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Everything posted by johnnyd

  1. "Diver Scallops" are collected by scuba divers licensed in their state to "hand harvest". They are considered preferable on menus because the product is regarded to have been treated gentler than the normal drag-harvest method. In this video, the diver has retrieved 5 or 6 scallops so he'll end up with 5lbs of scallop meat per scuba tank. At a rate of $7/lb, he's made $35, and probably unable to supply even one lunch rush in a busy restaurant. A much more practical way - and the normal harvesting method - is dredging or dragging a chain-metal "bag" behind a sturdy vessel on flat ocean bottom, which scrapes everything up in it's path, hoisted on-deck and picked through for scallops. Not the prettiest way to treat the ocean, or scallops, but you get 100 pounds a whack - a decent days pay. So I know a couple guys here in Portland who sell their scallops to places in Boston, but they don't go out everyday - the point being that there isn't enough genuine diver product generated to legitimize menus claiming to serve "diver scallops". Not really caveat emptor here because all (dry) scallops are pretty damn good to begin with, but "deadliest catch" crab could be another similar stretch of marketing imagination.
  2. It's like "diver scallops". If people only knew how few scallops were actually harvested by divers - but it sure sounds cool
  3. I think it was the article in the NYTimes about the resurgence of heirloom potato farming that caught my eye so this hit my inBox like a ton of bricks. I'm going on Friday if I can get everything done. If not, Saturday. Any one else up here in Maine should too. Even if you can't get up here to help, this email shows the recent rise in community commitment to local food sources and the people who make it happen. Their website: Goranson Farm
  4. I am a serial clipper. I have several pounds of NYT dining sections and Sunday magazine recipe pages dating back at least ten years. I have (and regularly use) almost every issue of Savuer. Whenever I'm bored or pick up an unusual ingredient, I poke through the collection. I recently found Salsify Root at our farmer's market and remembered a recipe for chicken with salsify from Savuer #106. I use clipped recipes about 60% of the time. Problem is organizing them into some coherent data base.
  5. I'm curious too - I've had a bag of rice flour for a while with the intention of making rice noodles but I'm not sure if it's the right kind. and Maxh, I've never made fresh pasta but I'm pulling the trigger this weekend.
  6. johnnyd

    Dinner! 2009

    Superb pasta, Shalmanese. I'm doing that really soon, thanks to you. --------- Our Farmer's Market here in Portland has been introducing more intresting things every season. This year, I saw some Salsify Root, for which I had just seen a recipe from the Basque region in Spain - Pollastre amb Salsafins. From Savuer issue #106: I bought a bunch for $3, and followed this recipe (Savuer #106). The recipe calls for 2lbs Salsify and 4lbs chicken pieces but after peeling my bunch I guessed the result at barely a pound, so I added a few local carrots. The farmer who sold it to me said have a pot of water with lemon nearby because the root starts oxidizing immediately. I didn't believe him until I saw it myself - by the time you're around the other side, the spot where you started is the color of copper. Weird. The recipe calls for simmering salsify for 30 minutes then frying it, then simmering it again with the chicken pieces. I began to think the recipe it was written for older, cellar-stored roots (or black salsify) because I tasted them after every stage and thought it was terrific - kind of parsnippy but deeper. The kicker was a picada of parsley, garlic, almonds and chix stock that is added during the last 1/2 hour. We served it with rice and Rioja. The above shot is the leftover for lunch with a poached egg and fresh shrimp. All around, an interesting and satisfying dish. I'd do it again.
  7. johnnyd

    Dinner! 2009

    Can't find the LUNCH! topic and this was too late for BREAKFAST! thread, so here we are, Fresh Haddock, Cape Elizabeth onion and heirloom tomato, poached in butter, garlic and lemon peel - garden basil and black pepper grind garnish. Standard Baking baguette on the side. Secret ingredient: capful of Noilly Prat white vermouth. An hour later and I would have cracked open some pinot grigio, but I'm a good boy.
  8. johnnyd

