Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oregon Shrimp Bender Platter

During one of the recent 'lost weekends' in the FPT test kitchens recently, we purchased a few pounds of nice mid-size Oregon shrimp for grazing. These shrimp came from Safeway and were at a nice price and they came cooked and de-veined. They can be used in many, many ways - pictured above is the simple honey mustard & black pepper paper plate serving.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Arby's Sourdough Melts - FPT Staff Review

Always trying to match the competition, Arby's is now doing sourdough melt sandwiches. They are at a nice introductory price of 2 for 3.00 at this time. We sent over a staffer to grab some on the way back from picking up our new business cards. They come in a bag marked "Rescue Brigade". We still do not know what that means. Inside we found both roast beef and ham sandwiches to sample. We found them pretty basic as expected - meat, cheese and bun style. The horsey sauce spiced them up they were decent. Our final conclusion is that we are on the fence on these - the 2 for 3.00 deal is sweet but if we had to pay 2.99 each we might move on down the road.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Hard-Boiled Egg Art from regular contributor Chris Norton

Since we are lucky enough to have had multiple submissions of hard-boiled eggplatters photos from our friend Chris Norton, the staff here decided during our roundtable meeting yesterday that we are now declaring them as art. Mr. Norton scores very high in the presentation arena. This photo is of a "Tabasco Ladden Egg Platter".

Saturday, February 14, 2009

20 Quiznos 5 Dollar Subs - More Info?

As you have probably seen the media blitz from Quiznos - they are now touting there are now 20 subs for 5.00 at their locations. Sounds interesting......however. Good luck finding out what they are and are not. Again Quiznos is leaving us sub eaters confused and unsure. A visit to their website will not be of any help, and dont bother to download the menu as it has zero prices or list of the 20 subs. Are these footlong subs? Are they just like the previous measly boring ones from their previous attempt at a 5 dollar offer? The staff here refuses to visit a Quiznos to find out what is what - as our experience is that the menus inside the stores are also like a confusing maze. Tell us the straight story please.

The Bacon Explosion - The Internet Recipe Gone Wild!

Thanks to reader Heather for sending us a link that tells the tale of the recent web wonder - the Bacon Explosion recipe. Essentially, this recipe calls for two pounds of bacon woven through and around two pounds of sausage and slathered in barbecue sauce. While no one is claiming to be the 'inventor' of this unique meal, it has appeared in similar forms on different sites/blogs at different times. The staff here would like to see the true first creator of the Bacon Explosion get their credit as this is a wild meal. NY Times Article And Photos Link

