Archive for June 4th, 2009

Fried Razor Clams From Seaside, Oregon

June 4, 2009

fried clamsJune and July are clam tide months on the Oregon coast.  As a kid, I always looked forward to weekends spent at the beach clamming.  The whole family would pile into the station wagon on a Friday night with camping gear and clam shovels and drive from Seattle to Seaside, Oregon.  Razor clams are sweet morsels and a lot of fun to dig.  You have a clam shovel or a clam gun, (6-inch round aluminum tube about 24 inches tall) and walk the beach looking for a bubble and clam neck poking its head out.  Then you have to step gently up to it with your back to the sea, position the shovel just behind the hole and in a vigorous foray of excitement and speed try to capture that clam before he heads for China.  Sometimes the hole dug would be three feet deep before the raschel was apprehended.  The true test of a good clam digger is to see how many clams you can get in one shovel and not crack the shell.  Whether the shell was whole or not, not a clam was wasted for what we didn’t eat over the weekend would be frozen for a succulent meal after the season was over.  Mom also minced clams and can them in a pressure cooker.  Minced clams make a terrific clam dip or fritters.

Razor clams have flat sharp shells.  You simply slip them from their shelves with a knife and remove the black stomachs with scissors.  Breaded and fried they are a delicious treat.  Red cocktail sauce with horseradish was the preferred accompaniment along with home-frys and mom’s cole slaw. 

This recipe will also work with mussels and tenderized abolone and conch.Ingredients:

  • 2 lb cleaned razor clams, stomachs removed
  • 1 sleeve soda crackers, crushed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (or 1/2 cup plain yogurt with 1/2 cup milk)
  • sea salt
  • 1 or 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter plus (more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil plus (more if needed)

Method:

  1. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, Tabasco and salt.  Pour into a flat pie plate.
  2. Place cracker crumbs in another pie plate.
  3. Over medium high heat, melt butter, add oil and heat.
  4. Dip each clam in egg wash, then keeping the clam flat, dip into cracker crumbs and coat both sides.
  5. Fry about two minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Don’t crowd them in the skillet and try to lay them out flat.  
  6. Remove to a rack over a platter to drain.  Keep warm until all clams are cooked.
  7. Serve with cocktail sauce or tartare sauce.

Press Release for This Dame Cooks

June 4, 2009

Here’s the latest interview I gave to SW Spring Valley View.  Next, the launch of my website will hopefully happen next week.  Still working on technical problems.  It’s not easy to transfer a wordpress blog to a self-hosted wordpress website.  Many of the widgets that work on my blog require coding tweaks to work on a website.  Very frustrating!  But perseverance is my middle name so onward and upward.

Former chef starts recipe blog

By DANIELLE NADLERjoann-springvalleyview

VIEW STAFF WRITER

 JoAnn Jagroop whips up a quick snack made of tomatoes and goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto and red leaf lettuce while in her Spring Valley kitchen. Jagroop writes a blog on her Web site This Dame Cooks Blog, thisdamecooks.wordpress.com, where she passes on some of the recipes she has created throughout her career.

 Unemployment may be at its peak in Nevada at 10.4 percent, but that does not mean it’s time to throw in the towel, according to JoAnn Jagroop.

 “It is time to get creative,” she said.

 Jagroop moved to Spring Valley in December after she was laid off from her job as an accountant in Colorado. The 61-year-old branched out from her dual chef and accounting background to apply for any job opening she could find.

 After three months without work, Jagroop began to think outside of the corporate box.

 She had worked in kitchens in several different countries including New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific, so she thought, why not write about her adventures in cooking?

 “I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t know how to do it online, let alone make money off of it,” she said. “But I knew I couldn’t sit around and wait for a job to show up.”

 Jagroop took a class on how to blog, and in March launched This Dame Cooks Blog – named for her “saucy side,” she said. The blog, thisdamecooks.wordpress.com, tells of the recipes she created as a charter cook on sailboats in the Caribbean, as a restaurateur in the South Pacific islands, a sous chef in New Zealand and a cooking show host in Tonga.

 Every day, she writes a new blog with a new recipe that often is paired with a personal story. For example, her May 14 entry offers a recipe for pickled habanero chilies, a snack she discovered in Polynesia, and May 5 offers a recipe for poached squash blossoms, an hors d’oeuvres from her cooking show series “Mea’ kai Fakatonga.”

 “The whole idea is to give people easy, healthy recipes with a little flair,” Jagroop said. “Here is something you can do for your family that they’re going to love.”

 Some of Jagroop’s best writing material comes from her time in Tonga when she turned her carport into a commercial kitchen and made homemade yogurt, cheese, chutney and jam. She then opened her own restaurant on the island called Coco’s Deli Cafe, which she operated for 12 years.

Grocery stores on the island carried few ingredients, Jagroop said, so she had to, once again, get creative. She settled for cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips and powdered milk instead of cream.

 “I had to do with whatever I had,” she said. “In all that experimenting, I came up with new recipes.”

 Jagroop, who grew up in Washington, said some her earliest memories are with her parents in the kitchen. Both her parents were talented cooks.

 “My mom loved to cook anything unusual,” she said. “So, I guess it comes natural to me.”

 In less than two months since its inception, This Dame Cooks Blog draws an average of 150 visitors a day. Jagroop’s goal is to draw traffic to the blog and eventually launch her own recipe-heavy Web site where she will sell her books, kitchenware and other products.

 Barbara Schiffers, a former chef from Washington, said she logs onto This Dame Cooks Blog weekly for new recipe ideas and laughs.

 “The author’s personality really shows through,” Schiffers said. “She’s tongue in cheek, funny and educated about her subject. It’s a good read and inspires me to try something different.”

 As part of her plan to “get creative,” Jagroop is also writing two e-books — “Sorbets with Spirit” and “Polynesian Cooking” — that she plans to publish on ClickBank.com by September. She also is a freelance writer for online magazines Suite101.com and EzineArticles.com.

 “I’ve learned that you can’t wait for things to come to you,” Jagroop said. “You’ve got to take action. If you know about a topic that others don’t, you have a niche that you can share.”

 Contact Southeast and Southwest View reporter Danielle Nadler at dnadler@viewnews.com or 224-5524.