Friday, January 22, 2010


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)

~ 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)


Carol said...

Breathtaking collages Joey! The most beautiful kaleidoscope like I have ever seen. Being allergic to dairy I always substitute soy or olive oil for your milk and butter... still I am sure with Clam chowder there is no worthy substitute. ;>( Lovely post!

D said...

um, um, um... New England Clam Chowder... what's not to love? You are indeed the master of collage. ;)

marmee said...


these collages are so amazing. i love white flowers. i found a site to make collages...called shape was fairly easy to use.
clam chowder sounds so good.
hope all is well with you in the new year.

lindalou said...

Great photo collage. I really like white flowers. I've always like the idea of a white flowerbed.

Anonymous said...

Oh those white flowers are just a tonic, Joey! Clam chowder sounds delightful about now. I always get hungry when reading your posts! :-)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Wow. You can even make white flowers beautiful. I'm not a fan simply because I live in a ski resort so I see white, in the form of snow, for too many months. Anyhoo... I'm looking at this recipe and planning to make it but I may have to 86 you! I'm allegedly counting my calories tho every time I visit you I'm tempted to go hog wild! :)

Unknown said...

Makes me want an all white garden even more.

Unknown said...

Beautiful photos, and it sounds like a great recipe! If I can put in my "two cents worth" as someone who grew up on the coast of New England, it's worth paying the fishmonger to shell the clams! If they're doing it fresh, it will save the cook the inevitable bloody hands!

joey said...

How kind, Carol, thank you. I just returned from viewing your stunning post, happy to see Marmee's helpful comment. Aren't we all blessed to be connected?

To me, Di, Friday shouts ... SEAFOOD SUPPER, this being a warming winter favorite'

Me too, Lindalou, plus the added gift of glowing in the dark!

Thanks for the 'hot tip', Marmee. So far so good this new year, especially loved arriving at the lake, greeted by a stunning sunset!

You are a dear, Frances. I just returned from your thought-provoking post ... YOU feed our minds and souls and have given me much to think about :)

Thank you, Kate. I'm a lover of white flowers, especially in a too powerful colorful summer garden. Just arrived at our cottage at the lake, 3 1/2 hours north, hoping to snowshow but, alas, though the ground is covered, not enough to play in :)

joey said...

I agree, white is wonderful, Michelle!

Believe me, Tim, we learned our lesson many years ago! Mr. Ho-Hum still has scars from shucking :( One of the best clam chowders ever eaten was in Newport ...

Lucy Corrander said...

Imagine having these converted into ceramic tiles so you could have real wall of them in your house!


Victoria said...

What a beautiful white mosaic..stunning! Fanulous job! White in such abundance is truly powerful! Awesome! Great recipe too!

joey said...

Great idea, Lucy ... hum ...

Thanks, Kiki! Loved your colorful rainbow post.

Shady Gardener said...

Joey, Your white collages look like wedding days... ;-)

The essay was great - the earthworms here have really been multiplying these past few years. However, last Fall a MOLE discovered them and tunneled wildly around our yard. I'm going to be very aggressive this Spring!! A Vow!!! lol?

donna said...

I've never eaten clam chowder and probably never will.

White flowers are my favorite and it felt like I hit the jackpot with this lovely post. All of the blooms are so special looking.


joey said...

Fun thought, Shady! Good luck conquering those moles that have been a huge issue here at the lake! One year, after trying many remedies (bombs, bubble gum, etc.), Mr. Ho-Hum drove up and down the huge lawn smothering holes in our SUV (actually, it worked :)

Thanks, dear Donna. Though this chowder is not for everyone's taste, OK with me; I love you just the way you are :)

Rose said...

Joey, I love your interpretation of winter whites! Wintry snow scenes may be pretty, but they can't hold a candle to these white blooms. The quote is a great reminder that the garden is actually preparing itself in this cold month for the upcoming season. Besides, anyone with the same first name as me must know what she's talking about:)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Joey, your white collages are very elegant. The white tulips really caught my eye. That is one thing my garden lacks, white tulips.

joey said...

I love the quote also, dear Rosalie :) I adore white flowers both inside and out so these photos were a joy to collect and showcase.

I'm honored, thank you, Marnie! Surrounded in outside world of gaudy holiday glitter, white tulips and fresh greens are a must in my home during the holidays. Give them a try ... I think you will be pleasantly pleased.

Marysol said...

Sorry my friend, clams and I don't see eye to eye. But, I'm just as happy ogling your ethereal collages!

joey said...

Thanks, dear Marysol ... happy to see you snuck some borrowed time on your shared computer! said...

Hi Joey; Mention of clam chowder or just the word "cherrystones" conjures up me as a little kid on Long Island Sound catching flounders on hand drop lines with my grandfather, and digging clams. I was pretty small when I learned to shuck clams and back then raw fish was not the worry it is today. Those memories passed quickly when we moved to Vermont and I quickly asked "No ocean?"

Your collages are great as always. I'd like to secretly slide a picture of a Eucharis grandiflorum into the mix of whites. They are always soothing, peaceful, comforting. The last of my white amaryllis have passed. Maybe time to make a pot of chowder. But it doesn't last long either.

Be well!
George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

joey said...

Hi George! Delighted to hear from you and you are so right, Eucharis grandiflorum is indeed a handsome plant, one that I have never owned :( How are you surviving this raw winter? A bowl of steamy chowder sounds like perfect fare for today, in the low teens!