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Everything posted by johnnyd

  1. My friend, Don Lindgren, and his wife Samantha, opened Rabelais Books a few years ago - dealers in rare cookbooks. You should give him a shout. I think Sam is known here as pastryelf but I don't think they've been around lately. http://www.rabelaisbooks.com/
  2. dcarch - those beets look like those horrible creatures from the "Matrix" movie - outstanding!
  3. On occasion, I went diving for scallops here in Maine, and the rule was to shuck each scallop so that the boat ties up with only the mussel meat on board. Apparently, the corral is way more perishable than the meat, so it affects shelf life as a whole going to the consumer. The American taste for them never developed as it did in Europe, so there was no call to change things. Being close to area chefs, we secreted a few whole shellfish unshucked for those who asked. There is an outfit somewhere in Mass.that ships them whole, so I guess the law is different there: http://www.farm-2-market.com/fish-seafood/scallops/fresh-sea-scallops-with-roe/
  4. Extra large day boat scallops (about ten to the lb) were going for $23.95/lb here in Portland Maine waterfront. Smaller ones, about 20/lb went for $18.95/lb. Scallop corrals are not legally sold in the USA We fry the bacon to where we can easily wrap a scallop without it breaking, then under a broiler for 5min per side on metal skewers. I also have an on-going experimental basting regimen - last weekend was a maple syrup and whole-grain mustard sauce that gets nice and sticky under the broiler. Lovely...
  5. ...has been cancelled, again. There will, however, be three survey trips out in the Gulf Of Maine in the coming weeks to sample the biomass, as there were last year and the year before. After the shrimp caught are measured, weighed, etc, they are put up for sale at Portland Fish Auction (I managed to get 3lbs last year and still have 1lb in the freezer). But this revealing story by a long-time, mid-coast Maine fisherman casts serious doubt on the process by which Dept. of Maine Marine Resources scientists conduct these surveys. I found it fascinating and, as a former commercial fisherman, insightful. Anyone still around eG that remembers my near-obsessive coverage of this SUSTAINABLE fishery will find it a great read - those that are new to Gulf Of Maine Shrimp or New England fisheries in general will too... From the current issue of http://www.fishermensvoice.com/ Back in the late 70s, the shrimp season had been canceled in 1978 and was now opening up again. My brother and I were just starting our fishing careers and were blessed with the opportunity to learn from a long-time captain on how to do things right. His rule was, “there is a right way, a wrong way, and my way.” “My way” being the only way that things were going to be done on that boat. We had an old shrimp net that had been used before that was a few years old but it was deemed too old or worn out by our captain so we proceeded to build a new net from scratch. Nets are hung on two lines. At the time we used rope. The top is hung on one premeasured rope and the bottom is hung the same way. There are hundreds of knots or “hangings” used to hang the net twine so it is even on the rope. The goal is to have the twine come out perfectly even over the length of the rope so it will be right and you will catch the shrimp you are supposed to catch when the net is fished. When the top of the net was almost finished it was discovered that the twine was not even, it was off by one mesh or 1". The fix for this from our captain was to cut the twine back off of the rope and start over to make sure it was right, several hundred knots but perfection was the goal, nothing else was acceptable. The second attempt yielded perfection and we then finished up the gear and started to fish it knowing that this potential variable had been eliminated. This level of detail may have been a bit extreme and 1" may not have really mattered that much but since we did not have to worry about that, confidence was high that the gear would perform as expected and we would get an accurate representation of what there was for shrimp in any given spot that we tried to fish. There are many more components to shrimp gear and any captain who is serious, or knows what they are doing, will make sure everything is fine-tuned as much as possible so the gear as a whole will perform at an optimum level. It costs money to leave the dock and you want to make sure you optimize the catch when you go out fishing; this is common sense and good business practice. The shrimp season each year is based on government surveys that use similar gear that fishermen use. A government research vessel is used and they go out and make test tows to determine how many shrimp they think are in the water and set the season accordingly to avoid overfishing. As many of you know, the shrimp season has been canceled again for 2016 due to what has been determined to be a very low shrimp biomass. There were very few shrimp caught by the survey vessel. The catch by the survey vessel is the foundation of these decisions. Interestingly, there was a memo sent around this year that showed out of 84 stations (locations) that are checked each year to determine the status of the shrimp stock only 40 were completed due to faulty equipment and mechanical breakdowns. Out of the 40 successful attempts that were made to sample shrimp approximately 25% of those were determined to be unusable due to failure of the net to perform to specifications. It was out of whack and dug into the mud. Anyone