I have made Clam Chowder hundreds of times with varying degrees of success, ie, tasting they way I want it to…or, resembling some of the best chowders I’ve had over the years.

This is a great new recipe of mine that kind of gets back to the basics. Please note that I would have liked to do this new recipe using fresh clams, but good chowder clams are not readily available around here (Central California)…so, canned clams.

This version is also cut way down in volume. I did this to minimize the waste if I didn’t turn out…I have “sh*t-canned” many chowder recipes right after cooking. However…this one is a keeper! At least I think so.

The clams I used are whole Bumble Bee Baby Clams, they are much better than the little cans of minced clams. And, a bottle of Bumble Bee clam juice. I might try two bottles next time, but this does have a nice mild clams chowder, and the baby clams chopped, not minced. Keep in mind that canned clams are already cooked, so they need to be heated through. Cook them too long and they become rubbery. One new ingredient this time: Old Bay seasoning.

Here’s how I made it…


  • 3 thick slices of bacon, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) bottle of clam juice
  • 1 (10 ounce) can of whole baby clams
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp chicken or clam base
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1/4 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp MSG (optional)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups of Russet potatoes (about 1 medium), peeled, 1/2 inch diced and cook al dente


  • Place a medium saucepan over medium low heat and add the chopped bacon. Cook the bacon until it is rendered and slightly crispy. Remove bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • To the saucepan with the bacon fat, add the onions and the celery and saute for 5-6 minutes until just softened, do not brown. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp white pepper.
  • Turn up the heat to medium and add the sherry. Let it come to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the clam juice and the juice from the baby clams. Do not add the clams yet. Add the chicken base, garlic powder, Old Bay, bay leaf, and 1/4 tsp lemon pepper. Cover and allow to simmer for about 8 minutes.
  • Cook the diced potatoes in salted water for about 8 minutes until just barely tender. Drain and place in a bowl in the refrigerator to cool so they don’t get mushy.
  • Add the half and half to the chowder and bring to a low simmer.
  • Place 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour in a small saucepan and cook for about 1 minute to make a roux.
  • When the chowder is simmering, stir in the roux and allow to simmer, stirring, for about 3-4 minutes to thicken slightly. Add the cream and the baby clams. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • To make it thicker, make the roux with more butter and flour, or, make a slurry with the cornstarch and cold water. Add to the simmering chowder.
  • When ready to serve, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig, add the cooked potatoes and 2/3 of the reserved cooked bacon to the chowder and heat through.
  • Serve with oyster cracker, more chopped bacon and chopped chives if desired.


You see all kinds of “burgers” these days. As a teenager, I worked at McDonald’s in 1966. Their menu back then was pretty similar to what In N Out’s menu is today…burgers, fries, sodas, and shakes. That’s was it! The fish sandwich was introduced in 1965.

I love burgers. I could live off of them if need be. But I have always been very vehement as to what goes into my burger. I truly believe that mixing anything into your ground beef makes it either meat loaf or Salisbury steak…but not a burger. Burger accompaniments go on the outside. And with that said, have at it! Honestly, I’m not a fan of adding any fruit (other than tomatoes) or even other protein (other than bacon). Any cheese will do, but sliced American is really the best choice…it melts better and just belongs on a burger.

The last burger I made (the one in the photo) was destined to be a tower of impossibility. In other words, good luck stuffing it into your mouth. This one made for a ridiculous picture…then a knife and fork! But it contains the rudimentary, and some of us say, required condiments: American cheese, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, dill pickle slices, iceberg lettuce, and a burger sauce…in this case, it was an In N Out dressing clone. Yum! It is also flat grilled with a nice dark brown crust and cooked to medium (there was some pink inside). And, seasoned with Kosher salt and black pepper. That’s an 8 ounce 85/15 patty. Juicy and flavorful, as long as you don’t overcook it. The bun? It’s a home made griddle-browned brioche bun.

That’s my take on the Cheeseburger. K.I.S.S. method all the way!


