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    More Food Porn: Smoked Eel on a Soft Roll

    Posted in part because of the previous political post, but also because I want to get some opinions on the eel. Would you eat this?

    (Note: Apparently I posted this picture a few weeks back and then forgotten about it. That says a lot about where my head is of late.).

    More Food Porn: Fried Fish Combo

    Not seen, because it was hidden beneath the halibut, were the oysters and prawns.

    Quick question: which is more oily? Fried fish, or politicians? I’m betting on the latter.

    What makes an “Organic” Fish?

    The New York Times hands down an article detailing the difficulties in defining what constitutes an “Organic” Fish. From the article:

    The issue comes down largely to what a fish eats, and whether the fish can be fed an organic diet. There is broad agreement that the organic label is no problem for fish that are primarily vegetarians, like catfish and tilapia, because organic feed is available (though expensive).

    Fish that are carnivores — salmon, for instance — are a different matter because they eat other fish, which cannot now be labeled organic.

    Actually, the issue is far larger than “What does a fish eat?” The basic ideals behind the organic movement included several basic premises.

    • Produce food that allows for future sustainability for the product being raised.
    • Produce food in a manner that leaves as small of an imprint upon the environment as possible.
    • If animals are involved, treat them in a manner which is respectful and is as close to their natural environment as is practical.

    To be sure, I’ve oversimplified the premises, and they have since been evolved and codified to a point where these standards can be applied on a larger scale, but I think the basic points are there.

    Now when applying the above to typical farm animals such as cows, chickens and pigs, these ideals can work in concert with one another. It is not a stretch to think of raising cattle and yet still be true to the concepts listed above.

    But these ideals contradict one another when you apply them to an animal less domesticated than your average cow. Salmon is a great example of this. It could be argued that an interest of an individual salmon is best served if that fish was allowed to be wild. However, for sustainability of the species as a whole, it may be best for the fish if salmon farms were allow to propagate as long as they were run in such a way that it did not adversely affect various eco-systems (always an iffy proposition where fish farms are concerned).

    In other words, the basic ideals of the organic movement would seem to be at odds with one another, at least where raising fish is concerned.

    I know this would never happen, because greed has now become a variable in what defines ‘organic’, but perhaps it would be best if there were types of food where an ‘organic’ label would simply be inappropriate to use. To me, the idea of ‘organic fish’ is equal to ‘organic venison’. The problem is that no one can tell whether either ‘organic fish’ or ‘organic venison’ is a contradiction or a redundancy.

    Thanks Jack

    tags technorati : Organic Organic Food Seafood Salmon



    Ah, fish stew. Not just fish stew but Italian-American fish stew (although there’s some mention that it may be Portugese in origin). It’s wonderul dish on a crisp October afternoon. Spicy and savory made exponentially better by a slice or two from a fresh baguette.

    • 5 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 white onion, diced
    • 1 green pepper, diced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 8 anchovy fillets
    • 1/8 teaspoon saffron
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 4 cups fish stock(although chicken stock can be used in its place)
    • 1 cup clam juice
    • 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
    • 4 oz. tomato paste
    • 4 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
    • 3 Tbl Tobasco Sauce
    • 1 lb raw shrimp, de-veined and peeled
    • 1 lb cod, diced into 1″ pieces
    • 1/2 lb crab meat
    • 1/2 lb calamari
    • 1/2 lb sea scallops
    • 1 lb mussels

    Grind three cloves of garlic and the jalapeno with a mortar and pestle into a paste. Place into a bowl and whisk in the egg yolk. Drizzle all but two tablespoons of the olive oil into the egg and whisk into an emulsification. Cover and place in the refrigerator until later.

    Place the remaining olive oil into the bottom of a soup pot placed over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic as well as the onions, peppers, and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and then add the anchovies, Using a spatula, grind the anchovies into a paste, mixing well into the onions and peppers. Add the saffron, and pepper to taste.

    Pour in the red wine, fish stock, clam juice and diced tomatoes. Cover the soup pot, and allow to stew for 40-50 minutes. Add the tomato paste.

    Remove a tablespoon or two of the stew and temper it into the egg/olive oil emulsion. Then, in turn, add the emulsion back to the stew and mix in well. Add the Worcestershire suace, tobasco and the red wine vinegar. Add the fish, crab, shrimp and calamari and cook for 10 minutes. Add the shell fish and lower the heat to medium low. Allow the stew to simmer for another 10 minutes.

    Serve with bread and top with parsley and/or croutons.

    Serves 6-8

    Technorati Tags: Recipes, Fish Stew, Cioppino

    Tuna Noodle Casserole

    As you can tell from the picture, the previously requested recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole (referred to as ‘TNC’ from here on out) was completed and eaten in all of it’s glory. Here are some of the thoughts I had:

    1. Cream of Mushroom Soup is a losing proposition. There’s a better way to get a creamy texture without resorting to the Campbells soup travesty.
    2. When it comes to TNC, I am a snob. As I was making the dish, I kept thinking that I was lowering my food standards. This is kind of unfair in my opinion, as I believe that there is a good recipe in here, hiding somewhere amongst the crushed potato chips and frozen peas.
    3. No matter how you dress it up, if you use canned tuna in the recipe, it’s gonna taste kinda less than you’d expect.

