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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Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Garbanzos and Feta

November 9, 2013
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Months ago when I was researching for a series on eggs, I came across this recipe for eggs poached in tomatoes. While I didn’t include it in the series, it stuck with me as something I wanted to try, having seen similar versions on my travels in Turkey and Morocco. In Turkey this dish is called Menemen (where the eggs are usually scrambled) and in most of North Africa and Israel it’s called Shakshuka.  Even Italy has its version called Uova al Purgatorio (but without the garbanzos). 

It’s not hard to have almost every ingredient on hand to make this dish on the fly; canned tomatoes and garbanzos are staples in my pantry, as are the spices. Onions, eggs, and even feta cheese are almost always in my ‘fridge. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, cutting it in half to serve two, and adding a few spices (the …

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Garlic Sesame Udon Noodles with Fried Tofu

October 28, 2013
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I never thought I’d like tofu. Really. There was a time in my life that I sneered at tofu as something only eaten by the tie-dyed birkenstock wearing wanna-be hippies in my university. We even had a student run food co-op on campus. So admittedly I was a little biased against tofu. I’m not sure what changed my mind. It might have been travel to places like China and Thailand and Japan. It might have been experimenting with eating vegan for 21 days (the tofu tacos are something I still eat, even though I chose not to remain vegan). Whatever it was, one day I realized, hey, this stuff is actually pretty good. When cooked right, properly seasoned, or fried with a crispy exterior and creamy interior, tofu can be a thing of beauty. Or at least an excellent vehicle for flavorful sauces and a good source of protein.…

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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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