Posts Tagged ‘Seafood’

26th February
written by Arthur
The Spread

Note the bowls of deliciousness for dipping bread.

This post is a throw back to Valentine’s Day.  Yes, it’s been almost two weeks, but the cooking Meg and I got up to was so good I have to recall to this ancient history and write about it.

Essex Market

Essex Market

A few weeks before V-day, after grabbing brunch with friends at the Essex Cafe in the Lower East Side, we swung into the Essex Market.  The Essex Market is a combination of a super market, a farmers market, and random food boutiques (including cheese!).  Actually, the market probably deserves a return trip and a post of it’s own. But I digress.  As we were walking around the market, passing a 1pm beer party at the butcher station, we ran across the seafood area and saw them: bags of mussels for $2.50 a pound. I think that it must be the landlocked Midwesterner in me but I just always assume that any protein coming out of the ocean is going to be expensive.   Whenever I realized how wrong I am my head starts racing with culinary schemes.  But since mussels don’t live long and we already had dinner planned we decided to wait on tasty denizens of the sea.

But  then, the Friday before Valentine’s, Meg went out to lunch with an old  boss and saw Angry Mussels on the app menu.  She didn’t try them there, but was inspired for an at-home go.

As it seems with many things, I’m wasn’t happy with name other people gave this dish and decided that I was going to start calling them the Devil’s Mussels or Devil Mussels instead of Angry Mussels.  I mean mussels aren’t like bears, they can’t look angry!  And, with the spicy ingredients, the Devil’s Mussels is a fitting name.

The first thing we had to do was get mussels, and finding them at Whole Foods for $5 for a 2 pound bag we just had to get two of the 2 pound bags.  That’s right, 4 pounds of mussels for two people.  Bring it on!

The next step is cooking the mussels.  We decided to go with steaming, which is super easy!  First you make a tasty liquid mixture in a big pot. (You don’t need much liquid – only an inch or two.)   In the case of the Devils Mussels, we put together

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 5 teaspoons chili pepper oil
  • 3 teaspoons chili pepper powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Half of an onion, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon

Ideally you want something to keep the mussels out of this liquid a steaming basket or even some tin foil rolled up an place in the bottom of the pot will do.  Still, for some reason, we diced to skip this step and our mussels turned out just fine (just a few had a slightly overly rubbery texture).  All you need to do is get the flavor packed liquid up to a boil, rinse the mussels and set them in the pot to steam for five minutes: until the little guys open up.  In our case, because of the heroic 4 pounds of mussels and a not-so-heroically-sized pot, after 5 minutes a lot of the mussels weren’t open.  But after some careful stirring and another 5 minutes, all of them gave in to the steam and opened up their shells.  After they’re done cooking you’ll need a big bowl to put them and a another big bowl (or a smaller bowl for each person) to put the shells in.

These mussels have a great spicy kick that live up to whatever name you call them by.  Once you start eating them you just can’t stop.  Between Meg and I, we managed to put down all 4 pounds (not as crazy as it sounds given the shells, but still a lot of eating).   One final thing you’ll need is a good baguette.   If you cook mussels right, you’ll have a bunch of tasty liquid you’ll want to sop-up!

Yesterday, taking advantage of  an extended restaurant week menu, Meg and couple fellow Cardozo students headed to Fishtail–the restaurant where Meg first saw the Angry Mussels on the menu.  I was lured in by oysters, but Meg got the mussels and let me try some.  Interestingly, these mussels were dry roasted, not steamed.  They didn’t pack the level of spice we had enjoyed in our home made version, but they had a great delicate lemon flavor that let the briny mussel tasty shine through.  This has given us a some more great mussel ideas: somehow we are going to get some  of these bad boys on the grill this summer and next time we steam, the amount of lemon juice is going get kicked up.

All in all, mussels are an incredibly easy do-it-at-home seafood meal where you can eat yourself silly for the price you would pay for a small mussel appetizer at a restaurant.

19th January
written by Arthur

The following is adapted from a restaurant review first publish in the Cardozo Jurist.

