Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Let's face it, it has been freezing here in New York. What better way to fight the cold days and nights than with the warming powers of Mac and Cheese? And what better way to make Mac and Cheese even better? Why, lobster of course.
So here goes my take on two of my favorite foods.

The photo shows the items you'll need... A lobster, small shells, Mascarpone cheese, Romano cheese, Sharp Cheddar cheese, parsley, tarragon, butter, flour, milk, garlic, panko bread crumbs and of course red wine. There is no red wine in the recipe, that's for you to sip on while you cook.

The first thing I did was steam the lobsters and pick the meat from the shell.

While the lobsters were cooking I also cooked the shells and drained them just as they were
al dente. I set the shells aside so they could watch me prepare the cheesy bath I was drawing up for them.

In a strong pot I added about 5 or 6 tablespoons of butter and 5 or 6 tablespoons of flour. I worked this roux for a few minutes and slowly added milk while I kept whisking. I added about 5 cups of fat free milk. I imagine whole milk or even a bit of heavy cream would have been more decadent, but that's all I had in the fridge.

When this white sauce thickened, I started to mix in the Mascarpone cheese, about 6 oz.. This cheese is creamy and smooth. I didn't find it too flavorful, but loved the texture for this dish. Then I added about 5 oz. of Romano cheese. This added a nice flavor and bit of a salty taste. Lastly, I shredded some sharp Cheddar for it's strong flavor and its color. I kept working the cheeses into the white sauce to create the cheese sauce.

Then I cut up the lobster and added it to the sauce with a few tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley, a dash of tarragon and teaspoon of thyme.

Into this cheesy cauldron I put the shells. What a great bath for these shells. Ahh, the power of cheese.

Now, since I didn't plan on baking this dish, but still wanted a crunch, I needed a topper. I sauteed some chopped garlic in olive oil and then added about a half cup of panko bread crumbs and a handful of chopped parsley. This would be my topper and provide the needed crunch.

That's basically how I did it. Got myself down one of Nana's Corning Ware casserole dishes and filled it with some wintry goodness. I recommend trying this one at home. I also recommend running 5 miles right after eating this because it's gonna take a toll on your waistline.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A guest post penned by my sister Moira:

Dan and Moira get the set up and Dan the Clam Man shucks...

After the shuck the chopped clams take an olive oil and garlic bath...The whole clams will be garnish.

The best, the slurp.

A few years back, my brother Craig gave me my very own copy of The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook for my birthday. Along with the cookbook, I was told to select a recipe that I wanted to try for a BISCo tutorial. It came as no surprise that I selected linguine with white clam sauce, my go-to favorite. One winter night, Craig showed me the ropes -- shucking clams, chopping garlic (I still feel oh-so-cool smashing it with my trusty knife and closed fist), and tossing a single sting of linguine against the wall to check its "done-ness." It was a great night of big brother showing little sister how it’s done “BISCo” style.

I'm not a trained chef nor have I ever worked in a kitchen. I'm just a girl who likes to eat. With that said, if I can do it, you most certainly can. So grab a glass of vino, put on an apron, and turn up the MVY Radio, ‘cause we're making linguini with white clam sauce!

In true BISCo form, I am paying that tutorial forward -- first to my husband (and guinea pig) Dan, and now onto you… BISCo blog readers.

If, after reading this, you're left with one thing, let it be this… be organized. Always read a recipe from start to finish before doing anything! You don’t want to be halfway through a recipe when you realize you don’t have a form spring pan or a BBQ. Next up -- have all your ingredients at the ready. AKA, set up a “mies en plas,” which means “putting in place." Basically, it's a fancy way of saying "lay out all ingredients and be prepped to go." For example, if your recipe calls for ½ cup diced onions, dice those suckers up and put them into a little dish so that you can add them with ease -- like a Food Network star -- when the time comes. These two tips may take a few minutes up front, but Lord do they save time (and stress) in the end.

So as I was saying… I was going to teach Dan to make linguine with white clam sauce (LWCS) because anyone knows that you've only really mastered something when you can teach it to someone else. First, we started by setting up our mies en plas. Next, we got to shucking the clams. The recipe calls for 28 littleneck clams, but I only asked for 24 in the fish market, so, while those 4 little fellas will be missed, clams aren’t really something you can borrow from a neighbor. For you first time shuckers (is that a word?), I'll be honest -- shucking a clam isn’t all that easy. Lucky for us, we were using them for clam sauce and not serving them on the half shell. So, what I'm saying is that we could pretty much mangle them up during our journey to get to the good stuff. We were careful to open the clams over a fine strainer to reserve the juice for the sauce. Dan started to get the hang of it with the help of his fancy glove and a little muscle. A few pointers: if a clam is not closed tight, toss it. If a clam is orange or yellow, that's okay.

