Spicy New England Clam & Corn Chowder (with Vegetarian & Vegan alternatives)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


10-29-13 (140)

This post is a huge bummer for me because I fear it is the last time I will make anything using seafood.  Seafood specifically – meaning – from the sea.  For now, I am still allowing myself catfish & other fresh water fish but I don’t eat that sort of thing with any frequency so it hardly matters.  I am hereby giving up sushi & shrimp & tuna & salmon & mussels and, yes, clams.  Why?  Because of this map.


And the article HERE.


The map above comes from the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center.  It shows that radiation levels at radiation monitoring stations all over the country are elevated.  As you will notice, this is particularly true along the west coast of the United States.  Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean.  That means that the total amouont of radioactive material released from Fukushima is constantly increasing, and it is steadily building up in our food chain.  Ultimately, all of this nuclear radiation will outlive all of us by a very wide margin.  They are saying that it could take up to 40 years to clean up the Fukushima disaster, and meanwhile countless innocent people will develop cancer and other health problems as a result of exposure to high levels of nuclear radiation.  We are talking about a nuclear disaster that is absolutely unprecedented, and it is constantly getting worse.  The following are 28 signs that the west coast of North America is being absolutely fried with nuclear radiation from Fukushima…

1. Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores

Wildlife experts are studying whether fur loss and open sores detected in nine polar bears in recent weeks is widespread and related to similar incidents among seals and walruses.

The bears were among 33 spotted near Barrow, Alaska, during routine survey work along the Arctic coastline. Tests showed they had “alopecia, or loss of fur, and other skin lesions,” the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement.

2. There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline…

At island rookeries off the Southern California coast, 45 percent of the pups born in June have died, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. Normally, less than one-third of the pups would die.   It’s gotten so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.”

3. Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low.  Many are blaming Fukushima.

4. Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canadato bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

5. A vast field of radioactive debris from Fukushima that isapproximately the size of California has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is starting to collide with the west coast.

6. It is being projected that the radioactivity of coastal waters off the U.S. west coast could double over the next five to six years.

7. Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.

8. One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

9. Back in 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada…

• 73 percent of mackerel tested

• 91 percent of the halibut

• 92 percent of the sardines

• 93 percent of the tuna and eel

• 94 percent of the cod and anchovies

• 100 percent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish

10. Canadian authorities are finding extremely high levels of nuclear radiation in certain fish samples…

Some fish samples tested to date have had very high levels of radiation: one sea bass sample collected in July, for example, had 1,000 becquerels per kilogram of cesium.

11. Some experts believe that we could see very high levels of cancer along the west coast just from people eating contaminated fish

“Look at what’s going on now: They’re dumping huge amounts of radioactivity into the ocean — no one expected that in 2011,” Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear policy lecturer at the University of California-Santa Cruz, told Global Security Newswire. “We could have large numbers of cancer from ingestion of fish.”

12. BBC News recently reported that radiation levels around Fukushima are “18 times higher” than previously believed.

13. An EU-funded study concluded that Fukushima released up to 210 quadrillion becquerels of cesium-137 into the atmosphere.

14. Atmospheric radiation from Fukushima reached the west coast of the United States within a few days back in 2011.

15. At this point, 300 tons of contaminated water is pouring into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day.

16. A senior researcher of marine chemistry at the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Meteorological Research Institute says that “30 billion becquerels of radioactive cesium and 30 billion becquerels of radioactive strontium” are being released into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day.

17. According to Tepco, a total of somewhere between 20 trillion and 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritiumhave gotten into the Pacific Ocean since the Fukushima disaster first began.

18. According to a professor at Tokyo University, 3 gigabecquerels of cesium-137 are flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every single day.

19. It has been estimated that up to 100 times as much nuclear radiation has been released into the ocean from Fukushima than was released during the entire Chernobyl disaster.

20. One recent study concluded that a very large plume of cesium-137 from the Fukushima disaster will start flowing into U.S. coastal waters early next year

Ocean simulations showed that the plume of radioactive cesium-137 released by the Fukushima disaster in 2011 could begin flowing into U.S. coastal waters starting in early 2014 and peak in 2016.

21. It is being projected that significant levels of cesium-137 will reach every corner of the Pacific Ocean by the year 2020.

22. It is being projected that the entire Pacific Ocean will soon “have cesium levels 5 to 10 times higher” than what we witnessed during the era of heavy atomic bomb testing in the Pacific many decades ago.

23. The immense amounts of nuclear radiation getting into the water in the Pacific Ocean has caused environmental activist Joe Martino to issue the following warning

“Your days of eating Pacific Ocean fish are over.”

