1880’s Philadelphia Clam Chowder

mincing clams

mincing fresh razor clams

This great chowder is adapted from a recipe in Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book, which was originally published in 1880, by Washburn Crosby Co., the makers of what we now know as Gold Medal flour. I have a facsimile of this, which was printed in the mid-twentieth century.  (This collection also includes my all-time favorite oatmeal cookie, which I will share at a later date.)

I have enlarged upon this 19th century creation by adding such flavor/texture enhancers as garlic, onion, celery, and unpeeled potatoes.  Miss Parloa calls this receipt ‘Philadelphia’ clam chowder; it introduces the technique of straining the clams, thus lending a delicate touch to the fish soup.  I am not a big fan of clam chowder, but I love this because of its mellowness!

There is much to be said about the distinctive flavors of shellfish and fish.  Harold McGee shares this apt science in his treatise On Food and Cooking.  He teaches why ocean and freshwater creatures vary so greatly in taste, the former having a much stronger bite.

Ocean water is about 3% salt by weight, while the optimum level of all dissolved minerals inside of animal cells is less than 1%.  Consequently ocean creatures need to balance this substantial salt mineral that they are breathing in and swallowing; they do this with amino acids, amines, and urea, which their bodies produce.

Behold, these substances have different flavors!  For example the amino acid glycine is sweet, while glutamic acid is savory; shellfish are especially rich in these and other amino acids.  Unlike shellfish, finfish rely heavily on the amine TMAO,  which is largely tasteless, for processing salt.  Sharks, skates, and rays make ready the salt water with a slightly salty and bitter urea.  However, this urea and the amine TMAO are converted into stinky substances, by bacteria and fish enzymes, in these respective, dead, ocean-dwelling fish; thus, once they are killed, their meat tastes and smells powerfully bad with age, while that of their freshwater relatives doesn’t.

Freshwater fish have a gentler effect on our taste buds, because the water they live in is actually less salty than that of their cells; therefore, they do not need to accumulate these pungent amino acids, amines, or urea, which their ocean-dwelling cousins require to process the dissolved mineral salt.

You can see that different shellfish and fish supply our mouths with unique experiences.  Seawater varieties use a diversity of amino acids, amines, and urea to balance the salt in their cellular systems; these differing substances boast of wide variety of powerful tastes.  Their freshwater counterparts, which don’t require these salt equalizers, are bland by comparison.1

Miss Parloa counters the strong flavor of clam chowder by straining the clams, removing their excess liquid, which has an abundance of the above mentioned amino acids.  I take this illustrious chef’s simple inspiration and provide an even richer experience, with additional textures and mouth-watering thrills.  You’ll like this delicious, yet mild, chowder!

  1. Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984, 2004),  pp. 188-189.

Philadelphia Clam Chowder  Adapted from a recipe in Miss Parloa’s Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book (Silver Dollar City, MO: Washburn-Crosby Co., 1880).  Yields: 8 servings.  Total prep time: 1 hr & 30 min/  active prep time: 30 min/  cooking time: 1 hr.

Note: you may make 2/3’s of this recipe, if you don’t have large enough pots for the makeshift double boiler (see step 1 for photo and directions).

1 1/2 tbsp oil  (Coconut or avocado oil is best.)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

6 ounce drained weight minced clams, or 3-6.5 ounce cans, strained  (May use 6 ounces fresh razor clams, chopped fine, see top photo.)

2 stalks celery, chopped fine

3 tbsp parsley, chopped fine

1 lb potatoes, unpeeled, cut in small pieces

5 large cloves garlic, minced  (May use 3 cubes of frozen garlic from Trader Joe’s for easy prep.)

1 1/2 quarts milk

1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste  (Real Salt is best; available in health section of local supermarkets.)

1/2 tsp white pepper, or to taste

  1. make-shift double boiler

    make-shift double boiler

    Heat coconut oil in a 4-quart pot that will sit inside a slightly larger pot to make a double boiler.  See photo.  (If you don’t have two large pots, you may make 2/3’s of the recipe to fit in a 2 1/2-quart saucepan, which in turn will rest over boiling water in a larger pot.)

