"steaming" news and stories
I always thought that a muscle car was a hot rod from the late 60's- early 70's until I was driving around my old haunts of Rockland, Maine yesterday researching and shooting an article and saw this impressive Mussel Car.
That looks like it was the remains of a tasty lobster, clam, and mussel bake. Or maybe it washed up on the beach after a Nor'easter. Either way that's one heck of a vehicle. I wonder how many shellfish power it is? Does it get dive bombed by hungry gulls? Does it belongs to the offspring of Neptune's many affairs with mortals? If I follow, will it lead to a huge vat of steaming Mussel's Provence? Inquiring minds want to know.
When it comes to food like potstickers, I tend to stick to the ones that you can find in the freezer section of Trader Joe's. I've had times when I've been vaguely curious about wonton skins and thought briefly about experimenting with them, but I've always quickly come to my senses and purchased the pre-made ones instead.
However, this post from Alanna and Alex over at Two Fat Als makes me sort of intrigued. They took pictures to document their entire process and it just doesn't look too hard. And the results look delicious!
The Maine shrimp (Pandalus borealis) season just started and goes from December 1, 2007, through April 30, 2008 It is my first Maine shrimp season since I only moved to Mid-Coast Maine late last spring. I've been waiting ever since for the season to start, because while I've had them several times before as sushi, what the Japanese call ama ebi, or sweet shrimp; and here and there in soups and salads, but I've never had them fresh and never frozen. I would have been looking for them a few days ago but I have been at Cornell University's Agricultural Experimental Station In Geneva, NY for the past week, taking workshops on Artisan Distilling and Hard Cider Production.
Today as I was driving along running errands I saw a roadside truck which had them at $1.50 a lb., which is cheaper than I expected, although I heard just a few minutes ago that you can sometimes get them as low as 79 cents a lb. I slid on the icy and slushy road as I made a quick u-turn and then I skidded to a stop next to the truck and jumped out. I chatted for a bit with the vendor and then I picked up five pounds of these tiny beauties, all red and glistening, and smelling clean and sweet, with only a hint of brine to them.
As I got in my car I popped several out of their shells and ate them raw on my way home. Super sweet and tasty, and many were fat with roe. As soon as I got home I brought a pot of water to a boil, threw in a pound or so and turned off the heat. Three minutes later I dipped them out and let them cool a bit, after burning my fingers several times as I anxiously tried to dig in.
When I was young and my family still lived in Los Angeles, we'd make the drive from Eagle Rock to Woodland Hills to visit my grandma Bunny about once a month. My dad's brothers would arrive with their families, filling the driveway with cars, dogs and kids. The musicians would settle down to the serious business of jamming, while Bunny listened, occasionally added a harmony line and took care of dinner. During the summer months, she would buy dozens of ears of corn and it would be my job to help her with the husking. We'd sit outside at a picnic table, a paper grocery bag from Ralph's between us and we shuck away. I can't make corn on the cob without thinking of her.
Over the weekend, I bought some corn at the farmers market and last night I gave it a quick steam. I was the only one eating, but I boiled all I had, because while I love it buttered and hot, straight off the cob, I also am a big fan of fresh corn on salads. What I couldn't eat was sliced off the cob and is now waiting in the fridge to be tossed with some arugula and Lancaster county tomatoes. Oh, but it was good on the cob. Sweet and crunchy and tasting of the essence of summer.
photo by Marisa McClellan
When I was 17, my next-door neighbor Alma taught me how to roast red peppers. She turned the burner way up on her big old white enamel gas stove and grabbed a pepper firmly with a pair of long-handled metal tongs. She systematically blistered the skin on a series of five peppers, stashing the finished ones in a brown paper bag to trap the heat and finish cooking the flesh. When the last pepper had gotten a chance to work in the heat of the bag, she tumbled everything out into a colander in the sink and ran water over the peppers to cool them down enough to handle. I was amazed how the blackened skin just slid off, leaving behind a tender, naked pepper.
I don't have a gas stove in my apartment, and even if I did I think I would be hesitant to roast my peppers like Alma did because I've got some seriously sensitive smoke detectors. These days I roast them at high heat on a foil-lined baking sheet (if you roast them on an uncovered sheet you run the risk of caramelizing the sugars permanently to the surface of your baking sheet), turning them a couple of times to get as much surface-area blackening as possible. I still use the techniques she taught me of letting them steam a bit in a paper bag and running cold water over them to get them cool enough to handle.
In the fall and winter I often puree with some roasted carrots and stock into soup. The last batch I made went into some sandwiches and on the top of a salad. They are fairly low effort, and if you get your red peppers on sale, are much less expensive than buying the jars of gourmet roasted peppers.
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