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eG Foodblog: johnnyd - Dining Downeast


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What does the rockweed contribute to the lobster steaming? Is there a salty scent that comes in, or some definite flavor, or does it just, oh, *feel* right?

The steaming liquid becomes very oceany, salty and takes on a vague vegetable flavor. The best thing is that it provides a proper bed for the beasts to steam upon. Seems to work very well.

Using rockweed is a traditional trick for lobster "bakes". Lobster bakes occur when a bunch of people dig a trench about four feet long on a beach somewhere, start a roaring fire on which they heap a few rocks. After a few hours the rocks are scorching hot and ready to cook just about anything you have. In New England, that would be potatoes, lobster, corn and steamer clams. In between the layers of food, people put armfuls of plump rockweed which steams up the trench with moisture. The trench is covered with a tarp and you and your friends set about drinking a lot of beer until it's ready, about four to six hours.

As you can imagine, you don't do this without a couple days to kill, and plenty of supplies, especially if you are doing this on an island.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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What happens, or what should happen, to the scraps from the fishing and shellfish industry, such as fish offal and lobster shells?

Good question and one that has been on the minds of waterfront managers for years. Usually, scraps are used for something. My fish market puts tuna skeletons and cooked lobster bodies up for sale at about $0.29/lb. They say it's all gone by noon, purchased mostly by our growing asian population. When urchins were processed (extracted and put in small 100gram containers for japanese supermarkets), the shells were put on a big old wooden lobsterboat called "Eeyore", and dumped out at sea. That was a smelly boat, man...

I also had a friend who was working diligently on sea-scrap conversion to fertilizer a few years ago. Since then I have seen bags of "sea-stuff" for sale to use in the garden. I would expect it would become a nutrient additive at some level of the process.

This week, when I made my lobster stock, I dumped the debris on the beach and let the seagulls have at it.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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So back to our feijoada a la johnnyd! :smile:

The beans and meats have been simmering all day and the stew beef is beginning to fall apart, the hamhocks have disintegrated into wonderfully gelatinous goo and the smoked chop is in there somewhere!

About two hours before serving, I added some herbs from my garden: rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Also some chipotle in adobo...

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I saute a couple onions and a couple tomatos in olive oil 'til almost saucey then add liquid from the bean pot. A few more ladles to insure a good blend and back into the main pot it goes.

At this point I head out to Jordan's farm stand to get some collard greens, a traditional accompaniment to feijoada.

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Jordan's is a classic. There is a box where people put there money, which they count up themselves, even make their own change.

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No collards. "Ain't much call for it up he-ah," said our garlic cleaning friend. So I bought some nice-looking beet greens instead.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Forgot to mention that we hit Two Lights Lobster Shack for a snack. Our cabin for the month of August is only a half-mile away.

The above is neither our cabin (!) or the Lobster Shack but one of the two lighthouses that sit on the point here. This particular lighthouse was granted to a private citizen a few years ago by the US Coast Guard and is one of the few privately-owned lighthouses in the world.

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Today's prices and a reflection of the crowd at the Shack. I covered a visit here back on Memorial Day for the Best Fried Clams thread (pix!)over on the New England board. Today we poked around the knick-kanckery on the walls and found to my utter surprise an old lobster buoy with my last name on it! It was a bit spooky. :unsure:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Now that the feijoada is basically ready and the rice is started, it's time for a caipirinha!

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Caipirinhas are essentially, limes, sugar, ice and cachaça - a powerful, brew made from sugar-cane juice. How does it differ from Rum? Rum is made from molasses. See more about that distinction (and more!) at the venerable Fine Spirits and Cocktails thread.

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First, we have decided to use a meyer lemon rather than limes today. They are juicier and have an orangey hint that I felt might make an interesting difference. Whatever you use, add a healthy spoonful of sugar and muddle with the appropriate tool:

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It is important to let the mixture sit for a bit before you do anything else. This is why some of you don't get it when you order these in busy bars: caipirinhas, like mojitos, need time for the flavors to meld and busy bars don't have time, do they? :hmmm:

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.... .... ..okay that's enough waiting! :laugh: We add ice, now

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then cachaçal...

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Welcome to the Cafe Atlantico in Cape Elizabeth, Maine :smile:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I made a salad for our feifoada using heart-of-palm, local red onion, local red and yellow tomatoes, local cilantro and Boston lettuce.