One of the stories behind Buffalo Wings is pretty simple. A late night, post-drinking college crowd came into the Ancho Bar in Buffalo, New York in 1964 and wanted something to eat…you know, they had the munchies. Chicken wings were cheap and used only for stocks back then. So the owner of the bar (also mother of one of the drinking crowd) fried up some wings and dredged them in a vinegar based hot sauce…added some Blue cheese dressing…and, the rest is history.

There a cajillion different Buffalo/Hot wing recipes out there, most of them trying to embellish on this original recipe, mainly with seasoning, breading, or something else that strays from the more historically accepted original recipe. One of the things these other recipes do is season the wings before frying. Truth be told…this is pretty much useless as any seasoning on the wings is cooked off during the deep frying. The seasoning should happen right out of the fryer. Hence, here is my take on how Buffalo Wings were made at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York in 1964. This recipe serves 2-3 people.

Full disclosure, one of my favorite ways to make these wings is coating them with a little flour, cornstarch, and baking powder….let them sit over night on a wire rack in the fridge uncovered…then bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, turning once…then toss in the same sauce. They come out almost as crispy as these deep fried ones.


  • 12 chicken wing segments, (6 drumettes, 6 flats)
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup Franks’s Louisiana Hot sauce, or Crystal Hot sauce.
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s style seasoning salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • Blue cheese dressing for serving (recipe below)
  • Celery sticks for serving


  • Completely dry the wings with a paper towel.
  • To a small saucepan over low heat, add the hot sauce, butter, and seasoning salt. Let the butter melt then stir everything together. Keep warm until ready to use.
  • Place enough canola oil in a pan for frying have 2 inch of oil. Heat to 375 degrees.
  • When the oil is hot, add the wings without crowing and fry for 7-10 minutes depending on how big the wings are. You are still shooting for 165 degree internal temperature like any chicken. Remove from the oil with a spider or slotted spoon and place on a wire rack over a sheet pan in a warm oven while you fry the remainder of the wings.
  • Place the cooked wings in a large stainless steel bowl and pours the hot sauce over the wings. Toss or stir with tongs until completely coated with the sauce.
  • Serve 4-6 segments on a small plate with a ramekin of blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.


Back in the 70’s, sometimes this was called a Monterey Chicken Sandwich (with Monterey Jack cheese). This has Swiss cheese and is just as good. We used a marinated and grilled boneless breast with some great grill pan marks. The marinade hack? A good bottled Italian great! Besides a grilled chicken breast, bacon, and sliced Swiss or Jack cheese…the condiments are up to you. Today, we had some chopped Romaine, sliced avocado, and a garlic mayonnaise. If you can’t grill the chicken on a BBQ, use a hot grill pan on the stove like we did. Just get some good char marks on it.


  • 1 boneless chicken breast, butterflied in half
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Italian dressing
  • Canola oil
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked
  • 2 slices of Swiss or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Shredded iceberg
  • Slice tomatoes
  • Sliced avocado
  • 2 brioche buns

For the garlic mayo:

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • Kosher and black pepper


  • Place your butterflied breast halves between some plastic wrap and pound to 1/4 inch thick. Place in a sealable freezer bag and add 1/4 cup of Italian dressing. Massage it around to coat all the chicken. Seal, place on a plate and in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • For the garlic mayonnaise, place all the mayo ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and with plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • When ready to cook, remove the breasts from the marinade (discard the marinade), remove most of the marinade from the chicken, place on a plate, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium high heat. Coat lightly with canola oil. When the pan is screaming hot, place the breasts on the pan, top with a press, and let cook about 2 minutes without moving. Turn over, and cook another 1 minutes. Lay a slice of cheese on the chicken and let cook another 1 minute or so, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
  • Lightly butter the bun halves and place on a flat griddle until golden brown.
  • Spread some garlic mayo on all the bun sides.
  • Lay some shredded lettuce on the bottom bun. Place a chicken breast on the lettuce. Lay a couple tomato slices on the cheese then the top bun. You can place the avocado slices on the sandwich or serve on the side.


