Friday, July 24, 2020

How to Compost Green Crabs

How to Compost Green Crabs

Every time I hear someone compost perfectly edible items I cringe because I don't like to see, hear, or read about wasted food. I believe in consuming what you can first and only compost what is inedible after. This same concept goes for the invasive green crabs. Just like anything, there are many different methods to compost matters but this short post is about how I compost green crabs. After returning home from the dock with a bucket of crabs I would spend some time preparing them by removing the carapace, apron, gills, and mouthparts to discard. Please check out How to Prepare Hard-Shell Green Crabs post for further details and tutorials. I save the bodies and roe separately for cooking. The discarded parts would be boiled for about 5 minutes, just long enough to cook them. The reason I devote in this extra 5-minute step is to decrease the stench of decaying shellfish and to prevent attracting animals and insects to my outdoor compost container. I would empty the cooked discarded parts and liquid in my home-made recycled compost receptacle--made from an old wooden cabinet minus the back and a door. It lies open to the ground and the top covers with a wire mesh nailed to a wooden frame heavy enough to prevent it from blowing away or having it knocked over by most animals. I say most because we do have an occasional bear visiting in the area (New Hampshire). One of our neighbors is known to have frequent conversations with bears! My husband saw a black bear recently while driving so they are definitely around!

Do add a little soil to the container for the worms to be happy. These worms are usually well fed and large, great for fishing bait! And about once or twice a month turn the organic material inside in order for the items to break down more evenly.

discarded inedible crab parts
boiling discarded crab parts
DIY compost bin

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Sauteed Cabbage, Tomato and Stinging Nettle

I normally make this dish with just cabbage, tomato, meat, and water or chicken stock. This time I added a large handful of stinging nettles that I harvested for extra nutrients, texture, and color. Use however many tomatoes you prefer. I love fresh tomatoes so I used 3 medium-sized ones. You may use ground or thin slices of meat such as pork, turkey, or chicken for this dish. You may use either stock from dried crabs or fresh crabs.

Be sure to harvest stinging nettle with gloves and proper harvesting clothing (i.e., pants, socks, closed shoes, long-sleeved shirt, and etc.) as they do sting! Please eat only wild plants that you can positively identify. If you have any health problems or are taking any medicines (prescription, over-the-counter or herbal supplement) please consult with your health care providers before eating any wild edible plants.

Here are a few links on stinging nettle.

Stinging Nettle: Uses and Risks - WebMD
Nettle - Drugs.com
Stinging nettle - Penn State Hershey    

sauteed cabbage, tomato and stinging nettle

Sauteed Cabbage, Tomato, and Stinging Nettle

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp oil
4 oz ground pork
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped or minced
1/2 medium-sized cabbage, roughly chopped or sliced into bite-size, washed and drained
1 recipe of the Basic Rehydrated Green Crab Stock (see recipe below)
A large handful of stinging nettle tips, washed well and drained
2-3 tomatoes, cut into 6-8 pieces
2 beef bullion cubes
Fish sauce

Method:

Saute pork in oil until just cooked. Add garlic and saute until the garlic is soft. Add cabbage and green crab broth, cook until the cabbage is wilted. Add stinging nettles and tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the stinging nettles are wilted. Season with beef bullion cubes and fish sauce. Serve with rice.

Basic Rehydrated Green Crab Stock

Ingredients:

1 cups of water
1/8 cup dried crushed green crabs

Method:

Heat these two ingredients until the water comes to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and discard the shells.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Stinging Nettle Potato Soup

Recently I discovered stinging nettle growing wildly here in New Hampshire. I have heard about these nutritious plants but I have never encountered them in the wilderness. Be sure to harvest them with gloves and proper harvesting clothing (i.e., pants, socks, closed shoes, long-sleeved shirt, and etc.) as they do sting! Please eat only wild plants that you can positivity identify. If you have any health problems or are taking any medicines (prescription, over-the-counter or herbal supplement) please consult with your health care providers before eating any wild edible plants.

