Tuesday, June 11, 2013

True Grit

Spaghetti Alle Vongole

_DSC9406The clams harvest close to Mt Fuji has drastically decreased recently linked to a possible connection to Mt. Fuji activity. Last time it erupted was in 1707, during the Edo era. There have been things like the sudden collapse of section of the mountain, Lake Kawaguchi is north side of Mt. Fuji, it’s water level is unusually low and the massive amount of ayu (鮎, sweet fish) die off; those strange occurrences may be predicting another eruption in the near future? That is some scientists’ theory…I hope they ‘re wrong.DSCN1958Looking at Mt. Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi.

The clams my husband cooked were of Washington state origin so they had nothing to do with Mt. Fuji or to this recipe yet it was kind of eerie. We were there! A couple of months ago! We walked along Lake Kawaguchi, seeing Mt. Fuji up close… The thought that we may never see serene Mt. Fuji again and hearing of other catastrophic natural disasters lately cast shadow on my mind.

Now let’s go on to cooking - Hold your horses Cowboy, you shouldn’t cook clams right away! They need serious salt bath time! I lectured my husband. Biting into sandy clam is no fun-at-the-beach, de-grit you must! I read a fellow blogger’s method of de-gritting (is that really a word?) and I’m happy to report that it’s practically identical to mine, just that she is cuter and younger..what I’m talking about? In fact, I was getting nervous that the blogger made a really similar dish last week. Her fabulous photos and everything…Honey, do we have a plan B? No? I see….on the bright side, my recipe has Italian name. Buon Appetito!

Time to purge!   

  1. Clean clams well with bristle brush under running water.
  2. In a large bowl, pour 1000ml water and dissolve 2 Tablespoons of sea salt. Place a strainer one size smaller than the bowl. Put cleaned clams into the strainer.
  3. Lay long cooking chopsticks or wooden spatulas across the bowl._DSC9447
  4. Cover with a newspaper or cloth on top.
  5. Wait at least 1 hour but 3 or more hours is preferred. After more than 5 hours in salt water bath, clams were way relaxed. _DSC9451

Ingredients for 2-3 people_DSC9457

  • Olive oil 1 Tablespoon
  • Garlic 2 cloves thinly sliced
  • Red hot pepper 1-2 pods, seeds removed and slice across
  • Clams 2 pounds
  • White wine 1/3 cup
  • Spaghetti half package about 8oz.or less
  • Cabbage leaves 3-4 roughly chopped
  • Salt, white pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add garlic and red hot pepper and sauté until fragrant._DSC9391
  2. Add clams and sauté for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour wine and cover with lid. Steam until clams open up. Discard ones that do not open. Remove clams to plate or bowl. Set aside._DSC9394
  4. Pour 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt in a same pan and boil.
  5. Break spaghetti in half or thirds and put in the pan. Cook till al dente. Add more water if spaghetti is not cooked.
  6. Return the clams plus cabbage to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes_DSC9461.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste._DSC9474Darling, this is marvelous!


Every Thursday 4 PM to 8 PM till September 5th. the city’s Farmer’s Market is open for the season. First stop - pizza! It was Delicious!DSCN2326DSCN2327

We ordered drinks at this place. Not bad but the price …yowza $5.75 We could buy 2 slices of pizza with that kind of money.DSCN2325Hand cranked juice extractor? DSCN2328

The picture is gluten free mini cupcakes but we bought regular cupcakes. 75 cent each or 3 for $2.DSCN2324Colorful macaroons are for our eyes only…we are getting short on cash. There is always next week.IMG_0477A different artist is scheduled each week. IMG_0482IMG_0481

The better part of Saturday was spent weeding and removing dead plants. Our next door neighbor came out with a pick to help my husband. How nice!DSCN2329I made strawberry cupcakes using fresh strawberries from garden as a Thank-You gift. I added very little sugar so they were not overly sweet._DSC9495My raspberry shortcake raspberry plant looks wonderful – Hummm, it does not taste like shortcake however.DSCN2336My husband found this moth’s(?) nest in back yard. _DSC9485

I received bunch of lavender again this year from a neighbor who grew it in her back yard. _DSC9501Love, love lavender!


