Today I received an email from a woman in DC with instructions for how to overnight my sperm across the country. I guess a little context is in order.
She’s a friend of a friend who’s looking for a known donor (as in sperm donor), because she’s ready to have a baby and she isn’t willing to wait any longer for “Mr. Right” to come along to raise it with. Because let’s face it….that might not happen. Not because she isn’t lovely, because I assure you she is (you really think I would do this with just anyone?), but because in this day and age, I just think it’s more likely for a woman to run out eggs before she lands her tall-dark-and-handsome. Why? Because it seems as if purebred heterosexual men are a dying breed, and it’s women and gay men who are the mutts of our population most destined to evolve. Take that natural selection! And since Jonathan is, well, unamused by the idea of us having children at this point in our lives, I figure helping someone else genetically concoct a child is the next best thing. And no, this is not me living out some version of that horrible movie with Madonna and Rupert Everett. Give me some credit!
So where was I?….oh yeah, the email.
In the email my partner in crime describes a monthly travel schedule that doesn’t necessarily seem feasible for either of us considering our proximity to one another, and so she proposes we look into some services that ship the sludge door-to-door in less than 48 hours. Intrigued, I clicked on the first link of spermicidal shipping services she’d found.
While scanning the page for instructions and maybe a customer testimonial or two, words and phrases like: vaginal self-insemination, yolk buffer, spongy, syringe, disease and pregnancy jumped off the page and made me gag. Suddenly I couldn’t breathe. Stunned at the reality of what I was about to embark on—I was scared. So much of what led to that moment was just hearsay and theory, but this time, now, it was honest and raw and real.
Not once in my 30+ years on this earth had the thought of impregnating a woman caused me to shudder. In fact, the thought of doing it without depositing the goods in person was sort of comforting. I remembered my stepmother’s best friend from Australia telling us about the shortage of turkey basters down under and the image of lesbians ramming kitchen gadgets up their hoo-has down under was comical. You bet your ass I laugh every Thanksgiving holiday because of it. But I was never grossed out before. To each their own, right? But this time it was different. This time, it was my sperm. This time the weight of my genetic offspring hung in the balance and I really don’t want to have a fat baby!
So I clicked on a few more of the sites she’d found and warmed up to the idea of my little swimmers suspended in air at an altitude of 10,000 feet. And then I wondered, am I freaking out because fathering a child will—by default—make me a parent? Does this mean I have to grow up?
My Peter Pan complex and I closed the email window and we threw ourselves into the kitchen where I could create something that wouldn’t take nine months to bake, require a bunch of mutual agreements and the filing of adoption papers, etc. And this is what came of it.
In honor of never having to touch, suck or stuff anything—whether attached to my body or not—into a woman’s clam shell again (thank god my 20s are over), I developed this recipe for stuffed shells that would make even the gayest of gays proud to say they love a good clam slam!
Oh, and is if that wasn’t enough, this recipe is dairy and gluten free as well!
Thai Stuffed Shells with Clams, Cilantro & Rice
- 2.5 lbs of little neck clams (about 12 medium sized clams)
- ½ cup white rice
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 Serrano pepper
- ½ red bell pepper
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 2 tblsp olive oil
- ¾ cup dry white wine like a chardonnay separated (pick one you’ll want to finish with dinner)
- 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbslp fresh clam juice
- ½ tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Rinse your clams to get rid of any debris. Then shuck them over a bowl to catch any of the flavorful clam juice and flesh inside. I found this youtube video of Rich Vellante (Executive Chef of Legal Sea Foods in Boston, MA) extremely helpful if you’ve never shucked little neck clams at home before.
Once you’ve gone through all the clams, rinse the shells and let them dry on some paper towels because you’re going to stuff them later.
Pull the clam flesh out of the juice and strain, keeping as much of the juice in the bowl as possible.
Roughly chop the clam meat up into irregular pieces (only a few chops are necessary) and set the little neck clam meat aside.
Pour off the clam juice leaving a little at the bottom of the bowl where all the dirt and sediment from the clams settle. Measure out 1 tblsp clam juice, and store the rest for another time (jar in the fridge, or Tupperware in the freezer works fine depending on when you’re going to use it next).
In a small pot with a lid cook the white rice and chicken broth on high heat and bring to a boil. Do this with the lid off. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer, add the lid to the pot, and cook for another 10 mins.
Spread the cooked rice out on a rimmed baking sheet to let some of the moisture come off.
Preheat the oven to 400°
While the rice is cooling, remove the white pith and seeds from the Serrano and Bell peppers and roughly chop them into ¼ inch pieces. Add these to the bowl of a food processor.
Then add the garlic, olive oil, cilantro, lemon juice, fish sauce, reserved 1 tblsp clam juice and white wine. Pulse 4-6 times until everything is nice and small.
Then add the cooled rice and process another 2-3 times.
Add the contents of the food processor to a mixing bowl and stir in the chopped clams.
Pull the dried clamshells apart and lay them on a rimmed baking sheet. Start with the larger ones first.
Using a spoon (and your hands) stuff the shells with the rice and clam mixture, packing the contents in so they’re not too loose. Each clamshell should be slightly overstuffed. Continue until you’ve run out of filling and discard any extra shells.
Place all the stuffed shells on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle a little olive oil over each. Pour half a cup of the white wine on the baking sheet (not on the stuffed shells directly) and place on the lower rack of the oven. Remember to use a good white wine, because you’ll want to drink it when these stuffed shells are done. Hartford Court makes a delicious Sonoma Coast chardonnay from their Far Coast Vineyard.
Bake for 10 minutes and then put them on the top rack and switch the oven to broil and cook for another 5-10 minutes, watching the clams carefully to make sure they don’t burn.
When the pieces of rice on top and around the edges have started to brown and crisp a little, they’re done.
Sprinkle some chopped cilantro over them as a garnish and serve!