Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hampton Bays Chili Chowder Contest

BISCo. Booth
On September 23rd, the 14th annual Hampton Bays Chili/Chowder Contest was held at the Boardy Barn on a sunny autumn afternoon.  It was a fantastic event that Block Island Seafood Co. was proud to participate in.   BISCo. came with our special clam chowder and, lucky for us, attendees thought it was special, too.  The event kicked-off at 12:00 p.m. and hoards of hungry attendees swarmed the booths sampling piping hot chowders and spicy chilies from local restaurants and men and women who, simply, just like to cook.   It was anyone's game and I truly loved the spirit of the competition.   Our booth was next to a fella named Tom.   Tom doesn't have any formal training in the culinary arts but he knows how to make a damn fine chili.   He didn't even bring a sign---someone went home and made him one.   A true underdog who went home trophy in hand--Tom won 1st prize peoples' choice.  I was thrilled for him! 

Serving up some 'chowda
BISCo.'s  littlest employee
I was serving up large samples of our chowder with a crimson dusting of paprika. Samplers were coming back three, four and five times to try our chowder!   Before I knew it our kettle had run dry.  With 3.5 hours left in the competition I figured it was a lost cause and resorted to handing out oyster crackers and postcards.   Disappointed attendees were turned away from our booth.  I felt like I had let people down and especially myself.   I was at a chowder contest without chowder.   As the event organizers began to announce the winners I felt proud to have competed in such esteemed company yet couldn't ignore the pit in my stomach.  I felt cheated, by myself, that I wasn't able to have a fair shot since less than 50% of the attendees had a chance to sample our chowder.   Peoples' Choice was the award that I was really after and it now felt out of reach.  The booming voice on the microphone came on to announce that the 2nd Place Peoples' Choice was awarded to a new comer by the name of the Block Island Seafood Co.!   With a mix of surprise and disbelief I raced towards the stage to receive the award that I so longing for.  It was a happy day with an unexpected ending.    I am looking forward to next year and plan on doubling my batch!   

2nd Place Peoples' Choice

 Considering BISCo. had been at the Boss's birthday party the night before until nearly 3 a.m., I can't complain.   

A proud mom

Here's hoping to next year.   What is your go-to winning recipe?  


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

CSA Pick Up

A while back I mentioned that I joined a CSA and I have been enjoying the bounty of the farm for a couple of weeks now.  I wanted to share with you a little bit of what I received at pick up today. 

Summer Squash
Red Leaf Lettuce
Red Lake Currants
Red Ace Beets
Sugar Plums

Tonight I enjoyed the squash with a little bit of grilled chicken and had some blueberries for dessert.  The veggies and fruit are so fresh---they come with actual dirt on them!

It feels good to be supporting farmers and being a part of my community.   Do you go to any farmers markets or belong to a CSA?  If so, what do you like about it?


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tootin' the old horn

The Block Island Seafood Company is always amazed and flattered by the kindness of the people who come to the cooking demonstrations.  Here are the thoughtful words of one BISCo. fan as sent to the library: 

" "The happiness of life is made up of little things-a smile, a hug, a moment of shared laughter." Thank you for having the Block Island Seafood Company share with us. Educational, inspirational, delicious & entertaining"

We love to be a part of the happy moments of your life.  


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Very Impressive

My niece AGG is a rather talented artist.  Here is her impression of a very special clamming shack on Martha's Vineyard.  This is a priceless piece of artwork that will be treasured always. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rubbing You the Right Way

Did that title get you to read on?   If so, Fifty Shades of Grey has nothing on BISCo.  I think you will all enjoy this guest blog entry from Matthew Ward, Executive Sous Chef at the The Adolphus in Dallas, TX. 

Take it away, Matt! 

