Friday, May 24, 2019

Sugar Kelp Salad

This is a simple sea vegetable salad inspired by the many Japanese restaurants across the US. Usually the greens are an unnatural but pretty neon green due to food coloring. In this recipe I am using fresh organic tender baby sugar kelp from aqua farmer Catherine Puckett based out of Block Island (Rhode Island). Catherine also raises oysters and traps green crabs. You may contact Catherine directly via email oysterwench@aol.com or call her at 401-741-2023.

In order to clean the fresh sugar kelp this is my method. I glide each strip of kelp with my fingers to remove any ocean debris. Rinse all of them several times in more cold water. For this salad I cut each into strips about 6-8 inches long, stack the strips on top of each other, roll them up and cut them with either scissors or a knife to create approximately quarter inch thin strips. Next blanch the strands in boiling water for about a minute. For the stems I keep them in the boiling water for 5 minutes to help tenderize them further. After this strain, rinse them in cold water and let them drain in a colander to remove as much of the liquid as possible. 

Recently I met my husband's PhD advisor, Professor Dinesh O. Shah and his family. Dr. Shah is a brilliant, friendly, kind and energetic man in his 80s who still advises doctoral students in India despite being retired from the University of Florida. He tells me his students are like his family. It is not surprising that students, colleagues, and people from his former village in India all revere him. The village where he grew up honored him with a beautiful grand procession and a road dedication named after him! Check out Dr. Dinesh O Shah Road Dedication Ceremony in Kapadwanj, India!

When we visited him and his family we were invited to a special vegan meal! Dr. Shah's son recently switched to vegan from vegetarian and he did it "cold turkey". I am pleased to see that he seems to be adjusting quite well! Most of them are vegan except for one grandson who is vegetarian. What is the difference between a vegan versus a vegetarian? The vegan eaters cannot consume any products from animals/insects such as cheese, milk or honey. Vegetarian eaters can consume these products. In my Teochew culture there are days during the year when some family members eat vegan food but usually only for a day, on certain religious days.

This dish is vegan but feel free to make it non-vegan by adding cooked meat and/or other seafood such as green crab roe/meat, scallops, shrimp, crayfish, lobster, octopus, and squid. You may use various assortment of sea greens if they are available for texture, presentation and taste. I add the red onion slices for color and flavors but you may certainly omit them. This recipe makes 1-2 servings.

sugar kelp salad

Sugar Kelp Salad

Ingredients:

2 1/2 oz fresh baby sugar kelp, cut into approximately 1/4 inch x 6 inch strips
A few thin slices of red onion
1 blade of scallion, green parts only, chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp ginger, grated (may use juice only if you prefer less ginger flavor)
1 tsp garlic, grated
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp crushed sea salt
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp white sesame seeds

Method:

Blanch the cut kelp in boiling water for about a minute, keep the stems in for 5 minutes. Rinse in cold water. Slice the onion thinly and place the slices in cold water for about 10-15 minutes. Squeeze out the water prior to using.

In a bowl mix scallion, oil, soy, vinegar, ginger, garlic and salt until well blended. Add the blanched kelp, onion slices and seeds. Toss everything to mix well. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.

sugar kelp salad

Pasta with Kelp and Periwinkles

If you have been following my blog you may have noticed that lately I have started to add some recipes on sea vegetables. Moving forward I will be adding new sub-sections labeled "sea vegetables" and "periwinkles". This recipe has all three ingredients--green crabs, sea vegetables, and periwinkles. It makes 2 generous servings. You may garnish the dish with freshly ground black or white peppers and cheese of your choice.

pasta with kelp and periwinkles

Pasta with Kelp and Periwinkles

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (3 1/2 oz) cooked periwinkle meat, washed and drained
8 oz penne or another pasta of your choice, cooked according to package insert
About 1 Tbsp oil (vegetable or another of your choice)
About 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
A few slices of red or white onion (more or less depending on your preference)
4 fresh baby sugar kelp, washed and cut into approximately 6 inch x 1/4 inch strips
1/2 cup half and half or coconut milk
1/2 cup, plus about 1/3 cup Simple Green Crab Stock
1 small bunch of scallions, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce (or according to your taste)

Method:

