Scallop Chowder

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When Rebecca Charles of New York’s celebrated Pearl Oyster Bar first taught me the recipe for her scallop chowder, I asked if it was possible to substitute milk for the cream. She looked at me like I was crazy. “Why would you want to do that?” she asked. Good question.

This recipe (featured in SECRETS OF THE BEST CHEFS, a great holiday gift!) is one of the simplest, most comforting winter foods you can possibly make. Turns out, it’s all about the cream which has the remarkable ability to take on whatever flavors you heat it up with. In dessert, that flavored mixture becomes ice cream; here it becomes chowder.

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Creamed Mushrooms on Toast

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When I’m home alone and making dinner for myself, my standards change dramatically. If Craig’s there (and he usually is), I know he has certain expectations about what constitutes a dinner. That’s fair, because most people do. But alone? My standards go out the window and I just improvise a meal with whatever I have on hand. And the other night, while Craig was in London showing his movie at the Raindance Film Festival, I happened to have the following on hand: mushrooms, thyme, cream and bread. That’s why I decided to make something I’d never made before, something I wasn’t even sure constituted a proper dinner. That something was creamed mushrooms on toast.

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