Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 20 - Butter and Spice Makes Everything Nice

Halfway point.  With my weekly reward yesterday came some butter and spices.  Wow - what a difference a little fat makes!  (See Weekly Rewards here if you want to read the details).  I cooked up the last fish carcass I had in storage and it was just so much better with a little butter and spice.
I did a pretty good job on this one - cleaned to the bone.  It's little extra work but overall I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised on how tasty the meat is around the bone.
I finished off the last of my smoked fish jerky at lunch today.  I thought that last batch would have lasted a lot longer but I just kept dipping into the bag every time I passed the refrigerator.  I am currently brining some more so I'll smoke another batch tonight or tomorrow.  I am really pleased with how it is turning out with a very simple water, sea salt and honey brine.  I'm running a little low on my sea salt because I needed a lot for the brine so I may have to make another trip to the ocean with my bucket.  I suppose, for future brines, I could skip the salt making process all together and just mix honey directly into the ocean water.  Why not?  It would save a lot of time and generally get the same result.

I had a really nice meal for dinner tonight.  Again it was rice and fish and asparagus but the preparation included the use of a little butter and that wonderful morel mushroom that I got yesterday.  I also used a little blackening spice and pepper.  I'll have to create a container full of one particular spice so that I stay more true to my original rules.  Tonight I grilled the asparagus and that was a new and different flavor that I enjoyed.  I sliced up the very odd looking morel and simply sautéed it in a little butter and it was really, really good.  I see now what all of the hype and intrigue is surrounding these mysterious gems.  Tough to describe the taste and texture - a very unique item.  Let's just say if you ever see them on the menu at a restaurant, don't pass up the opportunity to give it a try.  It would be a rare occurrence that may not happen again.  Finding a whole bunch of them would allow me to experiment further with the culinary options available with this shroom.  Someday.

A morel victory
I dried and attempted to smoke another batch of fish to have for the next few days.  However, I had the toughest time getting the wood chips to smoke.  When I bought the chips I decided to try a variety of different woods.  These range from Cherry, Alder, Apple, Hickory and others and then some called Mesquite and another that just said Whiskey.  I started the other day with the Mesquite and I got a nice billowing smoke in no time at all that did a fine job on the fish.  This most recent wood was Cherry and it just doesn't seem to want to smoke.  Again, this is a learning curve for me.  I just assumed that wood chips are wood chips but now it makes sense that different woods would tend to burn or smoke better than others.  Some may be harder wood an thus take a lot longer to ignite.  At this point, all things being equal, I just assume stick with the Mesquite and get a quick smoke on.  Unfortunately I am all out and I have to make use of all of the other wood chip varieties that I have.  From this point forward I will most definitely note which woods do the best job.  I may also notice a difference in taste between one wood and another and again this is all a relatively new learning experience.  I welcome it.

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