Rauma’s September Baltic Herring Market

In mid-September, Rauma really takes on the port city role and has a weekend seafood festival called the Baltic Herring Market. There are other tents selling local crafts and freshly canned produce, of course, but the main attractions are the several large fish booths set up smack in the middle of the event. We went to take a look around last year… One of the stalls, selling dozens of varieties of pickled fish, mostly herring. Pickling being one of the favored ways of preserving seafood in these parts. Smoking fish is the other vastly popular way to preserve it. Several …

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Pork and Shrimp Fried Rice

Back in early November, I decided to take a stab at weekly menu planning in an effort to organize my grocery shopping lists, encourage the trying out of all those recipes I had stashed in my notebook and more efficiently make use of the ingredients I already had on hand. It worked surprisingly well for a few weeks, up until the holiday season hit and I was eaten alive by gingerbread. Just started up the process again a couple of weeks ago and although it’s been hard to get back into the groove (amazing how lazy you get after a …

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Crab Risotto

Confession time — I’ve never actually made risotto before. In fact, I can’t recall if I’d ever even eaten it before making this particular dish. The thing is, it’s not too far off in consistency from the thick rice porridge that we called “moi” (I believe some people say congee as well, though I tend to associate that word with a more watery dish) when I was growing up, and that’s something I know like the back of my hand. So I bought myself a bag of arborio rice one day and decided to see what all the fuss was …

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The Library: The Story of Sushi

That Trevor Corson, he’s pretty fly for a white guy. Continuing on with my food history kick, I just finished reading his book The Story of Sushi. This book definitely had a fast foody, summer movie slant to it, but in an enjoyable and somewhat edifying way — sort of like the feeling you get from eating baked potato chips, or watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Or eating California rolls at your typical American sushi place, come to think of it. I’m pretty certain this is intentional. I tore through the book in a few sittings — the …

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Mystery Meat: Surprisingly tentacle-free!

I mentioned in my last post how I’ve been craving non-fish seafood lately. Since the fresh stuff isn’t so common, I’ve lately been resorting to frozen and the occasional canned product. I’ve only bought cans of stuff that I’ve trusted in the past, however, like mussels and crab. Last week, I thought I’d be a bit more adventurous and expand my tinned seafood horizons. Unfortunately, I decided to begin with this: Can’t tell what it is? That’s okay, I read the label, saw the picture, ate all of it, and STILL can’t quite figure out what it was supposed to …

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The Library: The Big Oyster – History on the Half Shell

Still being somewhat on the sickly side, I’ve spent more time reading about food than making or eating it lately. Which is okay, since I’ve had a bunch of these titles archived on my Kindle for ages and am just now getting to crack them open. I seem to be on a bit of a food history kick right now. Just finished reading Mark Kurlansky’s very entertaining The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell. This one is definitely written much more in the vein of a magazine’s historical interest piece than a strict academic text — full of lots …

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Crawfish and Crab Étouffée

Back in the late 90’s, I was fortunate enough to visit New Orleans a couple of times (I don’t really count the times my family visited back when we lived in Houston because I was far too young to have a vote in what we did there) for lavish masquerade balls. If there are two things they know how to do down there, it’s dress well and eat well. My friends and I made sure to explore both avenues as much as possible during our brief visits. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve been there, but the memories …

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Tasty Toasty Tuna Melts

This particular post is dedicated to Cim, who made a shocking revelation one day while we were out at lunch — she has had close to no contact with tuna in any form. This is even more surprising considering the very notable presence of two cats in their living space. Then again, I recognize that tuna is an overused staple in so many American households (casseroles and salads in countless housekeeping magazines spring to mind) and can sympathize with how some people might choose to avoid it entirely when given the choice. I, however, did not grow up in one …

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Kalakukko -or- Fish-filled Bread Loaf

You want to hear something funny? I got a hit the other day from somebody searching for “kiwi mussels how to cook those bitches”. Somewhere out there is a very angry mollusk eater, and I hope that they found what they were looking for here. A quick search shows that I have three recipes for mussels currently available, so that must be what all the search engine love is about. Yay for bivalves. You want to see something kinda funny looking? Breadfish! What, you thought it was just an internet meme? Far from it! Yes, that filling is fish. European …

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Fried vendace at Black Lace Night.

More than half the city of Rauma is probably still hung over as I write this. That’s because not so long ago, they were engaging in the cultural-festival-turned-boozefest known as Black Lace Night. We could hear the fireworks and club music through our windows, but that’s because we’re only a short walk from Old Town, where it was all happening. We visited earlier in the day, when it was still a family-oriented street festival full of candy vendors and balloons. I had hopes for finding a pretty lace dress like the one I’d seen a couple years back at the …

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