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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Martha's Vineyard Cookbook

Hello, everyone ♥

I apologize for my short absence; I've
been feeling quite under the weather lately,
so I never got the chance to make my weekly
B&B Friday post... do forgive me! I assure
you that I'll make up for it this coming Friday.

In other news, I've been looking through my
newest New England cookbook, and thought I'd
share with you a couple recipes (they sounded so 
delicious, it'd be cruel to keep them to myself!) 

The Martha's Vineyard Cookbook
by Louise Tate King & Jean Stewart Wexler

 Vineyard Clam Chowder

  • 1 quart shucked steamer clams, including their liquor
  • 1/4 pound salt pork, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 medium onions, chopped medium fine
  • 4 medium potatoes peeled, cut into 1/2-3/4 inch dice (about 3 cups)
  • 4 cups rich milk (or half milk, half evaporated milk)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Lift clams out of their liquor; this helps somewhat to drain off the sand. (Some cooks rinse the clams briefly in running water.) Strain the clam liquor through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a clean dish towel; set aside. Separate the firm parts of the clams from the bellies, or soft parts. Cut away the black portion of the necks, if desired. Coarsely chop only the firm part, or put through the coarse blade of a food chopper. Set aside the clams, keeping separate the firm and soft parts.
In a heavy kettle or Dutch oven cook diced salt pork over moderate heat until crisp and golden. Remove the dice, drain on a paper towel, and set aside. To the fat in the kettle add the chopped onions; cook slowly until tender and transparent. Add the diced potatoes, the strained clam liquor, and sufficient water to rise about 1 inch above the potatoes. Simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, but don't overcook them. Add the chopped firm parts of the clams; simmer a little longer-- about 5 minutes. Add the soft parts of the clams and the reserved salt-pork bits; cook 5 minutes longer.
In a saucepan heat the milk with the butter over moderate heat; it must not boil. Add to the chowder kettle. Add salt to taste and the black pepper. (Salt may not be needed; if the clams are very fresh they contribute considerable saltiness; so, too, the salt pork.) Remove kettle from heat immediately and allow chowder to "ripen" at least an hour or two.
Reheat, uncovered, on low heat until the mixture begins to steam. It must not boil or it will curdle. Remove from heat and serve immediately. The use of a double boiler is recommended; set the top of the double boiler over, not in, boiling water. Serve the chowder in heated bowls.
Optional: Vineyard cooks rarely thicken their chowders, thinking, with culinary justification, that the potatoes will bind the mixture sufficiently. If, however, you wish a thickened chowder, blend 3 tablespoons softened butter with 3 tablespoons flour; stir this mixture gradually into the chowder kettle several minutes before the heated milk is added. Stir over very slow heat until chowder thickens slightly. Do not allow it to boil or the mixture will curdle. If this happens, drain off the liquids and blend them in an electric blender 5 to 10 seconds. The result: a fully reconstituted mixture.
Note: Common crackers are traditionally served with chowders, usually split and soaked in milk, then added to each bowl of chowder. Toasted, they make a good accompaniment, too. Legend has it that these crackers were first made in Massachusetts one hundred or more years ago by Artemus Kennedy, who baked them on the floor of a brick oven, then peddled them on horseback, using his saddlebags as containers. Today's efficient methods of preparation and transportation make them available in any good grocery store. 

Makes 8 to 10 portions

Baked Stuffed Lobster
(A Martha's Vineyard Version)
  • 4 live lobsters, weighing about 1 1/2 pounds each
  • 24 Ritz crackers
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup pale dry sherry
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound uncooked bay scallops, shrimp, or crabmeat, chopped
  • Lemon wedges
  • Parsley sprigs
Preheat oven to 450° F.
Prepare each lobster for stuffing by placing it on its back and splitting it lengthwise. (Any good, standard cook book will give detailed and graphic instructions on treating live lobsters for the novice cook.) Reserve the tomalley (green liver) and roe, if any.
Crush the crackers coarsely with a rolling pin. In a mixing bowl combine the melted butter, lemon juice and sherry, add the crushed crackers, salt, pepper, and the chopped shellfish. Add the reserved lobster liver and roe. Mix these ingredients lightly with a fork, then spoon stuffing into the prepared cavity of each lobster. Bake the lobsters in a shallow pan 20 to 25 minutes, depending on their size. Transfer to a large, heated platter; garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley.

