The Little Hands Behind
No, I have not found a way to make clams out of pastry nor did I find the time to make them out of fondant. After my last post, my dear husband came to me and complained "I’m ok with you posting that I dont' bake because let’s face it, I don’t but I *do* cook. Sometimes." Yes, he does. Sometimes. Which prevents me from eating cake for lunch because I am plowing through work and often realize that it is 2pm and we have not had lunch yet. And I love when he cooks simple things like these Steamed Clams that we eat on the back deck with some bread and a glass of wine.
Living by the water is downright very nice… I’ll never take that for granted. Nor will I take my little helper for granted either.
When I last called my mom, she could hear his banging pots and pans, setting his prep area "his" way while giving me directions to please exit the premises, he never came in the kitchen when I was baking after all. Yes sir! Happily. With his teaching schedule he is home a lot and with both our independent characters, she often wonders how pots and pans have not been used as weapons of marital destruction yet. We just love hanging out together and working "independently together". My studio is next to his study and I can shout for help whenever everything is about to tumble down just as easily as he can call me over to look at a research project. We are each others' best critiques and supporters.
When he calls out from the other room "Hey! Have you thought about lunch yet?", I often want to shout back "Hey! Go fry an egg and bring me one while you’re at it!". I never actually do say that. Lately though, I have sensed that he could hear my brain scream it so loud that he decided to enter "my" territory (the kitchen) and fix us something for lunch. And what a lunch! Simple, fresh and quick.
We do catch and eat tons of seafood but I rarely think of buying clams, for no particular reason actually. I had been working on a photo project for a friend and his catering business and one of the dishes to photograph had clams. I had bought two bags, anticipating redos but everything went without a hitch and I was left with an extra bag. Since Bill is the master at steaming shellfish and seafood (you should see him take care of the crabs we get at the dock!), I told him to please go do something with the clams as I would not keep them another day.
Fifteen minutes later I was sitting in front of a bowl of perfectly steamed clams in white wine and garlic, simply garnished with a sprinke of tomato dices and a few sprigs of parsley. Guess what I did? I told him not to move and got the camera to shoot our plates. He rolled his eyes so strongly that I thought they were going to get stuck to the back of his head. He simply said "can you speed this one up, I don’t want to eat me lunch cold?!" I know many of you cooking and blogging can relate!
I enjoy photographing and writing about other things than cakes and ice creams and I might also post a few other of our favorite "go to" savory lunches or dinners in the future. Do not be alarmed if you see bacon or thyme sneaking in here and there. For now, I figured it was high time I sang Bill’s praises for being such great little hands behind the scenes.
Serves two hungry people
Kitchen note: Littleneck clams are best for steaming. These were cherrystone clams which have a tendency to toughen up faster when steamed but we remove them as soon as the shells pop open and they stay nice and soft this way. You can ommit the white wine and use fish stock or water if you can’t have alcohol. We like to eat ours with a sprinkle of lemon juice and some red wine vinegar.
2 dozen fresh clams
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
1 cup water (or clam juice if you have some)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tomato, finely diced
Wash the clams thoroughly and brush off any dirt. Heat oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat and cook the garlic for a minute. Add the wine and water and bring to a simmer. Add the clams, cover the pan and let the clams steam for about 10 minutes or until they start to pop open. Discard any clams that did not open and scoop the clams into serving bowls. Season the juice remaining in the pan with salt and pepper to taste, pour some over the clams and garnish with parsley and diced tomato.
maybelle's mom October 8, 2009 um 4:44 pm
working together independently is a great thing in marriage. nice shout out to your husband.
cindy* October 8, 2009 um 4:58 pm
i love this post helen and i'd love to see a little savory sneak in 😉
Carina October 8, 2009 um 5:13 pm
Steamed clams is my favorite lunch of all time. So cozy, warm, and light.
Baked Alaska October 8, 2009 um 5:24 pm
Looks delicious. Living in Alaska, we also eat a lot of fish and seafood. But mainly what we catch ourselves-salmon, halibut, ling cod, and shrimp. I love clams, but don't buy them often either. I think it's time I did!
Dandy October 8, 2009 um 5:33 pm
Your photographs are works of art. I adore them. I wish there was a food photogrpahy class I could take. You know, after I learn how to use my camera.
