Tuesday, June 6, 2017

‘TIS THE SEA-SON FOR BBQ



Although Summer is not officially here, the weather has given us the permission to celebrate with outdoor barbecues.   Bring out the lawn chairs and grill for seafood, a savory option to meat.   We are going to prep a variety using tips from our fishmongers, Vinny and Pat, owners of Cross Bay Seashell Fish Market, located at 161-14 Cross bay Blvd. in Howard Beach (718- 835-2987).  

Let’s begin with thin wooden skewers.  You won’t burn your fingers taking them off the grill as you might with metal.  First, soak them in cold water for 10-15 minutes.  We don’t want them to go up in flames or produce splinters to ruin the texture of the seafood, now…do we?  Prepare the seafood while they are soaking.   


Garlic, salt, and lemon juice are the most common marinades.  Here’s a hint to an option of ginger juice.  Freeze portions of fresh ginger.  When thawed, you can squeeze out the juice and use pieces as well.  How about tamari sauce vs salt?  

Shrimp, dry sea scallops and a lobster tail are great shellfish choices.  Cut a slit on the back of the tail all the way to the tail fin.  Turn over so that it is on its back and insert the skewer right underneath the tail fin piercing through the meat to the other end.  Do not use butter as it may provoke flames.  Baste with butter after and let stand for a few minutes. 

Fresh fish such as tuna, salmon and swordfish are wonderful for “kebabs.”  Putting veggies such as onion, scallions and tomatoes in between certainly add to the flavor combinations.  Serve with rice.  Lotus Foods has the best and most nutritious.   Ramen noodles made from the rice is even better for enjoying the delectable juices from the combinations of the fish and added spices.   

Creating an enclosure using aluminum foil may take a bit longer in cooking time than direct heat.   I used a combo of salmon, tuna, swordfish, scallops, shrimp and small chunks of corn with the ginger juice and a few slices of butter. 




I had purchased a mini stainless steel stovetop smoker from Cameron’s.  A large size runs about $50 while the mini goes for $35.  Takes about 25 minutes to cook boneless food…small bones on fish doesn’t count.  The smoker can be placed on the stove or grill.  Samples of wood chips are provided.  Water vs chips changes it into a steamer.  A whole fish or a salmon filet lends itself to thoughts of appetizers after the smoked fish is refrigerated.  In other words, you can prep some of the day’s meal a day or two before inside your home. Top the cold smoked salmon with thin slices of onions, tomatoes and capers.  Dollop the smoked salmon with crème fraiche.


Go to one of the Green Markets for dairy products from Ronnybrook Farms.  The one in Forest Hills is open every Sunday from around 8am to 3pm.  You should arrive early as their products, brought directly from upstate New York, go rather quickly and they tend to have long lines.  The milk is pasteurized but not homogenized.  In other words, the cream sits at the top of the container.  You know that everyone is going to want an ear of corn.   Ronnybrook European Style butter gives a perfect sweetness and tang.  Don’t expect sour cream but do expect Crème Fraiche.  Don’t forget to stock up on ice cream!  Try a flavor such a Ginger Brulee.  


Cook up a pot of bisque or chowder directly on the grill using the half and half.  Make smoothies with their drinkable yogurts by adding ice and your choice of fruits to either the low fat honey vanilla or plain.  Mix cocoa, sugar, vanilla extract and whole milk in a pot.  Thicken it with a “milky” mixture of corn starch and cold water, and you have the makings of a delicious chocolate pudding dessert.   Take advantage of Ronnybrook’s  cinnamon toast butter by preparing French Toast the day before and cutting it up in strips for a snack.  Easy on the egg soaking.  

Next seafood chapter is on crab meat and skate

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Queensborough Symphony Orchestra

Kae Nakano

l. to r.  Hanako Miyajima, Kae Nakano, Paul Joseph, Dong Hyun Kim, Jin Soo Lee
l. to r.  Joseph Han, Hyun Ho Cho, Sahoko Sato Timpone, Hee Jung Lee

TIMESLEDGER, JUNE 2-8, 2017
TL
BY MERLE EXIT
Despite the exodus that can
be Memorial Day Weekend,
Mary’s Nativity Church was
packed with music lovers on
Sunday for the performances
of the Queenboro Symphony
Orchestra and official debut
of the Queensboro Symphony
Choir.
The founder of the Queens-
boro Symphony Orchestra,
Paul Joseph, has added a new
musical dimension with the
creation of the Queensboro
Symphonic Choir, which made
its debut May 28. It was one
of the most dynamic perfor-
m a n c e s t h i s r e v i e w e r h a s s e e n ,
thanks to the talent of artists
and acoustics of the venue.
For Joseph, adding a choir
was another step in the forma-
tion of the Queensboro Music
Society in Queens.
“It originated with a Town
Hall Series of chamber mu-
sic concerts presented by the
orchestra members,” said Jo-
seph.
Anton Bruckner’s “Te
Deum” was the 25-minute
hymn that featured the choir,
led by choir director Jin Soo
Lee. There are 25 members of
the choir, and it was clear from
the performance that the sing-
ers were either professional or
semi-professional.
“Te Deum” highlighted the
orchestra, chorus, and four
soloists. Soprano Hee Jung
Lee, born in Seoul, South Ko-
rea, is a member of the Car-
amoor Opera. Alto Sahoko
Sato Timpone, a native of To-
kyo who grew up in Germany
and the United States, has an
impressive background of
performances throughout the
world, and is also a member of
the Met Opera Chorus. Tenor
Hyun Ho Cho is a graduate of
Mannes School of Music PSD.
Singing Bass was Joseph Han,
a second-prize winner of the
East Coast International Com-
petition at the Music Institute
of Long Island.
Joseph’s compositions “Cry
of a Butterf ly” and “First
Tears of Spring” opened the
evening’s presentation as as-
sistant Concertmaster Hana-
ko Miyajima took her seat. It
was easy to tell that what fol-
lowed would be an example of
greatness.
This awe-inspiring pro-
gram, led by maestro Dong-
Hyun Kim, included Max
Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy”
for violin with orchestra and
harp, featuring Japanese-
born violinist and Concert-
master Kae Nakano, who is a
“virtuoso.”

