Clams are reliable sources of iron, vitamin C, and Omega-3 fatty acids. One 3 oz. serving of clams contains 130% of your daily value (DV) of iron. You can take an easy step in order to help your body absorb this iron—I’ll explain later in this post. Clams do not contain mercury, which is a concern for some. They are high in sodium, which is important to note, for those watching their blood pressure closely. I don’t recommend drinking clam broth straight after cooking clams because it's extremely salty. However, do yourself a favor: save the broth and use it to flavor other dishes later. (This is yet another reason why you should make sure your clams are grit-free by washing them carefully prior to cooking them.) I'll even provide a recipe of a veggie dish cooked using the clam broth yielded from this post's recipe.
2 dozen fresh small clams (I used Middle Neck clams from the Chesapeake Bay)
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 12-oz cheap American lager i.e. Bud Light
2/3 tbsp. Trader Joe’s habanero hot sauce
1 medium garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. diced white onion
2 tsp. Trader Joe’s Italian Style Soffritto Seasoning Blend
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 slice of fresh lemon (NOT pre-packaged lemon juice) – approx. 1 cm. thick
Thoroughly rinse and drain the clams to remove any dirt. I use veggie wash such as Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Fruit & Vegetable Wash for this. (By the way, I only use produce wash as a surfactant for really grimy foods such as celery, potatoes, root vegetables, and shellfish.) The FDA recommends you don't use packaged produce wash, by the way.
Saute the garlic and onion in the butter until browned using the saute feature of the Instant Pot*. (My Instant Pot heats very quickly on the saute feature so I’m mindful of that and turn it off if it gets too hot.) Once the garlic and onion is almost browned, turn it off and add the habanero sauce to the garlic/onion/butter mixture and stir. Next, slowly pour in 12 oz. of American lager, being careful not to burn yourself by hot butter splashing up. I found I prefer Bud Light in this recipe better than Miller Light. If you're wondering why I chose beer over white wine, it's because I'm not a wine guy, so I decided to see how the clams turned out cooked with beer!
Add the Italian Soffrito seasoning and black pepper, then place the clams in the Instant Pot. Close the lid, make sure the valve is set to the “sealing” position, turn the Instant Pot on, and set it to “manual” with its time set to 1 minute. Once the cooking cycle is completed, release the pressure manually and remove the clams carefully using tongs or the like.
Discard any unopened clams. Squeeze a slice of lemon over each clam and into the broth. If you don’t have a fresh lemon, don’t even bother making this recipe! The vitamin C in the lemons will help your body absorb the iron in the clams, as well as releases their sweet flavor. Bon appetit!
Last but not least, empty your kitchen trash can. You don’t want to leave the clam shells sitting around in your kitchen for 12 hours! Once the broth cools, consider storing it for later use i.e. freeze it in a Ziploc bag. Stay tuned for a veggie recipe that will make you want to steam clams, if for nothing else than their juice.
*If you don't have an Instant Pot, steam the clams using your steamer per the manufacturer's instructions for steaming clams.
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If you’re one of those well-intentioned people who finds themselves buying fresh produce but lets it go to waste, keeping frozen fruits and vegetables on-hand in the freezer can help. Produce from the frozen section is oftentimes more nutritious than its fresh counterparts in grocery stores. It can help you reduce your household food waste, saving you time and money, as well as reduce your environmental impact.
Pictured: frozen organic broccoli was the hero in a vegetarian dish I tossed together this past week featuring organic firm tofu, fresh red bell pepper, yellow onion, carrots, and soba noodles.
Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables by Jessica Ball, MS, RD explains further how eating frozen veggies can help us improve our diets.
#frozenversusfresh #veggie #integrativehealth #wellness #nutrition #nutritioneducation #functionalnutrition #functionalmedicine #nutrients #lowsodium #lowfat #fiber #jessicaball #jessicaballMSRD
According to the Trader Joe’s web site, “A soffritto is a blend of aromatics that are indispensable in a cook’s kitchen.” Trader Joe's Italian Style Soffrito Seasoning Blend is already indispensable in my kitchen. Thank goodness there are 154 servings in each jar of this blend, and I look forward to creating my own blend, too.
