Shabu-Shabu / Swish-Swish

Living in Japantown, we could obviously walk down the street and walk into the Shabu restaurant and have everything served to us while we enjoy our meal but if you can prepare everything at home, then why not??  We've had about 5 shabu nights since we discovered how yummy and easy it was to set up.  Since our first fondue experience wasn't a major success, we realized the same pot could be used for shabu.  All ingredients can be purchased at our local Japantown market right down the street and to be honest, it ends up being cheaper than going to the restaurant before tip and all that.  And of course, you can add items that they don't normally provide on the menu like meatballs and baby carrots.  For the basic shabu dinner, here's your grocery list:

-miso base (2 packet) with boiling water
-napa cabbage
-firm tofu
-enoki mushrooms
-thinly sliced beef
-ponzu sauce
-sesame sauce

Mama's Clam Chowder

Been meaning to write about this dish for some time now, but needed to dig up my mom's recipe for Clam Chowder.  If you know me well, you know that I LOVE clam chowder.  Ask my girlfriends and they'll tell you they once found bits of clam chowder in my hair.  True story.  I can't always head to the mall and order a bowl from Boudin, but there's also something different about my mom's version.  When I used to live at home, I remember waking up to the smell of bacon and jumping out of bed because I knew what was for lunch.  Not eggs, sausage, and bacon, but her special clam chowder.  Okay, enough of the trip down memory lane.  After viewing the ingredients list, you'll see it's not authentic New England Clam Chowder...it's definitely got a twist with the added bacon, dill weed, and even celery, but boy it hits the spot.  Here's the recipe - enjoy!!

5 slices of bacon, trim fat and chop
2 6.5oz cans of chopped clams (save juice)
2 red potatoes, cubed
2 celery sticks, cubed
1/4 cup dill weed, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 pint whipping cream
sugar, salt, pepper to taste
corn starch, if needed

-Cook bacon for 5 minutes then drain fat
-Stir in clams (without juice), butter, and onions and cook for 5 minutes
-Add heavy cream and clam juice
-Wait to boil then lower heat.  Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, add potatoes.  Simmer another 5 minutes, add celery.  Wait 5 more minutes, then add cornstarch with water until desired thickness.  Top off with dill weed.