Queensboro Symphony
Chamber Music Society, a
small group from the orches-
tra, will be performing at
Flushing Town Hall on Friday,
June 23, at 11 am. The Queens-
boro Symphony Orchestra has
its season opener on October

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

COOKING FOR MOM ON HER DAY



Mothers Day connotes gifts, one of which is spoiler her by making dinner.  The problem is that you are used to mom being the cook.  One great idea is to buy food with the preparations already taken care of so all you have to do is cook.  Take, for instance Cross Bay Seashell Fish Market, located in Howard Beach where you can opt for whole or fileted fish or get some with the proper seasonings to minus the recipe. 

Vincent Marinello is the co-owner of Cross Bay Seashell Fish Market, located at 161-14 Cross bay Blvd. in Howard Beach.  “My family comes from a small fishing village in Sicily called Sciacca,” said Vinny. “As a teen my dad (Luigi) would work on a fishing boat along with his brothers. He would be out at sea for days and at times for weeks.”

Upon arriving in New York along with my mother, my dad started working for a gentleman by the name of Ray Hart, who owned Crossbay Seashell at the time. This was in 1974. My dad worked for Ray Hart until 1982. Then in 1982 Mr. Hart sold Crossbay Seashell to my dad and to my uncle (Salvatore Catanzaro).  My uncle retired around 10 years ago, and he sold his share of the business to Pat Marotta, who is currently my partner.

My dad retired 4 years ago, and I took over his ownership. As for me I never envisioned myself owning the business. I went to college, got my degree, and worked in the Import/Export field as a sales associate for around 6 years. When my uncle retired I went back to give my dad a hand, and haven¹t left since.”

On the top of the list of “preparations” is a Maine lobster, already steamed or stuffed with shrimp and scallops (and bread crumbs) to bake it on your own.   It is so worth ripping apart and getting every little morsel.  Keep in mind that if you purchase lobster tails (anywhere) they are frozen and cooked   There is nothing like having fresh lobster.   As for the “gift” portion, how about your taking it apart and less work for her.  It doesn’t just mean the two claws and tail.  Meat is hidden in the tiny claws and inside the body.   I found that the lobster did not require added butter.  I don’t know where that tradition began since the lobster itself should be juicy and sweet.   Save the calories for some dessert, instead. 

Stuffed flounder is a good choice for non-shell fish as well as being “mild” in taste.  Vinny or Pat will stuff it with lump crabmeat, shrimp, cream of mushroom soup and bread crumbs.  Now, that sounds delicious.  How did it taste?  As if it were served at a fine dining restaurant (I followed the baking instructions that Pat gave me).  

You can get two types of crab cakes.  Vinny tells me that some people actually prefer them with the imitation crab meat and are much less expensive.   I prefer the real Maryland style that they stuff with lots of lump crab meat, some bread crumbs and those Maryland spices.   Fish cakes are another option using cod instead of crab.  Easy tartar sauce combines mayonnaise and relish.  For a spicier one use one with mustard or just add a bit of mustard to the other two ingredients.  

Baked clams oreganata uses the fresh clams with olive oil and seasoned breadcrumbs as is an excellent appetizer.  It’s not as if mom will be eating all of this!  

A Shrimp Cocktail presentation will wow mom.  Pat tells me that the shrimp are wild and come from South America.  Buy them raw and steam in beer…that’s right.  It gives a bit of sweetness and removes a bit of the fishy flavor.   You can get cocktail sauce or make your own.  It’s now difficult.   A combination of ketchup and horse radish does the trick and gives mom the option of adding more horse radish if it further tempts the palate.   Line a martini glass and place the cocktail sauce in the middle.   If you really don’t want to cook it, Vinny or Pat will steam it for you.  Important to note that the shrimp has been frozen and thawed out.  You cannot refreeze but you can cook it up and freeze.  

If you don’t want to make your own cocktail or tartar sauce, you can purchase that at the market.  However, if you want lemons or limes you have to go next door to the grocer. While you’re there, I highly suggest that you pick up a can of crabmeat.  Get the one that comes from the claw. It has both excellent quality and taste (I tried it and loved it!).  Use some of it with the shrimp cocktail, add it to a salad with avocado and lime juice, concoct a crab quiche, add it to macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese sandwich.  Keep in mind that the can of crabmeat is fresh and requires refrigeration. When you open the can, it stays fresh for 3-4 days.   Best thing is to take out portions of the meat, place in containers and freeze. 

I suggest that you call ahead of time…like maybe a day or two before to make sure that all of the items are available when you get there.  Phone: (718) 835-2987.  Small parking lot on the premises.