Week 4 & 5

So week 4 was my first week to strike out!  That’s why I missed on the blog last week.  Plus this was my fish week playing single mom, as my hubby headed back to work a couple days after Memorial Day.  I had Weakfish (aka Squeteague), Tautog (aka Blackfish), Sea Urchin & Lobster.  We did only make it to one store, Hanford’s in Raymond, NH (right down the road from us).  I went through my list with the employee at the supermarket and the feedback I received was they were pretty specialty and not something they normally see.  They did have lobster, but honestly, picking out a lobster while dealing with a screaming toddler isn’t my idea of a great time.

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For week 5, my list was Acadian Redfish (aka Ocean Perch), Soft Shell Clams (aka Steamers), Weakfish (aka Squeteague) & Tuna (any locally landed species).  We actually got redfish during week 2 of our NH Community Seafood share and my husband cooked it perfectly, so I was hoping to find that.  

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I decided to try my luck again at Seaport Fish in Rye, NH, and they ended up having redfish, steamers & tuna!  I went for the redfish, which was only $7.99/lb.  Only getting a half pound plus a nice head of broccoli my total was less than $5.00 this week!  Much better than the $10+/lb. for lobster.

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The first time we had redfish, my husband wrapped up the fillets in tin foil with some butter, so that was my plan this time as well, but I wanted to take it a step further to cook more in the same amount of time.  I stopped at a local farm on the way home to pick-up some red potatoes and a beautiful cucumber.

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I started by cutting up the potatoes and putting them on the bottom of the packet, then mixed up some butter and put the fish fillets over the potatoes.

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Finally I wrapped it up into a nice little pocket and stuck it on the grill.

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I cooked the packet on the grill for about 20ish minutes (checked it out after 10, but the fish was still a little slimy).  Unfortunately, the potatoes should have cooked longer, so most of our potatoes were uncooked and I forgot to season the fish before I cooked it, so our meals were not as good as when hubby cooked them…

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I did have leftover fish the next day, so we had fish tacos for dinner!  (One was chicken, but the fish was definitely the better one)

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Week 3

This week I decided to try some more spots since my first two weeks had been successful at Sanders.  Luckily, my wonderful husband is still home for this week and could do some research for me!  My fish list for the week was Razor Clams, Tautog (Blackfish), Herring, and Summer Flounder (Fluke).

Previously, I have had fairly good luck with the fish at my supermarket of preference: Hannaford in Northwood, NH, mainly getting nice filets of haddock for my mother’s chowder recipe.  For this week, I had my husband start at Hannaford, but he struck out there.  The next stop was Market Basket in Lee, NH.  Again he had no luck.  So now it was my turn!  Again, I decided to try a new market, so after a Google search, I found Seaport Fish in Rye, which is just down the road from Portsmouth.  I was hopeful I could find at least the Flounder, but talking with the fish monger there, he explained when they get flounder in, it’s usually a mixture different varieties of flounder.  The only way they could guarantee that I would have Summer Flounder would be to have the boat set it aside specifically for me.  I left again, disappointed, but I do have a new source to check out each week!

I decided before throwing in the towel for the week, I’d check Sanders once more.  I lucked out again this week!  They had Tautog freshly caught from Rhode Island, so even though it wasn’t local to New Hampshire, it is in New England waters and still ok for the project.

This was my first experience with this fish.  I hadn’t even heard of it before this week!  So for cooking, I went to the best resource for finding fish markets or recipes: Google!  There weren’t many options, but I found THIS ONE and it ended up pretty well.  Pictures with play-by-play of cooking the fish are below:

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Juices strained out. 
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The final product! 

The only thing I think would be different would be cooking the fish later, as it was cold by the time I finished with the sauce, but all in all, it was pretty good!  We combined it this week with a butternut squash risotto and asparagus.

The risotto was a big success and we’ve figured out the plane noises do work to get toddlers to realize they actually wanted to eat, but not quite enough to finish all of it.

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Week 2

Week number 2 had us asking Bluefish = Bait Fish?   This week’s options for fish shopping were Mussels (wild only, NOT farmed), Conch (aka Whelk or Snail – both Channeled or Knobbed qualify), Sea Robin & Bluefish.

We started our adventure again at Sanders Fish Market in Portsmouth.  There’s someone else from the study that’s also shopping at Sanders, which helps when I walk up to the counter with a whole mess of questions!  Going down my list, the only species that were available were mussels and bluefish.  Unfortunately, the mussels were farm raised, so they were not an option for this week.  So, my daughter & I bought a filet of bluefish and headed home!

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After receiving the fish list Monday, I shared my assignment for the week with my husband, and as a native Rhode Islander and avid saltwater fisherman, he was less enthusiastic about the prospect of Bluefish for dinner.  I asked the fishmonger about the best way to cook the fish to deal with the greasy oily taste of the fish.  Her recommendation was to grill with a mustard.  Luckily, they had a pretty good selection of sauces.

I coated the mustard on pretty thick (partially at my husband’s request).  Next came the grill, which had been on most of the afternoon while my husband cooked (so he didn’t have to eat the fish).

I grilled the fish for about 15 minutes, taking it off once the middle started flaking.