Sure, Crispy Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwiches have been around forever. But the past few years has seen a strange obsession with this fast food icon. The deal is, the Crispy Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich went from a drive-thru sensation to an upscale dining item. They’re everywhere now! And there are hundreds of variations. This one is pretty basic: a boneless chicken thigh marinated in a spicy buttermilk, then dredged in a spicy seasoned flour and deep fried. One of the things I did not do is drench the cooked thigh in hot sauce before putting it on the bun. I think that’s a bit counterintuitive, ie, making your nice crispy chicken thigh soggy, not to mention the soggy bun result. That’s just me, I guess. No matter how you like your crispy spicy fried chicken sandwich, they’re here to stay I think!


Buttermilk marinade:

  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Louisiana Hot sauce
  • 2 boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed

Garlic Tarragon Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of black pepper

Seasoned flour:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprtika
  • Canola or peanut oil for frying
  • 2 brioche burger buns
  • mayonnaise
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg
  • 2 slices tomatoes
  • Dill pickle slices


  • Mix together the buttermilk with Frank’s hot sauce in a bowl. Add the chicken thighs to the buttermilk and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Heat oil to 350 degrees in a medium saucepan or skillet, at least 2 inches deep.
  • Set up a 2 bowl breading station. One for the buttermilk, one for the seasoned flour. Take a chicken thigh out of the buttermilk and dredge in the seasoned flour. Carefully place the breaded thigh in the oil and fry about 2-3 minutes on one side, then turn and repeat on the other side until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Place on a plate in the oven to keep warm while you cook the other thigh or thighs if making more.
  • To build the sandwich, lightly butter the buns then griddle to a golden brown on a flat griddle.
  • Spread some mayonnaise on the bottom bun then place 3-4 pickle slices. Add a cooked thigh. Top the thigh with shredded lettuce then a tomato slice. Spread the garlic tarragon aioli on the top bun and top the sandwich. Serve immediately.


So what do you get when you combine a long time pub favorite with southwest flavors? You get this: Southwestern Cottage Pie.

First, what is Cottage Pie? It’s a Shepherd’s Pie using ground beef instead of ground lamb. Honestly, I’m not a fan of ground lamb, so I prefer this G.B. version. Also, whether it’s Cottage or Shepherd’s Pie, it can be (in my opinion) a little bland. Let’s face it…it’s ground beef and mashed potatoes! So, with a few southwestern style ingredients added, this version raises up the flavor and spice level a bit.

The photo of it is not very photogenic…but, the flavors are fantastic!


  • 1 lb lean grund beef
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup, white onion, 1/4 inch chop
  • 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 inch chop
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp Chile powder
  • 1 small can diced roasted green chiles
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into 12 little cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cooked, mashed with butter and cream


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef and the diced onion. Break up the ground beef and cook until the ground beef is no longer pink and it is browned. Drain the excess grease from the pan. Add the tomato paste and stir in thoroughly. Season with salt, pepper, chile powder, garlic, and cumin.
  • Add the beef stock, salsa, carrots, green chiles, Worcestershire, herbs, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes over low heat. Taste and reseason if necessary. Remove the bay leaf and stir in 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and the peas.
  • Place the meat mixture in a baking dish or casserole. Spread the cream mashed potatoes evenly over the top leaving a 1/4 space around the edges. Then make ridges all over with a fork. Add the butter cubes evenly over the top.
  • Bake at 375 degrees about 30 minutes. Raise heat to Broil and bake until it is golden brown and bubbly, another 3 minutes or so.


So, what the hell is a Pub Burger anyway? Well…almost any burger you want to call a Pub Burger is exactly that…a Pub Burger. It’s a trendy name given out to some burgers served in American Pubs a few years ago. That’s right, I said “American Pubs”. Apparently, no authentic British pub owner in Britain knows what the hell a Pub Burger is. I guess any burger in an English pub in England is technically a pub burger. Like French Fries in France are just called…fries? Actually, French Fries were invented in Belgium, but don’t tell the French that! Point taken. With that known, let’s push on.