As the temperatures start to rise, it’s time to draw our attention to a summer pastime: Grilling!  Whether it’s chicken, pork or beef that will be making an appearance on the grill this season, it’s important to have a killer rub to flavor those meats.  When I was experimenting with different rubs, I wanted to come up with something that has a strong pronounced flavor and was bold and somewhat spicy.  The unique addition to this rub is the chipotle powder.  It gives the rub a smoky edge and puts your taste buds on notice.  I love to use this rub on my pork ribs, rib eye steaks and chicken thighs.  I will usually put the rub on the night before I am going to grill so the flavor penetrates the meat and deepens the flavor of the rub.  And if you need to cut the smokiness and boldness of the rub, honey is usually a great way to sweeten things.  I usually will put the honey on my meats at the final stages of cooking to avoid it burning.  This recipe will make enough rub to have some on hand for a few grilling sessions.  I hope this rub becomes part of your repertoire and it gets you excited about the summer and firing up your grill.

Kickin’ Spice Rub
½ cup Kosher Salt
1 cup Chili Powder
¼ cup Black Pepper
¼ cup Cumin
¼ cup Paprika
2 tbsp. Coleman’s Dry Mustard
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tbsp. Chipotle Powder
1 tbsp. Granulated Garlic

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well.  Keep in an airtight container.  

Thanks, Matt! 


Monday, June 18, 2012

A Father's Day Clambake

With the help of MB the Block Island Seafood Co. served up a Father's Day clambake in Manhasset, NY for a terrific family.   They enjoyed a raw bar of clams, oysters and shrimp cocktail.   Then we finished it off with a clambake of steamers, PEI mussels, shrimp, 1.5 lb lobsters, corn on the cob, mom's potato salad and cole slaw.  

What a great way to celebrate some really great dads!

Interested in hosting a clambake?  Drop me a line, 


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I would like to wish a very Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there, especially mine, who has been so supportive of BISCo.   

Here we are on Block Island many years back, before BISCo. was even an idea.    On this same trip my father slipped and fell into the pond near the house.   I stumbled across this poem and it couldn't be more fitting.  

Daddy Fell Into the Pond
by Alfred Noyes

Everyone grumbled.  The sky was gray.
We had nothing to do and nothing to say.
We were nearing the end of a dismal day,
And there seemed to be nothing beyond,
Daddy fell into the pond!

And everyone's face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight,
"Give me the camera, quick, oh quick!
He's crawling out of the duckweed."  Click!

Then the gardner suddenly slapped his knee,
And doubled up, shaking silently,
And the ducks all quacked as if they were daft
And it sounded as if the old drake laughed.

O, there wasn't a thing that didn't respond
Daddy fell into the pond!


Monday, June 11, 2012

RI Baby

Block Island Seafood Co. loves to see babies in BISCo. gear.  The next best thing?  Rhode Island gear.  Check out these great onesies that promote the smallest state for the smallest of folks.  

Got to love RI.  One area easy is that? 


Friday, April 13, 2012

Carbo Load!

Tomorrow the Block Island Seafood Co. will be participating in the Concern Run benefiting education programs in Haiti.   A morning run can only mean one thing...a carbo-loading dinner the night before!   Even though the race is only 4 miles, I still love any excuse for some pasta.   I am thinking about making mom's spaghetti carbonara.  

This recipe was recently published in Next Stop Magazine and the Block Island Seafood Co. is so honored to be a part of such a terrific publication and organization.    We will be featuring articles throughout the summer so be sure to check it out! 

For now, here is my mother's recipe for spaghetti carbonara.    Don't eat too much or you will be too full to run.  

Barbara's Spaghetti Carbonara (serves 4-6 hungry people)
  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons sweet butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon
  • 1/2 cup diced deli ham (substitute prosciutto if desired)
  • 3 well-beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Lucatelli cheese
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large pot, bring the water to a rapid boil and add dry spaghetti. Boil for approximately 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the sweet butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add ham and bacon and sauté. Once the bacon is crisp, remove the skillet from heat. As the meat is cooking, add the cheeses to the beaten eggs and stir gently until mixed. Just before draining the pasta, which should be placed in a large bowl, add the egg and cheese mixture to the skillet and stir quickly for no longer than 30 seconds. Pour the warm mixture over the just-drained spaghetti, add pepper, and toss until noodles are coated. The heat from the spaghetti will cook the egg mixture. Bon appétit!
Block your party today! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Are you ready to rumble???