The Bar That Keeps On Giving

The spring semester loan check is in the bank and I’m feeling rich again.  But I’ve made a promise to myself:  I’m going to remember that my beginning of the semester wealth is just an illusion and that come May I’ll regret my early frivolous spending.  So to satisfy my champagne tastes on a beer budget I will turn again to Dock’s Oyster Bar or, to be more precise, to their epic happy hour.

Located in Midtown East, the first thing that struck me about Dock’s was its size: a few years in New York has gotten me use to compact restaurants with close dining quarters.  Dock’s has high ceilings and a spacious dining area.  The wood paneling, dark tiles, dim light (an amazing constant in the face of the floor to ceiling windows), and rounded edges evoke a comfortable steakhouse.

Every time it’s the oysters that bring me through Dock’s revolving door.  Once I start thinking about oysters I can’t stop until I’ve taken down a dozen or so.  Lucky, at only a dollar each, I can satisfy my craving for these fresh briny treats for only twelve bucks.  The ice tray comes with the standard cocktail sauce and ground ginger but the friendly bartender will always brings over hot sauce or any other sauce my heart desires.

But when I’m done with the oysters, the happy hour isn’t over.  The buffalo calamari is a must-try—picture buffalo chicken with a calamari substitution.  I was skeptical of the combination, but at only $6.00 I had to give it a try.  I was a convert at first bite of the spicy and crispy morsels.  Dock’s offers up a few other savory gems with both sliders and BBQ pork sliders for only $1.50 each.  The sushi roll on the happy menu deserves a solid B—not bad, but not amazing at its $7 price tag.

Not actually Dock's oysters, but YUM!!!

Of course, Dock’s happy hour includes deals not only on the food but also on the booze.  Well drinks are only five bucks.  I recommend starting with the bloody mary which—at least in my mind—matches well with the seafood.  But if you’re not a hard liquor fan, grab one of the $6 glasses of wine.  When you delve into the savory portion of the happy hour menu you’ll appreciate the $3 off beer which makes a the whole draft selection only $4.

As a restaurant looking to turn a profit, Dock’s sports a regular menu as well.  In fact, you can only get the happy hour from 3 to 7 PM, Monday through Friday, in the bar area.  But if you want to eat later, sit at a real table, or have some loan money burning a hole in your pocket, the standard menu presents a classic mix of seafood and red meat.  The two times that I’ve ventured outside of the happy hour I found the service impeccable and the food well-executed.  When it comes to the surf and turf Dock’s does it right by keeping it fresh and simple.

Dock’s Oyster Bar
633 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10017
(212) 986-8080

22nd October
written by Loren

Howdy football fans! My deepest apologies for missing last weeks post. Words cannot express my sorrow, but I know you’ll forgive me. To make up for the absence, this week I’m posting my favorite Renzo Original of all time! I was going to save this one for the Super Bowl post because it’s so damn good, but here you go: Renzo’s Jumbo Skrimp Skewers!

This recipe came as a result of having a pound of jumbo shrimp, a grill, and a desire for spicy deliciousness. There may be an ingredient or two that might refine this recipe or add a little something, but all of the ingredients were what I had on hand at the time. The only reason I don’t make this every single week is because of how unfortunately expensive jumbo shrimp are. Sometimes I can find a bag of frozen jumbo shrimp for a few dollars less per pound,

These are about the right size

and when I see these things I pounce and stock up the freezer. Don’t try to substitute normal size shrimp for the Jumbos, they would be very dry and over-done by the time they get any grill marks and smoky flavor.

1 lb of Jumbo shrimp, the biggest you can find (peeled and deveined)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (damn Rachel Ray for tainting the acrnoym EVOO!)
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp papeika
1 tsp red curry powder
5 cloves of minced garlic
2 serrano peppers, minced
1 large handful of chopper cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a Tupperware or ziplock bag and mix well before adding the skrimps, then let that marinate for 30 minutes or so. Do NOT let this sit longer than an hour. All that citric acid will essentially turn this into a ceviche and so the shrimp will be “cooked” before they even hit the grill. Take them out of the marinade and skewer them (if they’re really big skrimps you might not even need the skewers). Throw them all on a very hot grill (bright glowing coals or propane turned to high) and cook them for about 1.5 to 2 minutes per side. This is a delicate balance; you want a grill hot enough that you’ll get nice char marks with only about 100 seconds per side of the shrimp. They’re done when they’re opaque all the way to the center, which should match up with the cooking time above. Serve with whatever you like for a real dish, or just put the platter out in front of everyone watching the game for an appetizer.

