using. Winter Salad: 1 bag mixed salad greens …… your choice rinsed and ready to use 2 blood oranges, or regular oranges, peeled and sliced, Remember to use 1 orange for zest before peeking and slicing 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced. Toss salad greens with dressing. Plate with sliced oranges and pears. Serves 4. You may also add … Pomegranate seeds Toasted nuts Blue Cheese or Feta cheese crumbles

New England Clam Chowder & New England Seafood Chowder

New England Clam Chowder:

2 slices bacon

1 medium onion, chopped fine

2 (7 ounces each) chopped clams

1 medium potato, thin sliced or shredded on largest holes of grater

2½ to 3 cups milk, 2% milk or ½ and half, or any combination or use 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk and water to equal 2 1/2 cups

Salt and pepper to taste

Old Bay seasoning or Paprikas to serve

Directions: In a large dutch oven, fry bacon and then onion until the onion is tender and the bacon is cooked and crispy. Drain off the bacon grease. Add the shredded potato, the clam juice from the cans of clams and enough water for the liquid to cover the potato completely. Simmer until the potato is tender, 15 to 25 minutes. You may stop at this point and refrigerate until almost ready to serve. Add the clams, milk and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve very hot with a small pat of butter in the center of the chowder with New England Oyster crackers or saltines, and Winter Greens Salad. Serves as a main dish (bowl) and 6 as a cup of soup.

New England Seafood Chowder:

2 slices bacon

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 medium potato, thin sliced or shredded on largest holes of grater

2 1/2 to 3 cups milk, 2%, whole milk, 1/2 and 1/2 or any combination

Salt and Pepper to taste Old Bay Seasoning or Paprika for serving

Directions: Make chowder following directions for Clam Chowder. Use clam juice from both cans of clams, or use bottled clam juice if you are not using clams. Add 8 to 12 ounces cooked white fish filet. Any white fish: sole, talapia, cod or founder. Don’t use salmon or catfish. Cook fish filets for 3 to 5 minutes in the micro-wave until fish flakes easily. Add 6 to 8 ounces cooked, defrosted shrimp, small or chop bite size. Add 1 or 2 cans (6 ounces each) of crab meat to the chowder. Do not use the artificial crabmeat, the chowder will taste funny. You may add any other cooked seafood of choice, scallops, lobster, etc. Heat thoroughly and serve with New England Oyster crackers or saltines, and Winter Greens Salad. Serves 4 as a main dish; 6 as a cup of soup.

Potato Chowder with Ham and Cheese

1 large white onion, chopped

3 tablespoons butter

4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups water 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3 cups whole milk, or 1 14 ounce can evaporated milk and water to make 3 cups liquid

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups chopped deli or baked ham, or cooked crisp bacon, crumbled

1 cup mild cheddar cheese, grated

Garnish with croutons and Mushroom & Red Pepper

Directions: Saute In a heavy duty saucepan, or Dutch oven, over medium-low heat, saute the onion in the butter 10 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the diced potatoes and cook, on very low heat, stirring until the potatoes begin to look soft, about 15 minutes. THEN ADD the water and the 1 teaspoon salt. Scrape up the bottom of the saucepan to stir in the slightly browned bits from the potatoes. Cover, simmer, and cook 15 minutes, or until potatoes are well done. Remove from heat and puree, in a food processor, blender or mash and then press through a sieve. Return to the sauce pan and add the milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to the lowest simmer. Stir in the ham and/or bacon with the cheddar cheese. Heat to serve. Serves 4 to 6. Garnish soup with toasted croutons or Mushroom & Red pepper Saute Mushroom and Red Pepper Saute: 8 to 10 large white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/2 large red bell pepper, stemmed, cored and cut into medium dice 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence or any favorite spice or spice blend Salt and pepper to taste 2 or 3 green onions, sliced , both the green an the white In a heated skillet, add olive oil, add red peppers and saute until softened. Add sliced mushrooms and herbs and spice of choice. Add a small amount of ham if you wish. Cook until mushrooms and peppers are cooked tender. And salt and pepper to taste. Serve with croutons or green onions as the chowder garnish.