When you cook, No greater compliment exists than when someone asks you to share a recipe, assist them in their kitchen efforts or comes to you for advice. I am finding, the longer I cook, the more frequently this tends to happen.
Such was the case recently when an old friend sent me an email asking me to help her out. You see, she is currently acting as the “cookie” on an historical re-enactment project called the Flagship US Niagara.
Docked at the Erie Maritime Museum, in Erie, PA, the Flagship US Niagara serves as a reminder of a very critical piece of the history of the United States. In service during the time of the War of 1812, the real Flagship Niagara, under the command of Oliver Hazard Perry, was very crucial in our countries defeat of the British Naval fleets which allowed us to go on toe rather decisive victory in the War and eventually go on to open up the west to settle the remainder of the United States.
Later called the Hero of the Lake, At his request, Perry was given command of United States naval forces on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. U.S. Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton had charged prominent merchant seaman Daniel Dobbins with building the American fleet on Presque Isle Bay at Erie, Pennsylvania, and Perry was named chief naval officer.
On September 10, 1813, Perry’s command fought a successful fleet action against a task force of the Royal Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie. It was at the outset of this battle that Perry famously said, “If a victory is to be gained, I will gain it.” Initially, the exchange of gunfire favored the British. Perry’s flagship, the USS Lawrence, was so severely disabled in the encounter that the British commander, Robert Heriot Barclay, thought that Perry would surrender it, and sent a small boat to request that the American vessel pull down its flag. Faithful to the words of his battle flag, “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP” (a paraphrase of the dying words of Captain James Lawrence, the ship’s namesake and Perry’s friend), Perry ordered the crippled Lawrence to fire a final salvo and then had his men row him a half-mile (0.8 km) through heavy gunfire to transfer his command to the USS Niagara. Once aboard, Perry dispatched the Niagara’s commander, Captain Jesse Elliot, to bring the other schooners into closer action while he steered the Niagara toward the damaged British ships. Breaking through the British line, the American force pounded Barclay’s ships until they could offer no effective resistance and surrendered. Although he had won the battle aboard the Niagara, he received the British surrender on the deck of the recaptured Lawrence to allow the British to see the terrible price his men had paid. Perry’s battle report to General William Henry Harrison was famously brief: “We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.”
This was the first time in history that an entire British naval squadron had surrendered, and every captured ship was successfully returned to Presque Isle. Although the engagement was small compared to Napoleonic naval battles such as the Battle of Trafalgar, the victory had disproportionate strategic importance, opening Canada up to possible invasion, while simultaneously protecting the entire Ohio Valley. The loss of the British squadron directly led to the critical Battle of the Thames, the rout of British forces by Harrison’s army, the death of Tecumseh, and the breakup of his Indian alliance. Along with the Battle of Plattsburgh, it was one of only two significant fleet victories of the war.
This brings us to modern times and the Flagship Niagara replica, which now calls the Erie Maritime Museum its home. The museum opened its doors May 21, 1998. As home port of the Flagship Niagara, the Erie Maritime Museum presents the story of the Niagara as the reconstructed flagship of Pennsylvania and the warship that won the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Offering a wide range of multi-media and interactive exhibits, and coupling with lively interpretive programs, Erie Maritime Museum vividly illustrates Niagara’s history and the region’s rich maritime history.
At a time when our country is reeling from record unemployment, declining economics and political unrest, never has this phrase stood as a more fitting or worthy “Battle Cry” which to rally behind!
Here are a dozen classic Chowder, Stew and Soup recipes I sent to my “cookie” friend on the Flagship US Niagara to stymie off hunger and fuel their bodies while hoisting sails on deck!
1 28 can Whole Tomatoes
1 cup water
1 Medium Sweet Onion, Chopped
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 pinch raw sugar
In dutch over, combine 1 can fire roasted tomatoes and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer. Add garlic, celery salt, sea salt, white pepper and nutmeg and cover. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add onions. Sauté until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and add to food processor. Add tomatoes and mascarpone then puree until smooth.
