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Now that Food52's Managing Editor Brette Warshaw has stocked her First Kitchen, she's ready to throw parties in it: no-stress weeknight parties for anyone, anytime, and (almost) every kitchen. You're invited.
Today: A stovetop clambake that comes together in less than an hour, and a step-by-step game plan.
For some people, summer means sun. It means beaches. It means sandy flip flips, salty hair. For those people, it hopefully involves clambakes: the gathering of seaweed by the shoreline, the clearing of the fire pit, the layering of the just-found clams with the just-found seaweed on top of glowing, fire-y rocks. While it all steams and melds together -- a process that takes several hours -- these people may lay on striped towels and get bronze in the setting sun, and then dig into their dinner with the lazy abandon that only comes from being in the sun for just a bit too long.
For others -- others that may or may not have had to Google "what is a clam bake" before writing this column -- summer means the glory of air conditioning, of maybe climbing out of someone's window to get to an illegal grill on a fire escape. It might mean afternoons on a computer instead of getting tan. This is a clam bake for those people -- and, for when it rains, the above group, too.
The beauty of this dinner party? When you're eating it -- when you and a tableful of friends are all grabbing for the giant, crazy-good smelling pot, are tearing up bread and soaking it in clam-y, tomato-y, bourbon-y juices and letting the super-melted chocolate from your no-fire s'mores drip all over your arm -- you don't even care you're not at the beach. The afternoon-long clambake is for another time, another place; you're making your own traditions.
Up to a week before: Make the mint syrup for the Mint Limeade, and leave it in the fridge.
The night before the party: Whisk together the dressing for the Summer Slaw. Store that in the fridge, too.
When you get home from work: Time to prep! Squeeze your lime juice. Slice your cabbage, and toast your nuts. Shuck and shave your corn. Halve your cherry tomatoes. Clean your clams. This dinner will come together quickly, so having all the components ready is key.
Right before your guests arrive: Mix together a pitcher of Mint Limeade. Add as much gin as you feel is appropriate, and then add a bit more.
Party time: While your guests drink too much limemade, head back into the kitchen -- and make the stew. (This will take 20 minutes or less, I promise). Have a helper toast or broil your bread for you. As soon as the stew is ready, bring it out to the party. Toss your slaw, and bring that out too.
When everyone wants dessert, and not a minute before: Head into the kitchen, and broil a sheet tray of s'mores. This will take all but 30 seconds, so watch carefully. Bring them out to the table, and have napkins at the ready. Some vanilla ice cream wouldn't hurt.