RECIPE: Dairy-Free Clam Chowder (my life is complete)

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know my deep love of clam chowder. In fact, the only time I came close to crying when I learned I was allergic to dairy was when I realized that meant I could never have clam chowder again.

Hey, I really like clams. And bacon. And potatoes,celery,onions and carrots.

It was a long, sad, pathetic year before Matt figured out how to make a dairy-free clam chowder that was as good as our old, cream and butter- filled recipe. I knew there was a reason I married him.

We had a few misses and some “something’s missing” versions before getting it right.

And this recipe is right. So, so right.

The only thing that will tell anyone eating it that it’s missing dairy? The color isn’t quite white. Not even close. But one spoonful and no one will care.

AMAZING Dairy Free Clam Chowder

Ingredients:
half pound bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces (if you are allergic to dairy, be sure to purchase either locally processed bacon or bacon labeled “casein free”)
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 carrots, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock (if you are allergic to dairy, be aware that chicken stock, bullion and base almost always contain dairy. The Kitchen Basics brand of stocks and broth is safe. Or just ake you own veggie stock and use that)
2 (10 ounce) cans chopped clams in juice (strain out clams, reserve juice)*
1 cup coconut milk (use canned coconut milk, like Taste of Thai)
2 bay leaves
1 pound baby red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Red wine vinegar to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a cast iron skillet or French oven, cook bacon until crispy. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.
In a large pot, heat the reserved 2 tablespoons of bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots and saute until softened.
Stir in the flour. Stir for a minute so flour heats through.
Add the chicken stock, the juice from the clams (reserve clams for step 7), coconut milk, bay leaves, and potatoes. Stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are tender.
Add clams and bacon, cook 2 more minutes.
Season with vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with sour dough bread.

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The 14 most interesting things of the past 14 months

Back to our regularly scheduled blogging

Back to our regularly scheduled blogging

Sorry that took longer than I planned, but I’m back, have a lot of new recipes and stories to share, a lot more energy (more on that later) and a lot of catching up to do… So let’s get to it.

Here are the 14 most interesting things to happen in my life in the last 14 months since closing the blog. Photos coming…

14) I closed this blog because I applied for a job. A job-job. A job working with college journalists again. So, obviously, I didn’t want them to see my personal, me-in-all-my-Anthony Bourdain-lovin’-glory, un-edited and un-spell checked ramblings. But if they wanted my banana bread recipe, that would have been OK.

13) Despite it being a national search, I got the job. And this blog stayed closed. Because ain’t nothing more awkward than some snoopy, cyber-stalky college journalists knowing all about your Anthony Bourdain obsession.

12) So we packed up and moved across the country. With seven hermit crabs.

Being crabby is contagious

Being crabby is contagious

11) And we had two choices for where to live: a college apartment, or a McMansion in the country. We chose the mansion.

10) The mansion was so big we only used two of the floors. Once, as we were walking some friends out through the unused bottom floor and through the garage, a tumbleweed actually crossed in front of us. IN THE GARAGE.
# Truestory

9) The mansion had two jetted tubs. And three fireplaces, one of which was in a bathroom. I knew I wasn’t classy enough to live in a mansion when I couldn’t stop myself from telling people that and then insisting on showing them. I mean, a fireplace in.the.bathroom.

8)Despite the mansion being for sale for six years before we moved in, and being assured it wouldn’t sell while we were there, someone else thought it was beautiful, too, and bought it. We have the magic touch?

7)So we moved again (that’s five times, just since I started this blog). This time, we’re in a downtown industrial loft apartment. ‘Cause that’s the one kind of place we haven’t lived in before.

6) I bought a white couch.
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5)My white couch is in my kitchen.

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4) Or my kitchen is in my living room. We aren’t sure which.
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3) We’re pretty sure the white couch deserves its own blog. Because, white couch.

2) Did I mention we have totally re-learned how to cook and bake according to my crazy dairy allergy? And that I lost 35lbs? And every single health problem I had before is now gone? Don’t worry, we’ll talk more about all that later.

1) and finally… Twelve hours before I was scheduled to have my gallbladder out, Logan ended up having an emergency appendectomy. In the same hospital. With the same anesthesiologists. I told him he cut in line. Since he was wheeled straight from the ER into the OR, and the gown was so big on him, the nurses gave him some XS scrubs to wear after he woke up from surgery. After I got out of surgery, and Matt was sitting by my side, we heard Logan’s little scratchy voice asking for us on the other side of the curtain. With the help of a nurse, he had walked all the way from his hospital room to mine, clear across the hospital, just to check on his mom.

That’s my sweet guy.

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And then everything changed

About the same time I “temporarily” closed this blog 14 months ago, I also learned I was allergic to dairy.

Oh. God.

Goodbye cheese.
Goodbye milk.
Goodbye ranch dressing, ice cream, most chocolates and butter.
Goodbye yogurt (yes, even yogurt)
Goodbye store bought bullion and bases and broth.
Goodbye non- kosher meats (seriously.)
Goodbye goat cheese. And sheeps cheese and “moisturizing milk and honey” soap.
Goodbye margarine and sour cream and canned soups.
Goodbye baking and cooking as I knew it.

A lot has happened over the last year, but most importantly, Matt and I have completely relearned how to make food. And make it good. Really good.

So from now on, that’s what you’re gonna find here: dairy-free recipes that taste like you’d expect on this blog.

Dairy-free recipes everyone wants to eat.

I will leave the old ones up, too. Just because I can’t eat them anymore doesn’t mean you can’t. But all the new ones will be completely free of whey and casein.