October 26, 2009

Broiled Scallops – East Coast Style

Broiled Scallops

When selecting scallops to broil, always insist on fresh dry sea scallops. There is no added moisture or other additives like those commonly found in the grocery store–so they retain their flavor and don’t shrink when cooked.

1 1/2 lbs. scallops
1 stick of butter melted
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Serves 4

Preheat broiler. Rinse and dry scallops. Roll them into the melted butter an place them close together in a shallow pan. Pour over any remaining butter over them, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and broil for 5 minutes. And for variety, put slices of bacon on top of the cheese. Cook a little longer, until bacon is crisp.

Or…just as delicious, rinse and cut the large scallops in half or in third; then dip them in a slightly beaten egg, roll them in seasoned bread crumbs, and place in a shallow baking dish. Pour melted butter over them (tutning, so they’re coasted), and broil for 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

October 12, 2009

East Coast Pumpkin Bread

The leaves are turning bright beautiful fall colors on the East Coast. It’s Charlie’s favorite time of year to enjoy a heaping bowl of chowder and his favorite pumpkin bread spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Pumpkins were one of the first plentiful New England crops. Along with corn and fish, this sweet vegatable was the mainstay of many a Pilgrim diet.

pumpkinfestival East Coast Pumpkin Bread, East Coast Gourmet Blog

Foliage isn’t the only reason to travel to northern New England in October! Last year, 25,644 pumpkins decorated the streets during the annual Pumpkin Festival in Keene New Hampshire! The largest pumpkin ever displayed, weighing in at a hefty 1,300 pounds, was brought by Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene.

East Coast Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients
4 eggs
3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegatable oil
2 cups canned pureed pumpkin
1 cup raisins

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt 2 times. Butter 2 loaf pans. Line the buttered pans with paper cut to fit. Mix oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one a time, beating after each until mixture is light. Add flour alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each. Stir in raisins. Pour into pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until toothpick when inserted into center comes out clean. Makes two loaves.

May 17, 2009

Brewster Baked Stuffed Clams

Looking for a fun spot on Cape Cod? Be sure to stop in the historic sea captain’s town of Brewster, Massachusetts. It is centrally located on the bay side of Cape Cod. The town owns two championship golf courses and there are miles of salt water beaches. Don’t forget to visit the Great Cape Herb Farm, offering organic medicinal herbs. And if your a baseball fan like Charlie, don’t miss the Brester White Caps, members of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Former alumni include such big league stars as Geoff Blum, Mike Myers, Chase Utley, Billy Wagner. The Cape League marks in 125th season in 2009 attracting the country’s top college players.

clams Brewster Baked Stuffed Clams, East Coast Gourmet Blog

When Charlie travels to the lower Cape to play golf in Brewster, he enjoy a nice ice cold beer and a couple of stuffed clams. Here’s a delicious recipe for baked stuffed clams.

Stuffed Clams Recipe

12 medium-size cherrystone clams
2 tablespoons water
rock salt (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
8 slices bacon, cut into thirds

Place the clams and water in a pan, cover and steam until clams open. Reserve the liquid, remove the clams form the shells and chop finely. Wash the shells and place on rock salt in shallow baking pan. Melt butter in a skillet and saute the shallots and garlic until just tender. Add the bread crumbs, celery, parsley, basil, oregano, cheese, oil, wine and pepper. Mix well. Stir in enough of reserved liquid to moisten crumbs but not make it soggy. Distribute chopped clams among the shells, top with bread crumb mixture and a piece of bacon. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes and then broil until browned. Serves 4.

May 14, 2009

Rhode Island Rocky Point Chowder

In the little State of Rhode Island you can find three types of clam chowder: white clam chowder, red clam chowder, and clear clam chowder. Native Rhode Islanders and purists favor a clear, thin broth chowder. Rhode Islanders and tourists alike also enjoy the creamy, white chowder also served in Boston and on Cape Cod. Finally you’ll also find the tomato-based red chowder. All three RI chowder varieties share two common ingredients: Quahogs and salt pork. Quohogs are the large clams, chopped and featured in the chowder. Why salt pork? Salt pork gives chowder some flavor and helps create the broth. It also can keep for months, especially on the sailing ships of the 18th century!

