Thursday, September 17, 2009


Last Saturday we hosted a clam bake. Well, not so much a clam bake since we live 3+ hours from the nearest beach, more like a clam boil.

This was the second year we hosted this one-pot clam bake. It was said that this little party is now a yearly event. It was said by one of our guests.

That is a picture of the clams cleaning themselves. Supposedly, if you soak clams in water, sprinkled with corn meal, the clams will spit out the sand from within their shells. I don't think we soaked them enough.

The picture is a picture of me playing with the camera. The Pioneer Woman suggested taking food pictures using natural light, no flash. So I did. And my picture looks like I used no flash and have no idea how to use the natural light. :::sigh:::

And, that is the one and only picture I took to record this year's clam bake, um one-pot clam boil. Which is one picture more then I took last year. So, if for no other reason, we need to host the party for at least one more year so I can take more then one picture.

Apparently I'm not the only one forgetting to take pictures. I cruised the web looking for pictures to accompany the recipe I'm about to post, but couldn't find one.

OK, enough about the lack of pictures. As far as party preparation goes, this one is a cinch. A little cleaning, a little cutting, throw it all in a pot, let it cook, and eat.

2 pounds small new potatoes
8 ounces Spanish chorizo or kielbasa, sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 12-ounce bottle lager beer
4 bay leaves
kosher salt and pepper
8 ears corn, cut into thirds
2 pounds large shrimp, shells on
4 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 baguettes, warmed
2 sticks butter, melted

1. Heat grill to high. (We cooked ours on the stove)

2. In an 11-quart stockpot (a very big pot, the largest you have), combine the potatoes, chorizo, onion, beer, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add just enough water to cover the potatoes. Add the corn, shrimp, and clams in layers.

3. Cover the pot. cook on the grill until the clams open, the shrimp are opaque, and the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. (Or cook on the stove over medium-high heat. On our stove, and in our really big pots, it takes 60 minutes to cook.)

4. Transfer to a large platter and serve with the bread and butter.

I found the recipe in a Real Simple magazine. The nice thing about repeating a theme party is that you learn what works, and what to adjust. Last year we made three pots of food, only ate two and over-cooked the third. This year we made two pots; cooked a few less potatoes, a few extra corn cobs and an extra 2lbs of shrimp ... perfect!

The recipe says it serves 8 people. That is if you serve absolutely nothing else. We ask friends to bring a side dish to share.

Is this common, to ask your guests to bring food? Maybe it is a Mennonite thing? When our group of friends get together for a party it becomes a pot luck, so to speak.

We also borrow a friend's fire pit and have s'more fixin's available. Last year the kids discovered the fun of flaming balls of sugar. This year we remembered to discuss fire/marshmallow safety before allowing ANYONE to roast a marshmallow.

Now I need to write down all these notes so I remember them for next year. I need to write them all down, including how many people we fed, where I can find them for next year.

It's nice to re-host a theme party because you learn from each party what you can improve for next year. However, it is only helpful if you can remember what you learned from the year before. And, since I can't remember to take pictures of the party, I'm pretty sure I won't remember any of this by next year.


Anonymous said...

It's not a clam bake without a little grit in the food. Can't wait for next year!

Jolanthe said...

We had fun!! :) And thankfully I could unload some more rhubarb....heehee