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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gas Pipe Tuna, Striped Bass and Let's Go Fishing

Hey Fish Friends,

I had dinner with friends a week or two ago and one of them told me a story about buying beautiful tuna at a local grocery store.  She said the tuna looked fabulous but when she got home and cooked it, it smelled and tasted rotten!  How could this be?

Another friend at the table said, "The first question is why are you buying fish somewhere besides Kathleen's?"  hehehe .  Apparently friend #1 was in a hurry that day and she was already at the grocery store and the tuna looked great and it was cheap!

What's the deal with the tuna?  It was probably gassed.  A lot of tuna processors gas their tuna in a chamber filled with carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide locks the hemoglobins in the fish so that it retains its beautiful color even after is frozen.  And carbon monoxide will enhance the color of tuna so that off-colored looks gorgeously pink/red.

This is called "smoked" tuna as though it is the same thing as "smoked" salmon.  It's not.

In fact, a knowledgeable seafood retailer executive used the term "tailpipe tuna" to describe the process.  Not very appetizing, eh?

Why is gassed tuna so bad?  What's the first thing you do when you are choosing fish from my seafood case?  You LOOK at it!  With gassed tuna, you can not tell the condition of that fish by its looks  because no matter how old it is, it looks mouthwatering.  Additionally, gassed tuna can take an inferior tuna and make it appear to be sushi quality.  This is fraud.

At Kathleen's Catch, we sometimes have tuna in the freezer.  It's not a great seller because it doesn't look beautiful.  It's still delicious, but it is brown.  And that's what ungassed frozen tuna looks like.  Brown.  Not iridescent red.

Your best bet is to buy from someone you trust.  That'd be me.

Last Night's Dinner
Last night's dinner at my house was one of my favorite meals - Striped Bass, on sale this week at Kathleen's Catch.  I just love this fish because when it is cooked, the meat is absolutely snowy white. (Okay - no snow references.  Instead, it is as white as a magnolia blossom.)  

I make a reduction of equal parts red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar - boiling it on the stove until it is the consistency of maple syrup.  

While that's happening, I hydrate a package of the incredible dried mushroom mix we sell.  I'm telling you, this mix makes it look like you spent the day scouring specialty food stores.  Fry them in some hot olive oil with garlic and shallots and toss in some pine nuts and peeled grapes.  YES, peeled grapes!

A prepackaged wild rice dish sauteed with some toasted pecans, chopped carrots and celery and maybe even some of the aforementioned mushrooms comes together in a hurry.

Skin the fish (of course we will do it for you if you ask) and cook in hot oil about 4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fish.  (10 minutes total per inch of thickness at the thickest part).

It sounds like a lot of work but it's really not.  While that reduction is working, the rest of the meal goes together pretty quickly.  Well, except for peeling the grapes.

Fishing in the Northeast
Feel like doing some fishing but you worry because you can't swim?  Want to get out on the ocean but you have trouble with seasickness?  Get yourself up to Maine and hop aboard a lobsterman's boat. No seasickness or falling overboard - just a pleasant, worry-free day on the water.

Not a lot of fishing going on up north these days...



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chicken Poop, Agent Orange and Valentine's Dinner

Happy February!

Things are going well for us at Kathleen's Catch.  Sales continue to grow every month and we are seeing more and more new customers.  I can't tell you often enough how much I appreciate all the customers who tell their friends and write about us on Facebook and Yelp and Trip Advisor.  We work very hard for you and you make our efforts worthwhile.

Valentine's Day is Next Week!
Can you tell that we have a sophisticated food expert on our staff now?  Colin Kopel, a former manager with Buckhead Life Restaurants and the new Store Manager at Kathleen's Catch,  has put together a fine dining experience for you to enjoy at home this Valentine's Day.  Because it's based on our popular Catch to Go program, all the meal planning, shopping and prep work is done for you.  Just follow our specific instructions for baking the main course and then sit back and enjoy!