who has fished will know what I am talking about. According to reports the shrimp gear used is now 32 years old. There was also some discussion about how this performance failure has been going on for the last three years. What this basically means is we have 36% of the data needed to make an informed decision about the true status of the shrimp stock in the Gulf of Maine for a potential 2016 fishery. No fisherman who wanted to stay in business would use gear with a 36% performance rate but the fate of the fishery biomass and the livelihoods of the people who depend on this fishery in the dead of winter are being impacted by this performance failure by the government survey. Presumably there are computer programs that can tease data out of this that are “good enough” to determine what is actually happening with the shrimp—anyone familiar with the terminology of garbage in garbage out? It would be unfair to deduce from this that if we only had an accurate survey we would have a shrimp season. The stock may be in worse shape than we know, or it could be better, but how can we know for sure with a lackluster performance like this by those who are in control of determining the health of this important resource? One thing is certain, we deserve much better, people’s livelihoods on and off shore are at stake and anything less than perfectly calibrated (or as close to it as possible) gear is unacceptable. Statements were made to the effect of “we can’t change the gear because we need to be consistent or the entire time series of research will be thrown off “and “we still caught shrimp even with the gear like this.” When did “good enough “become a research standard and “good enough” become the standard for “consistency?” Research that is not done with properly calibrated gear or equipment is a shot in the dark and I am not just talking about shrimp. Any laboratory work has to have a high level of precision or the results will be ambiguous and likely unusable or below an acceptable standard, I would hope. We need to hire people who know what they are doing, like actual shrimp fishermen and their vessels and gear, to bring their expertise and attention to detail with gear and equipment to do the survey work, no more garbage in garbage out. The gear needs to be calibrated to standard each and every year to eliminate as much as humanly possible that variable from the equation. We need to really know what is out there so this fishery can be managed properly. The results that are plugged into the computer models will then have a much higher degree of accuracy. We need to start over and get it right. One fisherman who is on the shrimp advisory panel made the statement that “If I had gear that was 32 years old, I wouldn’t expect to catch much either.” This is common sense for those of us who are fortunate to posses this trait. It is time to inject some reasonable thinking and accuracy (common sense) into the management of this resource. The fishermen, the shore side workers, the people who love Maine shrimp, and taxpayers who fund this work deserve a whole lot better. Respectfully submitted, Glen Libby Port Clyde Fresh Catch
  6. Sea Urchin roe are sold in little pine platforms corresponding to weight desired. I bought the 60 gram unit so it was a small spoon away from this plate. But a whole urchin is either split down the middle and the five-sac roe extracted, or some will cut around the top with good scissors if serving in the shell
  7. Maine Seafood Trio - Lobster, Mussels, Sea Urchin on arugula wilted in tomalley/herb butter; balsamic, lemon zest, capers, crushed nori
  8. During this season's closure, three shrimp boats have been selected to collect sample harvests of Gulf Of Maine shrimp between Feb 1 and Mar 20. They came in Wednesday and biologists measured and tested some before turning them over to Portland Fish Exchange for auction. 1200 pounds were snapped up at a record $4/lb. http://www.pressherald.com/2015/02/20/sample-harvest-of-maine-shrimp-makes-big-splash-at-market/ My local fishmonger here in Portland sold out a half hour before I got there. If you are in New York, some place named Smitty's bought some of that haul.
  9. Simmered 2qt water w/white vinegar for about a half hour and it's odor free. Cooked a couple soups and everything seems fine. Not sure I would trust the same pot purchased at a lower price
  10. Thanks, Smithy The detergent did diminish the odor, as did an airing, but I'm still concerned about contaminating any future food cooked in this. It's considerably better today, but I'm going to try both of your remedies - maybe twice each - just for peace of mind. It's only a couple months old, and the 'net says it will gas off at 400F, which will kill birds and make people have flu-like symptoms, but who knows. DuPont squirms when people bring up the subject, and there's nothing out there that tells you what to do if that happens, just to not do it!
  11. Like an idiot, I got distracted from cooking and left a calphalon non-stick 3qt - with lid on - at medium heat for a while, maybe 20mins. I left it to cool overnight but it smells like a smelter in there now. Washed with dishsoap but residual odor remains. What to do? Leave to air out side? Simmer some water for an hour? Discard???
  12. Zagat has published a list of their top 10 Portland restaurants: http://www.zagat.com/b/the-10-hottest-restaurants-in-portland-maine#10
  13. Those damned green crabs are eating everything. I hear on the waterfront here in Portland that someone is trying to find a use for the buggers, like fertilizer. Apparently they are not tasty.
  14. johnnyd

