My reluctance to let summer end has been drenched by October rains. I’ve dug out my rain coat, my sweaters, and my fuzzy slippers. I dug up all the vegetables turned brown and squishy by the frost, and all the dead and brittle flowers that rattle in the wind. My camera has also been in my hands frequently to capture the amazing colors.
And of course, because it’s fall, I’ve dug into my freezer for pumpkin puree I made last year. You see, I have this rule I made up to keep my freezer from being overloaded by things I will never be able to cook my way through: I’m not allowed to plant pumpkins in the garden until all the previously stored pumpkin puree has been used up. There is nothing worse than looking into the chest freezer in the middle of winter, searching for something I can work into a weeknight meal and finding nothing but pumpkin and lamb livers.
The kids have a few seasonal favorites like pumpkin cranberry bars, and I do make the occasional pumpkin cheesecake, but the easiest is dark chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. These have become a regular lunch staple around here lately (so fluffy! I love these!).
Speaking of digging, I also found something we dug out of the sand last spring: Pacific Razor Clams.
For people on the west side of the state razor clamming is like going berry picking here in the Northwest; it’s a necessity at least a couple times a year. We’ve been lucky enough to have several friends take us out and show us how it’s done.
One of my favorite razor clam recipes, beyond creamy chowder, is clam cakes. A friend of ours introduced me to this variation on crab cakes a year ago, and it’s my favorite one when using up the steak portion of the clam (aka the siphon and flaps). When we process our razor clams, we usually split them into the feet (the digger) and the steaks. Feet are more tender and are typically what you use in clam chowder. The steaks are a bit more rubbery, similar to calamari. They can be breaded and fried and served like calamari, but that does not always go over well with the kids. I like this variation. Given the excited yells of “Ooooo, clam cakes!” I think the kiddos seem to agree with me.
Crystal’s Clam Cakes
(adapted from Paula Deen’s Crab Cake recipe)
1 pound clam meat, drained (steaks or feet will work)
2 packages Ritz crackers, crushed
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
dash of cayenne pepper
olive oil for frying
tartar sauce or yogurt dill sauce for dipping
The Cooking Part
Place clam meat in the food processor and pulse several times. Add Ritz crackers, Worcestershire, dry mustard, salt, garlic, cayenne, and lemon juice. Mix until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add mayo, egg, and green onions. If the mixture seems to watery add a few more Ritz crackers.
Heat oil in a pan, making sure the oil is about 1/4 inch deep. Form the clam mixture into small patties, about 2 1/2 inches across. Fry until golden brown on one side, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and fry the other side, about 4 minutes. Try not to flip more than once.
Serve with tartar sauce or yogurt with dill and a little lemon.