First Course
 choose between:
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

The Entree
Two individual servings of Beef Wellington 
two 6-ounce Maine lobster tails

choose between:
White chocolate or red velvet cupcakes from Piece of Cake

$54.99 for two

Chicken Poop and Agent Orange In Salmon
Mark Cotton sent me an article from Yahoo Health! called 8 Salmon Shockers.  In case you also read this article, let me clear up a few things for you about the Verlasso salmon I sell at Kathleen's Catch.
  1. When you eat Atlantic salmon you are not eating chicken poop.  Verlasso salmon are not fed chicken poop.  Period. 
  2. Atlantic salmon are not painted pink.  They are fed astaxanthin, a carotenoid that is good for fish and good for you.  It causes the flesh to turn pink and causes you to be healthier.
  3. Atlantic salmon is not tainted with Agent Orange.  Really? Agent Orange?  If you feel you   need more information on Agent Orange in salmon, you better just call me.
All of these things, plus the other 5 ridiculous claims, should make you question the validity of anything Yahoo Health! puts out.  Consider looking elsewhere for your nutritional advice.

Another Chapter in the "My Customers Can Cook" Saga
Terri #1

Terri Midgett is my new best friend.  She brought me a bowl of homemade soup that was so rich and delicious I've been dreaming of it ever since I tasted it.  I especially love good cooks who graciously share recipes.  Here's Terri's:

Fisherman's Bowl 
from the Duck Inn Restaurant in Virginia Beach

1 can cream of potato soup
1/3 can of cream of celery soup
16 oz canned drained mushrooms
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp Texas Pete
2 quarts milk

Heat the above - DO NOT BOIL

Once warmed add:
2 lb backfin crabmeat
1.5 small shrimp

Heat and serve

Terri #2
Terri Lamberski gave me an awesome and simple tip.  She breads and fries our Nantucket scallops and uses them as croutons on a Caesar salad.  An easy way to reach the height of decadence!

This Week's Special - Kampachi - $25.00/lb ($4.00/lb off regular price)

People often ask me what my favorite fish is and I often say that  my favorite fish is the one that happens to be on the plate in front of me.  But if I had to choose one fish above all others, it would be Hawaiian kampachi.

Kampachi is a farm raised fish from the clean waters around the Hawaiian islands.  It has no traces of PCBs or mercury.  No GMO brood fish are used.  No growth hormones and no preventative antibiotics are used in the production of kampachi.  Instead, it has a mild, rich white meat that cooks up like snapper.  It's high in Omega-3 and is so pure and fatty that it is perfect for sashimi.  I love to grill it or serve it raw and thinly sliced over ponzu sauce with a bit of chopped green onion on top.

Catch To Go
Baked Salmon with Toasted Almond Parsley Salsa and Roasted Potatoes
Catfish with Apricot-Chili Glaze
Mediterranean Shrimp Linguine
Swordfish with Lemon Caper Sauce and Baked Squash and Zucchini

A Deal in the Discount Freezer
It's full so buy one and get one of equal or lesser value free!

And Finally
At home, we are trying to teach Nemo, the puppy, that Joel (the three-year-old) is the alpha dog so Joel is in charge of everything that goes in Nemo's mouth. The process involves teaching Joel how to feed the dog as well as teaching Nemo to respect Joel. Last night, I left the two of them alone for a minute while Joel was feeding Nemo. When I came back, Nemo was nosing around a bowl full of soggy dog food. When I asked Joel how the food got in the dog's water bowl, he said, "It just slid right in!" Well, I guess it did slide right out of Joel's hands and into the water, but now we have to dump it out and start over! Nemo is a fussy eater anyway and I knew he wouldn't eat that mess in his bowl.  Nemo promptly scarfed down the whole thing and then pushed the bowl around the floor looking for more while Joel said over and over, "See Grandma? See Grandma? He loves it! "

What's the lesson here? Don't be so set in your ways that you fail to see a better idea when it comes along. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Have a great weekend and stop by to see us if you get a chance.