    Dinner! 2009

    Local lamb shoulder, braised in red wine/madeira/water, carrot, onion and celery root, green peppercorn, rosemary, lemon thyme - house crouton garnish Tuna loin topped with spicey tomato confit and garden basil
  9. Well, a week late but a really nice look at our restaurant scene and food sources, but most important, the energy we have in our kitchens. New York Times - Dining - 9/15/09
  10. Cinque Terre is an excellent place. If you haven't been yet, definitely go. It's on a par with Fore St price-wise, so depending on your budget that might make a good switch except I can't resist Fore Street's energy and delicious food. I've had a clunker there once or twice, but I still go. Street & Co. serve reliably excellent food. I've also met a couple chefs there and believe them to be dedicated to their craft. You have a tough call, but if I were you, I'd make sure there's enough money for Montreal. On the way up I89, take the Burlington VT exit (West). Downtown is a mile down the hill and there are lots of great eateries. It's four hours from Portland so you'll be good and ready. I'm a sucker for Leunig's Bistro, as I stopped by every day for their coffee on the way to work when I lived there (as well as ate there, bought rounds of champagne there and dated a waitress), but I see some good things on their menu still, like strawberry & cashew encrusted salmon, a duck confit "sloppy Joe" and a turkey cubano. If that sounds interesting and you go, tell the manager, Bob Conlon, that Mr. Dennison says Hi. Bon Appetit
  11. The October Bon Appetit magazine covers our waterfront, "The Foodiest Small Town in America" Writer Andrew Knowlton was among the guests at our most recent Deathmatch dinners back in April,
  12. Now that things are coming out of the ground at a normal pace it's time to look for some deals. --------------- Look no further than the Freedom Farm stand on Monument Square during Wednesday's Farmers Market - at least I think it's them - but look for the stand closest to Center street for the amazing... $5 Bargain Bag! This is what I got in a really big bag of assorted mis-shapen, gnarled, but just-picked veggies: at least 10 small carrots (including the interesting one upper left ) 8 young turnips (mostly purple top) 4 or 5 radishes 2 young patty-pan squash 8 nice beets - two were golden 1 leek about 10 small summer squash 2 daikon, about 12" long 4 cukes (3 were small picklings) 3 Japanese eggplant 2 yellow hot peppers 1 hot cherry pepper 1 green bell pepper ...and about three pounds of assorted new potatoes Now, of course, comes the part about what to do with it all, but I'm not concerned about that. What I have is five pounds of locally-grown, fresher than fresh vegetables, that will prove not only incredibly nutritious but entertaining while I find ways to make them into something tasty to eat. And I only spent five dollars - I might come through this recession unscathed after all. Portland Farmer's Markets are in Monument Square every Wednesday morning and in Deering Oaks Park on Saturday mornings - both days until noon.
  13. Also posted in New England Cooking & Baking forum here.
  14. Sounds great, Ellie. I love it when chef Tak finds something new. Remember the Tsubu Gai (sea conch sashimi) from this post? Awesome. If I was a little more financially able, I would tour all the Portland sushi bars so everyone gets a fair shake. But I doubt I could top this visit to Miyake by the Portland Food Coma Posse back in April. Speaking of sushi bar rumors, the Siam Restaurant on Fore Street appears closed and might possibly be hooking up with the aborted Wasabi Sushi place slated for 7 Exchange. But as usual I don't really know anything... ETA: The New York Times' Julia Moskin writes about Portland restaurants on September 2. Watch this space.
  15. Hey there, Stranger I have not been in there but I know where it is. It's a damned fine website, I must say. I seem to remember seeing Chef Geo somewhere before...
  16. National Public Radio aired a short piece this morning on how top restaurants are handling recession-weary customers, featuring Portland's own Sam Hayward. Instead of Cod he uses haddock, poached, then folded into a russet potato and egg emulsion. Locally grown beans (The Beanery - Exeter, Maine - are available at Jordan's Farm, Cape Elizabeth) are simmered in caramelized onions. Story - Podcast - Recipes / NPR.org The recipes are quite comprehensive. I am definitely doing this this week.
  17. That's a little over $5/lb. Probably came from Mass. since Maine does not allow harvesting lobsters that big. I paid $16.00 PER pound, so the 3 pounder was over $50.00! ← Holy Hannah! Now THAT'S a freight charge! Something addled my math when I read your post. Might have been killer bisque I've been making lately.
  18. That's a little over $5/lb. Probably came from Mass. since Maine does not allow harvesting lobsters that big. Today's Harbor Fish Market signboard on Portland Maine's Custom House Wharf: $3.79/lb for pound and a quarters. $3.49/lb if you buy OVER TEN LOBSTERS - that's about $45. I think it's time to revisit freezing methodology. Wasn't milk a good medium?
  19. Interesting. And exactly what prices are you seeing there, doc? Anyone else are welcome to chime in. We can see what forces the middlemen are exerting on the national/international retail side of this fishery, if any. Shipping is an important factor, and adds mightily to the final price, but if folks in other states and beyond see no change/drop in prices then someone is making a killing. Or are they?
  20. I paid $12 for two pound and a halfs this sunday. I feel I'm helping out but I also feel guilty for the price. Today's Boston.com frames the current situation in the Maine lobster industry in an eloquent report here.
  21. Restaurant Evangeline made it into Saveur editor James Oseland's top ten French Restaurants in the USA. USA Today article here.
  22. Another great study is The Lobster Gangs of Maine by James Acheson - fascinating read. Also, The Lobster Coast by Colin Woodard Latest news here is that the State Police has decided to get involved in the matter. Historically, a guy gets pissed and cuts another guys bouys - maybe the mooring line, so the boat floats ashore. Big deal. Boys dissing each other. But three boats in one night is major. Stay tuned. Buy lobsters.
  23. Three Lobster boats sank in Owl's Head harbor as tensions show no sign of abating in Maine's top fishery. MPBN Story here NECN Video here Retail lobster prices here in Portland are at historic lows, $3.99 to $3.49 per pound for 1 1/4lb, $4.99 for 1 1/2lb.
  24. The Diner is still open and only needs $5k to cover debts by August 28th. Do drop by if you are in the area.
  25. Local 188 owner/chef Jay Villani has signed a lease on the space formerly occupied by O'Natural's at 83 Exchange Street. He plans to overhaul the kitchen and install a bar.
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