Tasting Table's Lobster Roll Rumble is set for June 7, 2012, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea.   

This year there will be 20 contenders competing for the best lobster roll award.  There are some local favorites including Red Hook Lobster Pound and Luke's Lobster, as well as some folks coming in from as far away as San Francisco.  Tickets sold out last year so if you are planning on attending you had better reserve a ticket asap.  

Block Island Seafood Co. will not be participating due to a prior commitment but will certainly be looking forward to enjoying a roll on that day.   

Planning on attending and want to be a guest blogger for Block Island Seafood Co.?  Drop me a line, 

Block your party today! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Recent Gathering and Sample Menu

The Block Island Seafood Co. was honored to be a part of a family celebration out in the Hamptons just a few weeks ago.   With the help of Marc and Bobby, BISCo. served a party of 35 with mouth-watering specialties.   The party was a huge success! 

Marc & Bobby doing some prep work

 A beautiful setting

Folks are always asking what we can do for their parties and I wanted to give you an actual snapshot of what we cooked up for this particular occasion.  

Passed and Stationary Hors d'oeuvres 
Domestic and Imported Cheese Plate
Pigs in a Blanket 
Scallops Wrapped in Bacon 
BISCo. Signature Crab Cakes 
Ripe Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Skewers 
Shrimp Cocktail with BISCo. Dipping Sauce

Salad Course 
Field Greens with Vinaigrette

Main Course   
New York Strip topped with Shrimp Scampi, Rice Pilaf and Asparagus

Block Island Seafood Co. is always customizing menus - that's what we do best.    We will work with you to make your party truly feel like your party.   There is no request too big or too small.   Have something in mind, give us a shout.  I'll bet we can make it happen.  

The summer calendar is quickly filling up, so please contact us if you have something in mind.  We'd love to hear from you. 


Monday, March 26, 2012

A Fine Time to Brine

Does brining sound complicated to you?  Well, it did to me before I knew what it actually was.   Now that I know how easy it can be, I do it all the time...when I have the time.  
I think you will all enjoy this guest blog entry from Matthew Ward, Executive Sous Chef at the The Adolphus in Dallas, TX. 

Take it away, Matt! 

With the chill of winter finally vacating stage right, it’s time to start getting excited about the arrival of spring & summer.  What excites me most about this time of year is the art of grilling and the endless possibilities that come with it.  I’ve rediscovered a foolproof way to keep my chickens and cuts of pork juicier and more flavorful.  It takes only three simple ingredients: water, salt and sugar.  Brining, simply put, is just a dry cure in water.  The three main ingredients work together; resulting in a juicer and more flavorful piece of chicken or pork.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to flavoring your brine.  All kinds of fruit juices can be substituted for the water in whole or part.  Herbs and spices can be added to the brine to add more complexity to the brine. The most important thing is to keep the water to salt ratio the same and to adjust brining times to suite the size of your cut of chicken or pork.  Larger cuts need a longer soak versus smaller cuts like chicken breast or pork chops.  I’ve included a favorite brining recipe of mine that I’ve used for half chickens that I cook on the grill each summer.       
Lemon & Rosemary Brine

1 gallon          Water
1 cup               Kosher Salt
¼ cup            Sugar
¼ cup            Brown Sugar
1 bunch          Rosemary, fresh
1 bunch          Thyme, fresh 
3 each             Bay Leaves
2 each             Shallots, sliced
2 each             Heads of Garlic, crushed
1 tbsp.             White Peppercorns, crushed
4 each             Lemons, cut in half, squeezed

4 each            Half Chickens, approx. 1 ½ lbs. each

Combine all of the ingredients (up to lemons) in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Let all the ingredients steep and cool down to room temperature.  Place in the refrigerator and leave until the brine is cold.  Place half chickens in the brining solution, return to the refrigerator & let sit for four hours.  Make sure the chickens are completely submerged in the brine.  Use a small plate to hold the chickens down if needed.  After four hours remove the chickens from the brine & discard the brine.  Pat the chicken dry & let sit for 30 to 45 minutes.