  2. When a small piece of onion sizzles in oil, add the rest of the onions and sweat (cook until translucent).  Remove from heat when done.
  3. Fill larger pot 2/5’s full of water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Meantime melt butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat.  Add flour and stir constantly with a wire whisk, cook until light brown in color, set aside.
  5. Spray celery, parsley, and potatoes with inexpensive, effective vegetable spray: fill a spray bottle with a mixture of 97% distilled white vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide; spray vegetables and let sit for 3 min; rinse really well.  Meantime go to next step.
  6. Drain canned clams in a colander.  If using fresh razor clams, drain and chop fine (see top photo).
  7. Chop all vegetables and garlic; add to cooked onions, which have been removed from heat.
  8. Add milk, clams, salt, and pepper to the pan of vegetables.  Fit this smaller pan into the larger pot, so it sits above the boiling water (see photo).  Watch water level while cooking to make sure water doesn’t boil dry.  Cook chowder until potatoes are soft, about 50 minutes.
  9. Beat in roux (butter/flour mixture) with a big spoon, cooking 5 more minutes, or until soup is thickened.  Stir constantly.
  10. Adjust seasonings and serve.  You may freeze leftovers.  When you heat thawed chowder, it will be of a thinner consistency.  If desired, you may thicken with a small amount of roux-about 1 tbsp of melted butter cooked with an equal amount of flour.  This amount will be adequate to thicken 4 leftover servings; see step 3 for details on thickening with roux.
  11. I am passionate about this soup!

Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup

butternut squash soup

My creative sister concocted this heavenly soup and gave the recipe to me years ago.  It has frequently graced my table, where my guests experience God’s peace.

Someone once said that a meal at my home is like going to a spiritual spa.  With God’s help, I nourish both the body and soul elegantly!

My vision for this blog is to sustain people with wholesome food through the written word; thus, they will build strong bodies.

However, I am fully aware that a vibrant physique isn’t enough to insure complete health-that of body, mind, emotions, relationships, and finances.  How clear it is: we miss the totality of this by lack of knowledge!  My desire is that vital truth, which sets people free, will be revealed to all.

A specific prayer, which establishes this verity, has come to me in a Scripture.  I see a means for the Spirit of God to release this needed life, to everyone, in Isaiah 30:21, KJV: …yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: and thine ears shall hear the word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

Indeed only God can liberate all.  We as individuals can directly reach but a few. However the Holy Spirit can move without restriction, when our faith releases him to do so. Our petitions can reach every last man on earth with the power of his word, when we ask believing.

My lavish meals feed many, both physically and spiritually; my blog contacts a good number more.  However, my prayers expand to Uganda, England, Germany, Peru, Kenya-to mention a few of the nations that constitute the cry of my heart. Our absolute faith in the word provides for the desperate in India, whom I have carefully covered for years.

Our Father redeems all that we ask for in complete trust.  This is his greatest pleasure and highest priority.  My steadfast petition is that my writings/recipes will eradicate our health deficiencies-first those in our bodies and then in every other area of our lives.  God bless our journey together in this!

My favorite way to entertain is by having only one or two guests: the conversation is most intimate then.  I always keep individual containers of soup, which hold 2-3 servings, in my freezer; thus, it is easy to serve at my small dinner parties.

I suggest you buy a five-pound squash and save one pound of it for next week’s recipe, sautéed squash with curried yogurt sauce.  If you have leftovers of the soup, freeze some for unexpected visitors.

pot of butternut squash soup

pot of butternut squash soup

Butternut Squash Soup  Yields: 8 servings.  Total preparation time: 1 ½ hr/ active prep time: 30 min/ cooking time: 1 hr.

4 tbsp oil  (Coconut or avocado oil is best.)

2 large onions, halved at root and sliced thinly

4 lb butternut squash, unpeeled and cut in chunks  (I prefer organic; you may buy an extra pound to cover next week’s recipe.)

2 quarts bone broth  (See recipe for this power food at Tortellini Soup, 2016/10/10, or substitute two 1-liter boxes of chicken broth.)

2 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp dried ginger

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

4 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine

4 tsp salt, or to taste  (Real Salt is best; available in the health section of your local supermarket.)

½ tsp white pepper, or to taste

  1. Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add a small piece of onion; when it sizzles, add the rest of the onions and sweat (cook until translucent).
  2. Meanwhile clean squash with an inexpensive, effective vegetable spray (a mixture of 97% white distilled vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide); spray squash, let sit for 3 minutes, rinse extra well.
  3. Cut unpeeled squash in chunks.  Be sure to remove the seeds first.  Add to cooked onions.
  4. Pour broth in pot.  Add spices, fresh ginger, salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil.  Simmer for 40-50 minutes, or until squash is very soft. (See above photo.)  Remove from heat.
  6. Puree with an immersion blender.  (This is also known as a blender-on-a-stick; available at Bed, Bath and Beyond at a moderate price.)
  7. Adjust seasonings, serve hot, freeze any leftovers.