Laura Paine Carr October 8, 2009 um 5:42 pm
Oh, does that look delicious!!! Just a month ago I was in the Pacific NW, and a woman picked a passle of mussles, and they were steamed up in a similar way… ohmigoddess! I had never had one and they were like the food of the goddesses! That is how delicious these look! Yes. Marriage needs independence and intertdependence! Makes for long years of fun and love. Blessings.
Alexandra October 8, 2009 um 5:43 pm
Gorgeous, and tempting as always!
My favorite photo is that of the grouped clams!
TheBellaLife October 8, 2009 um 5:51 pm
I have never tried a clam… They scare me a little bit. I love seafood though… so am I more likely to enjoy those little guys?
alice October 8, 2009 um 6:00 pm
I love preparing clams just like this. Someday I will have your Bill prepare them for me too! 🙂
La Cuisine d'Helene October 8, 2009 um 6:06 pm
Congratulations for your nomination. I just voted 🙂
mycookinghut October 8, 2009 um 6:08 pm
I love clams! Steaming is probably the best way to retain the flavours.. yum!
Jessica October 8, 2009 um 6:43 pm
These look great as I've always been afraid to make clams. Congrats on your nomination!
Nina Timm October 8, 2009 um 6:49 pm
Bill treated these clams with such respect….no overpowering sauces and flavors…simple, but beautiful. Beautiful pics too!!!
Dominique October 8, 2009 um 6:54 pm
Tes palourdes me semblent délicieuses! et merci pour la petite histoire sur "les charmes de la vie conjugale"…
Asha @ FSK October 8, 2009 um 7:23 pm
haha..lovely post 🙂 love it when my husband cooks for me :))
Char October 8, 2009 um 7:25 pm
gorgeous shots – I wish I liked them
The Italian Dish October 8, 2009 um 7:25 pm
Congratulations! And I just fixed a big batch of these last week – they're my favorite. Your photos are fabulous.
Basht October 8, 2009 um 7:33 pm
aw that's sweet.. and a man who can cook is a real treasure, even if it's only occasionally
Phoo-D October 8, 2009 um 7:52 pm
What a sweet post! I love that he gets into the kitchen now and then too. That is a real gift in a partner.
My Farmhouse Kitchen October 8, 2009 um 8:16 pm
Gosh..those are beautiful photo's…and am I ever craving steamed clams…was planning on making them tomorrow night…
After seeing this, now I know I will for sure……
Helene October 8, 2009 um 8:22 pm
Anonymous: I plaisently rejaicted yoor commant 🙂 I wish you too nevar huve a worm on yoor compooter and huve too uze a library compuutar were the keeboard eez diferant.
Helene October 8, 2009 um 8:30 pm
Anon: forgot: between frying my brain trying to solve virus issue and cheching in from the library little time to spell check in detail. If I run the blogger spell check, it messes up my pictures. Patience is a necessary virtue.
Anita (Married… with dinner) October 8, 2009 um 8:31 pm
handsome, sweet, and a good cook too? Man, you really scored a good guy 🙂
Anonymous October 8, 2009 um 8:33 pm
I've always been terrified of cooking shellfish (I'm much better friends with sugar and butter) but your 1 paragraph method has convinced me.
ps: those lemon wedges look great
Yudith October 8, 2009 um 8:45 pm
I can totally relate the husband asking me to hurry up with the pics so he can eat 😉 Great post!
Cannelle Et Vanille October 8, 2009 um 9:46 pm
i was cracking up with the anonymous reply… 🙂 on to the clams…. i have had a huge linguini with clams craving lately so seeing this right before dinner is not helping any! hmmm…
Danielle October 8, 2009 um 11:03 pm
With savory dishes, as with pastry, your pictures are so tempting! Thanks for sharing a part of your daily life with us 😉
TKW October 8, 2009 um 11:50 pm
Oh, to have my man cook me a lunch like that!!! You are a lucky girl! And I had to laugh at the hurry up and photo so I can eat remark…
Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD, CSSD October 9, 2009 um 3:10 am
Amazing photographs, neat blog. I'm not a fan of mussels, but you sure do make them look good!
Taste of Beirut October 9, 2009 um 4:21 am
Wonderful photos! I would just love to live in your world of beauty!
www.DE HARINA Y DE MAIZ.com October 9, 2009 um 5:16 am
i love mussels and will definitely try this recipe!! i loved your pictures from the sweet shops in san francisco!! greetings from Monterrey, Mexico!
shaz October 9, 2009 um 5:25 am
Lucky you! What a wonderful partnership you share. I had to laugh about the eye-rolling while you took pictures, i get that all the time.