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Overall, this wasn’t my favorite fish and my daughter only had a couple bites compared to the ribs she devoured.  To me, the texture was similar to tuna, but it also didn’t have too fishy of a flavor (which could have been due to the mustard),  Mermaids weren’t eating as many fish this week…

Week 1

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It’s the first official week eating like a fish! Our first week’s assigned fish are Butterfish, Lobster, Skate & Herring.  Below are summaries & pictures of the fish from the Eating with the Ecosystem website:

Looking up local fish markets in Portsmouth, I found Sanders Fish Market on Marcy Street.  If you’re looking for some quality fish, check out Sanders!  There’s street parking close by and it’s fairly easy to find using Google Maps.

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I was really hoping to find the Butterfish available to cook, but unfortunately, talking with butterfish and herring are most often used as bait fish, and only available upon request.  One of the requirements of the study is to find the fish readily available, and while the guy behind Sander’s counter was very willing to order Butterfish for me, it wasn’t an option for the study.  He did say they normally have Skate available, but not today, so lobster it was!  Pricing was a little high at $10.99/lb. for 3 x 1-1/4 pounders.

 

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Lobsters hanging out before their hot tub time 🙂

Because our last big a** pot was left outside through the winter, I also had to do some running around to find a replacement pot, so dinner was started a little late tonight, but our lobsters were patient and our daughter had some quality time getting to know them while we waited for the water to boil.

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Finally, it was showtime!

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Andddd our finished product after about 10 minutes in the water

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For anyone who has eaten lobster, you know the majority of your time is spent picking all that delicious meat from the shell and then half that time is spent actually enjoying it. Well, when you have a toddler, it’s even more time spent picking and less enjoying!

Of course, I’m pretty sure there was just as much on her plate after she went upstairs for bath time as when we started dinner!

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We will be back Thursday after our second week of NH CSF with our share of Acadian Redfish!

Week 0

So we officially start our project next week, but this week was our first week to receive a share from New Hampshire Community Seafood.  This is our first of 8 weeks of a share directly from fishing boats that call the NH seacoast their home.  You can visit their website HERE for more information.  It was also good timing as I got to listen to a piece on NHPR all about the program! You can listen to it HERE.

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This first week’s share is Flounder, with our share being one of three possible types:

The American Plaice or “Dabs” are a cold water species that range from southern Labrador to Rhode Island and in the eastern Atlantic from Greenland to northern Europe. Dabs live on the sandy/mud bottom and prefer deep water. Some can be found as deep as 700m (about 2100ft). They are reddish to gray-brown on top and have a blueish white underside. They have a distinctly pointy nose and rough scales. Plaice is a white, lean flaky fish with a mild flavor. This is a right eyed species.

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The Yellowtail flounder is found in the Atlantic Ocean from Newfoundland to the Chesapeake Bay. The species got its name from the yellow tint on the tail and fins that encompass the top and bottom of the flattened out, eyes- on- top anatomy of this species. Like all flounders, the Yellowtail spends most of its time on the bottom of the ocean, particularly in sandy bottoms and is basically sedentary unless disturbed or hungry. It is a right eyed flounder.

The flesh of this bottom dweller is lean and firm with a distinctly sweet taste often used as the standard when comparing the flavor of other flounder species.

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The Winter flounder or “Blackbacks”, got their name because of their migrations-in winter. Adults migrate from offshore areas where they feed to inshore areas like bays and estuaries, where they spawn. This is also a right eyed flounder. Winter flounder has a sweet taste and firm texture and is often the standard to which other flounder species are compared. Winter flounder absorbs seasoning and marinades readily and cooks up great on the grill. 

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Here is Isla with our share fresh from our pick-up at Emory Farm in Barrington, NH.

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My wonderful husband will be home for the first couple of weeks of our grand project so he handled all of the cooking tonight (with the help of Isla of course!).

He started by soaking the fish in milk, then dipped them into an egg bath before covering them with panko breading with salt & pepper.

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He then pan fried the fillets over medium heat, sprinkling them with lemon juice and parsley.  The rule of thumb for cooking fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

 

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Here is the finished product with red potatoes & green beans with olive oil. 
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And our toddler verdict is here from Isla! Not a bad meal!

 Come back next week for our first adventure in purchasing fish and finding new recipes as we explore our ecosystem!

 

Why eat like a fish? (Making markets match ecosystems)

Growing up across the bay from Bar Harbor, ME, squishing around mudflats for clams and trolling for mackerel in Frenchman’s Bay, I’ve been eating like a fish (or mermaid) or almost thirty years.  I’ve lived in a couple different states without a coast, but still had access to fresh water fish.  We also spent a year in the panhandle of Florida enjoying all sorts of fish from the Gulf from grouper to crawfish, lucky to be able to get them right off the boat!

As a mom, I’m trying to give my daughter the same exposure I had to everything available to us living so close to the coast (even if most of it ends up on the floor!).  This study will give us a chance to explore different types of fish that I haven’t been exposed it, even living so close to their habitats!

The best explanation of the project as a whole is on their website: http://eatingwiththeecosystem.org/ecosystem-market-symmetry/

For our privacy, I’ll be using Isla the Cuddle + Kind mermaid in place of my daughter.  Stay tuned to see how eco-exploration works!

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