January 18, 2022
by Mimi Holtz

New England Clam Chowder

bowl of New England Clam Chowder

Warm and Cozy: A Bowl of New England Clam Chowder

pot of New England clam chowder

California is known for sunny winters, but farmers hope that plenty of rain will fill reservoirs and leach the accumulated salts from the soil. On those cold, cloudy days, New England Clam Chowder is one of our favorite comfort foods. Make a big pot of clam chowder on a weekend, serve with a salad and some crackers. Use your favorite bacon, lots of veggies, and plenty of potatoes for a chunky, hearty chowder. There’s nothing like coming in from working outside to find a steaming pot of chowder on the stove, anytime of the day!

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vegetable stock and chopped sea clams

Ingredients to Have on Hand

We live 10 miles from the store, so I like to have the clams and vegetable stock on hand in the pantry. We usually have onions, carrots, and celery in the fridge, because we make a lot of soup. When the urge to make chowder bubbles up, we buy the half and half. If you want to save calories, go ahead and use whole or lowfat milk, but the chowder won’t be as rich and creamy. This New England Clam Chowder is definitely worth the splurge on calories!

Russet Burbank potatoes

A note about potatoes: Use whatever you have. I like to use Russet Burbanks, leaving the skins on, and chopping into bite-sized pieces. You can even use left-over cooked potatoes, which saves some time because they’re already cooked.

Toppings for Chowder

Oyster crackers (those little round saltine-like crackers) are the traditional topping for New England clam chowder. When you are in California and have avocados on hand, top your soup with fresh avocados! If you don’t have any California avocados, you can always order a box from our family farm! We ship our avocados all over the USA in gift boxes and subscriptions. Slice them, or use fun little cookie cutters to make hearts for your sweetie! Soup topped with avocado hearts – awwwww.

Moroccan spiced crab, corn, and lentil soup
Avocado is the perfect topping for soups!
bowl of clam chowder
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

New England Clam Chowder

A hearty chowder with lots of flavor! It doesn't take long to make a pot of this New England clam chowder to feed a crowd.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12


  • 1 stock pot or large saucepan
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 large spoon or ladle


  • 1/2 lb good bacon, chopped or use real bacon bits (1 cup)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 4-5 raw russet potatoes, chopped in bitesize pieces I leave on the skin
  • 1 51 oz can clams use the juice first, add the clams last
  • 1 qt vegetable or seafood stock
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 -2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 gallon half and half can substitute whole or low fat milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour


  • Over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon until it's almost crisp.
  • Add the onion, celery, carrot, and potato to the bacon. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the juice from the clams over the veggies and bacon.
  • Add the stock and the seasonings to the pot, and boil gently until the potatoes are tender.
  • Whisk the flour into 2 cups of half and half. Add to the pot, and stir until the liquid thickens.
  • Stir in the remaining half and half, add the clams, and bring to a simmer.

November 25, 2020
by Mimi Holtz

Pumpkin Pear Bread with Honey

Here is your new favorite quickbread!  I made two loaves this morning — one with gluten free all purpose flour and the other with regular flour — and they both turned out so well!   Pears and pumpkin together are tasty and beautiful.  This  bread recipe uses  pumpkin pie spices that will make your home smell like Thanksgiving any day of the year.  Our family has been ‘gobbling” up this bread, and I’m ready to make a new batch right away.

pumpkins, cut open for roastingMy CSA box this week included 2 small pie pumpkins and some green pears, so I roasted the pumpkins and pureed the pulp. I peeled those pears, diced them up, and added them to the bread batter.   I used honey as the sweetener, but you could use maple syrup instead.  I thought about added pecans too, but decided to stick with the pears because my grandchildren aren’t fond of nuts yet.  Feel free to add nuts to yours!Jump to Recipe

roasting pumpkins

If you’ve never made your own pumpkin puree, it’s easy to do.  Just cut open the pumpkin,  remove the seeds and pulp,  then put the pumpkins pieces on an oiled cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender.  Let them cool,  scoop out the cooked pumpkin, and mash or blend in a food processor until smooth.  I stored my pureed pumpkin in the fridge overnight,  but you can also freeze it in a ziplock baggy if you’re not ready to use it yet.

pumpkin pear bread with honey
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Pumpkin Pear Bread wtih Honey

Use canned pumpkin or make your own pumpkin puree for this tasty quickbread that will make your kitchen smell like Thanksgiving!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Course: Quick Bread
Servings: 2 loaves


  • 1 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour use regular or gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups diced fresh pears or use apples, nuts, raisins, choc chips, etc.


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray 2 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil spray.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer(or large mixing bowl) mix (or whisk) together the oil, honey, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin puree.
  • Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, mixing (or whisking) to combine.
  • Fold in the diced fresh pears or apples.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.
  • Bake until the bread is golden brown and a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf, about 45-50 minutes.
  • Remove the bread from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool about 10 minutes. Carefully turn the bread out of the pan and allow to fully cool on the wire rack. Serve when completely cool.


Pumpkin Pear Quickbread with Honey

Summer Squash Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

August 13, 2020
by Mimi Holtz

Summer Squash Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake


Summer Squash Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

Treats with Summer Squash

When I planted our summer squash,  I made sure to do two yellow squash plants:  a crooked neck and a yellow zucchini.  I knew only one green zucchini plant would be enough.  I didn’t realize that the yellow squash would grow faster than the green ones!   So here is a recipe for a “not too sweet” coffee cake to use up that extra summer squash from the garden. Continue Reading →

August 12, 2020
by Mimi Holtz

Italian Sausage Bake with Summer Squash or Zucchini Zoodles

Zoodles with Italian meat sauce

Summer Squash or Zucchini  Family Favorite

Are you looking for a recipe to use all that summer squash or zucchini from the garden that your family will  ask you to make again and again? Here it is!  I have made this twice in the last week to rave reviews.  It tastes like sausage pizza but with healthy spiralized squash noodles (“zoodles”) instead of the bread.  I wanted to call it “lasagna” but you can’t cut it into squares like lasagna, and there’s no ricotta layer.  The broth is so tasty that my family has been eating it in bowls so they can sip the last of the luscious juicy goodness.  (scroll down for recipe) Continue Reading →

July 23, 2020
by Mimi Holtz

Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce with Cauliflower

Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce with Cauliflower

This Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce is so tasty,  you’re  going to want to eat it with everything from now on.  Fresh cauliflower that is steamed or roasted makes a one-plate meal when topped with this sauce. Continue Reading →

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