Smokey Clam Dip with Giants Chips

Chips and dip… you have to have chips and dip on the table. Around here I’ve been making a creamy clam dip that puts just the right amount of smokey goodness into the traditional tangy clam dip.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • two 6 1/2-ounce cans minced clams, drained, reserving 3 tablespoons liquid
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

In a bowl whisk together cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients and salt to taste.  Nice, simple, straight forward… and you could top this with snipped scallion greens and bacon-bits… As you all may know, I like to make my own bacon bits with a rasher or two of thick cut bacon from Western Beef.

Everything’s better with bacon.

Serve this with toasted pita wedges, what we call Giant’s chips around game-day.

Your Own Loaf of Meat

So, continuing this ‘comfort food’ series, today I will reveal the secret to a really good meatloaf… venison! Yup, from right here on Long Island. Fresh deer meat mixed with ground beef to make a lean loaf that’s good for your health.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 lb ground venison
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 rashers of bacon diced
  • 1 medium onion coarsely grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 3 juniper berries crushed
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the bacon bits, then drain on a paper towel and toss into a large mixing bowl.

Add the venison, beef, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, thyme, juniper, vinegar, egg and mix this all together with your hands. Yup, have to do it with your own two un-gloved hands. Make that connection with your creation.

Now, just because I use thyme and juniper, doesn’t mean that you have to. The thing that makes meatloaf a real comfort food is that it is made from whatever makes YOU feel good. If you want to use oregano, mushrooms, and A1 sauce, go right ahead. Meatloaf is as personalized as fingerprints (another good reason for making your fingers a part of the process).

Spoon the mixture on to a foil covered baking sheet and shape it into a loaf shape. Bake in the oven about an hour and fifteen, then take it out and left it rest about five minutes before cutting and serving and challenging your guests to guess what ingredients YOU used… trust me, this last part makes for interesting conversation if you are an unconventional cook.