Return to dutch oven and simmer over medium heat until warm. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
* 4 slices bacon
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 cup bottled clam juice
* 1 cup half-and-half
* 2 (6 ounce) cans minced clams
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels, reserving the bacon fat in the pan, crumble and set aside.
2. In the same saucepan with the bacon fat, saute the onion and potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well to coat.
3. Pour in the clam juice, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
4. Add the half-and-half and minced clams and season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally, whisk in the heavy cream, if desired. Allow to heat through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and crumbled bacon. (Note: Do not boil if adding cream.)
Classic beef Stew
* 4 pounds bottom round, well trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup olive oil (plus more if needed)
* 2 large onions, diced (2 cups)
* 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
* 1 cup dry red wine
* 1 pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
* 1/2 pound baby carrots (about 2 cups)
* 2 cups beef broth
* 1 tablespoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1. Coat the beef in the flour. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer to a heavy casserole or a heavy, covered saucepan or Dutch oven.
2. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions; transfer to the casserole. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the casserole. Stir in the broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf.
3. Cook the casserole in a 325° F oven for 4 hours, or in the saucepan or Dutch oven on the stovetop over low heat for about 2 1/2 hours. In either case, stir occasionally and add up to 1 cup of additional beef broth if necessary. Add the potatoes and carrots during the last hour of cooking, and the peas just before serving.
* 2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound)
* 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded
* 1 medium onion
* 1 large roasted red bell pepper (available in jars)
* 3 cups tomato juice
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
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Cut 1 tomato, 1/2 cucumber and 1/2 onion into 1-inch pieces and transfer to processor. Add bell pepper and puree. Transfer to bowl. Add tomato juice, cilantro, vinegar, oil and hot pepper sauce. Seed remaining tomato. Dice remaining tomato and cucumber and onion halves and add to soup. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.) Serve well chilled.
Carrot Soup with Orange and Tarragon
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 1-pound bag classic-cut peeled carrots
* 3/4 cup chopped onion
* 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 1 tablespoon brandy
* 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
* Fresh tarragon sprigs
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Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion; sauté until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add broth; cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat, uncover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in orange juice, brandy, and chopped tarragon. Simmer 5 minutes for flavors to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish soup with tarragon sprigs and serve.
10 Minute Shrimp and Bean Stew
* 2 tbsps olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
* 1 cup tomato sauce
* 2 cups water
* 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
* 1 tsp dried thyme, or 3-4 sprigs of fresh
* 1 can (15-oz) butter beans, drained
* 1 can (15-oz) white cannellini beans, drained
* 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 lemon, juiced
* salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic slices on medium-low heat, until the garlic begins to sizzle. Cook for about 1 minute, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add the tomato sauce, water, pepper flakes, thyme, and beans. Turn up heat to medium-high and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the shrimp, and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked. Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot in bowls with bread.
Bacon and Potato Chowder
* 8 slices bacon
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 1/2 onion, chopped
* 1/2 cup diced carrots
* 1 stalk celery, diced
* 1 quart chicken broth
* 4 cups cubed potatoes
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
* salt to taste
* sour cream, as needed (optional)
Cook bacon in a soup pan until crisp. Remove, and reserve. Discard bacon fat, and add olive oil to the pan. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté on medium-low until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth, potatoes, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cheese, until melted. Dice bacon and add to soup. Seasoning with salt, and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 rib celery, chopped
* 1 onion, diced
* 1 can crushed tomatoes (28-oz)
* 2 cups clam juice or fish stock
* 2 cups white wine
* 4 cloves crushed garlic
* 1 lemon, juiced
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 teaspoons dried basil
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 Dungeness crab (about 2-lbs), cracked and cleaned, or 1-lb frozen crabmeat thawed
* 2 pounds walleye fillet, cut into 1-in slices
* 24 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
* 12 mussels
* 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1. In a large pot, on medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil and saute the celery and onions until soft, about 10 minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the seafood and fresh parsley. Simmer on low, uncovered, for one hour. Add a splash of water if the sauce gets to thick. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
2. Add the crab, shrimp, and halibut, and simmer covered another five minutes. Add the mussels, cover the pot and simmer for 3 minutes more, or until the mussels open. Turn off the heat, and stir in the Italian parsley.