One thing usually agreed upon is that a Pub Burger must be made from fresh-ground beef, usually brisket is involved. The actual patty is right around 1/2 pound or more. And, it should be well-seared and not gray inside. That’s right…it should be medium-ish…with a little pink inside. There is also something called Pub Burger sauce that is quite distinctive. It’s made with mayonnaise, soy sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and fresh chives and garlic. In my “pub”, it also has blue cheese, crispy onions, and is served on a brioche bun, that, with any luck, will be fresh made at home! So, wish me luck on that last thing. I’ve always been a glutton for punishment.

For cooking the patty…if I owned a fire-breathing gas barbecue, I would char-broil it on that. If I owned a charcoal barbecue, I would cook it on that. That leaves me with two choices. I could crank up my Pit Boss smoker to “fire-breathing” levels, or…sear the hell out of it at my stove on my cast-iron ribbed skillet. The latter being my choice as the temperatures around here are supposed to hover around 105 for a few days when I plan to make this…I don’t want to be outside during this time!

Minimal condiments, though that is entirely up to you. A fresh-ground, 8-10 ounce patty will be the star of the show. Don’t overcook it, beyond Medium is frowned up with pub burgers! And, I’m afraid a fork will be necessary…but, have at it by hand if you’re eating at home. Lots of napkins!


  • Choice, fresh-ground beef – I used brisket, chuck, short ribs
  • Brioche buns
  • Crispy Onions
  • Crispy Bacon

For the Pub Sauce”

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Worestershire
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • In a small bowl, mix together all the pub sauce ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator.
  • Grind your beef using the coarse chili grind die. I use my grinder attachment for the Kitchenaid. You can also use a food processor and pulse the beef until it is coarse ground. Don’t let it get mushy. If you don’t want to grind your own, at least have your butcher grind some fresh for you. Ask or a mixture of brisket, chuck, and short ribs. He will love you for it!
  • Weight out 8-10 ounce patties. Don’t smash or compress too much, but make them slightly wider than your buns. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a cast-iron griddle over high heat (I used a ribbed griddle). When the griddle is smoking hot, put on your patties. I used a press to keep it against the griddle. When you have achieved a dark crust or grill marks, flip over and cook until the internal temperature reaches your desired doneness. Do not over cook. I cook mine Medium (130 degrees) with some pink in the middle.
  • When you turn over the patty, add a handful of blue cheese crumbled then cover the patty with a pan lid to help melt the cheese.
  • Lightly butter your brioche buns and griddle until golden brown. Slather some pub sauce on the bottom bun.
  • When your patty is done, place on the bottom bun. Top with some crispy fried onions, I used French’s this time though I sometimes make my own.
  • Place a few half slices of crispy bacon on the onions then place the top bun.
  • Grab a handful of napkins.
  • By the way, the pub burger sauce is also an excellent French fry sauce.


Arguably, the National Dish of Canada. It was called the Provencal Dish of Quebec for a while, but Quebec didn’t think it was a dignified enough dish to be called that, so….we’ll go with Canada.

Invented in the 1950’s in Quebec, it was one of those late night drinking dish for those guests who had been, well…drinking! Now…fast forward to 1970’s New Jersey…for the same reason (late night drinking guests), Cheese Fries were born. Both Poutine and New Jersey Cheese Fries consist of French Fries, cheese, and a light brown gravy. Only Poutine uses cheese curds and Cheese Fries uses shredded Cheddar (or something similar).

In my case here (Central California), cheese curds are hard to find…despite there being 1000’s of dairies around here! So, I opted for Queso Fresco and Shape White Cheddar. You can also substitute Mozzarella for cheese curds.

The gravy here is a simple scratch recipe, although most pubs are known to use a dry, gravy packet for their gravy. This version also uses cornstarch, not flour, for a thickener so as to keep it lighter, more translucent, and less thick, and gloppy. I love thick and gloppy gravy…on biscuits…but not on Poutine.

Make your own fries or use Ore-Ida Krinkle fries like I did…they hold up well to the gravy and cheese. In any case, be sure to serve Poutine immediately after plating as it will get soggy real soon!

