Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Red's Best Seafood Partnering with I Love Blue Sea to Bring Local, Sustainable Seafood to Your Door

Last week I took a little poll about what people think of when they think of New England food. Overwhelmingly the responses came back listing seafood as #1. Answer after answer listed lobster, clams, scallops and cod. Each response listed the tried and true-those delicacies found in the ocean that we've all come to love, but I had to wonder-is that all that New England has to offer?

I got my answer just days later-no, not at all.

I had the opportunity to hang out with the guys at Red's Best Seafood, a seafood distribution center in the heart of Boston's Fish District. I'd normally phrase that differently, and say I "met with" or "joined" or something to that affect, but none of those terms would be right because this time I literally hung out with the guys. Beer in hand I watched as truck loads of seafood from Hyannis and Plymouth rolled up to their door and pallets of Scup, Grayback, Monkfish, lobsters and conch were carefully removed. These treasures had been safe in their salt water homes just hours before and now they lay before me, ready to be sold to the market.

I stood in the middle of their floor, often in the way of the pallet jacks and trucks that were attempting to work around me and I was completely enraptured.  This was a scene that I haven't had an opportunity to observe, and to be frank its one that I hadn't spent too much time considering.  I've gotten to speak with chefs and purveyors of seafood, I've concentrated on sustainable seafood, I've touted our local offerings, but actually looking at the mechanics of ocean water to our markets was new. 

Fortunately, the guys at Red's Best have thought it all through for us.  Not only have they thought it through in terms of getting their local catch out to the US efficiently, but now they've contrived ways to get it straight to your table, and mine, in the same fast, fresh way.  They are partnering with San Francisco based company I Love Blue Sea, a business formed by people who both love and respect the sea, who have worked to bring sustainable seafood direct to the consumer.  Their technology, combined with the technology already developed by Red's Best allows their consumers to know exactly when their fish of choice was caught, when it came off the boat and how it traveled to their door step.  You can even see the name of the boat it was caught on, how's that for answering that all important question- "do you know where your food comes from"?

This partnership will bring the residents of New England, and beyond, the ultimate confidence in knowing not only that they know precisely what they are eating, and that their confidence in its quality is first rate, but they'll also be certain that the fish they are enjoying was caught in a sustainable setting and that they are supporting their local fisherman. 

Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island....we are all fisherman at our roots, and the time has come for us to return to our ancestors culture and indulge our taste buds in what nature is providing to us just off our shores.  The time is here to try those delights that have been a part of our marine life for decades or more, but haven't yet been made chic on the menus of our cutting edge restaurants.  I'm throwing out the challenge - eat local, and be a trendsetter- check out Scup, or Grayback for your next seafood feast, or try a local conch.  You can't go wrong with enjoying some fresh, local seafood and watching the Patriots this fall- now can you?

Grab a beer and check out:
Order some fresh caught seafood and report back on your finds! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Starbucks Reserve: Jamaica Blue Mountain

As many of you know, I began a new job back in February.  I was raring for a change and seized a great opportunity when I saw it.  My new job, that I'm now firmly six months into has provided me with the new challenges that I sought and exciting changes to my schedule.  I have the opportunity to work remote from the office and that has made my morning cup of coffee a much more pleasant affair.  I have time now to brew a steaming mug here at home before cracking open the lap top and I can allow those first few bitter sips to jog my mind into work mode.  I watch my neighbors head to work as I boil my tea kettle of water, and ponder the days activities as the coffee grounds steep through the water permeating it with its caffeinated goodness.  And then I sit, lap top open and take my first sip as my brain focuses on what needs to be done. 

Starbucks has been my go to for my coffee enjoyment this year, and recently sent me a bag of their featured Reserve bean- the Jamaica Blue Mountain.  They launched this as a perfect seasonal transition coffee.  It leads with light and summery citrus notes, and then finishes into a smooth creamy chocolate, perfect for those first crisp mornings. 

Jamaica Blue Mountain is not just any coffee of course, it is one that is known the world throughout for its special qualities.  It is grown in the eastern mountains of Jamaica, under strict regulations and vigilant supervision.  It's history travels back to the 18th century, and its preparation and shipping is a time honored custom from those days.  This is a coffee that is rare and unique, and not to be missed!

Monday, August 27, 2012


Are you all aware that its the last week of in this is it?  All those Back to School commercials that came out "too early" are now completely appropriate?  The time to savor long summer evenings and the carefree shoeless afternoons is limited, and soon that sun will set completely on Summer 2012.  As you may have noticed, things have been pretty quiet around here this summer- I can explain- see I was out...enjoying the summer.  Two of my favorite friends married the loves of their lives this summer and I got to be there for all of the fun leading up to it and for the blessed events.  This led me all over the eastern seaboard for a perfect celebration of this season.  I learned that another one of my very favorite people is leaving our fair city for greener pastures at some point in the coming months- I'm refusing to think about that and instead have been spending as much time as schedules allow savoring Boston with her.  I found a wonderful opportunity to move to an apartment I fell in love with, so I'm adding packing into my to do list, and of course there's been that pesky "job" thing that has been filling my days as well.  It has been an incredibly full summer, and probably the best I've had...ever.  New friends, old friends, taking some risks, jumping into experiences with both feet and revisiting old favorites- all have summed together to summer perfection.

Of course that has meant that I all but abandoned my dear A Boston Food Diary- and that...well that is just NOT OK.  I cannot even begin to express to you how many amazing food journeys I was blessed to be apart of all summer long.  I sat down with an amazing chef and bonded over glasses of Italian Prosecco.  I concentrated my efforts on cooking New England inspired dishes.  I dipped my fork into fresh summer salads, sipped strong cups of coffee and had my fill of incredible hummus.  I had the extreme joy of entering a food world I've never before been a part of and got my hands dirty in it.

I have been taking notes all along so even though I have failed at updating you all along the way- this space will soon be populated with the joys of food, wine, cooking and dining once again.

I hope you had as great a summer as I did and I hope you're ready for an awesome fall! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Strawberry Grilled Pork Roast

This summer has been a hectic one, as you might have gathered by my lack of posting recently.  Of course the beauty of a hectic summer, hopefully, means enjoying everything that is summer- the delight of spending time with friends, the laziness of evenings spent outside, and savoring every bite of summer produce. 

Strawberries, fresh, local, sweet strawberries are one of those delicious items that demand to be enjoyed as long as their season allows.  Now, each week I buy strawberries and use them mainly in my breakfast- and then by the end of the week I end up with some unhappy strawberries - not quite "bad" but not as stellar as they once were.  So I've been seeking out ways to use up those little berries before all is lost.

Strawberry Marinated Grilled Pork Roast

1 pork roast- approximately 1.5 - 2 lbs
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup fresh parsley- roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Combine the last six ingredients in a blender, food processor or a container that will accommodate an immersion blender, and puree.  Place the pork in a Ziploc bag, pour this mix over the pork, seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, rotating the meat every so often.

Pre heat your grill, and then grill the mean, starting with the fat side up for approximately 20 minutes a side- depending on its thickness. Once fully cooked remove from the grill and let rest for 10 - 15 minutes. 

I took a bit of a shot in the dark with this recipe- hoping that the flavor of strawberry would sink into the pork.  I was not mistaken- the strawberry was a delicious presence- though not overwhelming.  It's subtle flavor combined with the heat of the chili flakes and a touch of garlic was a delicious change from a typical pork marinade and was a wonderful way to celebrate the berries of the season.

Restaurant Reviews: A dead art?

Last December I declared 2023 the year I would return to food writing.  It was a bold statement (even now as I look at my last published dat...