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Friday, October 24, 2014

Shellfish of the Day: Fresh Hood Canal Oysters!

I recently went to a seafood restaurant that served Hood Canal oysters and I was pretty content on this kind. As you might already know, there's a ton of varieties when it comes to oysters and it's usually pretty difficult to remember what you had but the Hood Canal oysters did leave a lasting impression to me. It was pretty meaty, not very salty, not very metallic tasting, and had a decent texture to it. Oysters are pretty expensive at restaurants and can cost over $3 an oyster!

I decided to hunt for seafood wholesale markets that sell them so I can shuck and eat them at home. I found a place that sold them for 79 cents an oyster! You start to realize how much many restaurants are charging and see how much they are profiting. It's quite interesting.

I consumed these oysters raw so there's not much skill required and you just need to invest in an oyster shucker and just watch some Youtube videos. In short, you just need to stab/pierce/crack with the oyster shucker a gap between the top and the bottom lid of the oyster's back side. Basically that's what is keeping the oyster intact. You just keep forcefully twist your oyster shucker clockwise and counter-clockwise to slowly "drill" and detach the two oyster lids. It takes some practice and some trial-n-error on the technique but it's totally doable!

Give it a try and good luck!






Oyster Shucker
Drill at the back side between the two lids!


Voila!
 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Shellfish of the Day: Fresh Live Whelk Snails!

Do you like Snails? I do! When it comes to fresh live Snails, I like to just simply steam them and dip with butter! Have you had Whelk Snails before? They have a unique shell shape and come in many different sizes. I went to a Seafood market over the weekend and grabbed 3 lbs of these snails! It's pretty easy to cook but slightly tricky to eat!


Ingredients:

3 lbs of fresh live Whelk Snails
Butter
Lemon

Instructions:

1. Submerge all the Whelk Snails in a pool of water to allow the snails to excrete any dirt/rocks/etc for couple minutes



2. You'll need to repeat the above steps with a fresh pool of water for a couple of times until there's no visible dirt/rocks/etc
3. Now some stubborn dirt/rocks/etc are still stuck on the shell itself and will require some brush to remove.
4. Perform one final wash of all the snails and prepare to steam!
5. Depending on the size of the snails, aim for steaming them from 10-15 minutes. Be careful though if you overcook them, they tend to be more chewy/rubbery than desired. The perfect time is merely best guessed through trial and error. I think 10-11 minutes is ideal for my size/amount of snails.




6. Now melt some butter and squeeze lemon over it as your dipping sauce. Another option could be to use Soy Sauce instead.



How to eat them??
  • Simple grab two to three toothpicks together and stab the snail meat as inside/deep as possible and pull the meat out of the shell in the direction of how the physical shell is spirally outwards. The hard lid on the snail is not edible and needs to be removed before eating. Also the dark piece/tail end of the snail is not edible either so be sure to remove before eating!




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Best Cheese Rolls Ever!

I've had my share of fresh pastries and I think this place may serve one of the best Cheese rolls I've ever had. Although I haven't had much other places to compare to other Cheese rolls but I rarely give much praise to much places on the food they serve. I don't have too many food addictions but this is one of them! I always try to get some Cheese rolls if I'm in the area. You don't need to take my word for it, just witness it yourself and you'll see why! There's always a huge line to order your food. There are multiple locations throughout Los Angeles and I've been to three of them so far (not sure if there's more) and each are always super packed and quality is same across!

Although I have heard their Potato Balls are pretty good, I can only comment on their amazing Cheese Rolls. If you never been to a Porto's, you should when you are in the Southern California! Simply an amazing Cuban bakery! The best is that each Cheese roll is only 70 cents each! The newest and probably largest one is the one at Downey, CA.

Name: Porto's Bakery
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Yelp: Click Here!
Google Maps: Click Here!

Cheese Roll

More Cheese Rolls






Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Delicious Super Tender Pork Shoulder Roast in under 45 minutes!

Time to make good use of my pressure cooker! Today I made a 3lb pork shoulder roast and it was amazing! Super tender and some portions of it just shredded on contact.

