February 12, 2009 in Fish

Fresh Bluefish

We built our house back in 1995 and have lived here ever since. You would think that in those years I would have gotten to know the local resources much better but its not as easy as you might think. For one, there are not that many resources here to begin with. Note also that I didn’t grow up here nor do I have any family within a 2000 mile radius, we are on our own. We don’t know all the little hidden gems so we have been slowly uncovering them ourselves. There are so many we may never find!

We don’t live in outer mongolia but in terms of food, yeah, we do. The local restaurants are best if they are the pizza joints. The others, especially the ones that have illusions of haute cuisine, are not worth the trip down the hill.

B.T.'s BBQ: From the front

If you read this blog, you know I found a fantastic local resource in B.T.’s Smokehouse run by Brian Treitman. Not only does Brian pour everything into his BBQ, he has been great to get to know!

B.T.'s Smokehouse: Brian Treitman - chef

I have written several posts on his food:

We have no real main streets because all business activity has long since been completely co-opted by big box stores some miles away. We certainly didn’t move here for the food but over the years, a steady diet of Stop n Shop blandness can wear on you.

A few years ago I came across a great local butcher, Ed Stearns Dressed Meats butcher shop in Charlton, MA (a hike but close in relative terms). They began business in 1932 so they have been around for a few years. I love supporting local businesses like this especially because its a family business making it in a tough big box world.

Our local butcher

Our local butcher

My latest great food related fortune has been finding a recently opened fish shop in Sturbridge, MA. Stop n Shop has a fish counter but its bland and the attendants do not know anything about their products. Also, they sell NO whole fish and if asked, they generally look at me like I grew a second head!

So you can imagine how happy I was when I first noticed the G & R Fish Market open in Sturbridge about a year or so ago. They are located at 135 Main St, Sturbridge, MA 01566-1569 (map). In that time I have not had a real free moment to check them out until late last week.

I walked in and was greeted by Sebastiano, one of the market owners. My goodness, he was so welcoming. This is absolutely a good sign because it means he loves what he does. I once visited a fish market in West Concord, MA (Twin Seafood) and felt utterly overwhelmed and a bit terrified by the stridency of their way of doing business.

Sebastiano is the polar opposite, very calm and very excited to hear of my interest in getting some fish bones and whole fish. I found myself making a special order. He was going into Boston to the great fish sellers there and find something for me. I asked him to surprise me. This last Tuesday we got a fantastic 2 foot bluefish that had been caught that morning. This is a fish I have never had before and I have only grilled whole fish so this was going to be a new experience for me.

Caged red snapper

(Grilling fish from Whole Foods one summer)

After taking all sorts of shots of the fish, I gutted it. I remember gutting fish as a kid while camping and I also have a lot of experience gutting chickens we dispatch in our backyard so this was not difficult.

Bluefish, gutted

From here its simply a matter of removing the scales (very easy with this fish), rinsing, stuffing the cavity with cilantro, lemons, lime, bit of sea salt, cutting the fish in a few places to encourage even cooking time, olive oil, garlic, salt. I then threw it in a 425F oven for 25 minutes or so, checking the cuts for doneness of the meat (just opaque, just flaky)

Bluefish after cooking

Sorry this shot isn’t better, family was hungry and no time for beauty!

The fish came out just barely cooked, lightly scented by the citrus, garlic, and cilantro. It had a distinct flavor that was quite delicious. Its not bland like salmon can be, it holds it own but in a way that is lovely. Be sure to remove the dark meat as that has a much more fishy flavor that some may not like. Everyone in our family loved it from the toddler on up. I will be making stock from the head and bones!

As this is a larger fish and carniverous, it sits at the top of the food chain. For this reason it does bioaccumulate toxins and heavy metals. Its a great once in a while treat but not something a young family or young women wants to eat on a regular basis.

Shameless Promotion: Vote today!

June 13, 2007 in contest, Fish, Food Porn, grilling, Meta Talk, Off Topic

Yummmm, you know you love grilling, especially when certain vegetables like asparagus are so fresh. Its also nice to stand outside and cook instead of at the same old stove.

Fresh air, fresh food, the quiet of the backyard, cant get better than that.

