Recently in Seafood
Thursday, May 17, 2012

cornmeal-crusted fried soft-shell crabs

crabs!

There are days I’m productive. Things get crossed off the list, I feel a sense of real accomplishment. I even high-five myself. In my head. Other days, I stare at my cuticles trying to remember when was the last time I had a proper manicure. “The hangnails,” I think, “are preposterous. I mean, just look at them! Look!” Those days I feel like I barely move the needle. It would seem that I am deep at work, but then I raise my head and realize I’ve typed a page. Edited one recipe. This is not an exercise in productivity, it’s just wastefulness.

On the other hand, I think, I’ve noticed that the blooms have fallen off the tree across the street and it’s now heavy with leaves. And now that it’s raining, the leaves are all wet and the tree is bending down even lower. That should count for something, right? Observing the small quotidian things. Taking pleasure in the everydayness of it all.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

lobster rolls

lobster roll, ready to eat

My darlings, you can take a girl out of New England, but you can’t take New England out of the girl. That I can say with the utmost certainty.

It’s been ten years since I called myself a Massachusetts resident. After college I planted my roots in New York, and stubbornly, because New York wasn’t always the gentle and welcoming city to me (is she to anyone?) made sure, day by day, month by month, that New York and I got along. I courted her, patiently growing to appreciate different neighborhoods, seeing the beauty where most tourists saw squalor, walking her streets. We had a slow and steady courtship, but I was playing it for keeps. New York, finally, opened her heart wide to me, and I to her.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

coconut green curry mussels

Green Curry Mussels

Before I started working professionally (i.e. for a living) as a recipe tester and a kitchen assistant, and began to spend the work day hours making six to eight dishes in quick succession, I didn’t really contemplate why people who were cooking all day long professionally liked to order take-out upon getting home. I remember talking to one private chef and recipe developer, and I asked her what she was making for dinner that night. Her response was succinct – there’s a great Thai place around the corner that makes excellent pad Thai. After being on her feet for eight hours, chopping, sautéing, and cleaning up, she was not about to get home and do it all over again. And until I started cooking all day long myself, I didn’t quite get why. But the simple truth of it is this: after a complete day of cooking, even frying an egg on toast just seems a bit much.

You know what else is hard after being on your feet all day? Everything. It just zaps you – intellectually and physically. Your body sort of aches and grows a little heavy as the day wears on. You check yourself in the window on the train ride home and realize you’re a hot mess. Your hair develops a bit of a frizzy halo, your forehead shines like a beacon in the night, there’s some pancake batter in your hair. But you don’t care – you wear your fatigue like a badge of honor. You’ve earned it. And when you get home, you just sort of want to sit on your couch with your feet up and unwind a bit. And you’re so grateful that there’s someone out there who is willing to cook you food and bicycle it over.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

coconut ginger shrimp

coconut ginger fried shrimp

What would you do on a day when it really, truly feels like spring? Us? Like the uncool and responsible adults that we are, we worked against deadlines. And then, after hours of slaving away at our respective laptops, we resisted the urge to order take-out and made shrimp for dinner! Delicious, dead-simple, ready-in-minutes shrimp, delicately flecked with coconut and ginger. I think we deserve a gold star!

And while we’re no strangers to Sunday work, it was made particularly painful given that it was so lovely out. We wanted to go and play hooky, but instead, we finally moved the two supremely ugly plastic storage bins out of our bedroom, which were mortifyingly depressing to look at (at least for me) and now the bedroom looks lighter, more airy, bigger (imagine that in NYC!). Have I mentioned that it’s been on our to-do list since mid-January when Andrew moved in? I finally broke down and requested that the one, single thing I want for my birthday, besides a pony, is for us to put those boxes away. Andrew, being a guy, looked at me as if I had two heads. Apparently, men have a whole different definition for clutter than women do.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

escargots a la bourguignonne

escargots

I have often joked about how a key to a great tasting meal is one simple ingredient – butter. Well, I think if anything proves me right, it’s escargots – where I think about 60% of the dish is melted, herb butter. And while my parents shudder at the idea of people eating snails, KS and I are quite content not only consuming the snail part of this dish, but also the garlicky butter that remains thereafter. For that, plenty of baguette slices are perfect sponges – they sop up the fragrant, golden “sauce” perfectly!

We wanted to make this dish for so long, but lacked those fancy escargots dishes. The mere fact that we purchased them, tells you of our immense love for these snails. We have a rule in the kitchen – most items that serve one purpose only are banned. Thus, no bagel slicers or egg cookers – with the humble apple slicer being one exception. But escargots dishes – we were powerless against their draw. And yet, having now made the escargots at home, I’d like to save you all the expense and tell you a less refined, but no less effective or delicious way to make this dish at home.

Okay, ready? [The proportions of things are below based on a recipe from 1949(!!!), a time before the evils of cholesterol were discovered, and butter was revered. The paragraph below is just my layman's instructions.]

Get a oven-proof bowl. Put some snails in it. Put enough of the garlicky mixture to cover the snails and so that when the butter melts, the snails are sort of swimming, or luxuriating, if you will, in the buttery pool. Place dish in the oven for 5-7 minutes according to the instructions below. There, this is the un-fancy, cheap, i-don’t-need-no-fancy-dish-to-make-escargots way. In fact, I have a feeling that the very first escargots were probably made this way. I mean, who had the foresight to design those fancy dishes? There, I just saved you $40 or so on the cookware, though the escargots themselves will run you about $18 a can, but there’s like 60 of them in there – and they don’t keep long.

So run along and throw an escargots party already (you know you want to!)- and be sure to invite KS and me!

shamefully easy...

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

gravlax

Gravlax

Call me a purist, but I recoil in horror whenever I’m offered anything to dress an oyster. Few things are so perfect and precious as oysters are and to add anything to a quality oyster is just plain wrong, people. As for mediocre oysters, I say why bother?

It has generally thus been with me and salmon. I know that the world is divided into salmon lovers and salmon haters (well, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than people who love or hate a fish, but humor me for a minute here). I’ve always been a fan of the fish for its sheer ability to transform a bagel from ordinary into a feast. But I’ve always felt that lox has unfairly claimed center stage to its less known, but tastier cousin – gravlax.

Nothing more illustrious than just salt-cured fish, gravlax possesses the kind of pure, clean taste a fresh oyster does. It’s delicate to the palate, unmistakably raw, caressed by a blend of sea salt and dill. Put that on a bagel and you have an exotic, celebratory breakfast. And on poached eggs with hollandaise, it’s simply breathtaking.

And the best part of all – making it is a cinch. A third-grader could do it. Someone who’ve never cooked, never mind never cooked fish could do it. All you need is a little bit of patience, for gravlax is a thing of a few days in the making, and a few ingredients.

I must admit though that while I thought my gravlax was redefining sublime, the BF tried it with trepidation, worrying that the fishy might have gone bad and I was en route to giving us both food poisoning. Thus, after having a few pieces, unable to consume a pound or raw, salt-cured fish, the whole issue was put to rest, and then eventually, to trash. Still, had I been home more to consume food, and not stuck in the office (can you see how I haven’t posted in ages?) eating take-out dinners, this salmon wouldn’t have met its maker via the trash bin route.

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