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!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

Now these are days chowder was made for. Go to and check out the New England Clam Chowder recipe. The weatherman is calling for more snow and then more snow after that. BISCo. has a demo in Hampton Bays on Friday for the teen department, I hope this doesn't jeopardize the demo. We'll see.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Huge success at Hugo's

It's always great to share what I love with anyone willing to listen. That's a given, but tonight my good buddy Honest Hugo had BISCo. to his mother's house for a demo and it was a great time. Give me a family that knows how to have a good time, and I'll show up. Hugo's mom wanted to learn how to shuck a clam, so her and her friends all got to try and some of them even caught on. We opened 60 so I hope I didn't do all the work.

Then we demoed mussels, our BISCo. crab cakes with fresh guacamole and finished off with the pan seared sea scallops. It was a great time and what a beautiful family.

Hugo's mom is a great cook, so it was a very high compliment when she said how much she learned and how much she liked the food.
In other big BISCo. news... Hugo got made tonight. He was given his very own BISCo. T-shirt.

Feliz Cumpleanos Maria Helena.

(L to R :BISCO Crabcakes with Guacamole, Craig and Crabcakes, Hugo with a parsley bouquet)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow? Not in the summer.

Tomorrow is one of the reasons I started BISCo. They're predicting 3-6 inches of snow for tomorrow and I will be putting on a demonstration on how to open clams. What screams summer more than a cold beer and clams on the half shell? I know AB and I love our clams on the half shell on a hot day, so tomorrow while I am looking out the window at a snowy day, I'll be thinking about clams with AB on a hot summer day and I'll be all but transported to August.

It's a private demo tomorrow with clams on the half shell, mussels, the BISCo crab cake and then our pan seared sea scallops with a citrus burre blanc. It may say 30 degrees on the thermometer, but it will be summer time tomorrow in Flushing, Queens.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This is how you know you made it.

Ever wonder how you know if what you are doing is working out? Sure there are many indicators like, money, exposure or an overwhelming uptick in business, but I have new way to tell if you're doing good. It's the T-shirt factor. You see if you go to a rock concert and look around, many people will be wearing a T-shirt of the band they came to see, that's a sure sign of success. So there I was last night at the library that started it all, Hampton Bays, and wouldn't you know it, two of my favorite patrons came in their full BISCo outfits. Now, I normally wear a long sleve shirt under my shirt, so I messed up the operation, but what a compliment> Thanks K and D.

So how the did the demo go? Okay. I wasn't blown away by the two soups as I was when I made my test runs. That's the difference when cooking for yourself in the kitchen and cooking for 35 on a table in a basement. Overall, the lobster and corn chowder and the Manhattan chowder went over well, but with a bit more seasoning I think they could have been a bit better.

The raffles went over well. We gave out dinner for 1 (Ramen Noodles) a house keeper (dish towels) and a Medi-Bag ( a bag from the hospital for special surgeries). Always good to be in Hampton Bays. Great library and great people.

(Front Row!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

oops I did it again

I was hoping to take a picture of the lobster and corn chowder, but I ate it and then remembered. But it was good!!! Tonight's will be even better because I will be mixing the chicken stock and the clam stock. This version was with chicken stock. You can mix them, and that's what I'll do. Now that I think about it, I want to try this recipe with chicken cubes next time. I'll post the recipe soon. Here we come Hampton Bays library.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Welcome to the Lab

So as many of you know, I am not a chef. I have, however trained by watching my brother Matt create recipes from scratch and make something wonderful. Well in 17 hours I will demonstrate 2 chowders before 40 patrons at the Hampton Bays library. Neither one of which I have cooked before. Sure I have tasted many a Manhattan clam chowder, but actually never cooked one from scratch. So just an hour ago I started from scratch and it came out, okay. Not great because I was using canned clams and canned clam juice. Tomorrow it will be fresh squeezed from the shell, so i know the taste will really pop. So for this one I am happy and the official taster WGP was very impressed. So I guess I'm off to a good start. I'll try to make the labster and corn chowder at some point tomorrow before I demo it in front of 40 screaming BISCo.-heads. What can I say? They love the show.

A new Record

Not sure why, but just got my Google analytics (the numbers on who visits your website) and it's a new record for 48 visits this week and 33 of them were new ones. Maybe the good folks of Mattituck were checking me out before the library gig last week. Okay now to upload a new photo.

Maiden Voyage

(York, Maine November 2009)

Thank you MG for putting the blog up!!! We're up and sailing. Welcome to BISCo's first post. We'll be spilling the beans about clambakes, lobster pots, where to get a good chowdah and the highs and lows of an upstart food business. I started with an idea to teach people how to make a clambake on their stove top. It evolved into a cooking demonstration company that has been more fun than I thought it ever would be.

So here's my first recipe for ya...thanks for stopping by.
Prince Edward Island Mussels
(Serves 8 as appetizer)

4 lbs. mussels (about a half pound per person)
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
Olive oil
1 Stick of non salted butter
Chopped parsley
2 cups of white wine
Clean the mussels by running them under cold water and discarding any with broken shells. If there is a small rope hanging out, rip it off too.
In a pot with a lid, sauté the garlic, shallots in olive oil and butter, when they are soft, add the mussels. Pour the white wine in and cover. It should take about 3 minutes. When they’re open, they’re done. Place them in bowls and pour the broth over them. Top with parsley and soak up the broth with bread.

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.