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Friday, January 30, 2015

Salt Blocks, Super Bowl and Meditation

Dear Fish Friends,

Dreamy Dishes
Why would you prepare our spectacular seafood and then serve it on undeserving tableware? Now you can present your fabulous meals on these worthy vessels from Kathleen's Catch.

This beautiful Blue Crab Bay Co. stoneware is designed by Jose' Dovis, an Italian whose work "synthesizes the tradition of classic Italian majolica with early New England stoneware, reflecting the coastal life of the Chesapeake Bay." This stoneware is available in small quantities in our store and in larger quantities by special order.

My Customers Rock
Can you guess what this is?

It's a pink Himalayan salt block that Bob Stevens received as a Christmas gift. Bob is a kitchen adventurer willing to try any new culinary technique that comes along.

The salt block is 8" x 8" x 2" thick.

Bob picked up some beautiful shrimp from Kathleen's Catch and cleaned and butterflied them.   He misted them with extra virgin olive oil and cooked them directly on the very hot salt block for about 8 minutes (turning once).

The salt block cleanup involved nothing more than running warm water over it and gently scrubbing the food residue off with a plastic scouring pad - looked good as new afterwards, ready to cook the next meal.

What an interesting idea!  Bob said they were absolutely delicious and he is looking forward to trying more seafood on his new salt block.

This Week's Special
Tuna - $9.99/6 ounces

Catch to Go - 4 choices this week!

1. Hoisin Glazed Cod with Asparagus

2. Lemon Rosemary Salmon with Fingerling Potatoes

3. Catfish with Apricot Chili Glaze and Spinach

4. Baked Steelhead Trout with Toasted Almond Parsley Salsa and Roasted Potatoes

SuperBowl - It's this Sunday!  Are you ready?
Because I'm not really a big sports fan, I generally eat, read a book and nap in between the Super Bowl commercials. I may not know who is playing the game but I can guarantee the food winners!

- Shrimp platters

- Kathleen's Catch Jumbo Jumbo Jumbo shellfish platter (1 lb each of jumbo lobster meat, jumbo crab and jumbo shrimp) and for the serious fan who watches from home without a party and no distractions - a Jumbo Jr. Shellfish platter which is 1/2 lb of each.

- Buffalo Crab Claw Platter - 2 lbs. of Jonah crab claws with buffalo, bbq or Caribbean jerk seasoning

- Oysters - we shuck them for a quarter and and put them on ice. Now you can keep your eye on the game and avoid any football shucking injuries.

Valentines Day

Colin Kopel, Manager of Kathleen's Catch, has this to say about dining out on Valentine's Day. "It's a dumb idea because service is terrible and food is either undercooked or overcooked." Why not save yourself the agony (and the $) and do our Valentine's meal? It's completely easy and you will have plenty of time to enjoy the champagne while the meal is cooking. Three courses make this Valentine's Day fancy. And we do all the prep so it's Catch to Go easy.

1st course

Choice of:
Shrimp cocktail for two with cocktail sauce
Crab cocktail for two with cocktail sauce and Joe's mustard sauce 
8 oysters on the half shell with cocktail sauce and migonette


Two Beef Wellington and two 6-ounce Maine lobster tails

Choice of:
Two white chocolate cupcakes from Piece of Cake
Two red velvet cupcakes from Piece of Cake

Call us for more details and info on how to order your Valentine's feast.

Announcing Our Discount Freezer Sale!!!

Buy one package of fish out of our discount freezer and get one of equal or less value free!  

And Finally
Yes that is a picture of my granddaughter, Reilly, announcing our discount freezer sale at the playground in Duluth.  A friend sent me this earlier in the week:

"I was listening to the podcast On Being, which was playing an old episode with the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a proponent of walking meditation, and apparently leads all of his sessions by walking in front, holding the hand of a child. He says the child may distract from some of the focus of the meditation, but will add freshness. I thought, well, Kathleen already knows all about that."

Having three grandkids, a new puppy and a seafood market means I don't do much meditation.  But I like the idea of children keeping things "fresh".  

If you don't have much time for "focus" this week, at least try to keep things "fresh".


Friday, January 23, 2015

Cudos, Fish Ladders and What's Good This Week

Dear Fish Fans,

I sent out a few customer emails after the holidays to make sure that all seafood holiday meals went as planned. For the most part, everything went very well! I thought I would share this email from Jamye Swick about her holiday meals because I am very very proud of the role we are playing in keeping our customers stress-free and healthy.

Hi Kathleen,

As you can see I have started the New Year a bit behind. I did want to tell you
that my Christmas order was terrific and we decided to start a new tradition
of cold seafood pick up buffet during Christmas Day instead of
pulling out the china and crystal for the ham or turkey.