Jo October 9, 2009 um 8:43 am
Awfully nice of Bill to whip up this dish. And I can totally relate to him asking you to "hurry up" coz my husband does the same to me. Have a great weekend ahead!
Nutmeg Nanny October 9, 2009 um 2:03 pm
I'm not a huge seafood fan but I do like steamed clams:)
Jen Yu October 9, 2009 um 5:34 pm
Excuse me, but Mr. B is welcome into my kitchen anytime if he's going to whip up a lunch like THAT! Whoooo buddy! What a catch (the man… and the clams – all of it!). Tee hee!!!
Barbara October 9, 2009 um 5:38 pm
Is there anything better than a simple meal of clams? With just wine and garlic? With French bread to sop up the juices? And on top of that, a husband to cook it? Lucky girl!
Simones Kitchen October 10, 2009 um 8:31 am
Fabulous looking clams. I never cooked with clams before but since I am part of the Cooking Italy group now it is on the menu for the first time in my life for next week… So your post comes just at the right time!
Shari October 10, 2009 um 9:39 am
Rachelle October 10, 2009 um 2:45 pm
My boyfriend and I do the same thing. He's usually in the basement working while I've got my laptop perched on the kitchen counter. Lunch is usually crackers, cheese and wine.
Bring on the bacon and thyme! I love breakfast food. ;o)
[email protected] October 10, 2009 um 2:56 pm
Clams are gorgeous and appetizing. good thing as they are cooking italy's next choice. My husband JUST started cooking and I'm actually gong to blog it. Coincidence or blogging kismet.
P.S. Your husband is a blessed man on many fronts. You make a lot of sweets, but you actually seem sweeter inside.
And, I'm voting for you.
Tess-Six Feet Under Blog October 10, 2009 um 7:56 pm
I found your blog from PW and I would love to interview you and do a feature on my blog, Six Feet Under Blog! Please visit and let me know! Tess
kellypea October 11, 2009 um 10:29 pm
Yay Bill! I know what it's like to have a great helper around, too! This is one of our faves and each time we make it, it changes a bit. Wish I had a bowl right now ; )
Anonymous October 12, 2009 um 12:46 am
Gorgeous post! I love when my husband cooks for me. It doesn't happen often because I am typically taking over the kitchen myself, but when he squeezes in it is always a welcome break. Congratulations on your nomination as well!
Rasa Malaysia October 12, 2009 um 3:54 am
I looooooooooooooove clams and yours are 101% cookbook worthy!
S. October 12, 2009 um 5:17 am
I just stumbled across your site, and your photos are gorgeous!
My dad loves clams–his favorite dish is basically what you just described but with a little bit of spaghetti and some chile thrown in.
I can't wait for your next post!
Mrs Ergül October 12, 2009 um 6:29 am
Men needs a little praising sometimes! But I wonder if my pair of little hands can plate as well as Bill did! Sweet post!
Mel @ bouchonfor2.com October 12, 2009 um 6:42 am
The styling you did in the photos is gorgeous… has a refreshed classical touch. Loves.
Helene October 12, 2009 um 2:18 pm
Mrs. Egul: he's alright at steaming and grilling but not at plating. I had to go behind a bit and style for the picture 🙂
Otava October 12, 2009 um 5:17 pm
Can you believe it…I've never had a clam before in my life! In my defense, I do live smack in the middle of a continent, literally! But your pictures are making me think maybe I should be flying out to the coast sometime… 😉
Thanks for sharing your wonderful photography and delish recipes!
Rachel October 13, 2009 um 12:15 pm
I'm 20 and viewing your blog makes me want to learn how to whip up dishes and bake all sorts of yummy cakes/pasteries in one day!
Love the awesome pictures and fantastic recipes!
J October 13, 2009 um 1:59 pm
lol, "independently together"! I love that phrase.
Anonymous October 13, 2009 um 5:34 pm
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) October 13, 2009 um 9:32 pm
Wow — savory!
Kathy Walker October 14, 2009 um 4:18 am
Steamed clams…oh, I so enjoy them. Beautiful photographs! This week end…it is steamed clams at our house!
lauresophie October 14, 2009 um 3:34 pm
tentant très tentant! je bave devant les photos!