    Overall, it was well received by the Birthday Girl. the TNC didn’t look as she remembered it, but tasted almost exactly as she recalled.

    Many thanks to Chris, Jennifer, Lisa, Stacey, Zazzy, Lorrie, Rebecca, Steve, Jessica, Yana, Maureen, Diana and
    Sally. They all offered some hint or insight that I used. I didn’t use one specific recipe, but took bits I liked from everyone. The results were pleasantly mediocre, which in my snobbish opinion, is as good as a TNC can get.

    • 16 oz. wide egg noodle
    • 3 cans Tuna


    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 8 oz. fresh button mushrooms, sliced
    • 4 Tablespoons butter
    • 4 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
    • 20 0z. Whole Milk
    • 6 oz Montery Jack cheese, shredded
    • 2 cups frozen peas


    • 4oz. Parmesan Cheese, shredded
    • 8 oz. Potato Chips, slightly crushed

    Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Cook Noodles as per instructions on package. When done, drain, and rinse with cold water. Place in a glass bowl and combine with the tuna fish. Pour noodles in a 3-Quart glass baking dish and set aside in the refrigerator.

    Place a medium skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Place in the olive oil and onions, and cooking until the onions juuust start to look translucent. It’s at this point that you should ad the mushrooms. Cook the onions and mushrooms until the onions start to turn brown or the mushrooms lose their “raw” look, whichever comes later. Remove from heat and set aside.

    In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium/medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until you have a roux. Whisk in the milk, 4 oz. at a time, ensuring the milk is fully incorporated before adding any more. This will create a thinner Béchamel Sauce (If you want an even thinner sauce, add more milk, 2 oz. at a time). To the sauce, add the shredded Jack cheese and allow to melt thoroughly. To this cheese sauce add the frozen peas and onions/mushroom mixture.

    Pour cheese sauce over noodles in the baking dish. Stir in, if you wish, or simply allow to sauce to seep into the noodles. Top with the Parmesan cheese and crushed potato chips.

    Cover baking dish with Aluminum foil. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes more.

    Serves 8-12

    Technorati Tags: Food, Recipes, Tuna Noodle Casserole

    The Science of Ceviche

    One of the reasons I enjoy ceviche is because it challenges the notion of what we think of as “cooking”. The dish reminds me that “cooking” is not just the application of heat to a food, but rather is any method that results in the alteration of a food that makes it more palatable.

    Ceviche is also one of the better food “science experiments” because it uses a process that’s in use in the majority of the world’s cuisines, but often in a different context. I’m talking about “acidification”, or the process of acids affecting the molecular structure of foods. Typically we see acidification in pickling techniques, where vinegars and other highly acidic compounds are used to store foods for extended periods of time, typically the firmer vegetables but also eggs and meats. Pickling is a process that’s in use around the world, and is very likely one of those discoveries that popped up in more than one location, as there are several types of pickling techniques out there.

    While there are many pickled products meant for the long term, ceviche is a short term “pickling” process, and I cannot think of any other dish that’s out there that’s acidified in such a short period of time. Because of its quick acidification, there’s very little of the fermentation that is often found in products like sauerkraut or kim chi. This is one of the several reasons why I find ceviche interesting.

    One word of note in regard to ceviche – this “short term acidification” does not kill the majority of bacteria found in whatever seafood products in the dish. This is why it’s important to purchase the best type of seafood that is available. If you can get sashimi grade tuna, that’d be your best start. In other words, if you get your seafood from the local Safeway, you probably run a higher risk of bacterial contamination.

    Technorati Tags: Food Science, Ceviche,



    Ceviche is one of those recipes that sounds exotic, but has actually been around for a long time. Generally accepted as South American in nature, it has a fair amount of popularity from Mexico on south. What this means is that there are as many variations of ceviche as there is seafood variation.

    It also may be one of my favrorite ways to use limes in a recipe (although key lime pies are still a close second). I find the idea of cooking without heat to be immensely satisfying and makes for good conversation whilst serving.

    • 1/2 lb bay scallops
    • 1/2 lb ahi tuna, cut into 1/8″ bits
    • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and cut
    • 1 medium red onion
    • 4 Tbl cilantro, chopped
    • 3/4 cup scallions, chopped
    • 1 tomato, fresh
    • zest from one lime
    • Juice from 4 limes

    In a large glass bowl, combine the scallops, shrimp and tuna. Add the onion, cilantro, scallions and tomato. Mix well.

    Juice the limes and pour said juice over the seafood mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and allow to sit for 6 to 12 hours.

    tags technorati : recipes seafood ceviche