My New Year's order was great too. I picked up your Cioppino recipe kit
for 8 on Tuesday. The girls packed all up for me in ice and I headed to our
house in Big Canoe. Wednesday we had 3 couples come up and join us for
Cioppino New Year's Eve dinner. I used the recipe Sara emailed me and
all came out grand!

Having all the seafood all ready to go (I even had you shell the shrimp)
made attempting this new recipe less intimidating and helped this
"not so great" cook willing to dive in. I got rave reviews! Just served
thick slice Italian bread to dip in Cioppino broth and Gelato for desert. 

With out a doubt, since you opened your shop, Michael and I are
eating sooooo much more fish than we used to.
Thanks for helping us be more healthy!!


More About Atlantic Salmon

When I wrote last week about the disintegration of the wild Atlantic salmon population, I tried to be brief and not overwhelm you with too much detail. In fact, I think my post was misleading in that it appears that I was faulting fishermen for the collapse of the fishery. The biggest culprit in the collapse was the construction of dams all along the rivers that were breeding grounds for the fish. Once the dams were built, the salmon could no longer reach their spawning areas to reproduce. It might be too late for the Atlantic salmon population, but one way the Pacific stock is being protected is by fish ladders. Here is a picture of a salmon making its way up the ladder next to the Nimbus Dam near Folsom, California.

And just because I have never seen this in real life and think that wild salmon are some of the most interesting creatures on earth, here's another salmon picture. It's an awesome sight, isn't it?

'Tis Not The Season
The season for halibut ended in November but we are getting some beautiful Pacific halibut that was frozen at sea. It's very close to the quality of our fresh halibut and a treat during the winter months when halibut used to be unavailable. Give it a try!

This Week's Specials
Two great fish at great prices. I just couldn't choose between them:

Fluke Flounder - $11.65/lb
Alaskan cod - $9.99/lb

Something New On Our Shelves
Check out the gorgeous dishware we have on display. It's hand-painted and perfect for serving your next seafood dinner. Let us know what you think.

Catch to Go
Why not give yourself a break one or two (or four) nights this week and let us do the work for you? These meals are so much better than restaurant take-out because they are hot and fresh right out of the oven. All you do is preheat the oven and bake!

Lemon Rosemary Salmon with Roasted Potatoes
Hoisin Glazed Cod with Asparagus
Mango Grouper over Coconut Rice
Ginger Sea Bass with Wilted Greens

Whole Fish This Week
Stuff with lemon slices and fresh herbs and bake or grill. Delicious!

Black Bass

Oysters This Week
(We shuck 'em for $.25)

Duxbury (my favorite - big and salty)
Blue Point
Sweet Jesus
Kumamoto (from the west coast)

Discount Freezer
Rockfish - a pretty little flatfish
Barramundi - pick up a recipe card when you get this fish
Rainbow Trout
Black Drum

And Finally
The last few days have been lifesavers. Dropping spring-like weather right smack dab in the middle of winter is simply a gift. The cold and wet was getting to me and I was desperate for fresh air and sunshine. We still have a ways to go before we get the spectacular spring for which Atlanta is famous. But after the last few days, I think I just might make it until April. The world looks like a much better place when you are squinting in the warm sun, doesn't it?


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jeanette Gilmore Can Cook Your Dinner, My Best Seafood Dinner Yet and A Boy and His Dog

Hey Fish Friends,

Winter is not my favorite time of year.  In the summer I can start off these notes with a recap of some fun hike I took or a party in the backyard or swimming with my grandkids.  In the winter it's much harder.  Let's see, I hiked around the neighborhood sidewalk two times a day every day (boring).  And I stayed inside and built Lego cars with my grandson (not boring - but not exactly a party in the pool) and the only thing I have done in the backyard in the last month is clean up puppy poop.   COME ON WARM WEATHER!

Peter Hall is a braggart.  Now don't get me wrong - I love Peter and his wife, Jeanette.  But sending me a picture of this meal is pushing the limits of acceptable behavior.  Granted, he is bragging on his wife's cooking, but please, Peter.  Not all of us get to eat this way.

 Chilean Sea Bass and Seared Scallops over Puréed Chickpeas 
with Sautéed Green Beans

Paired with a nice Pinot Blanc 
(that I am sure Peter purchased at Johns Creek Wine and Crystal)

I guess you can't blame him for bragging and guess what?   Jeanette can cook for you too.  It's simple.  Just send her an email at and ask her to put you on the email list for updates.  She'll let you know what she is cooking this week and you sign up for what sounds good.  Next to our Catch to Go meals, this is the easiest home-cooked meal in town.

