Friday, May 18, 2012

Les Moules Christophe

I used to think of mussels as the poor man's clams, but my thinking has changed over the years and I now prefer mussels to clams. They are cheaper, sweeter, and take on the taste of the broth much better than clams. I also find that they are as easy to cook as clams and here is a simple recipe.

Take two pounds of mussels (I use farm raised from Prince Edward Island as the wild ones are too sandy) and wash them well in cold water, making sure to remove any beards on the muscles by either pulling them off or cutting them off with a knife. Put the mussels in a pot with ice cold water for about twenty minutes to allow them to breath and expel any sand and other stuff. Dump the water and put fresh water on them and let them sit for another ten minutes. Rinse again before cooking.

While the muscles are taking their next to last swim chop up four garlic cloves and two medium shallots. Take a third of a stick of butter and put it in a pot at medium heat. When the butter is melted add the garlic and shallots and get them just slightly browned. Add six ounces of beer (I use a wheat beer like Goose Island 312 or Hocus Pocus from Magic Hat) and a dash of salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a low boil and add the mussels for their final swim and some chopped fresh parsley, then cover. In five to seven minutes the mussels should be open and ready to eat. Discard any mussels that didn't open.

Spoon the mussels in a bowl and pour the broth over them. They are best eaten with the same beer you used to cook them with. The broth is real good on pasta too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fuji Steakhouse, Middletown, NY

My Mother-in-law took Teresa and I out for Teresa's birthday and after some time trying to decide where to go, we wound up at Fuji Steakhouse at the Galleria Mall in Middletown. Well, actually we started at another restaurant and looked around and shook our heads. The restaurant looked like it was last cleaned when I was in high school (and that is a very long time ago). We apologized, said that one of us didn't feel well, and left before we even got water. 

We went across the street to the Galleria Mall and entered the restaurant through the outside exit. I was quite surprised by the size of the place, it was quite large, and the fact that you didn't realize it was a Mall restaurant at all. There are about a half a dozen hibachi tables that seated over a dozen people, plus a few regular tables. We opted for the hibachi table for the theater. There's also a rather large bar and it had a box of sake on it, much like a box of wine. 

After looking through the menus we decided to get hibachi. I ordered the salmon, Teresa got the chicken and Mom got the shrimp. We also shared a vegetable tempura and a calamari appetizer. The vegetable was good, the calamari being excellent. We were brought tasty soup, not quite a miso, but similar, and a fair sized salad.

Our chef came along and started to cook for us, and the group of four seated near us. You can see Teresa in the top photo with our chef after we told him it was her birthday. It was indeed theater as he hammed it up and made the flames jump and flipped the spatula and the knife. He made us all a fried rice and I ate quite a bit, and I don't like rice unless it is part of sushi. My salmon was cooked perfectly with a sear on the outside and moist in the middle and it came with two large shrimp, also cooked perfectly. 

The food was very good, fresh tasting and plentiful. Service good and friendly. Prices averaged about twenty dollars per entree, but the portions were large. I'd definitely go back.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Crock Pot Beef Back Ribs

Real simple to make. I took about a pound and a half of beef back ribs and put them in the crock pot. I added a dash of vinegar and enough Sweet Baby Ray's and water to cover, turned it to low and let it cook for about 8 hours. The meat fell right off the bone and it was so tender. 

The same thing works for pork ribs and I've even added a half a can of Coke in place of some of the liquid. The Coke helps break down the meat and adds a caramel taste as well.