You can drizzle a little cream or coconut milk to this soup if interested. If you do not have or prefer not to use fish sauce then just add more salt or chicken bouillon to season this soup. For this recipe, I double my Basic Rehydrated Green Crab Stock. For a faster way to cook potato, slice it as thinly as possible.
 
stinging nettle potato soup
Stinging Nettle Potato Soup

Ingredients:

Basic Rehydrated Green Crab Stock (double the recipe)   
1 large russet potato, peeled and sliced thinly, rinsed and drained
2 large handful of stinging nettle tips, washed well and drained
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
Chives flowers and leaves, garnish (optional)

Method:

Make the crab broth, strain, and reserve the broth. In a medium-sized pot add the potato and cook until soft, drain the liquid. Add the crab broth and stinging nettle tips to the cooked potato, cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and fish sauce. Turn off heat and let everything slightly cool before pureeing or blending everything. Garnish with chive flowers and chopped leaves.

stinging nettle
stinging nettle field

Basic Rehydrated Green Crab Stock

This basic green crab stock or broth is made from dried green crabs. Increase or decrease the ratio of ingredients to make more or less stock. You may add more crabs if you prefer a more concentrated broth. Before adding the dried crabs in the water you may crush them further using a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin to extract the most flavor out of them. This stock is very basic. You may add extra ingredients such as dried squid, dried shrimp, bonito flakes, animal or fish bones, seaweed, mushrooms, onion, scallions, ginger, cilantro stems/roots, carrots, parsnip, daikon, and celery for more flavors. I generally do not season my stock or broth as I will add it later in the final stage of cooking. My seasoning includes one or several of these ingredients; salt, fish sauce, soy sauce, fresh or dried beef, chicken, or mushroom stock. 

dried green crab stock
  
Basic Rehydrated Green Crab Stock

Ingredients:

2 cups of water
1/4 cup dried green crabs

Method:

Heat these two ingredients until the water comes to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer for 20-25 minutes. Strain and discard the shells.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Dried Green Crabs

The idea of drying green crabs has been an interest of mine since I started crabbing. I wanted to store the crabs at room temperature instead of freezing for longer shelf life, and not have to rely on electricity or a freezer. The dried crabs can be simmered in water to make a nice broth or sauce. From a recent experiment, I learned that crushing frozen prepared green crabs is less messy. It is best to crush the crabs well. The smaller the bits the faster they will dry. It is very important the crab bits are completely dried to prevent mold growth. After 4 hours at 200 degrees F if your crab bits are not completely dry then bake longer at 200 degrees F. When you are ready to use crush them a little more to extract as much flavor as possible out of them.

Please view How to Prepare Hard-Shell Green Crabs post to process these crabs prior to drying. It is not necessary to remove the roe or the distal pointy legs. The roe will add extra flavor for your broth or stock.

dried green crabs

Dried Green Crabs

Ingredients:

Green crabs, prepared (fresh or frozen), crushed

Method:

Crush the prepared green crabs, spread the crab bits on a cookie pan thinly. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, then 200 degrees F for 4 hours or until dried. Once cooled store in a glass jar or an airtight container.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Miso Soup

I hope all of you are staying healthy and safe during this coronavirus pandemic. I have been meaning to post a miso soup recipe on this blog but have not had a chance until now. This miso soup is delicious and I contribute this to the savory broth made from no other than the invasive green crabs! If you have green crab stock in the freezer you may use 5-6 cups for this recipe. You may use Simple Green Crab Stock but triple that amount to yield 6 cups. This time I made this broth with just crushed crabs and water. I also discovered that crushing the frozen prepared crabs in a bag with a rock outside is a lot less messy and smelly versus thawed or fresh ones! You may use dried seaweed if you do not have any fresh or frozen. However, start by hydrating a small amount of dried seaweed as they will expand and add more only if needed. Always rinse your dried store-bought seaweed with water before using it.

miso soup
Miso Soup

Ingredients:

About 10 oz of prepared crabs, crushed
6 cups of water
3-3 1/2 Tbsp of miso
16 oz firm tofu, cut into small cubes (size depending on your preference)
3 oz fresh or frozen baby sugar kelp, cleaned and cut into bite-size (about 1-inch pieces)
1-2 scallions, green parts only, chopped

Method:

Simmer crushed crabs in water for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain, reserve the broth. Wash the pot or use another clean pot. Add the strained broth in the pot and turn heat up to a simmer. Add miso and dissolve it. After the miso has dissolved add the rest of the ingredients. It will be done once the tofu cubes have been heated through.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Green Crab Suppliers

If you are interested in purchasing green crabs and other seafood here are a few contacts. I am only passing the information and I do not receive any commission for posting this. This list will be updated as I have more contacts.

