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my turn to take lunch to the office - what to serve w/ clam chowder?

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suzeqz Nov 25, 2009 10:32 AM

I'm making New England clam chowder: clams, potatoes, herbs, cream basically. Traditional accompaniment is oyster crackers, but that seems sparse. I need a side dish -- a veggie or a salad of some sort -- and dessert, for about 10 people. Instead of crackers, I'm taking artisan French bread (from SuperTarget -- love the stuff!) and I was thinking maybe cole slaw but I'm not sure I want a creamy dressing with a rich creamy soup. Crudites with dip maybe? But again with the creamy. Dessert could be cookies, so people can nibble throughout the afternoon, but something else might be good too.

So...I need a vegetable or salad to go with clam chowder, and dessert. All suggestions greatly appreciated!

Suze

  1. s
    suzeqz Jan 2, 2010 09:12 AM

    I really appreciate everyone's advice! greygarious, maybe carrot slaw with vinaigrette for color rather than cuc salad, but the salads suggested by Emme and Analisas mom, while sounding DELICIOUS to me, might be outside of my coworker's culinary experience, most of whom "cook" from boxes. I once took in a VERY last-minute bagged slaw with a bottled dressing and got rave reviews! So I'd like to keep flavors simple. I work with people from several ethnic backgrounds, who've been known to look at each other's lunch and demand: "You eat THAT?!"

    1. a
      Analisas mom Dec 10, 2009 08:14 PM

      Just made some homemade clam chowder it was so good. I served it with crusty bread and I did a spinach sald with red onion strawberrys , blueberries and feta with balsamic V&O it was so good together.

      1. esperanza Dec 10, 2009 08:06 PM

        I'm pretty passionate about this, since this is a food of my childhood. serve caesar salad.with fresh croutons and homemade dressing. to me, this is the quintessential pairing. the tangy caesar really cuts the creaminess of the chowder.

        1. Emme Dec 10, 2009 06:22 PM

          for 10 people, do you think you could get mini sourdough loaves and serve the soup in bread bowls?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Emme
            greygarious Dec 10, 2009 07:08 PM

            The bread bowl idea is very nice. Much as I like cucumber salad I would not choose it for this occasion. Your co-workers may bypass it for fear of the gastrointestinal consequences, or else have a noisy and smelly afternoon. I'd go with carrot and celery sticks and radishes, with a cheese dip or dressing. .

            Cookies or bar cookies for dessert.

            1. re: greygarious
              Emme Dec 11, 2009 07:51 PM

              Just thinking a nice salad might be endive, granny smith apples, maytag blue cheese, caramelized pecans drizzled with walnut oil, white balsamic vinegar, a touch of honey and a squirt of lemon. the sweet and acidic will cut the chowder nicely!

          2. blue room Nov 25, 2009 03:08 PM

            I love an excuse to make vegetable fritters or a vegetable strudel wrapped in phyllo. Or maybe little corn fritters with homemade cinnamon applesauce.

            Fresh pineapple with warm chocolate pudding spooned over it is a good dessert.

            4 Replies
            1. re: blue room
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              suzeqz Nov 25, 2009 03:27 PM

              Oh, my...a veggie strudel! Forget the coworkers -- I'm thinking dinner for the family now. Is there a recipe around here? And I have pineapple in the fridge, and an easy recipe for chocolate pudding (and I actually have corn starch in the pantry!). I'm set to go!

              1. re: suzeqz
                blue room Nov 25, 2009 03:57 PM

                Here's the strudel recipe I use-- http://www.recipezaar.com/Holiday-Veg...
                I substitute and switch cheeses and vegetables willy-nilly, it's always good. But go EASY on the thyme, I think 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried is plenty!
                Sometimes I just make a veg strudel of sauteed cabbage and onion mixture.
                The golden buttery flaky "envelope" of phyllo is irresistable.

                1. re: blue room
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                  suzeqz Dec 9, 2009 04:38 PM

                  This looks GORGEOUS! Wish there was a way around all that butter, but I learned the hard way that phyllo alone is not a good idea. I'm sure I can fix this up with leftover bits from the vegetable bin in the fridge. And thanks for the note about the thyme -- my husband HATES the stuff, so I may just cut it out completely. Wonder what I could substitute for it?

                  1. re: suzeqz
                    Emme Dec 9, 2009 08:35 PM

                    i'd suggest tarragon instead of the thyme for something equally as mild. if you don't mind something a little stronger, you could try basil or oregano.