Makes 4 portions 

 Blueberry Grunt
(Sometimes called Blueberry Pot Pie or Blueberry Slump)

Blueberry Sauce 
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Remove stems and leaves from berries, if any. Wash the berries. Combine them with sugar, water, and lemon juice in a heavy 4-quart saucepan, cover tightly, and cook over moderate heat until the berries are barely tender. (They will finish cooking with the dumplings.) Remove from heat.

  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup milk
  • Heavy cream or whipped cream (optional)
Resift the flour with the baking powder, salt, and sugar (if used). Stir in sufficient milk so that the dumpling dough will drop readily from a spoon.
Return blueberry sauce to stove; over low heat bring to a gentle simmer. Drop the dough from a tablespoon over the blueberry sauce-- the dumplings should measure 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Cover pan tightly and cook about 15 to 20 minutes.
Spoon the dumplings into shallow soup plates, covering with the berry sauce. Serve with heavy cream or slightly sweetened whipped cream, if desired.
A salty Chilmark acquaintance remarks that the dumplings are to be "bailed out of the pot" at serving time.

Makes 4 generous portions

Is your stomach growling yet?


  1. I'm so sorry to hear you have been sick and pray you continue to get to feeling better as each day goes by. These recipes all look sooo wonderful, I am starving now. 'thank you very much!' lol

    xoxo Gert

  2. Hope you are feeling better. Mmm, you know how I feel about the Vineyard. I love everything about it including the food. It all sounds so delicious. Great cookbook!

  3. Hope you're feeling better soon.

    It's the 75th anniversary for Yankee magazine and they've included some terrific recipes from years past.

  4. hope you're feeling seeing your kitty...and what a treasure....

    great book...and YES!!!! i am hungry

  5. So sorry to hear you've been sick, Erin! I am positive that Lola and company have been giving you exemplary nursing care. That Vineyard Cookbook is a treasure. I love those old cook books, too.
    Another dark and rainy day here on CC....the visitors are all out driving around but it is nice to see them all, and they are spending money in our shops. A good thing!

  6. I remember having my first seafood chowder at San Francisco on the docks about 13 years ago. It was pure heaven and I have not had a better chowder since! Thanks for all your well wishes for my new shop. xx

  7. Eat some of this and you'll feel better! YUM! Thanks for sharing! xo

  8. Hope you get better soon..... blueberry grunt is in order.
    My mother used to make tons of clam chowder when she owned a restaurant and it seemed like so much work but really looking at your recipe I should give it a try.

  9. Oh my, I do adore New England clam chowder. Sounds divine. Thanks for sharing. Susan P.S. Sure hope you are feeling better!

  10. What a lovely little cookbook! And I bought a 5 lb box of blueberries on the weekend and am trying to decide between pie and grunt.

  11. Oh wow, those recipes look so good! And blueberries are plentiful in New England. Yum!

    Hey, I meant to email you back, but thanks so much for the info on the pumpkin festival and the link to the lodgings! I really appreciate it and I'm so excited to go. :)

  12. Hi. Thanks for the clam chowder recipe. I will try it this winter. I've been wanting a good recipe!
    ~ Julie

  13. Oh! Now I am hungry - wish we had lobsters in California. Hope all is well.


  14. Can anyone provide the grilled shrimp recipe from Martha's Vineyard cookbook? Cannot find my copy of the book which I bought years ago on the Vineyard. I made this recipe a number of times, baking it rather than grilling. It was the best! Would much appreciate your help.


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