Kitchen clambake

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What says summer more than a clambake? NOTHING! Well, maybe BBQ chicken, ice cream, popsicles, hamburgers, hotdogs, corndogs, corn, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, s'mores...you get the picture. But, clambakes are pretty darn summery. And did you know how easy they are? Super easy.

We've been using Martha Stewart's method for years and it's a pretty no-fail recipe as long as you cook things in the right order. However, Martha's recipe is HUGE and requires an extra large pot, which we don't have. Also, there are only three of us. So, I've scaled this one back and added some more tips to make sure you aren't overcooking any of the seafood.

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Also, this meal is so so quick to prepare and easy to clean up, leaving more time for all things summer.

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A couple of notes:
- Feel free to sub in water or stock instead if you want to avoid alcohol. But rest assured that the booze cooks out with the heat AND, the beer is only there for flavoring in the steam; You aren't actually eating it.
- Use the smallest potatoes you can find. If you have even golf ball sized potatoes, I would halve or quarter them to ensure that they cook enough.
- Clean the clams or mussels well. I like to put them all in a large pot of cool water a few hours before we cook them to let the shells open to release the sand.
- Swap in mussels for the clams or use a combination of both, but only use 1 lb. You can also use scallops, squid, or octopus in place of, or in combination with, the shrimp. I don't always love steaming those three because there's a thin margin of error for overcooking and turning them really tough, but if you like their flavor, go for it! But also use a total of 1 lb with those or a combination. 
- Don't skip the garlic butter for serving. This recipe is great without it, but the garlic butter takes it right over the top.
- For a dairy-free option, use clarified butter instead of regular butter. 

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Stovetop clambake

1 large onion
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup beer
1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
1 lb small potatoes (if slightly bigger, like the size of a golf ball, quarter the potatoes before cooking) 
8 oz sausage, cut into chunks (whatever your favorites are: I like chorizo or andouille. Just make sure it’s in a casing)
2 lobster tales (about 8-10 oz total)
1 lb clams or mussels (or a combination)
2-3 ears of corn cut in half or thirds
1 lb shrimp, in or out of the shell

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
Fresh parsley (optional; I left it out because I generally dislike parsley)
1 large lemon
Old bay seasoning

Chop the onions and smash the garlic. Add to a large pot with beer, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. (You still want some vigorous bubbling, but you don’t want too much of the liquid to evaporate.) Cover with a steamer basket (or, as we did, a small pizza sheet because we couldn't find the steamer basket. Whoops.)

Add the potatoes, sausage, and lobster tails to the steamer. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the shells start to turn orangey red.

Add the clams (or other hard-shelled seafood like mussels) and the corn. Steam for another 6-8 minutes until the shells open. Discard any shells that remain closed.

Add the shrimp (or other soft shelled or de-shelled seafood) and cook for about 4 more minutes until the shrimp is pink all over.  

While making the seafood, melt the butter in a ramekin and add the chopped garlic and parsley (if using). Stir to combine and set aside.

Dump out the seafood, veggies, and sausage onto a large, parchment-covered sheet pan. Sprinkle with old bay seasoning to taste. Serve with lemon wedges, extra old bay, and garlic butter.

Yield: A lot. This recipe comfortably feeds 2 adults and 2 kids, likely with leftovers.

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Shrimp and black bean burgers

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Shrimp is one of the things that M will almost always eat. Almost. He likes them cooked any way and in any flavor combination. But you know what? I worry about shrimp. There's a lot of variety and choice at the supermarket and it's hard to know what's best. Fresh or frozen? Large or small? Shells or no shells? Pink, white, tiger, or rock? Wild or farmed? Do I really need to spend $40 a pound? See? It's crazy making. I did a little (very very little) bit of research and there are a few guides out there to help determine what's right for you.

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Once you figure it out (or not, sometimes you just have to choose your choice and be done with it), these shrimp and black bean burgers are tasty and easy and summery and healthy. They're gluten-free because corn flour or corn meal are your binder. And though there's a long list of spices in there, the end result is subtle and complex, considering. 

And the chives add a nice green note to the burgers, but if you don't have any or can't find any, scallions are a nice substitution.

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A note about your choice of corn meal vs corn flour: I've made these with the the finest corn flour and the coarsest corn meal and they're good either way, so use what you have on hand. Just know that the finer the corn flour or meal, the better the patties stick together. The coarse meal works well, but you may have a bit of breakage in the cooking process.

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Black bean and shrimp burgers

12 oz shrimp, uncooked
12 large or 20 small chives, torn or chopped into large pieces
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp Mexican oregano
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup corn flour or meal
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
lime wedges for serving

If using frozen shrimp, defrost in lukewarm water and squeeze lightly before measuring.

Add whole raw shrimp to a food processor with the chives and the spices and pulse about 10-12 times until the spices are distributed and the shrimp are chopped into medium pieces.

Turn the shrimp mixture out into a bowl and add the eggs, cornmeal, and black beans. Mix well, smashing some of the beans with your spoon or spatula.