            2. s
              superfinespot Nov 25, 2009 02:49 PM

              suze, my suggestions:

              salad: garden salad (roasted red onions, cucs, capers, tomatoes, romaine). i'd stick to a balsamic vinegar base on the dressing bc anything creamy would be too much. or do mixed greens, roasted beets, onions, and a cheese

              sides: oven baked fries.

              espresso iced brownies, cranberry/dark chocolate loaf cake, or an iced pumpkin cookies for something seasonal
              simple: molasses cookies or caramel corn would be fun

              4 Replies
              1. re: superfinespot
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                suzeqz Nov 25, 2009 03:32 PM

                And more cucumbers! Our local farmer's market had lovely ones on Monday, so hopefully, she'll have some this weekend so I can make the salad Sunday night to give it time to marinate. And I'm gonna make the caramel corn just on general principle -- I haven't make the stuff in AGES and until you mentioned it, I'd forgotten how much I like it! I make the syrup with Archer Farms Cinnamon Maple syrup (yes, I'm a SuperTarget fiend!) and my family devours it. Folks at work would LUV it up!

                1. re: suzeqz
                  blue room Nov 25, 2009 04:09 PM

                  This cucumber stuff is very very good. I never have fresh dill at the right time--I just use a dried dill / herb mix from the grocery in the spice aisle.

                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  1. re: blue room
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                    suzeqz Dec 9, 2009 04:35 PM

                    This looks like JUST what I'm looking for! And I, too, have dried dill at the ready, but never fresh. Good to know that I can sub for this recipe.

                    1. re: blue room
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                      Sharuf Dec 10, 2009 01:55 AM

                      And along with the cucumber, I would make a composed salad with beets as well and also give them the sweet-sour treatment. Your menu is seriously in need of some color!

                2. Cherylptw Nov 25, 2009 11:34 AM

                  A nice salad would be great or even a "salad" sandwich made with the bread you have...nice lettuce, cucumbers, maybe some sliced pears or apples then drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette and some type of cheese (manchego, smoked swiss or even a sharp cheddar?)

                  Dessert could be as simple as huge fresh baked chocolate chunk cookies or shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate coffee ganache & sprinkled with nuts.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Cherylptw
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                    suzeqz Nov 25, 2009 03:24 PM

                    OK, I'm seeing cucumber again...I'm thinkin' that's the way I ought to go. And chunky cookies! Maybe fruitcake cookies half-dipped in white chocolate and nuts?

                  2. l
                    LauraGrace Nov 25, 2009 11:19 AM

                    Boy, what a great work environment! :)

                    I think crudites would be good -- what if you did hummus instead of creamy dip?

                    Or you could do a really bright cucumber salad with a lemony vinaigrette, or spinach salad with that sweet red onion dressing, or carrot-raisin salad (old school but delish). Honestly a big crunchy tossed salad with romaine and all that stuff, with a homemade vinaigrette, was my first thought.

                    Dessert. Hm... You could do fruit crisp, with whatever looks good at the market. Brownies would be easier to serve, and similarly nibble-able. Or what about pumpkin bars? So delicious and very seasonal. If you did cookies, what about something with lots of spice, and dried fruit and nuts, almost like fruitcake cookies?

                    Good luck!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LauraGrace
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                      suzeqz Nov 25, 2009 03:22 PM

                      OK, now, hummus would be fab with dippers! And I'm loving the idea of the cuc salad with the lemon vinaigrette -- easy to pull together, and cool, in contrast to the hot soup. And I could easily do pumpkin bars...I wonder how those would sit out over the afternoon? I just know that someone will get them out of the fridge and leave them on the break room table, y'know? On that note, the fruitcake cookies would be the best way to go...wonder if I could sneak some chocolate into them??? But I can NOT do brownies, as we have one woman who does brownies like you would NOT believe and I'd rather eat hers than mine!

                    2. 4
                      4X4 Nov 25, 2009 10:35 AM

                      How about some good crusty white bread? Maybe a baguette, sliced into rounds.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: 4X4
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                        suzeqz Nov 25, 2009 10:48 AM

                        My thoughts exactly -- that's what the artisan French bread I already have planned is! I tried it for the first time a few days ago and I'm SO hooked. Crusty / chewey, with HUGE holes, it's beautifully rustic and it's phenomenal dipped in herbed olive oil. For the crew at work, I'll slice it for dunking in the soup.

                        1. re: suzeqz
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                          4X4 Nov 25, 2009 11:39 AM

                          I should have read your post closer.

                          Maybe some cheese and/or good cold cuts (proscuito, genoa salami, etc.) to go with the bread.

                          1. re: 4X4
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                            suzeqz Nov 25, 2009 03:14 PM

                            Hey, I like that -- something to make small sandwiches!

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