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Posts Tagged ‘seafood’

And guess who forgot to take a picture before devouring it?

Me.

Oops.

I can tell you about it though!

I was in Whole Foods at Gateway during my lunch break yesterday and saw the bountiful array of seafood.  Whole Red Snapper plucked from the water and on grand display on ice in wood crates.  Smoked fish.  Fresh fillets.  So many choices!  I settled on half a pound of bay scallops and a pound of mussels.  These were to foundation of my pasta dish.

The thought of fresh made pasta crossed my mind.  I didn’t buy any semolina so it remained an idea for next time.

Once home from work, I fried bacon and an orange pepper.  Took those out of the pan and used the bacon fat to sear the scallops.  Took the scallops out after a couple of minutes and heated marinara sauce.  Cleaned mussels were tossed in the pan and covered, they steamed until popping open.  The bacon, pepper, and scallops joined the cooked mussels.  Of course there was a pot of spaghetti cooking in the background.

Toss some pasta with the sauced seafood and enjoy!

If I make this again I’ll try to snap a photo for you.

 

 

 

 

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This time we tried one of the strangest things on the menu, actually two sea creatures. Abalone and Sea Cucumber.

Meet Mr. Abalone: 
He’s a big fat snail of sorts, a mollusk sort.
Slightly rubbery. Strange ocean aftertaste.

Meet Mr. Sea Cucumber: 

He’s very soft and squishy. The texture is very much like a cooked cucumber with a fishy flavor mixed in. Weird, I know, but I was surprized how much I ate.

To round out the dish is a beautiful presentation of baby bok choi and black mushrooms. I don’t really go for mushrooms in general, but these were so dense and meaty.

Horray for trying something new!  Now where’s my ice cream?

Ho Ho Chinese BBQ is located at 13000 N I -35,  Austin, TX 78753 (Next to Red Robin).

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Ceviche Salad

My friend made a huge bowl of ceviche, how could you not after returning from Cancun?

We swapped dessert for appetizer today.  All I did was add some garden tomatoes, a bed of arugula and spinach, and a drizzle of olive oil.  The ceviche was made with bay scallops, tilapia, red pepper, avocado, red onion, cilantro and lime.  The lime juice cooks the scallops and tilapia while it marinades in the fridge.

Perfect post-vacation dinner to bring the surf home with you!

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Yeah, yeah.  I can hear your groans from here.  Poor Heather is stuck in the land of eternal summer, no snow in July, no blizzards in November.  I’ve been informed of the “heat wave” that hit Alberta with temperatures soaring to 35ºC.  So y’all know what I’m complaining about.

Salads are perfect while it’s too hot to attempt turning on a stove.

The first salad incorporates tomatoes from the green house.  A hint of arugula spices up red lettuce and spinach.  Threw some roasted chicken breast for protein.  Creamy Caesar dressing to top it all off.

The second salad can be done on the grill or on the stove.  It’s really a toss-up for me: get a sunburn while cooking outside or heat up the house a little and crank up the fans.  I decided to save my skin this time and used a grill pan on the stove.  While I was assembling this salad, I had the jar of home-made dressing in one hand and tongs in the other.  I decided to give the dressing one more shake to mix it up again just before adding some to the zucchini and shallots in a bowl.  The lid was loose.  Dressing went everywhere!  The kids asked me what happened and all that came out was “Mommy made a BIG mess!”

Prawn Summer Salad

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 small shallot, sliced
  • handful or so of greens (arugula, spinach, lettuce)
  • 1 zucchini, peeled with a veggie peeler to make ribbons
  • 2-3 prawns, heads on and all, rinsed
  • Ponzu dressing (1 part Ponzu + 1 part agave nectar + 1 part lemon juice + 3 parts good olive oil + red chili flakes)

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan, if you left the pan to pre-heat you might burn the pine nuts!  Just a word of caution for you.  Set the lightly toasted pine nuts aside.  Add a little olive oil to the pan and grill the pepper and shallot.  Meanwhile, put the lettuce(s) on the plate.  You can briefly grill the zucchini, if it’s a baby and tender it doesn’t need to be cooked at all.  Put the zucchini in a bowl and add the peppers and shallot. Grill the prawns until they are pink on both sides and curl into a C-shape.  A couple of minutes per side.  While the prawns cook, pour the parts of the Ponzu dressing in a narrow jar, put the lid on tightly and shake to emulsify.  Pour some dressing into the bowl with the zucchini, peppers and shallot, toss to coat.  Pile the zucchini on the lettuce.  Rest the prawns on the pile.  Garnish with toasted pine nuts.  Additional dressing can be used from the jar, I like to leave it on the table during dinner.

