Toni's Clam Chowder

Author: Matilda Lou // Category: , ,

This clam chowder, in the words of a former roommate of mine, is "slap your momma good"!  I got the recipe from my mother, who got it from Aunt Toni, who apparently passed it around since I found a recipe card in her handwriting in Grandma's recipe box.  We used to make this at the beach house during the summer, which could be a challenge since neither Grandpa nor the Kelleys like onions and Janice didn't like celery.

This is one of my favorite fall/winter meals to make.  A big bowl of chowder and a chunk of crusty, buttered French bread and you're set for a hot meal on a cold evening.

Toni's Clam Chowder

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 cups diced potato
2 cans minced clams
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart half and half (or milk for thinner chowder)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups finely cubed ham (or crumbled bacon)

Add onions, celery, and juice from the cans of clams to a pan.  Saute until vegetables are tender and set aside.  In a large pot, melt the butter and then add the flour.  Cook two minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the half and half and potatoes, cooking until the potatoes are tender and the chowder is smooth and thick.  Add the reserved vegetables with juice, the clams, the ham or bacon, and the salt, pepper, and sugar.  Heat through and serve steaming hot.

Teriyaki Steak

Author: Matilda Lou // Category: , , , , , ,

I keep referencing backyard barbecues, but there are so many to remember!  The menu was so often the same: Grandma's potato salad, chips, bean dip, pickles, some type of meat from the grill, and the punch we always made from cherry Kool-Aid and grapefruit soda.  

Of all the burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and other options, my favorite was always teriyaki steak or chicken.  Grandma would cut it into strips and marinate it, then hand it over to Grandpa to grill.  Before long, everyone was ready to eat!

Teriyaki Marinade

3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Marinate one to two pounds round steak or chicken breasts, cut into thin strips, for several hours up to overnight.  Grill or broil to desired temperature.  Skewers are optional :) 

Grandpa's Banana Bread

Author: Matilda Lou // Category: , , ,

While I have heard stories about Grandpa Shade doing some of the cooking when my mother was growing up, I didn't see him do a lot of it.  If Grandpa was cooking, it was generally at the backyard grill or he was baking banana bread.  Banana bread was his "thing"...don't try to mess with it! 

I don't know where this recipe originally came from, but it looks like it may be from an old sugar bag (eta: Lindsey informed me it came from when Janice worked at U&I.  Thanks Linz!).  It makes two loaves, but he usually made it in a bundt pan as one big loaf.  You could also throw in chocolate chips for a sweeter version, but I prefer it with just the bananas and nuts.  Aunt Betty had been known to eat her piece with a slice of cheddar cheese on it.  I'm not brave enough to try it, but you're welcome to see if you're as unique as she was :)

Best Ever Banana Bread 

5 large bananas
4 large eggs, well beaten
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup broken walnuts 

Beat bananas to a liquid; add eggs.  In a separate bowl, cream the shortening thoroughly.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the banana mixture and mix to combine.  Combine the flour, soda, and salt and blend into batter.  Stir in the walnuts.

Bake in two well-greased load pans (or one bundt pan) at 350 degrees for 75 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Trick for quick breads: Allow to cool on a rack for ten minutes, then immediately remove from the pan and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  The bread will continue to cool as it sits on the counter, but the steam that escapes the warm bread and gets trapped by the plastic wrap makes it super moist.  No more dry banana bread from sitting on the counter!