Fun Fish For Sale
We have some interesting items in our seafood cases this week.  Locally caught tilefish (not as local as the Chattahoochee but as local as the Georgia coast) and triggerfish.   We also have what must surely be the last of the fresh shrimp for the season.  And they are big -16 to 20 in a pound.

Also kumamotos for the Pacific oyster lover (you know we sell more oysters than anyone else) and very tasty little blue crab cocktail fingers.

Last Week's Contest
Last week I gave you an opportunity to win a free lobster roll by figuring out the "oops" in the following article:

Apparently I stumped you.  Thanks to you who took a shot, but nobody got it right.  You didn't have to open the link to see the mistake. The link address tells  you that the article is about "wild Atlantic salmon".  If you have been reading my blog or emails for a while, you might know that Atlantic salmon does not really exist in the wild.  The population was over-fished for so long that there is virtually none left.  It's a sad story about excess and greed and lack of concern for the future of our natural resources.  It is also a story about man's ingenuity in coming up with more and more efficient and effective ways to gather food - so much so that they gathered just about all the Atlantic salmon there was to get.  And its a story about fishermen doing what they can to feed their families.  It's dreadful in so many ways.

But, the bright side, if there is one, is that man's ingenuity is turning toward aquaculture and the future looks good for our children's children.  They will never see an Atlantic salmon in the wild, but they will continue to have the opportunity to eat one of the healthiest protein sources in the world because companies like Verlasso have learned the proper techniques for raising these fish in controlled environments.  

There are still species of wild salmon in the Pacific - kings (chinooks), sockeyes, coho and chums are plentiful out west.  In fact, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute just released numbers for the 2014 season which show that the wild sockeye salmon harvest broke all kinds of volume records. The sockeye harvest totaled 44 million fish in 2014 which was a 49% increase over 2013 numbers.

That is a lot of fish.

What I cooked For Dinner Last Night
Maria Riley special ordered some black cod (sable) last week.  When she stopped in to pick it up I asked her how she was going to prepare it so she sent me this recipe.  

It took some advanced preparation.  First of all, you have to order the black cod.  Then you have to prepare the marinade and put the fish in the marinade for 2 to 3 DAYS. (!)  And the marinade had white miso paste which I finally found at Whole Foods.  

But OMG was it worth the time and trouble!  This was very likely the best seafood meal I have ever prepared.  

This was my side dish:  Sesame Noodles

A word about black cod - It's also called sable.  It has a high fat content and a soft, velvety texture.    It is extremely popular in Japan, making it more difficult to get here in the U.S.  I buy this fish whenever I can get it fresh, which is not often, but last night's dinner was a frozen-at-sea fish.  And it was absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  

Let me know if you want to give it a try.  I'll be placing another order soon for a repeat performance at my house.

This Week's Special
West Coast Dover Sole
This mild, sweet, small fillet is every kid's favorite fish.

Catch to Go
Ginger Sea Bass over Wilted Greens
 (recipe compliments of Pam Ellis)
Mango-crusted Grouper with Coconut Rice
(it will remind you of a warm summer day)

In the Discount Freezer
Black drum
Rainbow trout
Black bass
West coast Dover sole

And Finally
On Sunday Mike and I were babysitting Joel while Sara was at work.  We were busy shampooing the carpet because we have a new puppy.   Nemo is almost 4 months old and Joel is almost 4 years old. They are at EXACTLY the same emotional/intellectual/mischief level.  I was moving some furniture to clean the carpet so I put the little fish tank on the floor just for a minute to get it out of the way.  Joel came along to "help" me and dumped the entire contents of the fish tank (fish and all) on the carpet.  Sayonara to the little blue fish I took home from the fishing village fundraising dinner in September, but thankfully I was already in the process of carpet cleaning anyway.

Mike came along to scoop up the dog and the boy and take them into our bedroom to get them out of my way.  After a while he reappeared in the doorway to tell me that things were not going well on his end.  The boy and the dog got out of his sight for a minute and he heard Joel squealing with laughter.  Joel was peeing on the bathroom floor and the dog was licking it up.  Gross.

Mike tossed Joel into the bath to wash off the pee.  I went for a towel and by the time I got back the dog was in the bath too and Joel and Nemo were splashing water all over the place.  Unfortunately, Nemo's very first obedience training class was in less than an hour so he was a sopping wet dog on the first day of school.

I know this doesn't have anything to do with the seafood business but at least there was a fish in the story.

Hope your week is less than chaotic.



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Unwelcome Emails, Unwelcome Company and A Week Long Feast of Seven Fishes

Hi Fish Fans,

2015 is the year of technology for Kathleen's Catch.  We've got lots of ideas about how to make seafood shopping easier in 2015, but the first order of business is to get a handle on inadvertent email. By this I mean those two weird emails that accidentally got sent out over the last two weeks.   I really love our Christmas card this past year but there is no reason for me to send it out on a weekly basis.  I promise to do my best to get a handle on this blog and do things correctly.