I hate this guy. Only player to ever get kicked off a probowl team. Seriously.

I think our problems boil down to one main point: The O-line. It is horrid. Bryant McKinney is the most over paid (and overweight) player in the league, we can’t find a player to hold down the Center position for consecutive games, Loadholt might be good in a few years but he’s struggling right now, and Hutchinson is by far our best lineman but is past his prime. I know I’ve said recently that Favre is having problems with his arm, and I still think he is, but if we had a decent O-line we would at least be able to run the ball effectively when Favre is struggling to keep his head above water. As it is, there are practically no holes for AP to run through, Favre is getting destroyed  after every single passing attempt, and Randy Moss will never be a downfield threat because the QB has to remain standing longer then 4 seconds in order to chuck it deep!

The Packers are having huge injury problems, but their biggest strength remains they’re passing game and I think Aaron Rodgers is going to throw it at Lito Shepperd all game long. This week boils down to the simple fact that I don’t have confidence in our offense to put up more than 250 yards (only 190 last week!!!), and I think it’s going to take more like 400 to put this one away. Final Score: Packers 30, Vikings 17.

Again please.

Arthur’s Two Cents:
The jumbo shrimp sounds awesome.  Citrus and some heat?  I don’t see how you can go wrong.

The game:  I’ve been saying the offensive line is the main problem since our first game versus the Saints.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to have been any improvement in the last 6 weeks.  And with Greenbay leading the NFL in sacks I don’t see good things coming this week.  Farve needs a few seconds to let Moss get down field, let alone to be able to throw to him.  It seems that in each of the last two game Farve was able pull him self together and pound out about 5 consecutive minutes of solid play, regardless of the O-line folding like superman on laundry day. If he can do that twice this game, well we have a shot.

Given the GB injuries I foresee a lower scoring game: Vikings 9, Packers 12.  While this is going to be a painful match-up to watch, at least I have the Packs defense in fantasy to dull the pain.

27th July
written by Arthur

After a little stroll around Chinatown my lady friend and I wandered down to New York’s South Seaport.  After almost two years living in New York I made the trip for the first time.  Sitting on a bench at Pier 17, next to the water and the historic ships, in 90 degree heat gave us both a hunger for a little seafood.

There were lots of restaurants around.  But they all looked out of the price range of two poor law students, like a dodgy chain, or both.  But even if we had the money, the upscale fair didn’t seem right.  We wanted the kind of simple seafood that goes great with a beer.  (Yes, Meg’s Boston roots have affected this Midwest boy.)  With the help of Meg’s iPhone, we found what we were looking for—a dive bar with some fried clams on the menu—Jeremy’s Ale House.

Jeremy’s is the kind of place you can smell from the street, in a good way.  The smell of beer as you’re walking towards the door makes you look forward to the beer you are going to order all the more.  The design of the place is Spartan and darkly lit with a simple cement floor.  Still, even though it was early, about 7 in the evening, you can tell the place can get rock’n.  There are bras literally hanging from the ceiling which has writing from past visitors all over it.

The beer comes one of two ways: small plastic cup or big styrofoam cup.

The menu is simple, consisting most of baked and fried seafood and things that go great with baked and fried seafood (like french fries and onion rings).  We ordered baked clams (something neither of us had ever had), fried clams (which, to our surprise, came with French fries), and onion rings (no need for a parenthetical comment about these).

The food was the cheap greasy seafood treat we had been hoping for.  The fried clams were crunchy and delicious.  The onion rings were those magic ones where you can take a bite without the onion slipping out.  The baked clams might have been more greasy than we were looking for, but with a little lemon and tartar sauce they were pretty tasty.  Oh, and the French fries.  Sometime I forget how much I love a simple french fry.  And all of the food was great with our beers (a big boy cup for me and little cup for Meg).

Jeremy’s is a place I am definitely going to be heading back to when I’m on the hunt for good, simple, fried seafood.

Jeremy’s Ale House 228 Front St.
New York, NY 10038
(212) 964-3537

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