Boil the periwinkles about 5-6 minutes and drain. Once the shells are cooled to handle remove the meat and reserve. Cook the pasta according to the package's instructions, drain and set aside. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add oil then garlic and onion. Saute about a minute or until the garlic is slightly golden. Add kelp, periwinkle meat, half and half, and 1/2 cup of stock. Once the liquid starts to boil turn heat down to let the liquid simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the pasta, the rest of the stock (1/3 cup), scallions and season with fish sauce. Saute to coat everything and remove from heat once the pasta is heated thoroughly.

kelp, periwinkle meat, half and half, crab stock

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Stir-Fried Broccoli, Kelp, and Shrimp

Sea vegetables are versatile as a kitchen ingredient. You can add them in pretty much anything even in a stir fry. The young sugar kelp has a pleasant slight crunch when they are fresh.

stir-fried broccoli, kelp, and shrimp
Stir-Fried Broccoli, Kelp, and Shrimp

Ingredients:

12 oz prepared broccoli crowns, cut into bite size, washed and drained
1 Tbsp oil (vegetable or your choice of oil)
1 large garlic clove, smashed, chopped
10 large shrimp, peeled, butterflied, de-veined
1 to 1 1/2 oz young sugar kelp with or without stems, cut into 2-3 inches in length
1 recipe of Green Crab Stir-Fried Sauce (see recipe below)

Method:

Steam the broccoli for about 5 minutes or until they are are bright in color and the stems are just cooked, remove from heat. In a large pan or wok heat oil and garlic over high heat. Cook about 30 seconds to cook the garlic slightly. Add shrimp and saute about a  minute or until the shrimp curled and slightly cooked. Add the steamed broccoli, kelp and the green crab stir-fried sauce. Stir the contents to coat everything evenly, the kelp turn green and the shrimp are just cooked. Remove and serve hot.

Green Crab Stir-Fry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup green crab stock (please see Simple Green Crab Stock link)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce

Method:

Mix all ingredients together. May adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Be sure to stir the sauce prior to using.

Crab Cakes

I ate my fair share of crab cakes but many are full of fillers with minimal crab meat. When I have access to fresh crab meat I like to make simple dishes such as crab cakes. This way I get to taste mostly the sweet meat. These 4 crab cakes came from one Jonah crab. The crab was not too meaty but I was able to get 3 ounces of meat. Normally I would chill the cakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes to help bind them so they do not break apart during cooking. This time I had limited time and I placed the whole bowl in the freezer for about 5 minutes and they held their shape. I prefer using panko (Japanese bread crumbs) which is lighter and more airy than the Italian bread crumbs. 

I want to thank Dr. Gabriela Bradt, UNH researcher and NH Community Seafood for the Jonah crab. Also thanks to Catherine Puckett of Oyster Wench Block Island Shellfish Farm & Block Island Kelp for the fresh tender baby sugar kelp! The blanched fresh kelp has a delightful slight crunch.

crab cakes

Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

1 chicken egg yolk
About 1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 scallion, green parts only, chopped
Meat from 1 large cooked Jonah crab (or at least 3 oz from any crab meat)
1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
About 1 Tbsp of oil (vegetable or your oil of choice) for frying

Method:

Mix the yolk, mayonnaise and scallion until blended. Add the crab meat and panko to the mixture and gently mix until blended. Divide the contents into 4 parts and gently mold each part to form a ball. Place the balls in the freezer for about 15 minutes to chill. Heat a non-stick pan with oil over high heat. Once the oil is hot add the balls in the pan, avoid letting the balls touch each other. Gently press each ball down with a spatula. May turn the heat down slightly if the pan gets too hot. Fry for about 2-3 minutes or until golden. Flip the cake over and fry for another 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove and serve with your favorite sauce or salad.

Caper Sauce

Ingredients:

About 10 capers, chopped
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
About 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
Chili oil to taste, optional
Sea salt to taste

Method:

Mix capers, mayonnaise and lemon juice until well blended. Season with chili oil and salt. May use to drizzle over the crab cakes.

Blanched Baby Sugar Kelp

Ingredients:

6-8 baby sugar kelp (preferably less than 1 foot long)
Water for boiling

Method:

Wash the sugar kelp well. Gently run your fingers along the kelp to remove any roots or ocean debris. Blanch in boiling water for about 20 seconds and remove. Rinse in cold water and strain. Dab with clean towel to remove excess water if interested.

Charcuterie Board

Recently I made a charcuterie board for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner and people seemed to like it so I am making another board using similar in...