24. The Iodine-131, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 that are constantly coming from Fukushima are going to affect the health of those living the the northern hemisphere for a very, very long time.  Just consider what Harvey Wasserman had to say about this…

Iodine-131, for example, can be ingested into the thyroid, where it emits beta particles (electrons) that damage tissue. A plague of damaged thyroids has already been reported among as many as 40 percent of the children in the Fukushima area. That percentage can only go higher. In developing youngsters, it can stunt both physical and mental growth. Among adults it causes a very wide range of ancillary ailments, including cancer.

Cesium-137 from Fukushima has been found in fish caught as far away as California. It spreads throughout the body, but tends to accumulate in the muscles.

Strontium-90’s half-life is around 29 years. It mimics calcium and goes to our bones.

25. According to a recent Planet Infowars report, the California coastline is being transformed into “a dead zone”…

The California coastline is becoming like a dead zone.

If you haven’t been to a California beach lately, you probably don’t know that the rocks are unnaturally CLEAN – there’s hardly any kelp, barnacles, sea urchins, etc. anymore and the tide pools are similarly eerily devoid of crabs, snails and other scurrying signs of life… and especially as compared to 10 – 15 years ago when one was wise to wear tennis shoes on a trip to the beach in order to avoid cutting one’s feet on all the STUFF of life – broken shells, bones, glass, driftwood, etc.

There are also days when I am hard-pressed to find even a half dozen seagulls and/or terns on the county beach.

You can still find a few gulls trolling the picnic areas and some of the restaurants (with outdoor seating areas) for food, of course, but, when I think back to 10 – 15 years ago, the skies and ALL the beaches were literally filled with seagulls and the haunting sound of their cries both day and night…

NOW it’s unnaturally quiet.

26. A study conducted last year came to the conclusion that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster could negatively affect human life along the west coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska “for decades”.

27. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is being projected that the cleanup of Fukushima could take up to 40 years to complete.

28. Yale Professor Charles Perrow is warning that if the cleanup of Fukushima is not handled with 100% precision that humanity could be threatened “for thousands of years“…

“Conditions in the unit 4 pool, 100 feet from the ground, are perilous, and if any two of the rods touch it could cause a nuclear reaction that would be uncontrollable. The radiation emitted from all these rods, if they are not continually cool and kept separate, would require the evacuation of surrounding areas including Tokyo. Because of the radiation at the site the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years.”

Are you starting to understand why so many people are so deeply concerned about what is going on at Fukushima?


I like sushi.  I like it a lot.  You know what else I like?  NOT having cancer.  So – there you have it.  I had this huge can of clams in my cupboard and it has been there for a while.  I am pretending it was processed before the shit hit the fan.  I used it.  But it is the last ocean food recipe I will be posting.  It s pretty freaking delicious.  But – if you are wise – you will make this recipe as it is posted but replace the clams with corn cut fresh from the cob.  I used a fuckload of canned clams.  Look at the can.



That quantity of clams makes for a very dense & satisfying chowder.  As you can see here, the chowder broth itself is on the thinner side.  I prefer that to the glutenous paste some serve.  I don’t want to be able to stand my spoon up in the bowl.  I don’t think soup should have the consistency of sour cream or cottage cheese.  This recipe is also pretty spicy but you can adjust that by limiting the jalapeno or sriracha recommended.

Again – if you are vegetarian or, like me, cutting seafood from your diet in the interest of avoiding the consumption of radiation, cut the clams and add corn cut off the cob (4 cups) or add a few cans of creamed corn – or a combination of both.  Canned creamed corn, FYI, has no dairy in it.  Check the label to verify.

If you are vegan – I offered a vegan Corn Chowder a while back.  That recipe is Spicy Vegan Corn Chowder with Coconut Cream, Cilantro & Lime.


I also posted this Vegan Fennel, Leek & Corn Chowder.


OK – so – this recipe makes a lot of soup and it is absolutely entry-level easy.  It would feed six easily, especially if you served it with crusty bread & a salad.  Also – like so many of my recipes, it is extremely forgiving & customizable.  I would have added carrots but I had none.  You can add other veggies you might have or lose some I used if you don’t have them or do not like them.  But whatever you do – SERIOUSLY consider taking all ocean foods OFF your family’s menu.


Spicy New England Clam & Corn Chowder


1/3 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 onion – diced

8 red (or other) potatoes – diced

3 jalapenos – seeded & diced (optional)

3 stalks celery – chopped

1 (51 oz) can chopped clams OR 4 cups fresh corn cut from the cob

1 (15 oz) can corn – drained (or more fresh)

6 cups milk

1 TBS sriracha (optional)

5 sprigs fresh thyme

S&P to taste (at least a tsp each)



Melt the butter in a large stock pot over med-high heat.  Add the onions, celery & jalapeno.  Saute about 5 minutes, stirring & taking care not to brown the onions.

