Basic Shellfish Stock

You might have noticed that I go through a lot of shellfish in my day-to-day preparations. In quite a few of the previous posts, I’ve also mentioned that you want to save the shells and/or carcass remnants of consumed critters for stock. I suppose now would be as good a time as any to show how I usually make that stock. Shellfish stock is awesome. It’s great as a soup and sauce base, it adds flavor to rice and pasta, and can be used in place of water to give anything you’re cooking a quick boost. I always have a …

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Food That Moves: Giant Lobster Fried Rice

That is, the lobster was giant, not the rice. Though that was a pretty substantial pan of food as well, come to think of it. If I remember right, I actually brought this sucker home on the same day that I had to pick up the younger cat from the vet. With the 5 pound cat in a carrier on one hand and the 7 pound lobster in a bag with ice on the other, they were feeling pretty much the same weight. o.O The before video. But wait! Aren’t bigger lobsters less tender and thus not as good eating? …

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The Gravlax Experiments: Mahi Squared

It was a little over a year ago that I first posted about my adventures in homemade gravlax. Since then, I’d pretty much gotten our preferred brine mixture proportions and curing time down to exacting amounts, but had not often varied from that most classic of combinations, salmon and dill. Last week, we were feeling salmoned-out and it was time to try something new. I opened the freezer, stared at a packet of frozen mahi mahi fillets and decided that it was going to be the subject of my latest experiment. Now, I’ve seen mahi gravlax (the best way to describe …

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Food That Moves: Dungeness Crab with Broccoli Rice

Another West Coast favorite is the star of today’s column — the Dungeness crab. These guys are in season starting mid-November and running to summer, and that’s when they’re cheapest and fattest as well. Of course, the market I shop at has them year-round because that’s just the sort of place they are. Dungeness are great because they’re highly meaty, heavy crabs that will amply reward anybody who takes the time to crack those shells. The best crabs are cooked right after being caught, since they will still be fat and feisty. Crabs that have sat around too long get …

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Food That Moves: Pan-fried California Spot Prawns

One thing about growing up in an Asian household — we’re not squeamish about meeting our dinners before they’re on the plate. The fresher the better, my mom would always lecture, and you don’t get much fresher than when your meal is trying to crawl its way out of the kitchen sink. Surprisingly few of my friends (including the boy, who still prefers to not be around the kitchen until everything is good and dead) have had experience in the handling of live foods, though, so for them I present a brand new VK column — Food That Moves! We …

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Mussels Mariniere

So I was cruising the market one day and saw that they were having this amazing deal on Kiwi mussels. In my continuing bid to expose the boy to as many forms of non-fish seafood as possible, I brought two boxes home with me that very day. This is what I did with them. Based on Patti’s Mussels a la Mariniere because its ingredients list most fit what I had on hand.

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Sautéed Soft-shell Crab with Garlic and Butter

When my family used to live in Houston, we’d go crabbing down by the shore several times a year and come home each time with a bucket of fresh crab. Apparently, the shellfish was so plentiful back then that we never bothered to eat the legs, just the bodies. I retell all of this based on hearsay, of course, because I was a toddler back then and probably couldn’t have told you the difference between a crab and a seagull. My parents still reminisce fondly, though, so I’ve heard all about it in glorious detail over the years. Even without …

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Tuna Noodle Casserole

It’s easy, classic, and can be spiced up in so many ways. Tuna noodle casserole rose to its height of greatness in the 50s and 60s, when the introduction of canned cream soups (hi, Campbells!) made it one of the easiest things to toss together for a family dinner. Housewives cooed in unison and the church potluck never saw what hit it. This same casserole saw a decline in later decades due to serial overuse and increasingly adventurous palates finding it a bit too bland. It reached an all-time low in the late 80s and 90s when it was viewed …

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Going Out: Sushi Murasaki

A little over two years ago, the boy and I were driving to the supermarket when we noticed a new sushi place had sprung up across the street from it. The slot used to be a quiet little Japanese lunch place, but apparently it underwent a change of ownership and reopened as a cute little sushi place decorated with bamboo and tasteful swatches of purple fabric. We like Japanese food of all persuasions, and were still looking for a local restaurant to frequent, so in we went. They haven’t been able to get rid of us since 🙂 The unassuming …

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