Is Rhode Island’s red chowder the same as Manhattan clam chowder (also called New York chowder or Fullton Market chowder)? No way! Rhode Islanders make their own version of. Unlike the Manhattan clam chowder recipe, the Rhode Island chowder contains no vegatables and uses a tomato base, not tomato chunks.

rockypoint 1 Rhode Island Rocky Point Chowder, East Coast Gourmet Blog

Charlie asked Ray Testa, a long time Rhode Islander and author of Rhode Island Favorites: Back Home Recipes, for his favorite chowder recipe. Below you will find the chowder recipe served for decades at the Shore Dinner Hall at the Rocky Point Amusement Park*, located on Narragansett Bay. The hall could seat a 1000 people and was advertised as the largest shore dinner hall in the world. Although the park and the hall are no more ( closed in 1996 and demolished in 2007), the food from the Shore Dinner Hall lives on.

Rocky Point Clam Chowder

1/2 lb. Salt Pork (finely diced)
1 lb. Onions (chopped)
1 lb. Potatoes (diced)
2 cups Tomato Puree
1-1/2 qts. Quahogs (chopped)
1 Tbsp. Paprika
Water as needed
1 gal. Clam Juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
Oyster or Saltine Crackers (broken)

In a large kettle, heat the salt pork until the fat melts. Add the onions. Cook over medium heat until very soft. Add the clam juice, potatoes, seasonings, tomato puree and a little water. Simmer until the potatoes are soft, then add the quahogs. Heat and taste for seasoning. Add water if needed. Crush some saltine crackers and stir them into the chowder to thicken it further, near the end of the cooking. Makes about 15 servings.

*The Rocky Point Amusement Park was a popular landmark on the Narragansett Bay side of Warwick, Rhode Island. Rocky Point closed in 1995.To learn more about Rhode Island’s famous seaside playground visit Joe Nisil’s excelent resource and photo history page.

May 4, 2009

Get into Some Hot Water! How to Boil Lobsters

Should you boil or steam lobsters? It depends. Charlie prefers to boil lobsters if he has to cook a bunch of lobsters at a time. Second, boiling lobsters cooks them more evenly and quicker than steaming. But watch out and keep an eye on your cooking times to make sure you do not overcook your lobsters. Finally, boiling lobsters makes it easier to remove the meat out of the shell. The high, intense heat of boiling cooks the meat quickly, causing it to pull away from the shell. If you are just cooking a few lobsters (1-4) see the advantages of steaming lobsters.

How to boil lobsters
Fill a pot (large enough to hold the lobsters) anywhere from one-half to two-thirds full with water. Add 2 tablespoons of salt for each quart of water. (If sea water is available, even better. Skip the salt.) Bring the water to a strong boil over high heat.

Place the live lobsters in one at a time, headfirst, completely submerging them. Pick up the lobster by holding the upper side of the thorax between your thumb and middle finger. Hold the underside of the body away from you, because the lobster have a tendency to flip the jointed tail, splattering water. You can cook more than one lobster in a pot as long as there is enough room and water to cover the lobsters. (If you do not have a big enough pot use two smaller pots or cook your lobsters in batches.) Cover the pot tightly and return to a boil as quickly as possible.

After the water boils start timing, and regulate the heat to prevent water from boiling over (but be sure the water continues to boil). Melt some butter while you wait.

Cooking Times for Lobsters
1 lb. Lobster… 4-5 minutes
1 1/4 lb. lobster… 6-7 minutes
1 1/2 lb. lobster… 7-9 minutes
2 lb. lobster… 10-12 minutes
3 lb. lobster… 12-13 minutes
5-6 lb. lobster… 18-20 minutes

How to Tell if My Lobsters are Cooked?
Lobster is cooked when the shell is entirely red. When properly cooked, lobster meat is a creamy white color all the way through–no translucent areas. Some chefs say when the antennae pull out easily, lobsters are done, but this is not always the case. It is important to note when you take your lobsters out of the pot they will continue to cook. To stop the cooking process, put your lobsters in a bowl of ice.

