Posts Tagged With: crustacean

292/365: National Seafood Bisque Day*

It would be shellfish of me not to remind you about today’s food holiday. October 19 is National Seafood Bisque Day!

Alternatively, you could celebrate National Oatmeal Muffin Day. No offense to oatmeal or muffins, but why would you? A rich, hearty, and delicious seafood bisque sounds about a million times more appealing, especially as the weather is turning colder. Besides, this will enable us to use up the last of our crab from the wedding.

A bisque is a smooth, creamy soup based on a strained broth made with crustacean shells – typically shrimp, crab, or lobster. The name of this French classic is believed to have come from the Bay of Biscay, though bis cuites (“twice cooked”) also applies to the preparation of a typical bisque, in which the crustaceans are generally sauteed in their shells first, before being simmered in a broth of wine and other ingredients and then strained. Cream is then added, and the soup is thickened with a roux, though in the past rice was commonly used, or even the pulverized crustacean shells themselves. When cooking a bisque, Julia Childs instructs, “Do not wash anything off until the soup is done because you will be using the same utensils repeatedly and you don’t want any marvelous tidbits of flavor losing themselves down the drain.” Marvelous tidbits of flavor, come baaaack!!!

We’ve been very fortunate with the timing of many of these food holidays. I guess we picked a good year to take on this project, because it seems the toughest challenges have fallen on either Friday nights when we could go out, or weekends, when we are able to invest the time in cooking a tricky meal from scratch. I know this has been the case with Peking duck, escargot, and rum punch, among others, and today is no exception. Besides the Dungeness crab from our wedding, Tara added shrimp and  made a wonderful seafood bisque that was hot, creamy, and loaded with delicious flavor.

National Seafood Bisque Day

Categories: Seafood, Soup | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

166/365: National Lobster Day

You just might be clawing your way to the nearest crustacean tank in order to shellfishly enjoy today’s food holiday. June 15 is National Lobster Day!

Now, we’ve already discussed lobster before, so I won’t repeat the same details as before. How about a few fun facts instead?

  1. Lobsters only turn red when they are cooked.
  2. Lobsters have blue blood. This does not mean they’re rich, but rather, they’ve got copper in their bloodstream.
  3. Lobsters were once considered food for the poor, and were fed to prisoners and servants. Nowadays they are a delicacy.
  4. A lobster’s brain is in its throat.
  5. Lobsters hear with their legs and taste with their feet.

Interesting creatures, eh? Plus they can live to a very ripe old age. You know, if they aren’t caught in traps and fed to hungry prisoners first. To celebrate the holiday, Tara and I went to Quizno’s for a lobster and seafood salad sandwich. I had no idea they made such a beast. Good stuff, too!

And now, as promised, I’m going to share a few stories from you, our faithful readers! Thursday was National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day, a day to celebrate your favorite kitchen follies. Tara and I told you about ours. Here’s what you had to say.

One New Years Day I was opening a canned ham (back in the day when the cans were made of metal and you used a key to open it) and I ended up in the emergency room getting 9 stitches in my finger!” This one came from my mom, and I remember that day well. I was 9 or 10 years old. Most traumatic start to a new year ever. I have no idea what we ended up having for dinner that night – probably hospital food. Yum.

My daughter was coming over for dinner and I wanted to try something new, exciting, and different. So, I tried salt-roasted pork tenderloin. When finished, it looked great. But, it tasted like salt lightly flavored with a hint of pork. I couldn’t eat it. Sue couldn’t eat it. Danica couldn’t eat it. The dog couldn’t eat it. I still don’t know what I did wrong, but that was bad.” Courtesy of my uncle Tom, who is quite the gourmet cook – which makes this story all the more surprising.

I cut my hand on a frozen waffle.” Short, sweet, and painful…but I laughed my ass off when I read that. Thanks for sharing, Donna. I hope you were able to leggo of your Eggo fear.