Whisk in the flour.  This should create a thick paste pretty quickly.  Increase heat to high.  SLOWLY – as in – a cup or less at a time – add the milk.  Let each portion heat through & thicken a bit.  This isn’t brain surgery & the soup will thicken as it heats anyway but this going slow stuff hastens that process.  Ironic – no?

When all the milk has been added, bring it to a boil & then reduce heat to medium.  Add all the other ingredients.


Add the thyme sprigs whole.  Cook over medium or low heat until the potatoes & corn soften.  Twenty minutes or so – depending how large the bits of potato are.

Remove the thyme sprigs & serve with cracked pepper and/or its of fresh thyme.


Stracnar (Stracenate) Pasta with a Pan-Fried Cauliflower, Tomato & Clam Ragu


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


Stracnar & stracenate are both the same name for a pasta that originated in the Puglia area of Italy.  Stracenate is essentially an egg pasta that is rolled thin & then rolled over a cavarola board & embossed with a pattern.  The cavarola board looks like this (Photo courtesy of AdriBarrCrocetti.com)


These are very hard to find & the few I could find cost over $60.  I didn’t want to commit that kind of money to what could end up being a one-use item – so I tracked this tiny plastic version down & bought it for $14 HERE.


Actually, I didn’t expect it to be tiny – but it is.  It is like 2″x3″.  I would much prefer a larger one that could imprint as much pasta as possible in one go.  As it was – I had to cut my homemade paste into tiny squares & then run each one, individually, over this little guy.


It wasn’t difficult to roll these guys out.  The little plastic cavarola came with a little grippy thing to put under it & a tiny rolling pin.  I quickly moved on to my real rolling pin but, though this is a sorta slow process, it was satisfying & kinda Zen to do.  I didn’t bother attempting any uniformity of shape.  The rustic, variations bothered me less than trying over & over to roll out uniform strips of rectangular pasta.  After about an hour total – I had stracenate for four drying on my counter.



The fact is, you can make this pasta & just blow off the embossing part.  Once cooked, the imprint is somewhat less noticeable, anyway, and it is purely an aesthetic.


It is really just an old-school throwback to a regional, Italian, artisanal pasta and I love that kinda thing – so I did it.  Plus – I have far too much time on my hands & making pasta of all kinds has a really calming effect on me.  And homemade pasta is as delicious as it is gratifying.

For this dish, I used the other half head of cauliflower I had after my Kraft Cauliflower No-Mac & Cheese endeavor.   I used tomatoes for color & clams for texture.   You could leave any one of those out & compensate with more of another & still get a great ragu.  I didn’t use live clams because of a clam Holocaust I caused a while back recounted here in my Arugula Bucatini & Spicy Clam Sauce post.  Also – this video bums me out.  How can you throw these guys into steaming pots?  Oof!

As to homemade pasta – my “tutorial” for that is HERE.  You could simply roll that dough out thin & cut it into rectangles with a knife & declare yourself a stracanate maker.  Who’s gonna call you on that shit?  Nobody.  Nobody who wants to eat your homemade stracanate, that is.  If another kind of pasta seems preferable – look HERE for a pretty decent selection of pasta doughs I have posted over the last year – doughs made from spinach or kale or arugula or beets or serrano/cilantro – etc etc.  Or – just use any shape boxed pasta.

A quick aside about quantity of spices: I like my food heavily spiced & very garlicky.  But – you can use things like crushed red pepper & garlic to suit your own taste – added to or subtracting from my suggestions.  That said – my boyfriend Miles (looking super badass in Texas last March)


and I ordered a pizza delivered from the awesome Village Pizzeria.  They sent a little plastic container or crushed red pepper with the pizza.  It is THE HOTTEST fucking crushed red pepper on Earth.  I use 1/2 tsp of this stuff where I would use 3 TBS of the stuff in my cabinet.  I am guessing that they must just go through theirs very quickly so it is always fresh & powerful where my Costco-sized container sits on my shelf for over a year and become less potent.  At any rate – I bring this up because I typically suggest FAR larger amounts of crushed red pepper than I do in this recipe & that is because I was using the Village Pizzeria stuff.  The amount you really use is up to you & the spiciness of whatever crushed red pepper you are using.  I had no idea the spice factor could vary as much as the two different containers I have here – and I have no way of knowing how spicy YOUR crushed red pepper is – so – just spice this up to your taste.


Stracnar (Stracenate) Pasta with a Pan-Fried Cauliflower, Tomato & Clam Ragu

(This feeds two very well)


2 servings homemade stracenate (stracnar) or 1/2 lb dry pasta (perhaps a pappardelle?)

