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Everything posted by Nick

  1. Some questions. Do you suppose that senior corporate management actually shop at the stores selling their food? Do they know where the "food" they're selling came from and how it was grown? (A recent example would be scallions and less recent would be the many recalls of ground beef that has numbered in the hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions.) Since, presumably, these corporate types don't shop at their own stores, how are they to know what is going on beyond the bottom line? It is not their worry, they live in gated communities and estates. Whether the chicken livers are fit to eat or the brussels sprouts are well beyond their prime is not their concern. So long as these things can be bought and sold for a profit is their concern. Quality, freshness, and the people's health is not - except in stores where people demand that. As FG has noted, "Unfortunately, consumers in America are not particularly demanding about what they eat." And there is the crux of the problem; whether it's a Walmart selling cheap goods or a "supermarket" selling the lowest common denominator of what passes for food. This is a good topic and I have no idea what to do to change course - but, if the health of the people is of any concern we should give this some consideration. It's not merely a matter of taste but I'd say a matter of health. How much has this current trend in "eating" contributed to skyrocketing problems in "health care" and the associated costs? We have on the one hand, the corporate types running the health insurance industry and, on the other hand, corporate types who's desire is to sell people food that is good for the bottom line, but is not necessarily healthy. A true conundrum. Thanks for bringing this up Pork.
  2. Nick

    NJ snow

    The snow's supposed to start here sometime tomorrow and continue through Sunday with an accumulation of 8"-16" here on the coast of Maine with winds of 15-25 gusting to 45. It's been cold (6F this morning) so the snow drifts should be interesting. To prepare, this evening I went out and bought sufficient beer to get me through the weekend. Got plenty of food of all kinds in the freezer, as well as lots of late veggies from the garden in the fridge and root crops in cold storage. Root crops include onions, shallots, potatoes, and carrots. I get all this from a good friend and was down in his cellar last week picking out some stuff. Five different kinds of potatoes he grew, two of carrots, and two of onions. The striking thing in his cellar, as we were looking around by flashlight, (he doesn't have electricity) were the amount of shallots. A large box of them - a small fortune in shallots - and better than anything that you can find in the store. So, let it blow, let it snow. I'll be digging it from the comfort of a well stocked house. (On the other hand, since I made sure I have more than enough beer, the storm will probably blow out to sea before it gets here.)
  3. Nick

    Can Coors Catch Up?

