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This week, we managed to get one brilliant day (very little wind, sunny, low 70s) and it happened to be a day Catie and I were working on seed. We spent the morning washing everything in the silos. Just to give you a quick idea of what it takes to pull out and clean a silo (plus, what a balancing act/teamwork effort it is to manipulate the silos around a bunch of rowing boats) a few quick videos, courtesy of Dave Grossman.
Later that day, Skip, Dave, and I went out to the back river to grab the seed Skip’s been working on out there. On the way, I got a little taste of Skip’s love for speed. We came flying under the bridge on the way out.
Not nearly as fast on our way back in as we were carrying precious cargo: 8 trays of 1 1/2 month old seed. On the way, we ran into Don Merry, who also has some seed back there and Skip was anxious to show him the progress on ours.
Back on land, Catie taught me how to grade, which is separating the oysters by size. Once some of the seed gets to about a quarter inch (called quarters, obviously), we can pull those out and put them into either separate silos(to continue growing in the upweller) or into mesh bags which will be put out in cages now set up in the bay. The seed that is too small (under a quarter inch) is put back into its original silo to continue growing. This helps bring the volume on each silo down, giving the oysters in each batch more space to grow. Still waiting to see where our seed goes next. After all the love and care we’ve given these babies, it might be a little sad to see them leave the nest to start growing in the big, blue sea.
My crew has a new Thursday tradition. We have a lot of summer birthdays, many of which happen to fall on Thursdays. Hence, Birthday Thursdays. Even without a birthday, we’re all in for a celebration of some sort. This week’s involved a feast at Will’s place. We started with baked oysters (a la Berg) and fried oysters (made by Will).
Berg’s Baked Oysters
2 dozen Island Creeks
1 bag baby spinach, chopped
3 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp butter, chopped
Couple handfuls of shredded parmesan
Shuck the oysters. Top with couple pinches of spinach, 1/4 tsp garlic, pat of butter, couple pinches of parmesan. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes or until parmesan is melted.
Will’s “Chilean” Island Creek pan-fried oysters
2 dozen shucked ICO’s, reserve some liquor.
Kultru Chile olive oil
Extra Virgin olive oil
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. oyster liquor (from shucked oyters)
4 farm-fresh Araucana eggs (or regular eggs), minus 1 egg white
2 tbsp flour
3/4 bag of Panko bread crumb flakes
2 tbsp flour
Homemade or commercial chili mix to taste. (Will uses Fireman Fred’s Flaming 3 Alarm Chili Mix from Saratoga)
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of cinnamon
Over med high heat in a saucepan combine Kultru Chile Olive Oil with EVOO (half and half to fill pan halfway). Combine all batter ingredients in a large bowl. Combine all breading ingredients in another large bowl. In sets of 6-8 oysters, dip in batter, then roll/cover with dry ingredients. Pan fry for a few min on each side, until batter gets golden and crunchy. Serve atop garlic Triscuits, cover with small slice of pepperjack cheese and a pinch of chopped spinach. Arrange on baking sheet and heat in 375 degree oven for as long as it takes to just melt the cheese. Serve ‘em up with a glass of Crios Malbec Rose.