Medieval Perrey of Peson Soup

Perrey of peson soup

perrey of peson soup

This heavenly soup is from the late 14th century manuscript collection titled the Forme of Cury (Manner of Cookery).  King Richard II, who reigned in England from 1377-99, requested the compilation of the methods of food preparation from his grand court. This record of 196 recipes resulted.  He was an extravagant king who daily dined with over 10,000 guests.  It took 300 cooks to prepare his extraordinary meals.  These manuscript receipts providentially allow us to replicate, in part, the flavor of his feasts.

Lorna Sass discovered two volumes published by the Early English Text Society, while she was researching at the Columbia University library in the early 1970’s. They were filled with Medieval manuscript recipes; among them was the Forme of Cury. She published a number of these in To the King’s Taste in 1975.  Here she includes both the original version in Middle English and her translation of that. This is followed by her developed cooking instructions based on a 70’s kitchen.  Her goal was to plainly duplicate these exceptional tastes as closely as possible.

I have simplified several of her recipes even further; my versions utilize our modernized conveniences nearly fifty years hence.  Perrey of Peson, puree of pea soup, is my first inspiration.  The flavor here is much the same that our illustrious king experienced.  However I substituted dried peas for the shelling of fresh ones; thus, this distinctive soup is available year round.  Poetic license had me choose yellow peas instead of green.  Either will do.

The basic techniques for preparation in medieval times were much the same as today. There was paraboyling, bakying, stewying, scaldying, broyliying, tostying, fryeing, boilleing, and roosting.  However these manuscript recipes only document vague preparatory steps with the needed ingredients.  There were no quantities and not many details.  Below is an example: here you’ll find this soup’s receipt given in its entirety as taken from Sass’ book:

“Take peson and seeth hemsaft and cover hem til thei berst.  Thenne take up hem, and cole hem thorgh a cloth; take oynons, and mynce hem, and seeth hem in the same sew and oile therewith,; cast thereto sugar, salt, and saffron, and seeth hem wel thereafter, and serve hem forth.”

Indeed let us serve this forth!

A pot of perrey of peson soup

a pot of perrey of peson soup

Perry of Peson  Yields: 8 servings.  Total prep time: 1 hr & 20 min/  active prep time: 20 min/  cooking time: 1 hr.  This puree of pea soup is adapted from a manuscript recipe from Lorna Sass’  To the King’s Taste (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975).

2 tbsp oil  (Coconut or avocado oil is best; olive oil at high temperatures produces carcinogens.)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 cups dried yellow peas  (Available in bulk at Winco; may substitute dried green peas; I choose these yellow peas, though the manuscript recipe calls for fresh peas.)

2 quarts bone broth or 2 liter-boxes chicken broth (See recipe under Tortellini Soup, 2016/10/10, for easy, inexpensive bone broth.)

2 cups water

scant 1/4 tsp saffron threads  (Spanish saffron available inexpensively at Trader Joe’s.)

2 tbsp brown sugar, packed down in spoon  (May also use sucanat, evaporated cane juice, which is close to what they used in the 14th century.)

Season with Better Than Bouillon, a healthy chicken base  (Most grocery stores carry this.)

White pepper and salt, to taste  (Real Salt is best, available in health section at local supermarket.)

  1. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan, add onions, and sweat (cook until translucent).
  2. Add peas; stir to coat with oil.
  3. Add broth, water, and saffron; bring to a boil over medium temperature; reduce heat and simmer at a low boil for 1 hour, or until peas are very soft.  DO NOT ADD SALT WHILE COOKING, AS PEAS WON’T SOFTEN.
  4. Add brown sugar when peas are soft.
  5. Next season with a small amount of Better Than Bouillon; taste and add more slowly.  Add white pepper and, finally, salt to taste.  Add these last three items slowly, adjusting as you go, until desired taste is achieved.
  6. Take off heat and puree with a stick blender, also known as an immersion blender, available at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
  7. Check seasonings again, serve hot.  Freezes really well also.  Explodes with flavor!

Tortellini Sausage Soup and Bone Broth

pot of tortellini soup

I first had this soup in the pleasing home of a beloved friend.  Her husband was dying of cancer and I was there ministering to them and they to me: she was letting me do my laundry, while I helped to cook and clean.  We also had a time of deep prayer, as we cried out for healing grace.

This friend’s other half died shortly thereafter.  His funeral was a celebration of goodness and life.  It was my favorite funeral ever!  God’s love was there. However I experienced a mingling of confusion admits the joy: why death?

I have since learned the answer at Abundant Life Family Church.  It is never our Father’s will that anyone die before fullness of age.  The Bible teaches us precisely how to avoid all ruin.  It warns us that we are destroyed by lack of knowledge.  Its directions educate us on how to avoid destruction, with exacting instructions for receiving abundant life.