What CAN get better is my technique and grilling know-how. This is where you come in.

The website Culinate is running a contest that will send one winning reader and one winning foodblogger to attend the COPIA Cooking School’s prestigious two-day grill course taught by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim, authors of the best-selling Mastering the Grill.

Click that blue graphic to put my name ontop of the list of extremely competitive foodbloggers. I have no illusions that I will, but I can dream!

If you would like more grilling food porn to help you decide try these two slide shows.

See below for a slideshow from that whole red snapper and trout grilling photo shoot.

You may also enjoy this slideshow

Simply Sizzling: A Sunday grilled fish fest

May 1, 2007 in cooking, Fish, Food Porn

[Like me, you may not have known that the merry month of May is actually [tag]National BBQ Month[/tag]! While it is apropos to this post, it was not planned. Let the grilling commence!]

Now that it is warming up, I have been thinking about [tag]grilling[/tag] but the thought of another dried out chicken breast made me weep. No, I had a hankering for something completely different.

This meant using the [tag]fish[/tag] [tag]grilling basket[/tag] for the first time and that meant [tag]whole fish[/tag]!

My husband and I both telecommute so that means we generally stay close to home. While that saves quite a lot on the commuting expenses, it also means that we tend to stay local for our food shopping. Unfortunately, this limits what we eat, especially when it comes to fish. Our local grocery store does not carry whole fish because customers complained (amazing huh? I think it went like this – “Ewwww, look, a dead fish head”). People really do NOT want to be in touch with [tag]food origins[/tag]. Personally, I think this sort of person should stay away from the fish counter and stick to the twinkies, but, hey, I don’t run the store.

To get fish that is fresh, delicious, prepared to order, and handled with love and attention, what we have to do is visit Whole Foods when we DO make it in to [tag]Boston[/tag], an hour and a half away.

So this last Sunday, my husband brought home a selection of whole fish (also [tag]wild caught[/tag] [tag]shrimp[/tag] and [tag]salmon[/tag] from [tag]Norway[/tag] – I travel vicariously through my salmon) and I set to the task of grilling a [tag]red snapper[/tag] and two [tag]trout[/tag].

I stuffed each with some [tag]grapefruit[/tag] slices, key lime slices, bit of minced garlic, fresh chives, fresh dill, and fresh cilantro. The bigger red snapper was slashed on the outside to help the heat penetrate into the thicker meat. I used a single-fish basket for the red snapper and a larger one for the two trout. I threw in some [tag]ruby red[/tag] grapefruit, white and green [tag]asparagus[/tag], snugging the trout, perfuming the whole batch.

We used real [tag]hardwood charcoal[/tag] from [tag]Whole Foods[/tag], its chemical free and burns clean from the start so you do not have to wait until the petrochemical stench of the briquets burns off.

The larger red snapper was put on with some sliced yellow squash. I grilled it until it looked done but I had to give it a bit more heat later to finish off the cooking.

The trout took less time because they were little guys.

I served the fish with the grilled vegetables and some boiled [tag]new potato[/tag]es that had been sprinkled with Greek olive oil, sea salt, and fresh dill.

Wash your mouth out with soap

March 28, 2007 in Fish, Food Porn, Japanese, Off Topic, product, seafood

sushi soap

I found these really cute sushi soaps at The Paper Source and thought I would share.

One day, I spent a couple of hours driving around looking for some guest soaps for the bathroom and find NONE! I was so darn frustrated.

With these soaps you can satisfy the need to spiffy up the bathroom for yourself or guests and have a bit of fun while your at it.

This is a link to the sushi soap page at The Paper Source sit, where it says:

Yum, we love this keen sushi soap. They even come with kamaboko and wasabi soap. Scent free, these glycerine soaps are naturally moisturizing so they won’t dry your skin out and, no animal testing is involved. They make such a wonderful thank you for a hostess and a clever welcome gift for any visitors who drop by. So realistic you could just eat them up, but don’t do it!

Includes one of each soap:

I also really like their tag line, “Do something creative every day.” I think it would be nice to be able to do that but, like many ideals, it is not a trivial task!

[Note: I get nothing if you click these links, this is all just for fun!]