    With me Coors and Bud are just about in a dead heat with Coors usually in the lead. But, at the moment I'm drinking Harpoon IPA and that's on a whole different track.
  4. GG, Did you plant the garlic this year or last? Garlic has to planted in the fall for the next year.
  5. Something every home kitchen needs.
  6. Commercial pea freezing in England. Awhile back I read that in the US some companies are actually freezing peas in the field rather than trucking them. Don't know if that's true. I do know that I shucked (and ate) a lot of peas from the garden when I was a kid. Pick and shuck them just before cooking for supper, pick and shuck just before blanching if they were going into the freezer. My mother loved peas and we'd freeze enough to have them at least once a week if not twice during the winter. Guess I had my fill from back then. I might have eaten green peas twice in the last ten or fifteen years. Edit: My mother insisted on picking and shucking corn when the pot had been put on the stove.
  7. The next big deal might be mountain oysters.
  8. That would probably work. The ridges in mine are curved (sworled) counter clockwise a little and as I grind clockwise maybe that helps. I'm not sure what they mean at the link when they say, " Hold the top of the pestle with one hand and rotate the lower part with the other." That must be one huge and heavy suribachi. I hold the bowl with one hand and rotate the pestle with the other.
  9. Nick, this is really interesting to me. Suribachis are beautiful, but how are they more useful (to you) than my granite mortar and pestle? Now I'm thinking I might have to have one. Thanks, Squeat Squeat, I bought a mortar and pestle a few years ago and used it once for something I've now forgotten. I almost listed it as my most useless utensil. I've had my suribachi for years and use it for sesame seeds (toasted for gamasio) and other things like coriander. Katherine, there are probably suribachis that don't work as well as others. Maybe some pottery's think if they scratch up the inside of a bowl they have a suribachi. Mine is pretty utilitarian and was made in Japan so maybe that helps. Nick Edit: Fifi, it's a ceramic bowl with scratches inside. Some are scratched better than others and the pestle is made of wood and larger than the ones you use with a mortar.
  10. Fresco, I've still got the sink sheet specs and the countertop cut-out dimensions are 30 3/8" x 21 3/8" with 1 1/2" corner radius. The outside dimensions of my sink (PSR-3122) are 31" x 22". I'm not sure if the particular sink I have would fit in your present counter cut-out, but it might. Elkay also makes a model (PSRS-3322) that is 33" x 22" outside with the same bowl dimensions as mine. If your cut-out is larger than what I put in, then the 3322 might cover over the hole. Hope this helps.
  11. I think I'll bow out of this conversation for now. If I reach someone at DMR that can tell me how the shucking law came about, I'll be back. I'm really intrigued by the tracebilty of scallops through their shells. Maybe all fish fillets should be skin-on. The possibilities are endless.
  12. Fresco, if Fifi hasn't already convinced you... do it! This summer when I finally got my kitchen done I put in an Elkay that's 28" side to side, 16" front to back, and 7" deep. Those are the inside bowl dimensions. It's great! It holds oven and refrigerator racks, and anything else I can think of that I've got around. I also bought a Moen faucet with the sprayer as part of the faucet. It sticks up high enough to get a tall stockpot under (or a bucket) and the sprayer works great too. You can leave it in place and push down the sprayer button and it stays on until you turn the water off. Great for rinsing!
  13. Some people have put down the garlic press. For some things it's great. When it came time for me to inherit my mother's stuff there were only a few things I wanted - the cast iron, the spatula, and the garlic press. I don't use the press that often, but when I want the juice and pulp from the clove that's what I use. Mortar and pestle is okay, but a suribachi is a lot more useful. (Edit - for me it's more useful.)
  14. Dick, I'll try to respond to your points. First of all I'm not necessarily a scallop lover. I used to work on scallop gear and years ago got my fill of scallops. Now, I get four or five pounds of 10-12's and freeze them. Shells on for "tracebility"? That baffles me. Has ISO 9000xx reached the scallop market and they come through with bar codes on the shells? Once again, they are not harvested with nets - it's drags, steel drags - unless they're harvested by divers. The ones with the shells on you insist on. As far as, "I still would like some defintive word on why Maine scallops need to be shucked! " I attempted to answer that above when I wrote, "I did a quick search and couldn't find anything related to landing scallops that haven't been shucked. I just called a friend who has spent his life fishing here and he thought there was a law that required shucking aboard the boat and that it came about many years ago when a big scallop bed was discovered off Portland. Apparently many big boats started dragging it and the scallops were so plentiful and so close to shore that the boats brought them in whole and offloaded them so they could head back out and catch more. There weren't enough people on shore to shuck them promptly and many, many scallops spoiled." Since you appear to be a nuclear engineer I hope you read the various things that cross your desk more closely than you read things here. I did call the DMR (Dep't of Marine Resources) today and was told that scallops have to be, by law, shucked aboard the boat. But I was unable to reach the person who could tell me how that law came about so I guess Raymond Carter's explanation above will have to be good enough for now. Dick, you oughta loosen up. Maybe try to get to Varmint's next pig pickin' or something like that.
  15. Call them diver scallops or whatever you want, but don't expect me to shuck 'em.
