The perfect day for seafood chowder and yet another contest complete with recipe

Since Joey is stuck in Florida I am stepping up with another post this week, complete with recipe and a voting request, of course!  I have entered this recipe in the New England Country Soup “Ours vs. Yours” Challenge.  The object of the contest is to create a soup using some of the basic ingredients of the New England Country Soup (in this case, milk/cream, clams and potatoes) and if I make it to the cook off, judges will compare my soup to the New England Country Soup Clam Chowder for taste and nutritional value.

So, in order to get to the cook off, I need some easy clicks to vote please–and here’s the link:

You can vote daily through February 13th and there is no registration/information sharing necessary–I appreciate the support!

And here’s the recipe for you:

New England Clam and Seafood Chowder with Handmade Oyster Crackers

6 ounces finely diced salt pork
1 cup water plus more for boiling potatoes
3 pounds steamer clams
3 pounds diced skin on potatoes
2 cups diced sweet onion
1/4 cup salted butter
3/4 cup all purpose flour
8 cups clam broth
1 pound sea scallops cleaned and cut in to bite size pieces
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 pound cod fillet, cut in to bite size pieces
1 pound chopped sea clams in liquid
6 cups whole milk
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
1 pound cooked lobster meat, cut in to bite sized pieces
1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste
3/4 teaspoon white pepper

In a heavy bottomed large pot or Dutch oven, render salt pork over medium low heat.  Remove crispy bits with a slotted spoon, allowing drippings to remain in the pan.  Add diced onions and butter and cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally.  When onions are cooked, stir in flour to make a roux.  Cook and stir until flour turns light brown.

Boil potatoes in another pot until fork tender.  Drain and set aside.

In the meantime add one cup water to another large pan and steam clams, covered, until open over medium high heat.  When cool enough to touch, shuck the clams, clean and rinse in the water they were steamed in.  Set clams aside and strain broth through cheesecloth to filter out and grit and rinse the pan if necessary.

Add clam broth to filtered clam steaming water and bring to a simmer.  Add the scallops to the simmering broth and cook until just firm.  Remove from broth with a slotted spoon and set aside.   Repeat procedure with shrimp and cod and set aside.  Slowly whisk in hot cooking liquid into the roux and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and whisk in chopped clams and their liquid.

Stir in milk and evaporated milk and cooked lobster meat.  Add the cooked potatoes, steamers, shrimp, scallops and fish to the pan and slowly heat to serving temperature.  Season to taste with salt and stir in the white pepper.  If desired, finely chop cooked pieces of reserved salt pork and sprinkle it over individual servings of the chowder.

Serve topped with handmade oyster crackers and enjoy!

Homemade Oyster Crackers

2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
½ teaspoon sugar
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling if desired
1/2 cup cold butter, cut in to cubes
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine yeast, water and sugar. Stir to combine and set aside until mixture is frothy and yeast is activated.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt. Process for one minute to mix and aerate. Add butter and pulse until small crumbs form. With processor running, pour yeast mixture through feed tube. Process until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead in a little addition flour if dough is sticky. Roll out the dough as thin as possible into a rectangle. Fold in the long sides of the dough to the center and repeat with the ends to form a smaller rectangle. Roll out thin again and repeat this procedure two more times. Roll out one final time to a 9” x 11” rectangle.
Brush top of dough very lightly with milk and sprinkle very lightly with additional salt if desired. With a pastry cutter, cookie cutter or knife, cut crackers in to ½” – 1” squares or shapes as desired. Place crackers on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Slide parchment off of baking sheet and allow to cool. Serve with seafood chowder. These can be made days ahead if necessary as they keep well stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Dave Sags Blues Party tonight @ The Rhumb Line with Evan Goodrow