  • Block Island, Rhode Island (hard-shell and soft-shell green crabs, sugar kelp, oysters):
Catherine Puckett, Block Island. Please contact Catherine at 401-741-2023 or email at oysterwench@aol.com.

  • Maine/New Hampshire (hard-shell green crabs):
Everett Leach, Ogunquit, Maine. Please contact Dr. Gabby Bradt at her office at 603-862-2033.

  • Maine (hard-shell and soft-shell green crabs):
Chris Jamison, Maine. Please contact Chris at 207-776-3864 or email at csjamison@comcast.net for any type of green crabs (depending on the season) and lobsters.

Jonathan Taggart, Maine. Please contact Jonathan at jtaggart@gwi.net for soft-shell crabs (seasonal, and currently supply only meets local demands).

  • Massachusetts (hard-shell and soft-shell green crabs):

Mike and Dina Furlong, Kingston, Massachusetts. Please contact Dina at 339-309-9189 or email at dmfurlong@verizon.net.

  • New Hampshire (typically sea scallops during the winter months and squid during spring months):
Rimrack Fish, Rye, New Hampshire. Please email fv.rimrack@gmail.com to check on the availability of scallops and to place an order. Sorry, they do not sell squid directly to the customers.

  • New Hampshire (hard-shell green crabs):
 Dwight Souther Sr., Seabrook, New Hampshire. Please contact Dwight at 603-944-0424.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Hu Tieu (Teochew Noodle Soup)

Hủ tiếu (Teochew noodle soup) is a popular noodle dish found in Soc Trang and other Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. Similar noodle dishes can be found in other Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia and Singapore where there are large communities of Teochew descendants. In my family, we eat this soup at any meal and any day of the week. It can be eaten dried or wet. The dried noodles are cooked, seasoned, placed in a bowl and served with a smaller bowl of hot broth next to it. The wet soup (as seen in this recipe) is eaten with the broth poured over the entire contents in the bowl and served hot. 

The clear flavorful sweet broth is typically made from pork bones with the addition of salted dried daikon (sai pau), fresh daikon, dried shrimp and/or dried squid. The noodles can be wonton noodles, a mixture of wonton noodles and/or rice noodles and/or wonton dumplings. The toppings can range from just a few to multiple items such as pork ribs, ground pork (but can be turkey or chicken), pork belly slices, pork slices, pork offal (such as liver) slices, fried tofu slices, boiled/steamed peeled whole shrimp, pork balls, fish balls, shrimp balls, fish cake slices, squid, crab meat, boiled quail eggs, chicken eggs, any green leafy vegetables (such as lettuce), chopped salted daikon, bean sprouts, Chinese chives, scallions, cilantro, fried garlic and/or fried shallots. The noodles are generally served with extra vegetables, chili, ground pepper, fish sauce and a wedge of lime on the side.

For this recipe, I used what I have available. I made my umami broth using a mixture of green crabs and a turkey carcass, salted daikon, fresh daikon, and carrot. The toppings consisted of fried tofu, blanched watercress, mushrooms, boiled peeled whole shrimp, bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, and fried shallots.

I purchased the fresh noodles from Lo's Seafood and Oriental Market in New Hampshire. It is a Hong Kong-style wonton noodle (thick type), each container makes 4 bowls. These noodles taste just like the ones I remember eating in Soc Trang, Vietnam.

Hu Tieu
Hủ Tiếu (Teochew Noodle Soup)

Ingredients:

1 recipe of Hủ Tiếu Broth (recipe below)
1 package of store-purchased Hong Kong-style wonton noodles (wider or thicker strands)
1 container of store-purchased fried tofu, squeezed out the liquid and sliced thinly
12-16 peeled whole shrimp (about 3-4 shrimp per bowl), boiled until just cooked
1 bunch of watercress, blanched until slightly wilted
1 bunch of mushrooms (such as enoki), blanched until slightly wilted
2 handful of bean sprouts
Cilantro, chopped, garnish
Scallions, chopped, garnish
Fried shallots, garnish
Fish sauce (extra seasoning)
Chili peppers (extra seasoning)
Lime or lemon wedges (extra seasoning)

Method:

Dip the small batch of noodles in hot water for about 10-15 seconds. Rinse with water to remove some of the starch. Strain and add to a large bowl. Garnish with 2-3 tofu slices, 2-3 shrimps, some watercress, mushrooms, and bean sprouts. Ladle the hot broth over the bowl. Remove some broth and return it into the pot and add more new hot broth back into the bowl. This will keep the contents in the bowl hot. Garnish with cilantro, scallions and fried shallots. Serve the bowl with extra fish sauce, some lime wedges, and chili peppers.