If you overcook them, your going to be eating tough lobster. If you under-cook your lobster you can always heat them up. The reason many people believe larger lobsters are tough is simply because they overcook them. Many people will mistakenly boil a two and half pound lobster twice as long as a quarter pound lobster. Another common mistake is adding to the cooking time just because you are cooking more than 1-2 lobsters in the pot. Just remember to bring your pot back to a rolling boil and regulate the heat. Happy cracking!

Be Sure to visit East Coast Gourmet for some real feisty live lobsters! Test the waters and get $10 off your first order! Enter code STLB at online checkout.

May 2, 2009

Lobster Salad with Lobster Shells

May brings in warm weather on the Coast, and Charlie loves to make fresh lobster salad. For something different, his recipe for lobster salad uses fresh shrimp and is served in lobster shells!

Lobster Salad Ingredients
2 1 3/4 – 2lb. lobsters
12 large shrimp
4-6 tbs. mayonnaise
2 stalks of celery, chooped
4 tbsp. parsley, chopped (optional)
2 jars marinated artichock hearts*
1 lemon

Cook lobster adding shrimp to the pot for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking (be careful not to overcook)!Cool, and remove tail, body, and leg meat. Keep the claws. Clean out the shell, discarding everthing else inside the shell, including the black line that runs along the lobster. Cut the tail meat into pieces and refrigerate, along with the claws, lobster meat, and empty shells. Peel and devein shrimp and refrigerate.

When ready, mix the lobster meat, mayonnaise, celery and parsley together. Divide equally between 4 shells, add 3 shrimp to each shell and fill remaining space with artichokes. Serve on lettuce leaves, a cracked claw on each plate and wedges of lemon.
*Substutute muchrooms marinated in Italian dresing..or..potato salad.

April 26, 2009

Chatham Seafood Chowder

chowderbowl Chatham Seafood Chowder, East Coast Gourmet BlogHere is a real simple recipe for Seafood Chowder. Charlie borrowed the recipe from his friend Skip who lives down the Cape in Chatham. Skip been making it for years, and it’s a real crowd pleaser. The secret to Skip’s famous seafood chowder is fresh fish and small, tender clams. He says some of the big surf clams or ocean quahogs can be tough.

Seafood Chowder Ingredients:
1 to 1 1/2 lbs of fresh Cod or Haddock (cut up)
1 lb. chopped clams
1 large onion (diced)
3 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes (cut into cubes)
1 quart heavy cream

In a large pot add diced onions and clams with juice. Cook until onions are clear. Add potatoes then add water (enough to cover potatoes). Cook until potatoes are almost cooked, then add fish (do not stir, fish will break up) cook for 2 minutes. Lower heat to simmer, add cream with a pad of butter. Cover pan. Once butter has melted its ready to serve.

April 19, 2009

Full Steam Ahead! How to Steam Lobsters

Two popular ways to cook fresh lobsters is boiling and steaming. Charlie’s favorite way to cook lobsters is steaming. All you need is a good size pot, water, salt (preferably sea salt), unsalted butter, and the Maine ingredient-fresh lobsters.

Make sure you pick out a mad lobster. It’s easy to find one; it’s the lobster who will raise its claws and flap its tail. The mad, feisty lobster will be the freshest lobster! It’s best to cook lobsters the day your receive them. You can keep a good hard-shell lobster alive for a day or two in the coldest part of your refrigerator, usually the bottom shell.

Why steam lobsters, rather than boil them? Charlie prefers steaming lobster because he says it makes less of a mess and cooks up a more tender lobster than boiling. Steaming lobster preserves the ocean fresh taste of lobster. Since steaming cooks lobster a little slower, there is less of a chance of overcooking. It’s a good choice if your cooking lobster for the first time. Cooking for a big group? You can find out how to boil lobsters here.

lobsterbutter Full Steam Ahead! How to Steam Lobsters, East Coast Gourmet Blog

If you are just cooking a couple of lobsters, a 3-4 gallon soup or pasta pot will do the job. If you are cooking a bunch of lobsters you can get a larger pot or steam your lobsters in batches. Just make sure the lid goes on tight to keep in the steam. A steamer rack is not a necessity. It just keeps the lobsters from getting charred on the bottom of the pot. You can use an vegetable steamer rack inside the pot or an upside colander.