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Here, I am toasting farofa (ground manioc). Usually, feijoada is pretty soupy, so adding a spoonful of farofa bulks it up a bit. It's quite delicious.

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This is my "Molho Pimento", a classic lime juice-based hot sauce that I made last week so it's about ready to use. It has:

- the juice of 4 limes

- three cloves local garlic, minced

- six thai hot peppers, minced

The right pepper is malagueta but we don't have that around he-ah.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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The neighbors are having a party with a decent jazz band, a nice backdrop for our brazilian feast.

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The dish is topped with the smoked pork. The bean dish has gloppy pieces of smoked hamhock fat and the occasional bone, nice and authentic! In the back is a bone bowl for when we find 'em in our plate. :raz: Farofa is nice and golden, right in the middle. The little yellow pot back by the candle holds a simple combo of lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper and a little honey for the salad.

What's missing is our greens which I totally forgot about, but hey, you can't get it right all the time. :wink:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I happened to have a small bottle of Suco de Caju, or Cashew Fruit Juice. Click Here, then hit "Our Products", then "Cashew" for the best photo I could find at the moment of a Cashew Fruit.

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I had never made a Cashew Caipirinha, and after I made one I understood why it's... well, not all the rage right now! :biggrin: It was definitely interesting, it has a woody flavor with a touch of... pineapple, maybe? Hard to pin down, but I made something I never had before, and to me that's a good day.

For dessert, we had goiabada com dulce de leite. That's guava paste with that fabulous caramelley stuff, famous in latin countries. Instant Coffee Bustelo matched it nicely.

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It comes as a layered bar which I'd never seen before. Had it laid out sliced for a pic but my trusty Canon's batteries were pooched.

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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This morning dawned muggier than usual. Local TV says we are getting hot and cloudy in advance of whatever Katrina has left for us after she floods the South. I am aprehensive. Having been a fisherman (not that I could ever claim that I was really any good at it), I know first hand that ocean storms are not to be underestimated.

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Our Cabin sits on a small bluff of ledge about twelve foot above sea-level. There area a couple newer houses below us, on land that has been in a trust since the early 1700's.

This cool, old GE fridge is more recent than that, however:

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The aluminum swinging shelves kill me! :cool:

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This is the view from (very) near our townhouse in South Portland. Our view of the City of Portland is compromised by a couple of huge oil tanks but it's not too bad in between them and the price is right.

I need to get a couple bunches of herbs from my overgrown herb garden for today. I have a mass of Tarragon in the back, decent basil, Greek Oregano and thyme. Somewhere under Harry the Horseradish from Hell is my struggling Thai basil.

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The bumble bees have taken over my oregano. If I get near it they gang up on me.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Now that the feijoada is basically ready and the rice is started, it's time for a caipirinha!

Caipis are hugely popular in Germany -- I don't understand why they haven't caught on in the states. We make them almost every night in the summer. The caipirinha is also, is by the way, the Behemoth family christmas eve cocktail of choice. We use key limes and demerara sugar, the drill is one person muddles and another crushes the ice. We go through about two or three bottles of cachaca by 4 am. I heart my in-laws... :smile:

Lovely photos, btw. I feel like I am still on vacation, which is impressive considering I've locked myself in a dark little room to get this damned paper finished!

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Camp! It's a Camp! :wacko:

I never shoulda put my 2 cents in....

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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ah, what a wonderful blog. Lobsters, the ocean and caipirinha, the perfect holiday.

I was in Maine last October and I loved it.. we had steamed lobster 4 nights in a row.. and I haven't had a lobster since.

that fridge is just fantastic! Makes me wonder why all fridges are not like that? Then I would never forget about the expensive tarragon mustard hiding away in the back!

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What gorgeous photographs and a sensational-looking dinner! Are you using some super high-zoot camera? The light in all of them is so splendid, the colors so pure. I'm awed.

I have a bottle and a half of 51 and haven't made a single caipirinha this entire summer. This week would be the perfect time to get over that.

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johnnyd, been looking forward to this blog since I did mine well over a year ago... as a transplanted New Englander, this one has been worth the wait, but damn I miss those beach plums.

Keep it coming, and distract me from Katrina. (:

--adoxograph

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Nice food and everything, but your lovely caipirinha photo is the best! It has me running off to make my own tonight...

