Not those kind! In an effort to shake off our post-Superbowl doldrums (I know it’s just a game…but still, this one hurt) Weston and I took a little walk up the road yesterday after school. We were complaining about this and that, lamenting lousy calls, and thinking about how close we had come to the excitement of last year. Then Weston spotted this little patch of coral mushrooms and the mood lifted…now we were talking about snorkeling and tropical fish and warm water.
Some species of coral mushrooms are edible, but they can be difficult to identify. And others are poisonous. When I looked them up, I found that even the good ones can “sometimes have a laxative effect.” Something I can do without. So we decided to just enjoy them visually.
Funny, though, how something so small can shift perspectives. With our spirits lifted, we talked about how much fun we had watching the Seahawks this year, and hoped for even more next year. Yesterday, Weston didn’t even want to wear his favorite Kam Chancellor jersey to school. Today it was the first thing he put on. It’s just a game. And these are just mushrooms. But somehow, they both affect our our outlook.
Richard: “Those other dips are sorry! This is the best dip in the league! Put it up against a mediocre dip and that’s what happens!”
Marshawn: “I’m just about that clam dip action, boss.”
In the spirit of the Superbowl frenzy that’s gripping this household (and every other one in the Pacific Northwest…not to mention that other city in the mountains), thought I would share a little recipe that my family has been making since I was a little kid. It’s our favorite game-time treat. Probably (okay, assuredly) not the best for you, but completely worth the little splurge.
Ingredients: Fresh or frozen steamer clams, razor clams or geoduck body meat (alternately, two cans of chopped clams from the market work just as well); one block of cream cheese (“1/3 less fat” version works fine); yellow onion; Lawry’s seasoned salt; cracked black pepper.
Clam Prep: If using fresh/frozen clams, gently simmer 6-8 oz of clams in a cup of lightly salted water until just done. Drain and reserve cooking liquid. Chop clams coarsely and set aside. If using canned clams, buy the “chopped” version as opposed to “minced.” Open the cans and drain liquid into a separate container to reserve.
Onion: It only takes a small amount, and the key is to mince the onion so finely that the individual pieces become translucent. About 1/2 teaspoon of the minced onion is all I use, although you can add more to taste.
Dip: Place block of cream cheese in a bowl (it helps if you take it out of the fridge to warm and soften ahead of time, but not necessary) and add the drained, chopped clams and finely minced onion. Hand mix with a fork until smooth. Then gradually add cooking/canning liquid to the cream cheese mixture, stirring as you go. Add liquid until you reach the desired “dip” consistency…it usually takes somewhere between a quarter and half cup of clam liquid per block of cream cheese. You can save leftover clam juice for bloody mary’s, but that’s a whole other story. Stir in a shake or two of Lawry’s seasoned salt to taste, and cracked black pepper if you want. It actually tastes best if you make the dip a day ahead of time and let the flavors mix in the fridge overnight.
Chips: We’re partial to the “reduced fat” (Ha! Like it matters at this point…but the taste, texture and strength of these chips is perfect for this dip) Ruffles potato chips, although some of the more nutrition-minded people in our family occasionally employ carrot or celery sticks to dip.
That’s about it. I guarantee it’s deliciousness whether you’re into the game or not. In fact, a non-sports fan who wanted to take it to a Superbowl party called about the recipe this morning. Enjoy! And more importantly…GO HAWKS!