  16. Dave, the link didn't work. I noticed it was from "public health" though and I think it's something to do with the periodic warnings and rules that come about when red tide hits the coast. At least by the wording. I don't think there is a legal definition of diver scallops - but I hope common sense doesn't stop at the Maine border. The closest in the maine statutes I could find is this. Brad, that's a good article. I don't know about, " "The dragging from boats beats up the scallops," says Rod Mitchell, owner of Browne Trading Co. Such scallops are collected in huge nets and bang against each other and whatever else winds up in the net, resulting in cracked shells and damaged flesh." To some people here the beating the bottom takes from the drags is worse than the beating the scallops take. Depending on the bottom, things sure do get stirred up when the drags go through. Also, these are not "huge nets". They're steel drags anywhere from 2' - 15' wide. Steel frames with a "cutting edge" at the bottom with a bag behind that consists of steel rings about 3-4" in diameter held together by links. As far as the bay or calico scallops which I think come from off the Carolina's, I tried some once years ago and thought there wasn't much to them. But that's what they've got down there and if I were living by the shore down there I'd probably eat them instead of buying high priced stuff from the north. Sort of the same as Gulf shrimp vs. Maine shrimp. Good Gulf shrimp are next to heaven, but we've got our little ones here and they're almost free.
  17. I just looked through the drawer and found a tea ball. When I was growing up we had a tea ball that never got used. I guess I'm just upholding an old family tradition. No one I know deveins shimp including me. Lobsters yes, shrimp no.
  18. Dave, that looks like a rule from a temporary closing due to red tide and the number doesn't look like a Maine statute #. I did a quick search and couldn't find anything related to landing scallops that haven't been shucked. I just called a friend who has spent his life fishing here and he thought there was a law that required shucking aboard the boat and that it came about many years ago when a big scallop bed was discovered off Portland. Apparently many big boats started dragging it and the scallops were so plentiful and so close to shore that the boats brought them in whole and offloaded them so they could head back out and catch more. There weren't enough people on shore to shuck them promptly and many, many scallops spoiled. In part this was due to many small scallops falling through the conveyors and spoiling on the floor. Perhaps it was then that minimum size regulations also came into being. For the legal beagles among us here's the link to the search function of the Maine statutes. I hadn't been there in awhile and it's running fast, really fast. Our tax dollars at work. Dick, I just couldn't let stand your statement that diver scallops must come in the shell. Diver scallops are diver scallops are diver scallops - no shell necessary. Maybe you could call up Thomas Keller at the FL. I heard he serves Maine diver scallops.
  19. Dick, Diver scallops are harvested by divers. Whether they're shucked or not makes no difference. A diver has gotten the scallops and he or she have in many cases selected the best available on the bottom. This is what makes them a more "select" scallop. Though there are divers that take whatever they can get their hands on. Day boat scallops are caught by small boats, usually (here in Maine) by lobstermen who rig their boats over for scallop dragging when the season begins. This is inshore scalloping. They're typically 30'-40' boats with small drags. Years ago I made and repaired many small drags. Offshore scalloping involves much larger boats with huge drags. As I said above they are often out for several weeks at a time so the scallops are not nearly as fresh and may have been adulterated with some chemical or other. Dragging and shucking goes on twenty four hours a day with the crew taking 12 hour shifts. Years ago a huge scallop bed was discovered offshore here and shrimp boats from as far away as the Carolinas and Georgia rigged over to try to strike it rich. Whether a scallop is good or not doesn't depend so much as how it's caught as to how it's been cared for after catching. I've had big boat scallops just as good as day boat scallops. This isn't usually the case, but does happen. It's all in how the scallops are treated after catching - and for those not fortunate enough to live on the coast - even more depends on what happens when the scallops leave the boat and head to their final market.
  20. It could be they weren't that fresh. The big boats are out for two weeks at a time and then God knows what happens when they're landed. Might have been a preservative, though I'm not sure.
  21. I don't have a dishwasher, so it's all done by hand. But, it feels so good when the counters are swept clean and all the dishes, pans, etc. are clean and in the dish drainer. It's really so satisfying to survey the whole scene when it's all cleaned up.
  22. You should have had the left-over buttercup squash sauted with canned sardines a very good friend of mine served for lunch one day.
  23. I like mine well enough that I very rarely go out to eat at restaurants. It's just not worth it. I do like eating at friends when they know how to cook good stuff that I don't usually cook. Baked, stuffed lobster comes to mind. A friend of mine is a fisherman and when he and his wife do it, there's nothing better. The lobster is stuffed with every good thing from the sea that works.... and nothing in the stuffing is more than a day or two old. The lobsters come out of the water an hour before cooking begins. I doubt that many restaurants could do as well and if they could you'd expect to pay probably $75. I'm firmly in the home cooking camp.
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