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Located in Austin’s Chinatown at Kramer Lane and N. Lamar Blvd, TC Noodle House serves up a lengthly menu of traditional Chinese cuisine.

(Above) The Clay Hot Pot with pork ribs swimming in a dark soy garlic sauce and rendered fat from the ribs.  The ribs are small and most have a fat cap remaining, I usually cut off any visible fat in anything I eat so this wasn’t an issue for me.  The meat is very tender and not overly seasoned.

The Crab Asparagus Soup is made with green asparagus that seems to have originated from a can or the freezer, or it has been cooking in the thick broth all day.  The crab in the soup is scattered about.  I only found a couple notable pieces.  Overall, the soup was good, but we moved on to better things.

Hubby requested Salt & Pepper Scallops, which we didn’t see on the menu but our server said no problem.  He returned mere minutes later with a plate of delicately seasoned and fried scallops.  The best scallops I’ve ever tasted!  And I’m not the seafood buff of the family!  I would go back just to try these again.

The restaurant itself is probably the cleanest one I’ve been to.  Tile floors instead of carpet helps to keep odors away.  A huge elephant statue and tall bamboo near the cashier adds Asian flair.  The bathrooms were also very clean, but I didn’t see a baby changing station.

We had a very pleasant meal and left with full bellies, it onlt set us back about $28 for essentially a three course lunch!

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Marisco Grill (6444 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78757 ) is a tiny turquoise blue restaurant serving up a surprising array of Mexican seafood dishes.  The three page menu focuses a third of the offerings from the ocean.  One you shouldn’t miss is the Vuelve a la Vida (above), this was a half portion for only $7.25 and was plenty to share between Hubby and I as our appetizer, besides the house salsa and tortilla chips.  There’s heat, lime, and treasure chest of real seafood pieces, nice avocado chunks and fresh cilantro.  This was my first octopus in a ceviche, I found it soft and oily, maybe like blubber.  It was alright,  I stuck to the shrimp and avocado.

Soccer games flicker in each corner of the dining area.  Neon beer signs hang on the walls above nautical images, mostly sailboats, which is odd because sailboats are not exactly the type of boat you would fish from.  Lunch arrived.  Hubby had the small order of crab soup Sopa de Jaiba ($5.50) which caused a series of “mmmm”s from his side of the table.  I tasted the broth, it had a chipotle flavor in the background and a fish stock base I’m guessing.

The show stopper was my platter of crab stuffed enchiladas, Enchilada de Jiaba.  I was pleased to have vegetables instead of refried beans, and the rice had a garlic butter hint to it.  For $9.50 this pair of crab meat filled tortillas was more than I could eat.  I found a few pieces of crab shell in my enchiladas but I know how hard it is to see the translucent interior shells of those small crabs.

Might be classified in the dive category, but they do have decent seafood at a price I can swallow.

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Of all the things to run low on, salt should never be one of them. I kept thinking the box of little crystals would continue providing this essential ingredient.  To say the least, we’ve been on a low-sodium diet lately.

That is until today.  Finally remembered to pick up salt at the store, two canisters: regular salt and sea salt.  Why both?  Well I have my own OCD tendencies in the kitchen, besides being burly and over bearing on anyone else who might try to cook in it.

Regular salt is used in baking.  Since baking typically involves mixing so many different ingredients, you can’t tell me you would know that chocolate muffin was made with regular salt or sea salt.  If you can, your palate should be used on Iron Chef or something.

Sea salt is used in cooking.  If the precious rock crystals run out, thou may substitute regular salt.  Sea salts, in my opinion, are less harsh on the tongue, a softer salt flavour if that makes sense.  Sea salt is a must for caramel popcorn.

So tonite’s dinner was surf ‘n’ surf and could have been doused in sea water.  I put way too much sea salt on the poor fish fillets, I think I double salted them.  Try eating very little salt for a week and then eat salty chips, you mouth will be on fire and you’ll be looking for the nearest water fountain.  That was pretty close to the sensation after eating this plate.  I need to pay more attention when cooking fish, too much of anything will overpower a thin fillet.  Salmon stands up a bit better to my cooking style and is forgiving.  Thank you Njord!

