Manila Clams with Wine, Butter and Garlic

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Jan 152015

manila clams with wine garlic and butter

Yum, one of my favorite simple suppers is steamed Manila clams with white wine, butter, garlic and shallots. It’s so easy you don’t even really need a recipe, although I’ve got one for you. This meal manages to be unfussy yet elegant at the same time, which is often just what we need at our house after a stretch of burgers, tacos and pasta.

One of the best parts of this dish is that it’s a one pot meal – just add a loaf of crusty bread to soak up the sauce and you’re good. If we’re feeling really motivated we sometimes also add a green salad.

Steamed Manila Clams in White Wine
serves 4

  • 3 lbs Manila clams, live
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Rinse off the clams and inspect them – discard any clams that are open and don’t close up when they are knocked together. Most clams you purchase these days are farmed clams and are quite clean so they just need a rinse – if you’ve harvested them yourself or suspect they might be sandy you can leave them in the fridge in a bowl of clean water for 30 minutes so they can flush the sand through their system.

2. In a large stockpot or dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat – when the foam subsides add the shallot and onion and saute until they’ve softened but not browned.

3. Add the drained clams to the pot and stir to coat with the butter, shallots and garlic. Pour in the wine and stir again briefly, then cover the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes.

4. Check the clams – make sure they’re all opened and discard any that haven’t. Add the chopped parsley, stir and cook for a minute more.

5. Serve the clams in bowls with their sauce and good bread on the side.

manila clams wine garlic butter

Asparagus Tamales at Los Hernandez Tamales

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May 282014

a collage of pictures of Los Hernandez Tamales shop

This past weekend we loaded up the kids and dogs into the ol’ family truckster and headed east toward Union Gap and the land of sunny skies and desert vistas in search of asparagus tamales. Union Gap is in the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington (one of the premier asparagus growing regions in the US) and the season for asparagus is a short one – it can be just six weeks long. Earlier this winter I saw a blurb in the AAA magazine for the asparagus tamales at Los Hernandez Tamales. I love tamales in general, and asparagus too, so I pinned up the article to save for springtime.

When we got there there was a steady stream of customers, and all of the seats in the small restaurant were full. I had a brief moment of panic when the counter woman said the asparagus tamales were sold out, but it turned out she just meant the frozen ones. We ordered a dozen asaparagus, plus two pork and two chicken tamales for the kids.

asparagus and pork tamales from Los Hernandez Tamales

The tamales were delicious – stuffed with chunks of fat asparagus spears and subtly spicy pepper jack cheese. We ate our picnic lunch at a shady table near the playground at the lovely Yakima Greenway and then took a leisurely drive home via Chinook Pass, where there was still a good 10 feet of snow on the sides of the road. ¬†Who knows how much longer the season will go this year, but we’re sure happy we got a chance to sample the tamales!

May 262014

clean spinach and white bean hummus recipe

Because I’m on a health and fitness kick right now, I’ve been trying to come up with healthier versions of things I love to eat. I’m trying to follow some clean eating principles like less processed foods and leaner proteins. Regular hummus is pretty healthy as is, but I developed this clean spinach and white bean hummus to eliminate some of the fat (so that I can eat it in something else in the day!). It’s got a great earthy flavor that works well paired with vegetables or crackers, and also tastes delicious as a condiment in a wrap or sandwich.

clean spinach and white bean hummus recipe

Clean Spinach and White Bean Hummus

  • 1 can (15 oz.) white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini beans work well)
  • 5 oz. fresh baby spinach (1/2 of the typical clamshell or bag of washed spinach you find at the supermarket)
  • 1 large clove of garlic (peeled but whole)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of cayenne


1. In a small saucepan heat a quarter cup of water to a simmer, then add the garlic clove to the water and let it blanch for 30 seconds or so. Leave the garlic clove whole so that it’s easier to fish out later.

2. Add the spinach to the water and cook it briefly until it wilts – then scoop it out with a slotted spoon or tongs (to let the water drain off) and transfer it to a bowl or directly to your blender/food processor. Make sure you get the garlic clove out as well. Save the water in the pan for now in case you need to add more liquid to the hummus – you probably won’t need to but if you do it will be tastier to add the spinach/garlic water than plain water.

3. Now it’s time to blend. In the bowl of your food processor or blender, combine the white beans, spinach (make sure to leave behind any extra water in the bowl), garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne and blend until it reaches the consistency you prefer. You might need to start out by pulsing the machine to get going, and depending on the ingredients you might need to add a bit more water to thin it out, but make sure not to add more liquid right away or it will be too runny.

4. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, and enjoy!

Note: If you’re making this ahead to serve later, you’ll want to add a bit of olive oil to prevent it from darkening slightly. Otherwise, keep it in the fridge well covered or in a airtight container and it will be good for a few days.

clean spinach and white bean hummus recipe with breadstick garnish