Thursday9:00 to 12:00 ~ Dave Sags Blues Party with special guest Evan Goodrow

From Mr. Dave Sags himself,

Hubba, Hubba,  girls, and those of the female persuasion: he’s back!  He’s escaped the event horizon, eaten ten hits of oxymoron, strapped on his titanium codpiece, and he’s comin’ after you! I’m talking ’bout that pulse racing, rubber-hose wielding divo of rhythm and bliss, Mr. Evan Goodreau. Last seen in these parts a while ago, it’s taken months to wipe the smile offa evrybody’s face. Now, put it back on, cuz he’s comin’ to town and he wants YOU, the viewer to  split your lip in  heavenly ecstacizm and zizz to the loopy beet. Ask your doctor if HonkyJive® is right for you.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gym Gwin, Fred’s brother, will be playin’ the eggbeaters and stirrin’ soup behind him, tryin’ to figger out a way to take K. L. out, or at least expose him as a swish. We know it’s true. THIS IS A DANGEROUS BAND.
Of course Greg T. with his hat, and myself , on base, will attempt the impossible. Do czech it out.
Many busy executives ask me how I can go on and do this “creative” writing every week. I can’t really eggsplain it, but here’ what to do: Make yourself an Ice-cold martini (or three), sit down, and let ‘er rip! Usually works for most authors, so, give it a try. Nothin’ like black and white! Stay tuned!

Got an Old Mural?

Wall painting in the Twitchell house, which features an erupting volcano, ca. 1830. Photograph by Ruthie Dibble

The Metropolitan Museum of Art website features a story today by Ruthie Dibble, the 2010-2011 Douglass Foundation Fellow in The American Wing (the pinnacle of success for a history major).  She’s on the hunt for early American murals in historic New England houses,  and might have some luck finding a few on Cape Ann.  For more information, check out this link, which highlights the results of some of her research and gives a fascinating glimpse into the artistic tastes of wealthy Americans in the early part of the 19th century.

Did You Know (Shalin Liu)

Pianist practicing one early Sunday morning at Shalin Liu Performance Center
Photo by E.J. Lefavour

That The Shalin Liu Performance Center was named after Shalin Liu, A Taiwanese-born philanthropist who donated $3 million toward the Rockport Chamber Music Festival concert hall, with a caveat that $500,000 of the gift be devoted to music education programs for students?   She is an avid concertgoer and supporter of the Center’s educational and outreach efforts.  Long before she had money to give away, she was reaching out to help others.  When she was an 18-year-old student in Taipei, she got word that a former classmate had lost a leg in an accident. She wrote to the son of Taiwan leader Chiang Kai-shek, who was running a government agency that focused on the young. She implored him to help the badly injured student. Her persistence paid off. The boy received an artificial leg and was able to walk again.

Lui attended Taiwan University, where she studied philosophy and literature. In 1973, she moved to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in Asian philosophy at Indiana University. She later moved to the Boston area where she raised a family and worked at Harvard University’s Harvard-Yenching Library and the Harvard Law School library.  Concern for the terminally ill motivated her to train as a hospice worker and work in nursing homes.  Her life is highlighted by big and small acts of kindness.  Her kindness has certainly greatly benefitted Cape Ann.  If you haven’t been to the Shalin Liu Performance Center yet, check out their upcoming performances and go to one.  It is one of the most beautiful performance spaces I have ever been to, and its right in our backyard.  Go to for info.

E.J. Lefavour

Art, Rocks!

Comming to an Auction near you!

I’ve been contacted to sell my “Art Rocks” but I did’nt start the idea to sell them.


In a few weeks there will be an Auction where if you really want one of these things you’ll be able to bid on one of these Rocks or something similar.

Stay Tuned for more Information.

Gloucester Holiday Trash Collection Schedule

Holiday Trash Collection Schedule for the week of January 17th
In observance of Martin Luther King Day, trash will not be picked up on Monday January 17th. Collection will be delayed one day.Monday trash & recycling will be collected Tuesday, January 18th
Tuesday trash & recycling will be collected Wednesday, January 19th
Wednesday trash & recycling will be collected Thursday, January 20th
Thursday trash & recycling will be collected Friday, January 21st
Friday trash & recycling will be collected Saturday, January 22nd

The Art of Blogging

Maybe my idea of blogging is all wrong.

posting photos of Joey sitting on the toilet cost GMG a subscriber.

