Catkins and clams! What a combo!

If you have a yard to take care of then you know it’s a significant amount of work. Up here in the Northeast Rust Belt, it takes A LOT of work to get the yard back into shape after the ravages of Winter.

This past Saturday, I worked ALL DAY out on the yard. After mowing the front yard, I picked up where I left off previously doing the edging around the bushes and flower garden. I then hooked up a gutter-cleaning wand gizmo I had recently ordered from Amazon to my heavy-duty, high-powered Husqvarna leaf blower. Many of you can remember me whining about all the fallen oak tree leaves that I must clean up every November. Well, in June the gutters become clogged up with the “catkins” that fall from the oaks. Catkins? Catkins (photo left) are those brown, stringy tassels that hang from oaks (technically they’re “spent” male flowers whose purpose is to shed pollen that is carried by the wind to female flowers, which ideally then develop into acorns). When the gutters fill up with catkins (photo middle), as well as my neighbor’s maple tree “helicopter seeds” (i.e., samaras), the gutter downspouts become clogged when it rains and the rainwater subsequently seeps over the gutters down into our basement. Not a pleasant situation, believe me. It’s happened many times in the past. I normally climb up on the roof and blow out the gutters with a handheld blower, but going up on the roof is an increasingly risky proposition for an old guy like myself. My bright idea was to blow the debris out of the gutters while standing on the ground using the leaf blower and wand gizmo rather than climbing up on the roof.

Well, I was able to successfully patch together the wand gizmo to the leaf blower (using some duct tape of course), but it only did a so-so job. The catkins gather together in clumps like mini-tumbleweeds inside the gutters and often become lodged against the gutter brackets. Oh, well. It’s better than nothing. I think I’ll still have to get up on the roof periodically after all.

So, here comes the good part, friends! After finishing all of my outdoor chores, I was whipped and REALLY looking forward to a relaxing evening. My wife had a hankering for some shrimp, so I drove to the Lobster Trap seafood store, which is less than two miles from our house. While I was there, I also picked up a dozen wild-caught, littleneck clams.  🙂  🙂  🙂

There’s few edibles in this world as good as a dozen steamed clams. What? You’ve never prepared them yourself? It’s easy. Add about 1-inch of water to a 3-quart saucepan. Scrub the clams with a dish towel and rinse and add them to the pan. Turn heat to High. When water begins to boil, reduce heat to Medium-Low and cover. The clams should all open up after 5 minutes. Remove the clams from the water (photo right) and serve with melted butter accented with several dashes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Delish! But wait! There’s still more to this delectable feast. Carefully strain the water and natural clam juices from the pan through a cloth or paper towel into a large ceramic cup. Add a small pat of butter and a dash of Red Hot and reheat in the microwave until the butter is melted. Voila! A delicious cup of clam broth!

That, my friends, was a great finish to a very busy day! Wally, I really wish you were up here to enjoy those clams and clams broth with me! Yes, we can thank the Lord for life’s simple pleasures!

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30 thoughts on “Catkins and clams! What a combo!

  1. Wow. First, bless you for the yard work. That does get harder. I have never had steamed clams. I love whole fried ones, though. I had some mussels in Maine once with that lobster I ate, and they were really good. I don’t know that one could find raw clams here. Oysters for sure, though. There used to be a really nice oyster bar in Little Rock. I don’t know if it’s still around though. Yummy, Tom.

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    1. Thanks, Wally! Man, I thought you were going to tell me that NO WAY would you touch a steamed calm! 🙂 I love raw oysters and raw clams also but I am a little worried about eating raw seafood. When we visited Boston several years ago, we stopped at the Union Oyster House where John F. Kennedy used to slurp down raw oysters and they were excellent!

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      1. Well your concerns are well placed, Tom. Some serious food poisoning can breed in raw shellfish. Only seafood I can’t abide is squid. Barf. Like eating pencil eraser dipped in a dog turd.

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      2. Ah, fried calamari is one of my favorites! But I’m in the middle of a diet (yes another one! a future post) and fried food is strictly verboten.

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      3. Actually, calimari remains of of aour most cherised family funny memories. We were in a cruise and I got this mixed seafood sort of thing. Like a stew or something. Clams, shrimp, and assorted stuff. I like to have some decorum when I eat..you know, manners and such. Well, I put a big calimari in my mouth unknowingly and things got hysterical really fast as I tried to figure out exactly how to handle this monstrosity that had invaded my mouth.

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      4. Ha! Funny. But I love calamari served any way as long as it’s not over cooked into rubber bands. I’ll take two helpings of that stew! Our nearby supermarket sells frozen bags of mixed seafood – shrimp, scallops, fish, and calamari. A buy a bag of that, a box of Zatarain’s jambalaya rice, and some andouille sausage and cook it all up. Delicious! I think I may have already discussed that with you recently. I’m getting old.

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    1. My wife likes seafood but can’t stand clams and it’s one of the few things our dog won’t eat. She even knows what a can of clams looks like. When I open up a couple of cans of clams to make clam dip, I call her over to have a few and she snarls at me. Yeah, seafood is the best!

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      1. She won’t eat a clam but she likes to roll on top of one to get that funky smell on her coat, just like she likes to roll on deer droppings.

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    1. I like all kinds of seafood but a couple of dozen really meaty steamed clams might be the winner. Here’s a funny story. My wife and I were visiting our youngest son when he was stationed over in Italy. We went into a restaurant in Rome and I couldn’t read the menu that well but I kinda recognized octopus and linguine and ordered that. But it was served in black squid ink!!! It tasted good but it was REAL nasty to look at.

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