January is the quietest month in the garden. ...
But just because it looks quiet doesn't mean that nothing is happening.
The soil, open to the sky,
absorbs the pure rainfall
while microorganisms convert tilled-under
fodder into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants.
The feasting earthworms tunnel along,
aerating the soil and preparing it to
welcome the seeds and bare roots to come.
~ Rosalie Muller Wright (Editor of Sunset Magazine)
NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER
~ a piping hot bowl of creamy chowder warms both body and spirit (The New Basics Cookbook)
2 dozen well scrubbed cherrystone clams
2 cups water
8 oz. slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large onions (about 4 cups), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
6 peeled potatoes (about 4 cups), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
- Place clams in large soup pot along with the 2 cups of water. Cover and cook over medium heat until clams open. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Discard any that don't open.
- Remove clams from shells and coarsely chop the clams. Strain; reserve the broth.
- Cook bacon in the soup pot over low heat until fat is rendered and bacon is wilted and slightly browned on the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Add butter and onions and cook, stirring, until onions are wilted, 10 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring another 5 minutes.
- Add reserved clam broth, potatoes, thyme, and pepper simmer 5 minutes longer.
- Add reserved chopped clams and simmer, stirring often, until they ar tender, 12-15 minutes. Do not overcook or clams will be tough.
- Add milk and cream and stir well over very low heat until hot. Do no boil or soup will curdle. Adjust seasonings, stir in parsley and serve immediately. (10-12 servings)