  1. I don't understand--- why the chopsticks and the newspaper? Ancient Japanese secret? :)
    I haven't always loved clams, but I like the clams in sake and this sounds good too... Maybe I'm growing up. Cute cupcakes! And I can't believe you didn't get the macarons. Remember how much we paid for them in Japan? And didn't even blink?

    1. Hi Mariko, Clams purge more sand when you leave in dark place. Chopsticks are for preventing newspapers to fall into the bowl...OK that is not good picture.

  2. Everything looks so good. I love anything with garlic in it, even clams.
    Nice neighbor too. Our neighbors hardly come out of their homes anymore. What happened to the good old days when neighbors were neighborly? Oops! Getting off my soapbox.
    Great pictures. I feel like I was there with you.

    1. Thank you! I'm so lucky to have great neighbors.

  3. Your pasta is lovely. I think I can eat that every night. :P And you used my favorite brand of pasta too. yum! How lucky you are to get those beautiful lavender from your neighbor. I have a plant and it died on me a month ago. I just planted some seeds...but so far, nothing came out yet. It must be my "brown thumb" again! :D Wish you a wonderful rest of the week.

    1. Thank you Amy. Ha ha ha 'brown thumb?' funny!

  4. Oh...we're drooling over your pasta dish:) ... with that delicious pasta...I could forego the macaroons ...me thinks;P

    Love that photo of the nest...it's a work of art...looks like perfect round papier mache...probably made without any aid, just precision:)

    1. Thank you so much. You're right! The 'nest' was so delicate and light. I put it back in the garden after I took the photo.

  5. 明美さん、何をおっしゃる!!!私の方がほっとしました。だって明美さんの方が料理歴長いプロですもの、私のレシピが間違ってたら怖い怖い!リンク頂きありがとうございます。今度絶対にキャベツ入れてみます。簡単だからついつい頻繁に作ってしまうレシピです。




    1. あれ、リンクだめだったかな。「50度洗い あさり」で調べてみてください。

    2. 情報ありがとう!今度絶対調べてみます。偶然に同じようなポストになったから、マネしてると思われたくなかったのです。私のはなみちゃんのよりも、手抜きっぽいけど。それにしても、なみちゃんのブログを見に来る人多くて、いいな、いいな。

    3. 先日、あさりの50度洗いしました。うひょーーーー感激。5分間50度(C)につけて、そのあと5分間(あれ3分だったかな)冷たい水に入れておくだけ。砂出し完璧でした。何時間もかからないこの砂出し、ビックリしました。また試してみます。やってる人がたくさんいるから嘘ではないと思うけど、でも何時間も待つ必要がないのには驚きでした・・・。



  6. Haha! I think I know which blogger you talk about... Your spaghetti alle vongole looks beautiful! I must admit I have never cooked clams (I always buy mussels... and cook them French way...). I will try it one day. Thanks for the salt water tip.

    1. I was just watching the Cooking with Dog YouTube video you linked in your blog and I was laughing hard. So fun concept! Amazing that the dog sit still for entire video shooting, do you agree?! Anyway, thank you for your comment.

  7. I love clams in both pasta as well as in a flavorful broth with some rustic bread on the side. It's one of those seafood, I didn't grow up eating, but it's now my fav!

    1. Thanks Kankana. It's always pleasure to visit your blog. Now that I have all the ingredients to make your refreshing drink, my afternoon is time for reading and sipping the drink.

  8. I love clams but never cook it with pasta. I had tried clams spaghetti( eat out) in Bangkok--it was so good, the cooking method was probably similar to yours but they probably added more chilies. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Tataya. Fried clams spaghetti sounds great. I love clam. We had creamy clam sauce spaghetti last night using canned clams.

  9. Nice posts here, really looking forward to checking out your other posts whe I have got more time, I shall bookmark your blog now.