  • 1 fillet of white fleshed fish per person
  • 1/3 lb shrimp per person
  • 3 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp butter per pound of shrimp
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • sea salt

Sprinkle fillets with garlic powder, onion powder and sea salt on both sides, easy with the salt there cowgirl.  Heat olive oil briefly in a pan, sear both sides of the fillets.  Hold fish in a warm oven.  Melt the butter in the pan.  Add the shrimp in a single layer, add the garlic and sea salt to taste.  Flip the shrimp once, they should be “C”s and opaque when finished cooking.

Serve with rice and/or salad.

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Catfish and Shrimp (Not Seafood)

Take a look around Austin.  Do you find any sunny sandy beaches overlooking an endless body of water?  I didn’t think so.  So why do so many restaurants tout themselves as “seafood” establishments?  Well, they improvise with catfish and shrimp.  I’m not a fan of either.  While some of you may agree with me and are searching for fish from an ocean, there are a few good catfish in these parts that will do in a pinch.

 Deckhand Oyster Bar ( EB SH-45/Louis Henna Blvd  & Parker Rd in Round Rock) did a great job with their Whole Seafood (Shrimp) Stuffed Flounder.  The waitress gave me a sample of their catfish when I wrinkled up my nose while perusing the menu.  It didn’t have that distinctive muddy flavor that catfish typically has.  Go during Happy Hour (3-6pm M-F) to save a couple bucks, maybe have an extra drink or half-dozen oysters on the half shell?  The gumbo is good too.

The Catfish Parlor (Hwy 183 SB, between Pavillion Blvd & Bell Ave in Austin) includes a lunch buffet option if you are famished.  Spicy or regular fried catfish, shrimp, and fresh coleslaw with a selection of sides.  Good little hushpuppies here too.

Fun Fish Fare

Fish Daddy’s Seafood Grill (I-35)not only serves up traditional American style fish ‘n’ chips, they make a darn good margarita.  Head north on I-35 and take the Wells Branch Parkway exit, stay on the left of the frontage road.  There is a movie theater just a little further up the road to round out the night.

 Roaring Fork (downtown 701 North Congress Avenue or in north Austin on Stonelake Blvd) Paula Deen enjoyed a meal here while in town for Texas Book Festival last October, she loved the green chilies.  Try the crab cakes or wild salmon!  This is a great spot if you’ve scored tickets to the Paramount Theater right next door, or to nosh on aquatic delights before heading to 6th street to dance the night away.

Marisco Grill Mexican Seafood (6444 Burnet Road)another Mexican dive in an older neighborhood of north Austin, but don’t let looks fool you.  Try the Vuelva a la Vida cocktail of octopus, shrimp, oyster, avocado, cilantro and spicy lime juice.  If you’re into ceviche this is a MUST try! If you like Mexican food and want something other than beans and cheese on everything, Mariscos is where to go. Sure there’s shrimp and catfish, but you’ll also run into whole snapper fish on the menu. Update: This restaurant may be closed?  Drove by the other day and nobody was there.

Freda’s (Hwy 183 NB & Pecan Park) Thursday is Ladies Night!  Pop in for free salsa dancing lessons and a refreshment.  If you’re hungry try the gumbo or the seafood stuffed avocado (seriously, I’m drooling right now).  Freda’s is also a good place for Sunday brunch, all you can muster down the hatch for about $18 (adult). Prime rib, pork tenderloin, fresh omelets, pancakes, and seafood including that avocado I’m dreaming of.  Did I mention crab legs?  Now that’s a surf ‘n’ turf that will stuff you sober!

Make an Impression

Perry’s (downtown, Colorado & 7th)  This is the best restaurant downtown to find fine dinning surf’n’turf.  Perry’s offers a Hong Kong Style Sea Bass that is heavenly paired with a glass of their private label white wine.  Salmon, Snapper, and Lobster are also menu mates with the Sea Bass.  Everything is made with pride at Perry’s.

Truluck’s (downtown, Colorado & 4th or Hwy 183 @ Gateway/Great Hills) If crab is your muse, Truluck’s has your ticket.  Monday is all you can eat stone crab!  Visit during Happy Hour (4:30 -7pm) for the best prices so you can relax with a drink and slurp ceviche or munch on a salmon burger at half price.

