How to/ Basics

Mise En Place- A Place For Everything and Everything in Its Place

March 29, 2014
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Mise en place~ A place for everything and everything in its place

Have you ever wondered how restaurants do it? How they can serve hundreds of people a night with a menu that has dozens of choices? In the end, it’s all about the mise en place.

Every day, cooks arrive hours before the restaurant opens to the public to prep for that day’s menu. They slice and dice, simmer and sear, and generally organize all the ingredients needed for every dish they are responsible for. In restaurant lingo, they “prep their mise en place”. Without it, they are lost.

Mise en place (pronounced meeze ehn plas) is a French term which loosely translates as “put in place”. This concept allows both professional and home cook alike, to prepare for one or a hundred in an efficient and seamless way, so that the dish or an entire …

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How To Cook and Clean A Dungeness Crab

November 30, 2013
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This is part 3 in an ongoing series about crab which includes Crab 101 (all you ever wanted to know about Crabs) and Stone Crab with Traditional Mustard Sauce. More to come…

How to Cook:
It’s Dungeness Crab season right now, September to June, on the Pacific Coast of North America. Much of the time you will find whole crabs already cooked and chilled. If not, and you’re buying live crabs, then the rule of thumb is to steam or boil them for 7-8 minutes per pound.  If boiling in multiple crabs, start timing when the water comes back to a boil. Base the number of minutes needed for cooking on the average crab weight, not the total weight.

Once your crab is cooked, rinse under cool water until just cool enough to handle. The crab in the photo below is a cooked crab. You can tell because the …

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Crabs 101-A Quick Primer on All Things Crab

November 24, 2013
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It’s not hard to imagine why we humans eat certain foods. Fragrant fruits with sweet aromas hang, tempting us from the vine. Who could resist the prehistoric version of a ripe strawberry? Maybe the inspiration came from watching other animals. We know sea otters eat oysters. Bears forage for honey and pull live salmon out of the river.

But who (or what) ate the first king crab pulled from the depths of the sea, all sharp claws, pincers and hard defensive shell?

Who said, “Yes, let’s tackle that sea monster, throw it in a pot of boiling water and crack it open” to then discover the delicious rich meat inside? Some brave soul, that’s who.

Crabs are a member of the crustacean family, meaning they have jointed, crust-like, shells. There are over 4000 different varieties of crab, most of which never see the light of day, dry ground, or …

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Stone Crab Claws with Mustard Sauce

October 19, 2013
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October is the beginning of stone crab season which runs through May. If you’re not familiar with stone crabs, you might recognize their distinctive black tipped orange claws. Stone crabs are best known and most often associated with the 100 year old Miami Beach institution, “Joe’s Stone Crab” restaurant. People may know the succulent claws and their famous mustard sauce, but most don’t know the story behind how the crab claws made it to the plate for the first time.

In 1913 New Yorker Joe Weiss moved to Miami Beach Florida and opened a restaurant named Joe’s. In 1921 he met a marine biologist visiting from Harvard University, who was working on building a local aquarium. The biologist asked Joe if he ever cooked the indigenous stone crabs, which were plentiful, but had a peculiar taste. Joe started experimenting with the crabs and discovered that if they were eaten hot …

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Tips for Buying and Cooking Sustainable Fish and Seafood Plus Recipe for Grilled Mahi Mahi with Tropical Salsa

September 29, 2013
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In the last post, we discussed sustainable fish and seafood and how we can be responsible stewards of the world’s oceans in what we choose to order, buy and eat. But do you know what to look for when buying fresh fish and seafood in terms of freshness of the product? And once you get that fish home, do you know the best way to cook it. If you don’t know your poaching from your pan roasting, read on below for

Tips for buying fresh fish and seafood:

  • Trust your fishmonger. Have a conversation with the person behind the fish counter. Can they answer questions as to where the fish comes from, how it was raised or how it was caught? If not, reconsider where you buy.
  • Trust your nose. Fish should never smell “fishy”. If whole, the eyes should be bright and clear and the flesh should be firm
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An Introduction to Buying and Eating Sustainable Fish and Seafood

September 16, 2013
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Sustainable.

That word gets bandied about a lot nowadays in reference to everything from clothing to cars to construction. But nowhere is it more important than regarding our world’s oceans and the seafood life they support.

But what does it really mean?
How do we define sustainable seafood? Like anything else when talking about the environment, it’s complicated, but the most succinct definition is that sustainable seafood is either fished or farmed in ways which consider the long term viability of the affected ecosystem. Ideally the impact should be neutral to beneficial to the species and the environment.

There are plenty of fish in the sea is an expression best suited to finding another date for the prom rather than referring to an unlimited and inexhaustible supply of seafood for consumption. Just like certain species of land animals have been hunted to extinction, the same is happening in our …

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