Years ago I made brownies (from a box) for my new co-workers, so they would like the new girl. I am terrible at following directions. The brownies had been in the oven for a few minutes when I discovered that I had left the eggs out. So I took the brownies out of the oven, stirred in the eggs and resumed baking. The next day when my co-workers were eating my brownies, this one mean girl yelled out for all to hear, “Hey, there’s hunks of eggs in these brownies!”. If anybody had to get a hunk of egg in her brownie, I’m glad it was her.” Thanks for the funny story, Marilyn. Two words for the mean girl: karma, bitch.

My family tells a story about the first time I made meatloaf for them, when I was in junior high. Instead of using a teaspoon of pepper (or something), I used a tablespoon, and the resulting meatloaf was too hot and spicy for my bland family’s tongues. However, the next evening, Mom rescued my by crumbling my meatloaf up into the spaghetti sauce; my too-spicy meatloaf made a fabulous pasta sauce.” I bet I’d enjoy your spicy meatloaf, Jonna. I love food with a kick!

And then there’s Wendy, who apparently is so klutzy around the kitchen it’s a wonder anything ever turns out. She had multiple stories to share. “I tried taking cheese sticks out of the oven by grabbing the foil edges and the foil ripped and my hands went up and hit the top burners…..blisters on both hands….on Christmas eve no less!” “Tom: I did that trying to “brine” a chicken. Tasted like salt. That’s all, nothing else.” “When I was in the 6th grade my mom had to work Thanksgiving morning and it was my responsibility to put the turkey in the oven so we could eat when my mom got home. Well I didn’t remove that pack of innards and the turkey was still raw when it was time to eat. To this day I refuse to make turkey in Thanksgiving.”Oh also, when we got our first microwave I put a hot dog in for 5 minutes. Yes, minutes!” Remind me never to accept a dinner invitation to Wendy’s house. Especially around the holidays!

National Lobster Day
Categories: Seafood | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

68/365: National Crabmeat Day

There should be a special claws stating that every day is National Crabmeat Day, because the sweet and tender crustacean is a delicious delicacy that we are happy to celebrate today! But I’m just being shellfish. We are fortunate in the Pacific Northwest to have access to Dungeness crab year-round. It’s one of my favorite seafood treats.

Crabs are ocean-dwelling crustaceans dating back to the Jurassic period. Many species live in fresh water, and some even exist on land. It is unknown when humans first realized crab was good to eat. Probably some early homo sapien ran out of saber tooth tiger meat before company arrived, and turned to crab because he was in a pinch. Crabs make up 20% of all crustaceans consumed worldwide. There are a wide variety of preparation methods: popular dishes include bisque, curry, and crab cakes. They can be boiled, steamed, baked, or fried. Some species (such as soft shell crabs) are eaten whole, while other varieties are prized for the meat in their claws or legs (snow crab). In Asia, female crab roe is considered a delicacy. In many countries and cultures, crab is beloved, but the expense makes it a rare treat, so imitation crab meat is substituted. In America, it is typically served in sushi (California rolls) or in crab salad, and is often made with pollock, a mild white fish abundant in the Bering Sea off of Alaska. The fish is skinned and boned, and the meat is minced and artificially flavored. It may contain a small amount of real crabmeat, but all I can say is: what a waste. Nothing beats real crab!

Tara and I are visiting family in Seattle this weekend, which gave us the perfect excuse to head down to Pike Place Market, an enormous public market overlooking Elliott Bay. Open since 1907, Pike Place is famous for its selection of fresh seafood. What better place to go to celebrate crab?

Our philosophy for this challenge was, simpler was better. Dungeness crab is so sweet and succulent on its own, we decided to pick up a couple of crabmeat cocktails. Big chunks of crab and a deliciously tangy, perfectly spicy cocktail sauce – and nothing else. Not cheap at $9 a pop, but you know what? I am declaring this my favorite food challenge so far. It was absolutely delicious.

Food at its most simple and finest: big chunks of fresh Dungeness crab, cocktail sauce, and nothing else. Delicious!

Food at its most simple and finest: big chunks of fresh Dungeness crab, cocktail sauce, and nothing else. Delicious!

Categories: Seafood | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.