Blue Heron Local Cuisine

Cooking, Eating, and Drinking on the North Shore (and beyond)

Community Supported Fisheries in Gloucester!! May 5, 2009

Filed under: Fishing — blueheronlocal @ 8:26 pm
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Exciting news! This is a little lukewarm off the presses, as I’ve been distracted by other things, but sign up here for Cape Ann Fresh Catch. A twelve-week assortment of fish is available in whole shares (6-8 lbs. a week for $360) and half shares (3-4 lbs. a week for $180). Pickup may be available in Ipswich, Gloucester, Marblehead, and Cambridge, depending on interest.


Support your local fisherman and learn how to cook new kinds of fish!



Beef Sushi April 27, 2009

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 3:10 pm
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Before you run away screaming, let me explain. Always on the lookout for something with which to culinarily impress his friends, No Egrets began to think about ways to modify the sushi formula. What  he came up with was beef nigiri, a perfect dish to take to our friend’s surprise birthday party.


The evening before the surprise celebration, we cooked a vat of sushi rice (which is nice and sticky) with a little rice vinegar and put it in the fridge. No Egrets also marianated the filet mignon (it’s true)  in soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.


The next morning we got up and sprung into action. No Egrets seared the beef and cooked it until it was (to my non-beef-eating eyes) quite red. He shaped the cold rice into little oblong shapes, and put a thin slice of beef on top. Next time he will add a dab of wasabi between the rice and beef.


The rare steak resembled rare tuna, which was a nice effect, and almost broke my non-beef-eating ways. (OK, I confess, it looked so good I tried a piece.) It was an overall success, and may be a great way to introduce sushi to your midwestern friends and family when fresh seafood is merely a fantasy.




PS Our friend was taken completely unaware. Ha!


Five Gallons of Carroty Goodness April 12, 2009

Filed under: container gardening,gardening — blueheronlocal @ 11:10 pm
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I went out into the garden for the first time this year. Well, I had passed it while gathering firewood, or bringing something heavy around to the back of the house, but today was the first day I actually put my hands in the dirt. I got in touch with my inner weeder, because don’t you know, the herbs were straggling up but the dandelions and long-haired-weed-number-seven were so green and lush it could have been June (I wish).

One of our surprise gardening successes last year was the five-gallon pot of carroty goodness. I had received a packet of carrot seeds as a favor from a wedding a few years back; but I’ve never been much of a gardener. (In my bachelor days, I kept one spider plant and one pot of basil in the window of my JP apartment, and considered myself a success.) I had been using the carrot seeds as, um, a bookmark, when No Egrets saw them and liberated them from a life of dormant literacy.

Not having a clear idea how old the seeds were, No Egrets proceeded cautiously. He filled a five-gallon pot one-third with sand and two-thirds with rich beautiful soil and sprinkled the carrot seeds. We waited. A month later, we had scads of baby carrots. We harvested a few, and many grew in their place. Every time we were in the garden, we picked one and ate its fresh, almost peppery, carrot self, reminding ourselves why it was worthwhile to weed out the dandelions. Again.



Canning Beans! April 7, 2009

Filed under: Food Preservation — blueheronlocal @ 9:38 pm
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Yesterday, I saw daffodils while I was walking through the rain, and believed, for the first time, that it was spring. (See, I’ve become a hard-bitten, cynical New Englander after all.) In preparation for farmers market season, No Egrets and I bought a pressure canner.

We decided to practice a little before we had pounds of heirloom tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and okra to waste. So, as I sat at the table doing my day job (that would be corraling commas and wrestling homonyms to the ground), I watched No Egrets can beans. We decided to begin with plain beans. Our first idea had been to make Mexican beans, salad beans, etc., but then we realized at the end of the season we would want Mexican beans, but have nothing but cannelini beans with basil.

No Egrets boiled the turtle beans, stuck them in mason jars, and put them in the pressure canner. (There may have been more steps, but I was too busy matching references and citations to notice.) Then he spent an inordinate amount of time staring at said canner, watching the metal pin that releases pressure bounce up and down.

After an hour or so of boiling, we turned off the heat. We waited for the pressure to go down from 11 pounds to zero pounds, and then gingerly opened the canner. There was bean liquor boiling in the jars. We took this as a good sign. One by one, I heard the glorious pop of the mason jars sealing themselves.

Here’s hoping we don’t die of botilism!!




The Globe chimes in too… March 18, 2009

Filed under: Fishing — blueheronlocal @ 1:16 pm

I’m on the road (again), but I saw in today’s Boston Globe (thanks internet!) another article about Community Supported Fisheries. Keep the clamor going!



Drinking locally March 10, 2009

Filed under: Drinking Locally — blueheronlocal @ 2:19 pm
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home_cornerLast week, at our favorite local cafe, No Egrets and I had Rapscallion Ale for the first time. They were handing out samples, and who were we to refuse? I’m normally a darker beer fan, but their honey ale* was sharp and sweet. It is also made from local honey. The Premier ale was a Belgian ale, and was nice and complicated, just the way I like my Belgian ales.


Rapscallion is the old Concord Brewing Company, new and revised, under different ownership. The beer is brewed in Holyhoke and served all around southern New England in draft form only. It’s available on the North Shore at Gulu-Gulu.




* Please note that the green font does not in any way constitute an endorsement of green beer.


Binder Clips and Paneer March 5, 2009

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 8:16 pm
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It's not a bomb, it's paneer!

Paneer is the Indian cheese found in such eponymous dishes as palak paneer (spinach and paneer) and matar paneer (peas and paneer). Making paneer cheese is actually quite easy. All you need is milk (local of course), lemons, vinegar, and cheesecloth. Paneer needs time to sit, though, so make it the day before you want to serve it.

When I first learned to make paneer, I quickly found out that whole milk makes cottage cheese, not firm cubes. Skim milk makes the firmest cubes, but doesn’t have much taste. I like 1% milk for this. Also, paneer is a great use for milk of suspect freshness.

You will need at least 6 or 7 lemons and 4 Tb of rice wine vinegar. (Don’t skimp on the lemons, and vinegar is the insurance.)

I boil water in a short 2-gallon stockpot and make a double boiler with a big stainless steel mixing bowl. (I much prefer this to boiling milk directly on the heat, as I always, always scorch it. Ed. note: scorched milk is a bitch to clean.) (more…)