My sincere apologies for all who were offended! not really 🙂

Here’s a web page on ideas on how to blog.

Here’s one article from them;

Keeping the attention of a reader is important, especially if the reader is expected to convert.  There are four critical elements to getting and holding attention with copy: usefulness, conciseness, urgency, and a promise kept

Usefulness: What Does a Reader Want?

People do not tend to read texts or watch videos without a reason.  You need to give them that reason again and again.  This article starts with the main reason: keeping the attention of a reader, and it hits that point again and again.  You need to do the same thing with your writing by discovering what the reader wants to hear about and coming back to that point.

Here are a few ways to get a message across while constantly getting back to the focal point and providing useful information:

  • Headings and sub-headings – These should be logically broken up but also offer a promise of value.  Headers that start with phrases like ‘how to…’ or ‘why… does/doesn’t work’ are great ideas because they provide useful answers to questions.
  • Facts and figures – If there are any facts, figures, or projections, feel free to toss them in to drive home the point.  Be sure to quote sources and consider mixing facts and headings whenever practical.
  • Anecdotes are nice, but they need to be tied in – keep them short and bring them right back to the point quickly.  Leave no dots that need to be connected as your readers may not want to connect the dots for you.
  • Finally, be concise

Concise: Don’t Lose Your Readers

If there is one copywriting sin that I commit time and again, it is that I’m not concise enough.  This is a huge problem and it is one that loses readers.  To that end, do everything you can to tighten up your copy.  Re-read it again and again and chop out that which is not necessary.  I like to call this trimming the fat, and it is critical to keeping the attention of readers.

Health Care Reform Panel To Meet At Cruiseport

Northeast Health System CEO Ken Hanover and MHA President Lynn Nicholas to discuss impacts of health care reform on area families, hospitals and communities
What: Health
Care Reform: What does the Changing Landscape Mean to Me and My Family? This innovative panel discussion centers on the impacts of health care reform on Massachusetts, the North Shore, hospitals and families. The expert panel features Northeast Health System President and CEO Ken Hanover and Massachusetts Hospital Association President and CEO Lynn Nicholas, who will discuss a variety of topics, including the current climate for hospitals, industry trends, issues driving

the cost of health care, and the future impacts of health care reform. The panel is moderated by Bob Hastings, executive director of the Cape Ann
Chamber of Commerce. Audience members will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
Note: the event is invitation only, and is open to the media.
Who: Ken Hanover, President and CEO of Northeast Health System
Lynn Nicholas, FACHE, President and CEO of Massachusetts Hospital Association
Bob Hastings, Executive Director of the Cape Ann
Chamber of Commerce (moderator)
Northeast Health System staff

When: Thursday, January 13th, 2011
6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Cruiseport Gloucester
6 Rowe Square
Gloucester, MA

About Northeast Health Foundation
Northeast Health Foundation is the fundraising arm of Northeast Health System, which is based in Beverly on Massachusetts’s North Shore. The Foundation works to build philanthropy for Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert Hospital, BayRidge Hospital, CAB Health & Recovery Services and Health & Education Services, Inc.–all not-for-profit affiliates of Northeast Health System. For more information please visit

About Addison Gilbert Hospital
Addison Gilbert Hospital is a full service, medical/surgical acute care facility. The hospital, founded in 1889,
provides state-of-the-art inpatient and outpatient care to residents of the Cape Ann community in specialties such as primary care, emergency services, radiology and mammography, cancer care, day surgery, physical and occupational therapy, gynecology, inpatient senior health services, and a variety of specialty physician services. Among all other Massachusetts hospitals, Addison Gilbert continues to score among the top hospitals in the nation for patient satisfaction in surveys conducted by Press Ganey Associates.