Once the clams were shucked and minced, we got our water to a boil and tossed in one pound of linguini. While that was cooking, we sautéed the garlic in olive oil and added the clams. Once the clams were cooked through, we added the white wine and the reserved clam juice. We waited a few minutes for this to cook down and then placed four unopened clams into the pan and slapped on the lid. Within a few minutes, these guys opened up on their own… don’tcha love when things are so easy? After straining the pasta, we added half of the clam sauce to the pasta and used the rest to pour on top of our (oversized) servings. Two clams (in shells) were added to each of our plates, making us feel like we were in a restaurant. A loaf of warm, crusty bread and a good glass of white wine brought it all full circle.

Bon Appetit!

P. S. Dan is still in shock that he opened a clam and made an awesome dinner.


Black Dog Linguine with White Clam Sauce


28 littleneck clams, scrubbed

7 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 small hot chilis (optional)

½ cup dry white wine

freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1 pound linguine

1 tablespoon salt


1. Bring six quarts of water to a rolling boil and add salt.

2. Open 24 o f the clams over a bowl with a sieve to strain the clam liquid. Save 4 clams for garnish. Set the stained liquid aside and chop the clams to a mince.

3. Add the linguine to boiling water. The clam sauce should take the same length of time to cook as the linguine.

4. Saute the minced garlic in the olive oil over high heat, being careful not to burn it. Add the minced chilis if you like.

5. Add the minced clams and sauté to heat through, then add the black pepper and white wine. Now add the reserved clam liquid.

6. Open the last four clams (without detaching the clams from their shells) and toss them into the sauce.

7. Add the parsley and basil. Lower the heat to medium.

8. When the linguine is al dente, drain it and toss it with about half of the sauce.

9. Divide the pasta onto four plates, add the remaining sauce, and garnish each plate with one of the whole clams.

Serves 4

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Clam Caking

We rely on food for so much. One of the things I rely on food for is to jog my memory to a place or time that makes me smile. Of course one of those places is Block Island. I remember going to Pt. Judith, RI one summer with the family for a few days. We stayed at the Dutch Inn before taking a day trip to the Block. I remember my Uncle Johnny talking about the clam cakes. "You got to have the clam cakes." I recall this stand that sold the cakes through a window and the smell of the oil mixed with the smell of the beach mixed with the smell of sun tan lotion, it's a memory that sticks in my mind. Well Uncle Johnny is no longer with us, but the clam cakes and his memory are.

He was one of those people who made food fun for me. I watched him and my brother work the kitchen together on vacations and I always wanted to be in there with them. When I had my chances to put out a dinner with him for the family I took it as quite a big deal. I remember him coming to Big Pa's apartment in Woodside on Tuesdays to spend time with my grandfather, his father, and those dinners were legendary. UJ, my brothers Matt and Drew would put together fantastic meals for Big Pa and it was just a treat to be at a Boys Club meeting.

Well every now and then I get to have some of the boys over at my place and this week it was Matt and Mark. Matt brought clam cake mix and I had the clams, so as a salute to Uncle Johnny, the Big Kahuna in the sky, we made some clam cakes.

They're fairly easy after you have shucked the clams and chopped them. The flour mixture gets mixed with the chopped clams and clam juice and there's your batter. Next, you need hot oil and your trip to Rhode Island is booked.

Matt mixed up the goodness and my fryer was set to take us on our trip. The cakes get dropped in to the oil and instantly the smell is familiar. When they had puffed up and we hit them with a touch of salt, they were ready. Boy were they great.

Nothing can bring back an old buddy or a day when you were younger. We haven't invented a time machine, but food is the closest thing we got. Here's to you big guy! We had clam cakes and all that was missing was you.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Took forever to get there, but we made it and delivered the goods. That poor little fryer. It really worked hard. There was a long story behind this whole thing but I lost it all when I uploaded the photos, and I am too tired to continue. Enjoy the photos and video. Get well soon Riverhead Library!!!