Now for the all-important cooking times. The first rule of cooking lobsters-do not overcook. Second rule-do not overcook your lobsters. For soft-shell lobsters you might want to subtract a minute or two from the cooking times.

Directions for Steamed Lobsters

To steam live lobster: Fill pot so that water comes up sides about two inches. Add 2 tablespoons of salt for each quart of water. If you have sea salt-even better. Bring the water to a rolling boil, and put in lobsters, one at a time. ( Feel free to use a steaming rack to place the lobsters on or just add directly to the pot.) Bring water to a rolling boil over high heat. Place lobsters in the pot (head first), cover tightly, return to a boil as quickly as possible and start counting the time.

Steam a lobster for 8 minutes per pound, for the first pound. Add 3 minutes per pound for each additional pound thereafter. See chart below for approximate cooking times. Regulate the heat if the froth starts to bubble over.

Steaming Lobster-Cooking Times

Lobster Weight: Cooking Time
1-1/4 lbs. 7-8 minutes
1-1/2 lb. 8-10 minutes
2 lbs. 11-12 minutes
2-1/2-3 lb. 12-14 minutes
5 lb. 20-22 minutes

Lobsters are done when the outer shell is bright red and when the meat is white, not opaque. Again, DO NOT overcook your lobsters. Carefully remove lobsters from the pot with tongs. Be careful, they are very hot. Note: Your lobsters will continue to cook a little after you take them out of the pot. To stop the cooking process, place your steamed lobsters in a bowl of ice before cracking. Now just melt the butter. You can get fancy and whisk in a little lemon juice in your butter. Now dig in!

Be Sure to visit East Coast Gourmet for some real feisty live lobsters! Test the waters and get $10 off your first order! Enter code STLB at online checkout.

April 11, 2009

The Season for Grilled Fish

Friday is a big day for fresh fish in New England, especially during the the Season of Lent! Charlie gives a few pointers for buying fresh fish. Fresh Fish should:

1. Smell fresh like a mild sea breeze, not fishy.
2. Have no bruises in the flesh.
3. Have shiny, not slimy scales.
4. Have bright, clear eyes, bright pink or red gills (whole fish).
5. Have no dry or browning edges .

grilled salmon The Season for Grilled Fish, East Coast Gourmet Blog

Many fish are excellent for broiling, either indoors or out. Whole fish, fish steak and even fillets can be broiled successfully with a little care.

Always oil the broiler pan or lay a sheet of foil over it. Broil fish 3-4′ from heat. Whole fish and fish steaks should be turned once during cooking. Do not turn fillets. Brush fish well with melted butter or oil: fillets need more lubrication than whole fish or fish steaks. Broil fillets 5-10 minutes, depending on thickness. Steaks will take from 6-12 minutes and whole fish 10-20 minutes, depending on size. Do not overcook.Fish is done when it flakes easily when tested with a fork. If checking with a thermometer, fish is usually ready when the internal temperature reaches 145 °F.

To charcoal broil: place fish in a greased hinged grill as it will be easier to turn. Make sure coals are white hot. Turn fish once or twice during cooking. A whole fish will take about 8 minutes each side, while fish fillets take only 1 1/2–2 minutes per side.

Serve broiled fish plain, or with lemon butter, parsley butter or your favorite herb butter.

March 27, 2009

Grilled Lobster, Oh My!

Spring time is finally here. It’s finally time for grilling. Here is a real simple recipe for grilling lobsters. Just like cooking steak on the grill, it’s real easy to overcook lobster, so be careful.

Ingredients
2 live Maine lobsters (1.5 lbs. each)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 clove garlic minced
2 ears of fresh corn

Plung lobster into rapidly boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes until lobsters turn bright red. Refresh under very cold running water. Use ice if lobster is still hot. Slice lobster in half lengthwise so that one claw and half of the tail are one piece, then clean out the body cavity.

Grill over charcoal wood fire for 6-10 minitues with corn, basting the corn and lobsters with garlic butter.

pixel Grilled Lobster, Oh My!, East Coast Gourmet Blog