Anyone For John F. Kennedy’s New England Clam Chowder?

JFK_new-england-clam-chowder1In March 1961, a handicapped girl named Lynn Jennings wrote to Kennedy asking what he liked to eat. “Please reply to her,” Kennedy’s secretary advised in a handwritten memo. “She will be extremely happy. Do not mention anything in the letter about her handicap please!”

Kennedy passed along the recipe for New England Fish Chowder, one of his favorite dishes. He ate this famous clam chowder during lunch several times a week.

HPDimagesWelcome to Presidents Day weekend but what does one actually eat to celebrate Presidents’ Day?

There are hokey stories about Thomas Jefferson loving deviled eggs or George Washington going to town on a stack of hoe cakes.

But those guys were around a long time ago. If they were here now, they’d probably be more into the modern American classics.

But those guys were around a long time ago. If they were here now, they’d probably be more into the modern American classics.

The weather outside is awful, so that about a piping bowl of old fashion New England President’s Day Clam Chowder?

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If fresh clams are unavailable (or you’re running short on time), substitute two 10-ounce cans of baby clams and 6 cups of bottled clam juice.

Yield
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Active Time
1 1/4 hours
Total Time
1 1/4 hours

Ingredients

    • 8 pounds cherrystone clams, scrubbed
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
    • 2 celery stalks, minced
    • 1 large onion, minced
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 2 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2″ pieces
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
    • 1 freshly ground pepper
    • Chopped fresh chives
    • Oyster crackers or Vermont Common Crackers

Preparation

    1. Bring clams and 4 cups water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Cook until clams just open, 8-10 minutes (discard any that do not open). Using a large slotted spoon, transfer clams to a large rimmed baking sheet; set broth aside. Let clams cool slightly, then pull meat from shells; discard shells.
    2. Chop clams into bite-size pieces. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Add water if needed to measure 6 cups. DO AHEAD: Clams and broth can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.
    3. Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add reserved broth (or 6 cups bottled clam juice), potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring chowder base to a simmer; cook until potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes. Stir cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl to form a slurry. Stir slurry into chowder base; return to a boil to thicken. DO AHEAD: Base can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Keep clams chilled. Bring base to a simmer before continuing.
    4. Remove base from heat. Discard bay leaf. Stir in reserved clams (or two 10-ounce cans baby clams) and cream. Season with salt, if needed (clams’ brininess varies), and pepper.
    5. Divide chowder among bowls. Garnish with chives and oyster crackers.

 

Miss Mini says “Any One For Pie”

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Our Favorite President’s Day Apple Pie is the perfect combination of an all-butter flaky crust and tender, toothsome apples. Honeycrisp and Braeburn apples won our taste test for best-in-pie, since they have a just-right balance of sweet and tart flavor and hold their shape nicely as they bake.

Yield
Yield: One 9-inch pie
Active Time
45 minutes
Total Time
3 1/2 hours, plus cooling time

Ingredients

    • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for rolling
    • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
    • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and frozen for 15 minutes
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, chilled
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tablespoon whole milk
    • 3 1/2 pounds Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Golden Delicious apples, or a mix
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Special equipment:
    • 9-inch pie pan

Preparation

    1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Add butter and pulse until coarse, pea-sized crumbs appear, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add vinegar and 1/4 cup ice water and process until the dough just holds together, about 30 seconds. Squeeze a small amount of dough between your fingers and if it is very crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time (2 tablespoons maximum). Do not over process.
    2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and push together into a rough ball. Knead a few times to combine, then divide into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc with smooth edges (no cracks), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to overnight).
    3. Preheat the oven to 425°F with one rack on the bottom rung and one rack in the center of oven. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack to preheat.
    4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough into a 13-inch round. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin, and then unfurl it into the 9-inch pie pan. Gently lift and settle the dough into the pan. Trim the excess dough using scissors, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and transfer to the refrigerator. On a floured piece of parchment, roll out the second disc of dough to the same size as the first and refrigerate both crusts for 30 minutes.
    5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk and set aside. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4-inch thick wedges. Place apples in a large bowl and mix with 1/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and lemon. Fill the dough-lined pan with the apple mixture, packing apple slices as tightly as possible.
    6. Brush the rim with egg and milk mixture, reserving the excess. Top with the second dough round and press over apples to minimize excess space between apples and crust. Press the top and bottom crusts together and trim the top crust to a 1-inch edge around pan. Tuck top edge under bottom edge and crimp or decorate as desired. Cut five vents in the top crust for steam. Refrigerate pie for 30 minutes to set the crimp.
    7. Brush top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
    8. Place pie on the preheated rimmed baking sheet and bake until the crust begins to turn golden 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate sheet, move to center rack, and reduce oven to 350°F. Continue baking until the crust is golden brown and you can see the thickened juices bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes more. Cool on a rack 3 to 4 hours to allow juices to set before slicing.
Do ahead:
The pie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and chilled, or frozen for up to 3 months; thaw before using. The baked pie will keep, loosely covered with aluminum foil, at room temperature for up to 2 days.
As far as the current President he can eat crow.

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