Lightbulb Fish in a Bag

We've all been to the Roy Rogers along I-95 or I-something or other and walked by the light bulb heated rack of foil bagged burgers. We've all grabbed one and regretted it later too. Well I was at the supermarket, many miles from I-anything and came across the very familiar foil bags, but this time they had a fish on them. I was obviously curious, so I looked at it and sure enough it was some sort of fish product, in a bag.

I took some photos just in case you see the same fish-sandwich in a bag. It is armed and dangerous, please stay away and call the authorities. This should not be dealt with on your own. If you or a loved one are tempted, WALK AWAY!. If you see someone going for the bag of fish sandwich, please stop them, but know that they can get violent, as they may be under some foil spell. Try to dissuade them, but not too hard. Think of yourself.

This was from my own neighborhood. If this isn't a call for a B.I.S.Co. store front, I don't know what is.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Run for Haiti

What a great day for a run...Actually it was cold, windy and nasty. But a great big thank you to everyone who came out to run for Haiti and help raise money for the earthquake victims.
We're very grateful to have helped raise $1,200 and send out nearly twenty runners. We couldn't have done it without their support and their donations.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Run For Haiti

Hello Folks,

The Block Island Seafood Company takes charity work very seriously and we are proud to announce that for the second year in a row we will be running with the Concern organization. This year the run will benefit the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Please consider running with us or making a donation of any size. If you want to run with us, you will be outfitted with your very own B.I.S.Co. t-shirt.

Thanks for reading this. Here's the link.

Trial and Errors

So I've mentioned that I like to cook, right? Okay, now in a way, cooking is like gambling. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. That's why I am not good at gambling, I don't like losing. Sure Blackjack is great when you get, well, Blackjack, but when you keep losing and handing your money to some guy in a bow tie, it's not fun. So...I don't really gamble too much. With cooking, you have to try things out and they may be great or bad (win or lose), but the difference is that you still get to eat your mistakes (loses) and like when you lose at gambling, I prescribe a glass of wine to ease the pain or the meal.

We're coming up on a demonstration at Hampton Bays library next week, so I wanted to sample some of the dishes we'll be cooking. We're doing a from scratch Cesar salad topped with grilled yellow fin tuna and a penne with shiitake mushroom sauce. First the pasta.

It's a rather simple sauce, sauteed garlic shiitake mushrooms, portabellos and dried shiitakes if you have them with some fresh cut tomatoes. I found the dish to be, average at best. I was following a recipe, and actually following it very closely, so I did make it pop in the end with some crushed red pepper.

When the penne is cooked, leave it off to the side, unwashed.

In a separate pan, saute garlic till it is tender, then add a sliced portabello mushroom, about a half pound of sliced shiitake mushroom, a handful of oyster mushrooms. Saute this for a few minutes and add cubed, fresh cut plum tomatoes, some white wine ( a cup ) and a half cup of vegetable broth. Let this boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Add the penne and let it get hot. Tear up some basil leaves and add a half cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy.

Now it was okay, so I added red pepper and in the future, I think sauteed shrimp will work nicely too.
So a Cesar salad. I experimented with actual anchovy fillets, but think I will use the paste next time. So just blend 2 cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of paste, a tablespoon of mayo (or one egg yolk), a dash of worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of lemon juice, salt and pepper and a half cup of olive oil. Blend this and then add a 1/4 of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Check the thickness and see if you want to add some mayo to thicken.

Carefully fold this into clean, dry, torn romaine lettuce with some large cut croutons. Don't add too much dressing at first, you don't want to drown it!

It was fun to play around and get these dishes right. We'll see what happens when the pressure is on.

Penne with Shiitake Mushroom Sauce Cesar Salad

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Family Fun Day

Every so often birthdays come and go and you lose track of who's birthday it was...Well we had a few birthdays that we needed to recognize so some of the family got together to just relax and enjoy each other's company. Pat was just back from his shark dive at the Riverhead Aquarium, so he would bring his appetite and so did the rest of us.

Brother Drew arrived with his new facial hair and after a series of insults he got through the front door. Personally I didn't mind the mustache, he looked like my Uncle Johnny, so it was kind of cool I guess. Anyway, its always great to have Drew over because I love to cook with him. He is a really good cook and has many years or restaurant experience, but he doesn't cook like it. he cooks like a guy who just likes to cook, like me. So it was fun to try and impress him. It's a great time for me to hang with him and buddy up. He and I have cooked for many people in freezing cold, snow, pouring rain and blazing sun in parking lots, so this was a cake walk.