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Nothing substantive to add, except I am now pining away for the New England Coast. Many thanks, Johnnyd, for providing such wonderful distraction (I racked up my knee Friday and now can't do much beyond trying to keep it iced and stay off it as much as possible, so distraction is definitely welcome).

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Caipis are hugely popular in Germany -- I don't understand why they haven't caught on in the states. We make them almost every night in the summer. The caipirinha is also, is by the way, the Behemoth family christmas eve cocktail of choice. We use key limes and demerara sugar, the drill is one person muddles and another crushes the ice. We go through about two or three bottles of cachaca by 4 am. I heart my in-laws... smile.gif

Key limes are the best for caipirinhas. We started getting "little suzies" key limes, about a dozen in a small green net bag last year and their flavor is superior. There are a million seeds but it's worth it. Demerara takes too long to dissolve for me. Domino's "organic" sugar goes well, however.

eGullet member Cachaca Dave tells me that the paperwork and haggling have held up the importation of the stuff. Some small importers seem to be getting some through, probably at an enormous fee level, which explains why liquor that costs three bucks a bottle in Brasil will cost about fifty here. :angry:

Behemoth, are your in-laws brazilian? If not they should become honorary ones with the way they go through those bottles! I'll be over for christmas, dude! :biggrin:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I have a bottle and a half of 51 and haven't made a single caipirinha this entire summer. This week would be the perfect time to get over that.

That, my dear Abra, is a criminal offense. I expect to see a tall one on your sun porch by the end of my blog. :smile:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Thanks everyone for your kind posts! :wub:

I'm having a blast doing this week's foodblog and I recommend everybody try it at some point. It can get tricky, time-wise, but so far it hasn't been as bad as I thought. My philosophy on life (and certainly food) is deal with what you have on hand as best as you can. Take the available ingredients, treat them with the respect they deserve, add a bit of whimsy if time allows, and serve!

Notes on Feijoada A La Johnnyd:

- This dish usually has nice fresh links of chorizo, cooked whole or in rings, fifteen or so minutes before serving. I completely forgot to get those this time, but it was still tasty.

- Slices of Valencia Orange provide an acid balance for all the fat in the dish. I frequently combine those into the heart-of-palm salad. Forgot those too.

- Overall, total cooking time was 18 hours, if you count standing overnight to meld.

- There are easier versions of this and recipes that are more complex. Don't let anyone tell you there is only one way to make it (or of anything in my view!).

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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[cue retro lawrence welk-type music]

This week's foodblog photos were taken with a Canon powershot A85. I was smitten with Bleudauvergne's blog over a year ago and she used an A30 for her photos. I tracked the digital camera milieu for over six months and kept an eye on the Shutter Bug Club thread and finally got the A85 for my birthday in Feb. I immediately got to work (see My trip to the Portland Fish Exchange and the Fresh Maine Shrimp threads). As you can see, it takes a bit of practice but I'm on to this A85 now! I got it because the automatic functions can be disabled for manual settings and because it has macro capability. The Lobster in this post was about 3 inches away.

We now return you to the Coast of Maine... :wink:

[/cue retro lawrence welk-type music]

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Hey ho Johnnyd! What's the difference in taste between a ti'punch and a caipirinha? Is it really worth it for me to go out and get a bottle of this stuff? Wow they look amazing and I have to make a punch tonight, even if it's just made with rum...

You are doing an excellent job with the blog. I love your images and interesting stuff you've got going on. The seafood is just wonderful! Your fridge with the staircase is cool. What do they call that feature?

:blush: As you know from my visit to Portland this summer, I have since got a new digital reflex and have been battling that learning curve and other aspects of the big pricey camera woes. Last night while fretting about my expensive equipment as a magret de canard spattered and sputtled all over the place while searing, I was thinking I should just keep the ole Powershot A30 as a "kitchen camera" and use my fancy new one when I am out doing the markets. I thought I was going to make a complete switchover and give my old one away, but I realize I do really love that old powershot. I'll never give up using it - that is, until it dies. :smile:

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[cue retro lawrence welk-type music]

...and because it has macro capability.  The Lobster in this post was about 3 inches away.

Ah, that's why we can see its woeful eyes so clearly. :sad: It's almost enough to put me off lobster. Almost, but not quite.

Those are great photos, and I'm really loving this blog, johnnyd! You make it look so easy - :wink:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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