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
* 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts
* salt and pepper
* 3 cups water
* 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
* 1/4 cup dry sherry
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
* 1 pound fresh lima beans
* 1/2 cup okra
* 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
* 2 tablespoons butter
In a stockpot or Dutch oven, cook chopped onion in the bacon grease. Add the chicken seasoned with salt and pepper. When chicken is browned on all sides, pour off the excess fat. Add the water, tomatoes, sherry, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook slowly over low heat for 1/2 hour, then add the lima beans, okra, fresh or frozen corn kernels from the cob. Simmer 1 hour. Add the butter and cook 1/2 hour longer.
Sausage, Potato and Zucchini Stew
* 1 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 pound spicy, garlicky, and possibly smoky sausage (Italian, Cajun, Chorizo, etc.), cut in 1-inch pieces
* 1 onion, chopped
* 6 zucchini, cut in 2-inch pieces
* 1 1/2 pound small Yukon gold potatoes, cut same size as zucchini
* 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
* 1 bay leaf
* 6 springs fresh thyme
* water as needed
* salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 1 cup cherry tomatoes
* 1 tablespoon sliced fresh chives (and/or any fresh herb)
* 6 thick slices of crusty bread
In a Dutch oven or soup pot, brown the sausage and onion in the olive oil, over medium-heat. Add the zucchini, potatoes, broth, bay leaf, thyme, and a big pinch of salt. Add enough water to just cover.
Note: I didn’t use garlic in this recipe since the sausage I used was quite garlicky. If you’d like, you can add a few minced cloves just before the onions are soft.
Bring to a simmer over high-heat. Reduce to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened slightly. Adjust with water or broth as the stew cooks if it is getting to dry. Use a spoon to skim any excess fat that pools on the surface.
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn off heat and stir in the cherry tomatoes and chives, or other fresh herbs. Serve hot with crusty bread.
Stuffed Pepper Soup
* 2 pounds ground beef
* 2 quarts hot water
* 1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
* 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
* 2 cups cooked long grain rice
* 2 cups chopped green peppers
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until peppers are tender. Yield: 10 servings.
Classic Minestrone Soup
* 10 large ripe plum tomatoes (or two 14 oz cans of tomatoes, drained)
* 3 medium carrots
* 2 medium leeks
* 5 ribs of celery
* 2 red onions
* 1 cabbage
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 2 clv garlic, finely sliced
* 1 heaped Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
* 3 cup ham, chicken, or vegetable stock
* 3 good handfuls of fresh basil, torn
* 6 oz spaghetti
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* extra-virgin olive oil
* Parmesan cheese, grated
Score the tomatoes and place briefly in boiling water. Then skin, seed and roughly dice. Peel or scrape the carrots, quarter lengthwise and chop. Remove the outer leaves of the leeks, quarter lengthwise, wash well and chop. Peel the celery with peeler to remove the stringy bits, then cut in half lengthwise and chop. Peel and chop the onions. When you are chopping all these vegetables, try to make them more or less the same size (around inch dice. Wash and roughly chop the cabbage.
Put the olive oil into a warmed thick-bottomed pan and cook the carrots, leeks, celery, onion, garlic and rosemary over medium heat until just tender (about 15 minutes). Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming if necessary. Add the cabbage, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the basil and the pasta, which will absorb the flavors of the soup. Simmer for a further 5 minutes or more. Taste and season. The soup should be quite thick, full in flavor, and the cabbage shouldn’t be overcooked–you want to retain its deep color.
US Flagship Niagara
Erie Maritime Museum Homeport
150 East Front Street
Erie, Pa 16507