We had the fryer out, so it was a fry day. Fried shrimp, fried squid and home made French Fries were the starters, along with Matt's Lil' Smokey's. Moira handled the salad, much to Tara's chagrin and when were all about stuffed we made dinner.

Mary Beth brought the goods with her chicken cutlets! Oh, they were right on, and perfect meatballs with sauce to go along. My mouth is currently watering thinking about it. She can sling it too.
Drew and I did the pasta and fish. It was linguine with white clam sauce and shrimp scampi. All four burners were working as Drew demonstrated his counterclockwise circle stir. It's never been seen before and may never be seen again. Four dozen chopped cherrystone clams took a bath in garlic, oil, white wine and clam broth. It did the clams well because they looked relaxed and well rested. Oh yeah, they tasted great too! The scampi opted for the hot coal feeling of the cast iron pans. They too never looked better as Drew finished them with a lemon bath.

All and all, it was a great time with the family. That is simply what B.I.S.Co is around for. A great time with my family or with yours...

Shark man & Drew with clam sauce and shrimp scampi

Fried Shrimp w/ Home made FF & Crispy Fried Calamari w/banana peppers

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Noreaster? Huh!

So Mother Nature gives us the bounty of the sea, right? Well, she can also deal might storm when she wants to. Last week we were east bound for Riverhead, NY and it was right through a snow storm to get there. It's one thing to deal with snow, but throw in the L.I.E. at rush hour and you have yourselves a perfect storm. This voyage wouldn't end at the bottom of the sea though, but it did begin at the bottom. You see, we were doing clams!!!!

I love em' raw, steamed, fried, stuffed, baked, on my pizza or in my pasta. The clam has give me and my family many happy meals in the past and now it was my turn to share those good times with the family at the Riverhead library.
The drive usually takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes, but on this day it took me 3.5 hours. I don't like to be late, but I took solace in the fact that my buddy Dave was there and that I had called ahead and let the folks know I was running late. The demonstration started at 6:30 and I knew I wouldn't get there until then, at least.

Through the rain and snow, I got there at just a minute after 6:30. I hope Dave is warming up the crowd. How many people could it be? It's terrible weather, maybe 15?

Well, Murphy's law is right again. If it can go wrong, it will. There was no Dave and the room had close to 30 people! Dave got tired of waiting and just assumed I wasn't coming. He of little faith. There is a buzz that he will have his shirt revoked, but it's just a rumor. Lucky for me, I had done a lot of prep and with the help of a few patrons, I was able to get the table set and started the demonstration with baked clams.

We talked about the clam, how to open it, how to clean it and how to stuff it. They turned out great! It was a relief, considering they had to wait so long for them.

Next up was the linguine with clam sauce. I have scoured the country for this dish and I am never satisfied. La Parmigiana in Southampton has a great one and Carmine's in Manhattan, also great, but I can never decide which one I love the most. I had over 100 freshly shucked and chopped cherrystone clams sauteed and dancing over linguine in no time and we had a great feed.
Crusty bread from Queens topped off the night and before long the folks had just seen the heart stopping, clam shucking, linguine tossing, quahog baking, history making, booty shaking,legendary Block Island Seafood Co!

Linguine with White Clam Sauce and the good people of the Riverhead Library

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Mrs.Parra

Mrs. Parra is a great cook. I have had many of her tasty Colombian treats and her salsa will rock your world. So this past weekend William was going to prepare her a birthday dinner! Not one to sit by, I jumped in and helped make the dinner. I wanted to do a Cioppino, an old San Francisco treat. It's a seafood stew with a bit of a spice. Now it was a Sunday and my seafood market was closed, so I had to make due with my secondary market, which isn't bad, but we pulled it off. The original plan was for a linguine with white clam sauce, but this is a family that likes a bold flavor, so I did a pasta dish and topped it with my version cioppino.

It turned out pretty spicy and pretty tasty!!!

I cooked the pasta and set it aside. Then I sauteed garlic in oil with some halved grape tomatoes. When the garlic softened I added clams in their shell. To that I added a splash of white wine to help steam the clams open. The boiling wine opened the clams and released their broth, the smell was intoxicating, if I may say so myself. To be honest I was drinking wine, so it could have been the wine. When the clams started to open, I added mussels and let them open. When the mussels opened, I added the shrimp and a minute later I added the squid. The reason for the layered cooking is so that nothing cooks too long. If the squid go with the clams, they will be done too early and then be way too tough.