Youtube video link:


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 2 small garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • Kosher salt and Black pepper
  • French Fries
  • Cheese curds, Queso Fresco, or Sharp White Cheddar
  • Chopped Chives or Green onions


  • Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add 3/4 cup beef stock and 3/4 cup chicken stock. Reserve 1/2 cup stock for later. Bring the stock to a simmer, lower heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Mix 2 tbsp cornstarch into the reserved 1/2 cup of stock. Remove the stock from the stove and strain through a fine wire sieve into another small saucepan. Return to the stove and bring back to a simmer.
  • Start whisking in the cornstarch slurry a little at a time. Adding more if needed to thicken to a sauce or light gravy consistency. Taste and reason with salt and pepper if needed. Keep warm.
  • Fry or bake the French fries as desired. I used my air fryer, 400 degrees for 14 minutes.
  • To serve, place the cooked fries into a large bowl. Season with salt. Add some cheese curds ( I used half Queso Fresco and half Sharp White Cheddar, crumbled into small chunks. Toss with tongs. Ladle on some gravy and toss again.
  • Plate some fries in a serving bowl or plate then add more cheese and more gravy. Garnish with chopped chives or green onions. Serve immediately.


This ain’t no Shepperd’s Pie…it’s Cottage Pie! So, what’s the difference you say? That’s easy…GROUND BEEF instead of GROUND LAMB. The ubiquitous English pub dish can also be found with ground beef in it, and many prefer it this way.

The recipe is relatively easy and produces a savory, satisfying comfort food casserole good any time of the year. And, incredible leftovers the next day!

YouTube video:


For the potatoes:

  • 1 1/4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes (3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

For the filling:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white onion, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup carrots, 1/4 inch dice, cooked
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Place the peeled potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook about 22 minutes. Drain then run them through a potato ricer. If you don’t have a ricer just mash them well. Return the to the pan over low heat then start adding the butter and cream, a little at a time, and stir with a wooden spatula until creamy. Do not whip them or they will be gummy. Turn off heat, cover, and keep warm.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium skillet over medium heat crumble and add the ground beef and the diced onion. Cook until the beef is done, browned and no longer pink. Drain the excess fat and return to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste, beef stock, carrots, peas, Worcestershire, herbs, and stir to combine. Cover and cook about 10 minutes. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Place the ground beef mixture in a greased 8×8 baking dish, spread around evenly. Spoon the creamy mashed potatoes over the ground beef and spread evenly. With a fork, make ridges all over the surface of the potatoes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes until it is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool 10 minutes before serve. Garnish with chopped parsley.

The Ten-Ounce Burger

So, why the 10-ounce burger? Well…it promised to be a great food photo opportunity, and it was. I wanted to do a McD’s “Quarter Pounder” on steroids!

The build for something this big is critical, as the patty is so big, a lot of superfluous toppings would make it totally unmanageable from a dining point of view. I wanted to be able to eat it!

I worked at McD’s for a time back in the mid 60’s. I made 1000’s of burgers there. This is the order of ingredients and how to make this thing.

After griddling the buns, nice Brioche buns not too big here, lay both sides on a work surface. You will build only on the top bun…in this order:

  • The top bun
  • A couple squirts of ketchup
  • A couple of squirts of yellow mustard
  • 3 sliced dill pickles
  • A few slivered white onions
  • A slice of American cheese
  • Put nothing on the bottom bun.

After griddling the burger patty, lay a slice of American cheese on it. Now place the patty on the top bun with the cheese. You should now have all the condiments on the upside down top bun and a slice of cheese on both sides of the patty.

Place the bottom bun of the burger. Invert…and voila…a monster McD burger. I did give it a few seconds in the microwave to melt the cheese a bit for the photo. In the restaurants, the cheese melts while the wrapped burger sits in the bag!

Pair with twice fried french fries slathered with a fresh made 1000 Island dressing (recipe below), a nice icy cold Root Beer, and a knife and fork, and you’re ready to go. Yes, I feel ashamed. I did eat it with a knife and fork! And, could only get through about half of it.

The thick, 10-ounce 80/20 burger patty was cooked to about 155F, slightly pink inside. It was salt and peppered on both sides.

After all…today, May 28th, is National Burger Day in the U.S.