    Crab Cakes

    Try Maine purveyors - very good quality, and delicious. About $20/lb shipped http://www.harborfish.com/products/product-detail.php?id=104
  15. johnnyd

    Steven Shaw

    You nailed it Kelly Beal! It took me a couple days to get around to Fridays NYT so when I got to Stevens obit this morning I leapt out of my chair and fired up the desktop - the same keyboard I sat at for hours, days and weeks, ten years ago, checking in on what everybody was cooking, or saying about, or places that sucked, or markets that had that impossibly rare item, or about farms growing heirlooms, or fisheries going bust. I practically went broke sitting here reading what all you people wrote, and I don't regret a single second. Thank you, Steven, Jason, Andy, Mayhew Man, Tommy (I still can't face a plate of Laab without laughing at that thread) Maggie, Marlene, and everybody else, for what I believe, will become a hallmark in social media, of a magnitude yet realized. After all - didn't Byron goad Shelly into writing "Frankenstein" on a drunken dare?
  16. Award-winning Portland chefs at Hugo's and Eventide Oyster Co. chat with Maine Public Radio about the loss of a key winter menu component, http://www.mpbn.net/Home/tabid/36/ctl/ViewItem/mid/5347/ItemId/31204/Default.aspx
  17. Read it and weep, bitches! http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/travel/portland-me-locavore-in-menu-and-decor.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  18. Those are lovely, Prawncrackers. We get razors here every so often - I've bookmarked your post. An historic marine event happened the other day: A 7-foot long, 250 pound Sturgeon was netted in the nearby Saco (Maine, USA) river, marking the resurgence of the prehistoric creature after having been completely exterminated from the Saco more than 60 years ago. Story/pictures here: http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/06/outdoors/une-researcher-nets-7-foot-250-pound-atlantic-sturgeon-in-saco-river-says-its-a-sign-of-the-prehistoric-fishs-comeback/
  19. Chef Andrew Taylor takes his forays into the Cascades to a new level as chef/owner of Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine. Writer Sharon Kitchens joins him and co-owners Arlin Smith and Chef Mike Wiley in a skiff around the shoreline and come back loaded with interesting stuff: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharon-kitchens/beach-foraging-maine_b_3372621.html Peak foraging season runs mid June to end of July here in the Northestern USA
  20. Yeah, no kidding! But that price is all about the shipping, I'll wager. I am paying $15/lb for U10's from a local dragger this month, but our season is ending soon. The news here is about shrimp. It appears the biomass has headed north owing to warmer temps in the Gulf of Maine. Lowest harvest since 1978 has feds calling for a year off next year. People get 100lbs/ tow vs. 500 last year, and even though the price has tripled, it's still not worth going out. Canadian shrimpers are, I hear, doing fine.
  21. Yeah, baby !!! Here in Maine, it is illegal to dock at pier with whole scallops. A shame as that may be, it was established to avoid spoiling the meats (abductor muscle) with highly perishable roe/coral and other parts. Sometimes we had to drift off shore and shuck our catch before tying up at the buyer. There are recently, however, efforts to address the demand of in-shell scallops. I've seen whole small bay scallops (ridged shell) for sale on Portland's waterfront for $3 each, and there is an outfit out of Gloucester Mass that will ship you 5 Atlantic scallops for, like, fourty bucks.
  22. Recent Portland news article calls shrimp season "a bust". http://www.pressherald.com/news/Gulf-of-Maine-shrimp-season-turns-into-a-bust.html This year's catch is the lowest since 1978 when the fishery was shut down altogether - There is a possibility that will actually happen next year
  23. This just in: Starting next Wednesday, shrimp boats will be able to fish 7 days a week. The season will officially close April 12th or until quota is reached. Given the low catch rates so far, 4/12 closing is very likely. peeled shrimp is $11.99/lb on Portland's waterfront retail. I've eaten a about a pound a week, sauteed in various ways
  24. johnnyd

    Superbowl – 2013

    That sounds interesting. Im very picky with tomatoes in my chili. I always use fresh when its harvest time, and in a pinch i use good quality can crushed tomatoes and a few fresh from the grocery store. But i never heard of using reconstituted chiles. Are these chiles mild as to not add heat? I prefer to add powders for the heat level. Oh yeah and chili would not be complete without adding beer. Basically dried chiles I got at the Bodega: guajillo, pasilla, ancho, anaheim; which I throw into simmering water until soft. Then they're into a blender with the now-rich simmer broth. After searing diced stew beef with powders (onion, garlic, cayenne, paprika, oregano, salt, white pepper, crushed cumin/clove), then add beef broth and simmer 1/2hr. Then add beer and chiles w/simmer water mixture, minced fresh serrano, a splash of red wine vinegar, shaved bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, and a jolt of tabasco for good measure - simmer 45mins. At this point you mix a 1/4 cup masa harina with the chili, one ladle at a time, blend, and put on lowest setting, covered for 2hrs. When I first made this, I realized cowboys on the range had to pack efficiently, so the best way to flavor meals was with spice powders - and dried foods like chiles. Tomatoes were out of the question and beans were too heavy. I always think I'm reaping the fruits of American history when I make "Texas Red" - it was LBJ's favorite meal. [exact recipe from Clifford Wright's "Real Stew" http://www.amazon.com/Real-Stew-Home-Cooked-Minestrone-Bouillabaise/dp/1558321993
  25. johnnyd

    Superbowl – 2013

    I've been making 'Texas Red' for a few years now - also called 'son of a bitch in a sack'. Basically an 'old' cattle drive recipe of beef chili cooked with powdered spices, various reconstituted chiles and beer - no tomatoes and no beans. We used it on nachos with a sprinkle of scallion - hits the spot
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