When it was all done I added the pasta on top and reheated it. Then I dumped it all together and served a cioppino ala B.I.S.Co.

Happy Birthday Mrs. Parra.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Block Island to Martha's Vineyard

The first place I took a step was on Martha's Vineyard. So it's fair to say the place holds some significance. This past weekend I got the chance to head back to see Cousin Jude. She's a great cook and we have more fun than people should be allowed to have. I mostly shadow her in the kitchen trying to pick up her cooking tips while trying not to annoy her too much. I managed to annoy her some on this trip, with the help of Mosey, but also managed to pick up a few tips. It was a good trip and AB even managed to find some pearls, even though we didn't have oysters.
Each day was a great meal and each dinner included some seafood. We started with a shrimp rosemary over linguine. A tasty dish that mixes a scampi style shrimp with rustic tomato flavors and just a touch of fresh basil to lighten it up. It was great.
We also had some Martha's Vineyard Bay scallops. These were just shucked at the Menemsha Fish Market. Stanley hooked me up on price and quality. They were so sweet; just a touch of butter, salt, pepper and a quick saute in the orange pan of Jude's and they were like candy!! Never pass up the opportunity of fresh bay scallops. Nantucket, Vineyard or Peconic, I've had them all and they are all great! Prices can sky rocket, so get em while they're abundant.
We also dined on some garlic-mayonnaise codfish. When off of Cape Cod, you better have fresh cod, and the guys at the Net Result hooked us up. Judy baked it and topped it off with some bread crumbs. Like all good cod, it flaked into perfect bites.
On the clam front, again from Stanley up island at the Menemsha Fish Market, we did clams ala Jude and Moira and Dan did a white clam sauce pie. The Clams ala Jude are great. Shuck em, drizzle melted garlic butter on them and top with bread crumbs, then bake till the clams are done and the crumbs are crisp. Call Mosey for instructions on how to grate the crumbs. The Clam pie needs fresh shucked clams and fresh pizza dough. Roll out the dough and cook till almost done. Then take your white clam sauce (recipe available at and spoon it over the dough. Put it back and let it finish cooking. This was fantastic.
I'm hungry just thinking about the food again.
Growing up watching people cook and then trying it on my own was fun, and I've learned that as I've gotten older, nothing has changed. I still like to watch and then try on my own. Thanks Jude.
(Gay Head Light) (Clams under a light house) (Aww Shucks!)
(Bare Naked Clams) ( Mosey is the gratest) (Clams ala Jude)

(White Clam Pizza) (Dan with his finished product)

(Shrimp Rosemary) (Dinner is served)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Teen Idol

Well, maybe not an idol, but it was a successful event at the Hampton Bays library teen department. It was a salute to Mardi Gras and we worked up some BISCo. Cajun flava.
(Testing the okra)

We married the East End of Long Island with the swampy waters of the Mississippi, shook it with a pinch or New England and flavored it with a taste of the bayou.

(Block Island Seafood Gumbo)

Block Island Seafood Gumbo was a hit! It was a spicy little number combining Louisiana shrimp, Long Island Sea Scallops and Pollock from New England. I was pleasantly surprised at how the teens handled the spice. We ran out of a bottle of Tabasco!

Then it was on to Cajun fried fish. In place of Catfish, we used Pollock from up north. It was a dry mix of corn flour, all purpose flour, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper and Old Bay. It smelled great and not a piece of fish was left over. One of the teens must have had at least 7 pieces and some even took some home to the parents. It was nice to see how much the enjoyed the food and how much they knew about American history.

Dave was a big hit tonight as he keeps working his way up the B.I.SCo. ladder. He's a white shirt now, but it may soon be time to make him a blue shirt.

(Dave the Rave)

Okay, up to the Vineyard for some R&R and some quality time with family and my baby!!!
I'll be sure to take some foody pics, as Cousin Jude is quite the cook!!

About Me

My photo
Block Island Seafood Company (BISCO) helps fellow seafood enthusiasts enjoy the gifts of summer in their own homes all year long. BISCO will leave your family and friends with a memorable experience beyond the traditional catered gathering by providing a dynamic chef and extraordinary cuisine. Block Island, RI (41°09'N 71°33'W) is a small island that sits in the Atlantic Ocean between Rhode Island and Montauk Point, NY. For many years it has been a vacation spot for me and my family, and now I’d like to bring Block Island to your dinner table.