Ingredients:
  • Salt
  • Cooking Oil
  • Pepper
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Diced Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of White Wine
  • 1/2 cup of Water
  • ~3lb Pork Shoulder
Instructions:
  1. Wash the pork shoulder in cold water
  2. Pat it really well with paper towels
  3. Poke holes throughout the pork shoulder to allow absorption of the seasonings 
  4. Season generously the above ingredients onto the pork shoulder 


       5. Poke holes again so the seasonings gets inside the meat (optional)
       6. Let it marinate overnight or for couple hours (optional) 
       7. If marinated overnight, bring it back to room temperature before cooking       
       8. Get your pressure cooker out and set heat to Medium-High
       9. Pour cooking oil of your choice and pour in the diced garlic cloves

 

      10. Sear the pork shoulder really well on all sides for couple minutes
      

  11. Now pour in the liquid (half water half white wine), close the lid, and pressurize!
  12. Set heat to High until it pressurizes and then lower the heat to medium-low or low enough such it that it maintains the pressure


    13. Set timer to ~ 45 minutes
    14. Once time has elapsed, depressurize and let it rest for 5-10 minutes for the juices to settle and seal back into the meat


    15. And serve!!!



Monday, October 20, 2014

Fresh Live Sea Urchin at Home!

Tired of paying a premium for Sea Urchin (Uni)? Me too! I decided to buy a couple live ones at a fish market over the weekend. Unfortunately they have bumped up the price tremendously from $5 each to $5 /lb! It is always a toss coin when it comes to choosing the right one as you can't tell without opening it!

Here are some tips that may be helpful:
  1. Make sure it's alive! Wiggle the spikes with your fingers and see if it moves and how fast it moves!
  2. Bigger is NOT better! The older it is, the less likely it'll taste good/bitter. Look for a medium size (slightly bigger than a softball is ideal)
  3. Get it pre-shucked! It's honestly a huge toss-up in terms of taste, color, and texture. I just bought it for fun as I like to dissect things and like getting items in their original forms instead of it already processed. Unfortunately one of the two I purchased was extremely bitter! =(
 If you don't have a fancy tool to split the sea urchin in half. All you need is a pair of scissors and two large spoons! If you were not successful in splitting it in half, simply use a pair of scissors to complete the split. Do try to avoid cutting the sea urchin though!

With regarding the purpose of the spoons...
  1. Simply put stack them on the back of each other
  2. Position the spoon heads on the weak spot of the sea urchin which is on its bottom (look for a small hole to pierce) 
  3. Pull the spoons' handle away from each other.
Now simply, gently use a spoon to scoop up the sea urchin meat. It is extremely delicate! Scoop it gently like as if you were scooping up some partially melted butter in a bowl. Then immediately submerse it in a pool of cold water for cleaning, remove any residues stuck on it, and place it on a paper towel to dry. There should be five pieces of sea urchin meat in each spiky shell. 

If you did it right, it should look something similar to below! Enjoy! Hope yours isn't bitter!

 Cheers!

Sea Urchin #1

Sea Urchin #2

Center weak spot at bottom of the shell!

Insert spoons into the center bottom weak spot!

Voila!

Cleaned out!

Give it a good clean!

Pay dry!

Voila!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Super Fresh 8.5 lb Baja Hiramasa aka Yellowtail!

I got a huge surprise this morning after being told that the smallest fish they had was an 8.5 lb one :( I was too committed to not get it so I just gave in and got it. I'll be needing a lot of help to finish this fish! I got it from my favorite seafood wholesaler Catalina Offshore! I basically wanted to make sushi and sashimi, pan sear some of the fish, and make a soup with the fish head and the bones! One of the other reasons why I wanted to get a whole fish was because I always wanted to try fileting a fish by myself. It's actually quite fun and a lot more difficult than I thought. With some practice, hopefully I'll get better at it!

Nicely Wrapped

Yellowtail!


I'm still alive!

Off with its head!


Portioned

This will be used for sashimi!

This will be used for sushi!


Cheers!
Pan Seared with Cilantro and Ginger