Clams with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon + Angel Hair

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Though our Midwestern constitutions don’t always feel at home in the South, we fully appreciate just how lucky we are to live on the Atlantic shore where seafood is not only abundant but caught-that-morning fresh. Today’s bowl of goodness features briny sweet NC littlenecks, but takes its inspiration from memories of travelling to two other coastal areas.

First are Roaring Water Bay mussels that we steamed in a heady Sligo County brew with bacon and cabbage. A feast taken watching the moon rise over the inky black waters of Baltimore, County Cork, Ireland. The other, cherrystone clams cooked with garlic, chillies, lemon and a splash of a local white wine. In the postcard village of Lubec, ME, perched at the northeastern tip of the US, it was a meal prepared in the shared kitchen of our inn and enjoyed in our room overlooking the Quoddy Narrows and Canada in the distance.

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Step One: Admit the Problem + Step Two: Make Tipsy Strawberry Coco-Cream

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

If there’s one thing I truly love, it’s good, fresh, healthy food. Particularly when the ingredients are locally-grown, supporting the community’s economy, ecosystem and farmers.

When a drive last week took me past the “now picking”sign at my favorite berry patch, I had to stop and say hello, because, yes, they know me well. (And by now you know I have a problem, and can guess where this is going.)

First berries-Carol Sue's_HGN

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Red, Red Wine Cookies

Drinkables Eat Well Edibles Recipe

I have a self-imposed rule of no drinking when it’s only me at home, unless guests are hosted. He thinks it’s silly, but I feel strange sitting alone at the table with my wine. Besides, it’s far more enjoyable to raise glasses together.

Be that as it may, my restriction does not prohibit me from finding other uses for wine (or beer, but mostly wine) in the kitchen — vinaigrettes, reductions, braises, stews, pasta, preserves, a pan of anything that needs deglazing…

Red, red wine

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Som Tam: A Tiny Kitchen Adventure

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Som tam is the intensely flavorful green papaya salad made-to-order at street-side stalls in northeastern Thailand. Closer to home, you can find it on the menu at most Thai eateries, and occasionally at those specializing in Vietnamese or Laotian/Hmong foods.

My first taste of som tam was five or so years ago at a market in St. Paul, Minnesota, the sleepy sister city of Minneapolis. (Not as curious a place to encounter an authentic version when you learn that the Twin Cities are home to one of the largest populations of southeast Asian immigrants and refugees in the country.) My salad was prepared to-order in the traditional very large clay mortar with a wooden pestle practically the size of a baseball bat used to bash and mash shreds of unripe green papaya with snake (green) beans, chunks of tomato, peanuts, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, tamarind, fresh chilli peppers, and the occasional sprinkling of tiny dried shrimp.

When the young woman stopped her mashing to ask my preferred level of heat, I responded something along the lines of “make me sweat a little.” Her look insinuated this might be a mistake, but I nodded to confirm my decision — one that seemed less wise as a mess of chillies went tumbling into the mortar. No going back now. We finished our conversation about her returning home to Vietnam over the summer, and she handed me the salad in a large styrofoam cup.

The initial bite was fierce in the best possible way. She certainly dialed it up with those chillies, but it wasn’t so overwhelming that I couldn’t enjoy the contrasting flavors and textures. It’s an impressive feat, and her som tam was enough for me to wish for a mountain of frequent flier miles and an unexpired passport. It immediately became one of my “must-order foods”: if it’s on the menu, I’m ordering it. Purely for research and comparison purposes, of course.

As someone who loves to experiment in the kitchen, and will likely never make it to southeast Asia for a truly authentic version of som tam, I was more than eager to try my own hand at home.

Green Papaya Shreds

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