From this point the seasonings are up to you.  I usually season the chicken with some kosher salt & fresh ground pepper and let the brine work its magic on the grill.  My method is to grill the chicken on medium high until the skin gets nice and crispy and then move it to the cooler side of my grill to finish.  You will be amazed how juicy the birds are and how subtle the saltiness finishes with every bite.

Thanks, Matt! 


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Nana's Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone from BISCo. headquarters. 

I would like to share with you a very special recipe from my Nana's kitchen.  Nana was a great cook who loved to show her family love by preparing meals and opening her home to everyone.  One tidbit, I never once saw her wear a pair of pants-dresses and skirts only for this lady.  One of Nana's specialties was Irish Soda Bread.  I would like to share this with you today and may you have the luck of the Irish in making it.  

Nana's Irish Soda Bread 
4 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 oz sugar
3/4 cup raisins
2 cups buttermilk

Mix all dry ingredients then add the buttermilk. Kneed into a dough. Form a loaf and bake at
350 for one hour.   Enjoy with some butter and a strong cup of tea.  


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Getting Our Grill On!

Today at Block Island Seafood Co. we are heating things up with a guest post by Matthew Ward, Executive Sous Chef at the The Adolphus in Dallas.   This recipe for Spanish Romesco will certainly make its way into the BISCo. test kitchen this summer.  Just hope I can do it justice.  

Take it away, Matt! 

Grilling Sauces
There’s nothing like a great sauce to serve with grilled meats and vegetables this summer.  I’ve decided to feature a traditional Spanish sauce when entertaining this summer.  The Spanish favorite I am talking about is romesco.  Romesco originated in Tarragons, Spain and is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive oil and nyoras - a smaller, sweet, dried variety of red bell pepper. Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes, sherry wine vinegar and onion.  In this version I like to use roasted tomatoes and shallots that have been roasted in the oven.  I also use regular red bell peppers that are readily available all year round.  Roasting the tomatoes and shallots; add a whole other dimension to the sauce.  In Spain they like to serve romesco with seafood and I totally agree.  Serve it with some grilled scallops, halibut or sea bass.  I’ve also found it to be wonderful on a medley of grilled vegetables.  The possibilities are endless with romesco.  I hope you add it to your summer grilling reportaire this season.

Spanish Romesco
2 ea.              Red Peppers
2 ea.              Shallots, peeled
½ cup           Almonds, sliced
3 cloves        Garlic, thinly sliced
3 tbsp.           Smoked Paprika
1 tsp.             Cayenne
2 ea.              Crusty Bread, stale or toasted, no crust
2 ea.              Tomatoes, cut in half, seeds removed
1 tbsp            Sherry Wine Vinegar
¼ cup           Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive Oil for Sautéing
Vegetable Stock, if needed, to adjust consistency

1)  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Toss tomatoes and shallots olive oil and place on a sheet pan. Place in the oven and cook for about twenty minutes.  A light browning is great.  This will bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes and shallots. Remove and set aside till ready to make the sauce.

2)  Roast and peel peppers, by placing them over an open flame on the stove or on the grill. Char them well on all sides.  When nice and black put them in a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  This will create steam.  In about 10 minutes you will be able to rinse off the char and have a nice roasted pepper.  Remove the seeds and rough chop.

3)  In a pan, sauté the shallots, peppers in a small amount of olive oil.  Add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Then add the tomato and the roasted pepper.  Sauté for five minutes more or until all the ingredients are softened.

4)  Carefully put everything but the olive oil in a blender and blend.  Be very careful because the contents are hot.  With the blender running, add the olive oil in a thin stream.  If necessary add a bit of vegetable stock to the sauce.  It really depends on the moisture content of the vegetables.

5)  At this point you can serve the sauce with your wonderfully grilled creations or refrigerate it until ready to use.  To reheat, place in a sauce pan and heat gently till sauce is hot.  This recipe should make you about 2 cups of finished sauce.

Thanks, Matt, for sharing this with us! 


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.