Hủ Tiếu Broth (makes about 14-15 cups or enough for 4 large bowls)

Ingredients:

16 cups water
1 turkey carcass
1 lb processed green crab
2-3 young kelp (fresh, frozen or dried)
1 piece (about the size of your largest finger) of dried salted daikon
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced and slightly bruised
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 carrot, cut into roughly 2-inch pieces
6-inch piece daikon, cut into roughly 2-inch pieces
About 3 Tbsp fish sauce (to taste)

Method:

Heat the entire contents minus the fish sauce in a large pot, partially cover. Once the liquid comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer for about 1 1/2 hour. Strain and save the broth. Season the strained broth with fish sauce.

Helpful Hints:
  • If you live in seacoast New Hampshire there is an Asian store called Lo's Seafood and Oriental Market located at 1976 Woodbury Avenue, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The people working there are very friendly and helpful. For a small place, they carry a large inventory of Asian ingredients. I purchased watercress, bean sprouts and wonton noodles from them. 
  • When you peel the shrimp, leave about half an inch of the last part of the tail unpeeled. This makes for a better presentation. Remove and discard the intestines.
  • Avoid covering the pot when making the broth as it will yield a cloudy looking broth. You may season the broth with a combination of fish sauce and salt if interested.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Scallop Ceviche

This scallop ceviche is my first green crab dish for 2020! I wonder if this is a sign that I will be eating more of these creatures for the rest of the year! The sea scallops were previously frozen (harvested by my local fisherman, Mike Anderson). I made the salted green crab roe, pickled the kelp (the kelp was grown by Catherine Puckett of Block Island) and grew the microgreens in my kitchen. Since the salted roe has enough salt you may want to omit the salt.

This dish does not need a recipe. You just need to add your ingredients (use whatever you have available or desire), squeeze some fresh lime or lemon wedges and enjoy! It is simple, fun to make and so delicious. The only thing I would comment on is that any raw seafood you use must be very fresh and that there is no cross-contamination with freshwater fish or poor handling. My scallops came from a local fisherman, sealed well using a food saver and kept them in the freezer. So far these are the only scallops that I trust to consume raw.

If you are pregnant, immunocompromised or have any health issues or unsure of your health conditions you may want to consult your health care providers before eating any raw or partially cooked seafood. 

scallop ceviche
Scallop Ceviche

Ingredients:

Cooked roe from 3 large female salted green crabs
4-5 large sea scallops, tough muscles removed, diced into 4-6 pieces
About 8-inch piece of Pickled Kelp, sliced
Some chopped scallions (green parts only)
Some fresh cilantro leaves
Some microgreens
Sriracha sauce (to taste)
Fresh lime or lemon juice (to taste)
Olive oil (to taste)
Sea salt (to taste)

Method:

Cook the salted green crabs for about 5-7 minutes and remove the roe and set aside. Add scallops, kelp, scallions, cilantro, microgreens, and roe. Season with sriracha sauce, lime or lemon juice, oil, and salt. Gently mix and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Pickled Kelp

This pickled kelp is useful for many dishes. You can adjust the sugar and vinegar according to your taste. I normally would add a little salt to my pickles but since the kelp has some natural salt I omit it. You may blanch the kelp for 10-15 seconds for a brighter green color if interested. 

pickled kelp

Pickled Kelp

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
About 6 oz fresh young kelp, cleaned and cut into 6-8 inch lengths
1 mason jar (32 oz)

Method:

Simmer the water, vinegar, and sugar for about 5 minutes. Let cool and pour over the kelp. This will be ready to eat within 48-72 hours.

How to Compost Green Crabs

How to Compost Green Crabs Every time I hear someone compost perfectly edible items I cringe because I don't like to see, hear, or re...