If you were in our store on Christmas Eve and (let's face it, who wasn't?), you know that we had huge crowds!  All our best made plans went out the window when so many people came at the same time.  Luckily everyone seemed to handle the chaos pretty well, and there was holiday cheer to spare!.

Jim Daunais from Johns Creek Wine and Crystal sent me a picture of his Christmas Eve dinner.  I bet our rope-cultured black mussels from Prince Edward Island tasted just as good as they looked!

We sold boatloads of lobsters, mountains of cioppino kits and all kinds of fish to make up the Feast of Seven Fishes for your Christmas Eve dinners. At my house I am trying to do a week long Feast of Seven Fishes.  Here's my dinner plan for the week:

Monday -  Hawaiian Garlic Salmon
Tuesday - Rainbow Trout in Hazelnut Brown Butter (use up those leftover holiday nuts!)
Wednesday - Crab cakes from Kathleen's Catch
Thursday - Catch to Go Swordfish with Lemon Caper Sauce and Baked Zucchini
Friday - Oven Fried Catfish
Saturday - Beef fillets and lobster tails
Sunday - Seafood Stew

Why Eat FIsh?
I ate way too much over the holidays and now I am having to carry around some extra "company" on my hips - and I don't mean a new baby.  Everybody knows that to lose weight you have to cut back on calories, exercise more, drink less alcohol, drink more water and eat more fish.  But good healthy living is not all about the size of your jeans.  Here's a list of health benefits besides weight loss that are linked to eating seafood compiled from notable institutions such as the Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University and and other hospitals and universities worldwide:

The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have been found to:
  • Aid infant development
  • Reduce childhood asthma
  • Lower risk of breast cancer and curb breast cancer growth
  • Protect against coronary disease, including sudden cardiac death, congestive heart failure, acute coronary syndrome
  • Prevent stroke
  • Reduce risk of age-related macular degeneration
  • Slow progression of Alzheimer's disease
  • Halt mental decline (My primary reason for eating fish)
  • Reduce depression
  • Reduce tissue inflammation and alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Improve overall health

Here's a contest for you:  One free lobster roll to the first person to comment on this blog with the problem (inaccuracy) found at this link:

What's New This Week?
Triggerfish from North Carolina has a firm white flesh that is almost sweet in flavor - closer to crab than fish.  Besides being a delicious substitute for crab meat, they are interesting fish. The spiney fin of the trigger can be held in place by a second spine to make the fish  more threatening.  They back into a hole when they feel threatened and lock their trigger up so that it catches on the hole.  This keeps them from getting pulled out by predators.  And if they do get yanked out, swallowing those extended triggers is an unpleasant experience for a bigger fish.  

This week trigger is $24.99/lb.

This Week's Special
Petrale sole - it's a flatfish - thicker like flounder with the texture of West Coast Dover sole.

Epicurious for Petrale Sole with Lemon-Shallot Brussel Sprouts
from Epicurious

To prepare the brussel sprouts before cutting them, be sure to pull of the tough outer leaves.  Thin slicing and simple seasonings with convert those who aren't fans of brussel sprouts.  Petrale sole, a Pacific Coast fish, is prized for its delicate flavor and thick fillets.

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper plus additional for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 12 ounces petrale sole fillets
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 6 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Combine flour, lemon peel, coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper in shallow bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in each of 2 large skillets over medium heat.  Coat fish in flour mixture and shake off excess.  Add fish to skillets and cook until opaque and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and season to taste with salt.  Cover loosely with foil and set aside.

Wipe out 1 skillet, add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add shallots and saute until almost translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add Brussels sprouts and broth, increase heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until Brussels sprouts are tender and liquid is almost completely absorbed, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter,  Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Spoon Brussels sprouts onto plates.  Top with fish.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Catch to Go
We have two selections this week:
Swordfish with Lemon Caper Sauce and Baked Zucchini
Chipotle Salmon with Pineapple Avocado Salsa 

In The Discount Freezer
What doesn't sell in two days gets vacuum sealed, frozen and sold at a discount.  

Pacific cod
Rainbow Trout
Black drum
Striped bass
Black bass

And Finally
My Christmas gift turned into my New Year's resolution.  There's no better encouragement for getting outside for a walk than big, brown, begging, puppy eyes. Even in these bitter cold temperatures, we are managing a few minutes every day outside for making poopsicles.

Here's to another successful year of fish selling!  We couldn't do it without you.  

Oh, and by the way, hope you got enough scarves, gloves, hats and heavy coats for Christmas.  You are going to need them this week.