1/2 head cauliflower – cut into bite-sized florets

12 cherry tomatoes – halved or quartered (plus more for garnish)

2 (6.5 oz) cans clams

6 (or less) cloves of garlic – chopped coarsely

1 small onion – diced

Lots of chopped parsley plus garnish

1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper

Olive oil

S&P to taste



Make your pasta or get a box out of the pantry.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large pan.  Pan-fry the cauliflower florets by letting them sit about a minute at a time on the hot pan – unmolested – before stirring them so that you get some browning as they cook.  Once browned & tender – put them in a bowl & set aside.


If needed, add another TBS olive oil to the pan & saute the onion, tomato & crushed red pepper until the onion is soft & browning a bit.  In the photos below, you can see I left my garlic in pretty sizable chunks.  I find it is harder to burn that way – but it also results in you biting into huge garlic bits.  I have no issue with that.  If you do – cut your garlic smaller.


Add your garlic & saute a minute or two & then add the clams (with the juice from the cans) and the cauliflower.  Add a handful of chopped, fresh parsley & add S&P to taste.  Heat through and allow to rest over lowest heat.


Cook your pasta.  Homemade pasta is done when it floats to the top of boiling water.  Boxed pasta has instructions.

Drain the pasta, arrange some on plates & top with the ragu.  Garnish with additional raw, chopped tomato and/or parsley.  Enjoy your Italian stay-cation!


Arugula Bucatini & Spicy Clam Sauce


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

Follow @celisemccarthy


To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


WordPress here hosts my blog.  They offer all sorts of cryptic analyses that are meant to help you discover where your site traffic is coming from & which search terms are effective etc.  I can’t understand most of it beyond knowing that – by a HUGE margin – my most popular recipe (according to Pinterest & the amount of repinning) is my

Decadent Vegan No Carb Summer Pasta with Zucchini Noodles, Avoocado, Asparagus & Peas

which kinda sucks because the photos on that one are kinda lame.  But the other day, a search engine term that allegedly led folks to my blog caught my eye.  It wasn’t pizza or pasta or vegan or even my name.  It was “eating plenty oxtail will make her pussy plump.”  See?   Under “search engine terms?”


Uhm…wtf???  There is no phrase in that sentence that should bring people to MY blog!!!  I don’t think I have ever typed that P word in my blog & I know I – oh wait!  Maybe I used the word oxtail in my vegetarian pho recipe.  Nope.  I just checked.  Anyway – whoever it was that put that phrase in a search engine was very likely disappointed when they we directed to some recipe for quinoa pizza dough or cauliflower mashed potatoes.  Sorry!

As to this spicy clam sauce recipe – couldn’t be easier – couldn’t be more delicious.  You needn’t make homemade bucatini nor homemade pasta of any kind.  Dry pasta would work very well.  The key to this recipe is an overwhelming amount of canned clams.  They give a sauce a ragu quality.

Last July, I attempted to post a variation of this recipe but using fresh clams in their shells.


Those 6 clams there changed my whole view of this recipe.  I added them once the basic white sauce was ready & tried to steam them – in a sea of what was, let’s face it, hundreds of other dead clams. It took them ten fucking minutes to die!  You can tell they are dead because their shells pop open.  If they do not pop open – they were dead when you put them in the pan and they are not fit to eat.  The Holocaust I executed in my sauce that night – steaming these six guys to their deaths as they sat neck-deep in their dead brethren – bummed me out so bad – I couldn’t eat them.  Mussels I had purchased that same day sat until they died in my fridge, untouched & waiting for their steamy deaths.  I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Then I saw THIS:

And I was finished.

So – while I am not a casual murderer, I AM a total hypocrite in denial & I will still eat these buggers if someone else does the dirty work of murdering them for me.  And, inexplicably, I will still eat raw oysters, too.  Makes little sense – but whatever.

Overloading this dish with canned clams is tasty without requiring a distasteful act – and it is far less costly this way, too.

I bought this huge can of clams at Smart & Final.  My recipe used about half of it.



Arugula Bucatini & Spicy Clam Sauce

Feeds 2 very well


About 1/2- 3/4 lb pasta (or 1/2 to 3/4 of my Arugula bucatini recipe)

1-2 TBS olive oil

6 (or to taste) garlic cloves – minced

3 TBS tomato paste

8-10 small tomatoes – diced

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 cup clam water

3 cups canned chopped clams – drained

1 cup fresh parsley – chopped plus more for garnish

S&P to taste



Heat the olive oil & add the garlic.  Stir for a minute then add the rest of the ingredients.  Saute until it thickens a bit.  If it gets to thick – add more clam juice or water.


Cook the pasta as per instructions.

Drain & top with the spicy clam sauce.

Drink yourself stupid in an effort to un-see that clam video.