Perla’s (1400 S. Congress south of downtown) For casual upscale seafood, Perla’s is the place to go.  They won’t mind the flip-flops you’re sporting.  Perla’s has a very diverse seafood offering and you can find oysters from both Canadian coasts here (bonus point from me)!  Insane tuna tartar and scallop pozole soup.

Ho Ho Chinese BBQ (I-35 @ Parmer Lane) Abalone with sea cucumber and black mushrooms are only two of the treasures from the deep you can sample at Ho Ho’s.  Live lobsters, giant crab, prawns, and Rockfish greet you at the door as you wait to be seated at one of North Austin’s best Chinese restaurants.  Don’t let the Mandarin fool you, the Chinese eat an extensive array of ocean delights and Ho Ho’s will amuse your senses at an affordable price.  Dinner is presented family style, so bring a friend (or more) and try something different.

Eddie V’s  (downtown, 5th & San Jacinto; Arboretum) Fine Dining with a gluten-free menu.  Live music on Sunday and Monday evenings will set the mood for a couple’s dinner.  Have a glass of wine and relax after a day of sightseeing around Austin.  Wildfish is owned by the same people and has a similar vibe as Eddie V’s.
Wink (downtown, 10th & Lamar) prides itself as personable fine dining.  The chefs prepare a menu every day using local ingredients, so it will change with the seasons.  Obviously the seafood is flown in fresh (see first paragraph).  Local ranchers are the sources for lamb, beef, and other critters selected for Wink’s fabulous menu.

Uchi (downtown south of the river, 8th & South Lamar) by Tyson Cole, yes that Tyson Cole!  If you’re not a Food Network junkie like me, Chef Cole met his match against Chef Morimoto-san in an Iron Chef America battle of ginger.  Uchi is expanding to Houston this year so you can enjoy all the best seafood and sushi near the quaint tourist destination and cruise ship port of Galveston.

Don’t Miss Austin Food Blogger Top Picks!

Quality Seafood Market (5621 Airport Boulevard) The perfect place to buy your own seafood to prepare at home.  There is also a café on site if you prefer someone else to do the cooking.  Check their Facebook page for the daily specials!
Parkside (downtown, San Jacinto & 6th) Dinner menu features Canadian oysters (P.E.I. and B.C. yum!), several creative twists on ceviche, several vegetarian options, and five-star entrées by Chef Shawn Cirkiel.  This chef loves his local farmers and was one of the founders of the SFC Farmers’ Market downtown (4th & Guadalupe Saturday mornings).
Le Soleil (9616 North Lamar) Shellfish of all sorts are the stars of the show at Soleil (“sun” in French).  Go on the weekends for the live lobster and crawfish and other Vietnamese dishes.
The results are in! AFBA survey for 2012 top restaurants is here

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A new seafood restaurant popped up in the ‘hood.  Hubby was very excited to introduce me to Deckhand Oyster Bar.

The restaurant is a renovation of a previous Italian place that I never tried.  Tucked behind a Salvation Army at IH-35/SH-45 you will find this brightly painted seafood joint.

Outside you will pass previously enjoyed oyster shells on your way in the door.

I’m not sure when they opened but they are still hiring staff and working with perhaps as little as three or four people during the day.  The front staff were cool but friendly.  The decor has a nautical theme, well suited for an oyster bar.

 

 

We ordered a half-dozen oysters as an appetizer.  This was only the second (or third?) time I’ve tried these guys, Hubby is an avid oyster eater.  The waitress added an extra oyster to the plate too.  A good start.

 

 

The main lunch entrée was a stuffed flounder to share.  The side of rice was a great accompaniment to the Cajun spiced flounder and shrimp stuffing.  Since the kitchen was being slow we were offered a free bowl of gumbo while we chatted and waited for our beauty of a fish.  The gumbo was tasty, all the earthy spices you would expect to find in a shrimp gumbo.  Some of the bay leaves ended up in my bowl, perhaps tied bundles would work better there, chef.

 

Don’t expect this place to carry Michelin stars anytime soon, it’s a quaint neighborhood restaurant with a decent menu and reasonably  affordable prices.  I expect business to grow once the Fronterra office buildings down the road are filled with new employees next year.  This will be one of the few hot lunch spots in this part of Round Rock.

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