Friday, February 13, 2009

Oregon Crabbing Adventures - SPECIAL TO THE FAT PRIDE TIMES

Our featured post for February is from Barnabus, our Oregon Coast Drifter reader: I am crabbing in the Siuslaw River in Florence Oregon. Locals without boats like me are pretty much restricted to crabbing from allowed docks and marinas. This is fun, though. Mid summer you can find people crabbing 24/7 at some locations, as they follow the tide for the best possible results. You have to work with the tide to be successful at crabbing in coastal rivers. The currents can get to be very bad and will take your traps for a ride rather than let them sit and gather the catch, and the crabs will have a difficult time moving around as well. You want to time it around the high tide. I find that going about 6 hours previous to high tide will allow several hours of good solid crabbing. As the high tide mark nears, the incoming surf relents and lets the river pour out again, bringing the swift currents that last clear past low slack tide. I have seen currents so fast that heavy traps are hoisted to the surface and will skim the water. At that point all you can do is hit a bay or go home and wait it out. I'm not sure how far inland you can expect to find crab, but the marina here in town is like 2.5 miles in and there are plenty of dungeness there. Bait today will be some really large turkey legs and a turkey neck and giblets from our holiday meal. Our local stores stock chunks of innards and nasties that they know will sell as crab bait. I find that most locals use animal scraps other than fish. The bait sold mostly to tourists is frozen shad, or fillet-less carcass of whatever the catch of the day may be. It is great bait indeed, and novel for the family crabbing on vacation, but not great for shallow waters where the majority of dock-crabbers will fish from. This is because the local seals will be very insistent on stealing fish, even un-doing bait box clasps to get to it. It is amazing, and predictable. They will not touch any other animal parts, only fish/seafoods. I am excited to now have 3 rigs, 2 are traps and one is a "pot". Traps are enclosed thus the crabs have a much more difficult time getting out, but can also take longer to let them in as well. The pots are open top nets with a wide top ring and smaller bottom ring with mesh netting making up the shape, like a big wide net bucket that lays flat on the bottom, then takes form when you pull it up, scooping the crabs into the bottom of the pot. A good bait box is necessary even when using animal scraps for bait, as you will want the bait in a protective enclosure such as a heavy plastic mesh bag or small steel cage. This way the crabs will not eat up your bait when they are in the trap. Hungry crabs can devour an entire turkey leg faster than you might think, so it is best to not let them have much real contact with the bait, or you might find yourself needing more nasties. Pots will catch crabs much quicker, but crab can easily escape or climb over the edge if you pull the pot up too slowly or let the line slack at all while bringing it in. This combination of 1 pot and 2 traps works well, as you can throw the traps in for a long soak, and use the pots by pulling them up every 5-10 minutes so you can see where the best spots are. Crabs will mass together on the bottom, you can pull up a rig with 20 crabs or more inside, then pull it up again empty 10 minutes later. They do move around a lot, but finding a large mass of crabs will ensure good results. When you seem to find a good spot with your pot, toss the traps there for a spell. Keepers are those measuring at least 5 and 3/4 inches across(again in Oregon) just after the points. You will need to have a measuring guage, and be aware that no matter how remote your location may seem, you are likely under surveillance. Rangers will roll up and surprise you, they know what they are doing. They will want to see your shell-fish license and take down information about your activities. They will measure any crabs you have kept. I see the rangers checking people out at least 2 out of 10 times I go crabbing, and also see them keeping an eye on fishermen from a distance when I am out and about doing other things. This time I went at night, at the south jetty crabbing dock. High tide was scheduled for 5:04 am at the entrance of the river. I set traps in the water at midnight. Current was rolling in strong for the entire 4 hours that I was there, fighting against the river current flowing out. This stirred things up nicely and I caught 2 keepers within 2 hours. Killing and cleaning crab is always gruesome. I always am conscious of providing a demise as humane as possible. The best way I have found to deal with the crabs is to soak them in fresh water for at least 20 minutes. This will slow them down some. Then I turn them upside down on our wood deck and place a large cleaver down the center of their body, then swiftly tamp it down with the blunt side of a hatchet, cutting the crab in half with one motion. Then remove the main body shell, guts, and gills, leaving the white clusters of meat intact with the leg and claw sections. While I am doing that, I start a stock pot or dutch oven of water with a few tablespoons of rock salt. Bring it to a nice rolling boil and throw in the crab clusters. Stir and submerge them once in awhile for 20 minutes over medium-high heat. By now I am usually so tired I could sleep for a day, crabbing is very hard work, hauling rigs, pulling them up over and over, being in the elements, etc. So I usually plate up the cooked crab and wrap it thoroughly with plastic and refridgerate it until after a good sleep. Then the cleaning process... shelling crab for the most return on your investment of hard work is a science in itself. Most people would assume that the meat is in the legs and claws, but with dungeness crab the payoff is the honeycombed clusters of body meat where the leg and claw sections all join together. You will want to take your time to carefully remove all of the meat, breaking each section with precision as you go, it really does take practice. I use a leg tip as a tool to dig the meat chunks from other portions. This catch was 2 crabs, enough for roughly 10 oz of shelled meat. There was one crab larger than the other, but it had not grown fully into its shell so there was less meat. The other was smaller, but much more solid and was packed full of juicy chunks. It all amounted to a decent bowl full of fresh caught crab meat, for 5-6 hours effort and the cost of a few turkey legs. Basically, crabbing is a hobby or getaway, it is not a fast and easy way to a delicious meal for sure. This time I served the fresh crab over penne pasta with butter and parmesan cheese. This was after a tossed salad with cut iceberg lettuce and sliced vine tomatos, lightly salted and peppered, then topped with fresh squeezed lime juice and very thin slices of pacific rose apple. The entree was accompanied by cheesy baked wheat rolls. Add a tall glass of frosty Mickey's malt liquor and Ba'ammmm!! Genuine fresh NW cuisine.