Back then, my friends and I didn’t have enough wisdom to overcome death’s fierce attack.  Today I can say that I have the knowledge to overcome anything, in Jesus Christ’s name.  This is solely because of the truth taught from the Word of God at my church.  Now I am strong and can stand in the face of all adversity.  And I do just that!

My most prized wedding took place months after this favored funeral at my old church.  The size of this celebration of matrimony was extremely small.  Just a handful of attenders.  But God was present!  The Spirit spoke to my heart in every fine detail of this ceremony.  The vows spoken, the songs sung, the exquisite food, the fellowship… were all an expression of the one true Word.  They shouted vibrant blessing.

I experienced jubilee this day.  At the time, I thought there is redemption of the loss of my friend:  A wealthy wedding followed the holy funeral.  However this recovery was in mere seed form, as all truth starts.  Now there is fullness of this hope.  I am no longer a victim of destruction, for I have authority over the enemy of my soul.

This I learned at Abundant Life Family Church.  I invite you to browse the web and listen to teachings at alfc.net.

My friend instructed me how to make this tortellini soup six years ago amidst cleaning and laundry.  Then it nourished our bodies and souls, even during trauma. Here I have elaborated on this recipe bringing yet more vitality.  The most important change is homemade bone broth.  How it generates length of days!

Bone broth is a power food.  Eight ounces of chicken stock has one gram of protein, while bone broth has nine grams per cup!  It impacts our health by aiding digestion, overcoming food intolerances, boosting the immune system, improving joint pain, and reducing cellulite.

I encourage you to take advantage of leftover bones.  Start making this super stock with the easy guidelines listed below.  Bon appetit!

Tortellini soup

tortellini soup

Tortellini Sausage Soup  Yields: 64 ounces or 8 servings.  Total prep time: 1 hour;  active prep time: 30 min;  cooking time: 30 min.

2 tbsp oil  (Coconut or avocado oil is best.)

1 medium/large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, diagonally sliced

1 stalk celery, sliced at a diagonal

10-14 ounces Keilbasa sausage, or a natural sausage, sliced diagonally

scant 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice

scant 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper

1 1/2 quarts bone broth, recipe below  (You may substitute 1-liter box of chicken broth plus 1-15 ounce can.)

6 ounces of frozen spinach or kale  (Organic frozen kale is available in health section at our local Fred Meyer’s.)

1-15 ounce can of kidney beans, or beans of your choice, drained well  (Simple Truth organic beans are good and inexpensive; available at local Fred Meyer’s.)

1 cup dried cheese-filled tortellini  (This is available at Trader Joe’s; may also use frozen tortellini.)

1 tsp salt, or to taste  (Real Salt is best; available in nutrition center of local supermarket.)

1 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat; add onions, when a piece sizzles, and sweat (cook until translucent).
  2. Add carrot, celery, and sausage.  Cook for a total of 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add Chinese Five Spice and red pepper; cook 2 more minutes.
  4. Add broth and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  5. Add spinach or kale, tortellini, and beans.  Bring to a second boil.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until greens are limp and pasta is soft.
  6. Add salt, adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Bone Broth  Yields: 2-3 quarts.  Total prep time: 13-25 hrs/  active prep time: 30 min/ inactive prep time: 30 min/  cooking time: 12-24 hrs.  (Note: may be made ahead and frozen in quart-size containers.)

3 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar per chicken carcass, or 6 tbsp per turkey carcass (Raw cider vinegar is most cost efficient at Trader Joe’s.)

3 leftover chicken carcasses, or 1 large turkey carcass, broken in pieces  (May freeze until ready to use.)

2 large yellow onions, quartered

4 stalks celery with leaves, cleaned and chopped in 2 inch pieces

4 large carrots, cleaned, skin scraped off, and chopped in chunks

8 large cloves of garlic

  1. Fill an all-metal stock pot one third full of water.  Stir in vinegar.  Place poultry carcasses in water.  You may break the bones, so they fit compactly in pot. Add more water to cover carcasses and stir well.  You’ll need room in pot for the vegetables later.  Let sit 30 minutes.  (The vinegar draws out the nutrients from the bone marrow.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. After 30 minutes, add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic to the pot, cover with water.  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
  4. Turn temperature down to 300 degrees.  Cook for a total of 12 to 24 hours.
  5. Add more water periodically, to keep the bones covered.  However don’t add any more water the last 6 hours of cooking.  This will aid in reducing broth.
  6. Strain when done.  If needed, reduce to 3 quarts of liquid if using 3 chicken carcasses, or 2 quarts liquid per turkey carcass.  Freezes well.