The quickest way to get soffrito into your belly is to sprinkle it into olive oil and use it as a dip. However, olive oil contains 120 calories per tablespoon (1 serving), and the soffritto/EVOO combo is so delicious that it’s very tempting to have more than one serving. Once I put soffritto into oil I found myself cursing myself for not bringing bread and crackers into the home. Which lead me to purchase a loaf of Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane (classic Italian bread), and their Pita Bite crackers. It’s really a slippery slope once the Soffritto hits the oil. The soffritto oil is delicious on top of Trader Joe’s Fried Ravioli. But see, here I went from not owning bread to pouring EVOO on fried ravioli. My excuse for this kind of behavior is the pandemic and it being winter.
Another use for the Italian Style Soffritto seasoning is to roll it into your pizza dough or flatbread dough. Pictured is a hastily-made small pizza I made for myself using Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pizza Dough with soffritto in the dough. The toppings on this version are red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, white onion, TJ’s pizza sauce (refrigerated version), and shredded mozzarella (with soffritto and garlic powder in the crust.) The edges are a little rough because I never have the patience to let the dough sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes as recommended, and my rolling pin is about the size of a carrot. To speed things up, I cheat a little by placing the dough on top of the stove when the oven (below it) is pre-heating. While I don’t require a gluten free diet, I prefer the gluten free version over regular pizza dough. I’m kicking myself that I waited so long to try the gluten free dough. The rice in it reminds me of rice crackers.
The author receives no promotional compensation from Trader Joe's.
#Italianstylesoffritto #soffritto #Italianseasoning #Italianseasoningblend
A search on Trader Joe’s web site this week yielded zero search results for “hasselback,” meaning I couldn’t find hide nor hair about their popular-during-the-winter-holidays 2020 hasselback potatoes on their site. Some people are crazy for this product, and I wondered why because it’s a frozen baked potato seasoned with two of the most basic potato ingredients ever—butter and salt.
I did a little research and experimentation of my own. Turns out, the cut of the potato makes it a Hasselback. According to John Duxbury of SwedishFood.com, Hasselback potatoes originated in a restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden, in the 1940s or 1950s. Now, most people probably use Russet potatoes for this roasted recipe, but I bought a very large red potato and decided to Hasselback it.
I struggle to finish most dishes with potatoes, feeling they are too starchy or heavy. While potatoes may be boring to some, they contain some valuable nutrients including potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and fiber, so they have their place. Red potatoes have less carbs than Russet potatoes. Because potatoes are a blank slate, you can either upgrade your potato dish by adding nutrients and cooking them certain ways, or you can negate their nutritional value depending on how you cook them and what you add to them. One should leave the skin on potatoes whenever possible since the minerals concentrate in the skin.
Cutting the potato Hasselback-style is the tricky part because you have to be careful not to cut the potato all the way through. I placed a set of tongs in front of my potato so that when I cut it the tongs blocked my hand from cutting all the way down. More so, they acted as a reminder to me with each slice I made. I don’t swear by the tong method, though, because the tongs prevented me from cutting down enough. I should have cut my potato probably a half inch deeper to really allow airflow. Some resources suggest placing one’s potato in a flat wooden spoon to cut it. (I happen to be sans wooden spoon at the moment.) By cutting the potato Hasselback style, it fans out when it’s roasting in the oven, getting each piece crispy if you do it right!
I coated the potato with olive oil, then roasted my potato on parchment paper for about 70 minutes at 420 degrees F. (This would be an ideal application for olive oil spray.) As I was making it, I remembered why I don’t bake or roast potatoes often—they take a long time in the oven which uses a lot of energy. I was so hungry by the time the potato was done that I took some of the crispiest outside pieces, placed them in a dish, and just totally smothered them with TJ’s Green Goddess dressing and some fresh chopped cilantro. (Don’t judge--I like cilantro stems and see no reason to eat only the leaves.) TJ’s Green Goddess dressing has avocado, green onion, basil, parsley, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar—all the good stuff and none of the bad.
The next morning, I enjoyed another 1/3 of the potato. (It was a big potato!) I happened to have some marinated roasted pork tenderloin on hand, so I cut some slices of cooked pork, placed them between the potato slices, and heated it all up the microwave. I topped it again with Green Goddess, cilantro, and a dash of sea salt. A nice breakfast! Now, what to do with the last third of the potato?
#hasselbackpotato #hasselbackpotatoes #hasselback #potato #redpotato #swedishpotatoes #traderjoeshasselbackpotatoes #traderjoesgreengoddesssaladdressing #greengoddess