Form into 12 balls or patties (about a heaping ¼ each) and chill for 20 minutes.

Heat a skillet with some oil over medium heat. When ready turn heat down to medium low and brown on one side for 3-5 minutes. Flip the patties and repeat on the other side. Cover the pan, turn heat down slightly, and cook for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through. (I usually just split one open to test it.) 

Yield: 12 patties

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Citrus salad

Citrus salad | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant salad is a dinner salad that actually fills you up. And what a celebration of citrus season! #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #salad #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #saladrecipes #shrimp #shrimprecipes

Day 13: This is the part of Whole 30 when I start feeling like a toddler. I look at an egg and think "I don't WANNA." I'm like M when he asks to "go out" 400 times with increasing urgency each time, and then REFUSES to put on his shoes or walk down the stairs. I'm not even craving anything forbidden, I'm just mad about this choice that I've made and the rules that I've chosen to follow...wait...huh? I'm doing this to myself?

I've been thinking about immediate versus delayed gratification a lot lately as I try to decode both my toddler's crazy behavior and my own. In the example above, M wants to go out for some vague, hypothetical fun that isn't yet happening, but his other immediate desires (to continue playing, to avoid unpleasant tasks like putting on shoes and walking down stairs) interfere. He wants the results without the work. This feels a lot like cleaning up your diet. I want to be a healthy person, but sometimes it feels like a gargantuan task to resist the wine or cheese or pizza or cookies or hell, even sushi, that might interfere with that goal (as I've conceptualized it for myself for the next 17 days. I DO think I can be a healthy person in the future with all of those currently off-limits foods included, but really, 30 days is not a long time.)

So, I'm adding to Tuesday's list of reasons why I'm doing Whole 30. If I can practice restraint in various areas of my life, hopefully I'll set a better example for M as he grows up. Adulting is about dealing with the bleh stuff on the road to the good stuff and if he sees me not checking my phone every time my text bings or indulging every craving that breezes through my brain, he'll be better at delaying gratification too. And maybe one day he'll put his freaking shoes on without a fight.

Citrus salad | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant salad is a dinner salad that actually fills you up. And what a celebration of citrus season! #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #salad #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #saladrecipes #shrimp #shrimprecipes

That said, this salad is pretty gratifying. We're trying to make this Whole 30 more vegetable heavy, which means leaning on salads for one or two dinners per week. This one is very filling (half an avocado, 2/3 of a pound of shrimp, and a boatload of fruits and vegetables will do that) so you won't have salad for dinner and the contents of your pantry for dessert.

 

Citrus salad | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant salad is a dinner salad that actually fills you up. And what a celebration of citrus season! #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #salad #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #saladrecipes #shrimp #shrimprecipes

Citrus salad

1.5 lb raw shrimp (tails on)
¾ tsp (heaping ½ tsp) cumin
¾ tsp (heaping ½ tsp) coriander
½ tsp garlic powder
2 tsp olive oil
1 bunch lacinto, Tuscan, or dinosaur kale, chopped and tough ribs removed
1 pomelo or grapefruit
1 cara cara or navel orange
2 blood oranges
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
¼ cup roasted pepitas

For the meyer lemon vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 ½ meyer lemons or 1 regular lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over a medium flame. Add shrimp and sprinkle with spices. Stir to distribute. Cook until shrimp are uniformly pink and cooked through.

If the pepitas aren’t already roasted (I have yet to find Whole 30 compliant roasted pepitas, so we do our own), preheat your oven or toaster to 350 and roast the seeds until just beginning to smell nutty and to brown, about 5 minutes, but keep an eye out to prevent burning.

Wash the kale, remove the tough center rib, and chop. We bought this tool, which makes the job SO MUCH EASIER. Add to your serving bowl and set aside. Thinly slice the red onion, fennel, and avocado. Set aside. Remove the skin from your citrus fruits by cutting a slice from the top and bottom and then running your knife along the sides from cut to cut, removing the skin in pieces. Either slice or section the fruit by cutting along the thin inner membrane to remove each piece (slicing is easiest). Set aside.

Make the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients and shaking well to combine. Add the vinaigrette to the kale and toss. Add your shrimp, citrus fruits, avocado, fennel, and red onion in whatever presentation you like. Toss (or leave the components separate if serving this to guests or you just want to be fancy) and sprinkle pepitas over the top.

Yield: Serves 2 adults and one toddler as a main dish, 4-5 adults as a side*

*M doesn’t know what to do with raw kale, so he ate shrimp and avocado with kale, onions, and cheddar cheese in a tortilla. I sautéed the kale and onions a little bit before popping them into a tortilla and melting the cheese for a quesadilla.

Citrus salad | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant salad is a dinner salad that actually fills you up. And what a celebration of citrus season! #meandthemoose #whole30 #whole30recipes #salad #easydinner #quickdinner #dinnerrecipes #saladrecipes #shrimp #shrimprecipes