Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sturgeon Moon - Anna Sultana’s Grilled Sturgeon with Lemon Caper Sauce

This Saturday, on August 29, we'll be seeing a full moon that is called a Sturgeon Moon.

I know I usually post a drink recipe when full and new moons are coming.
But, I posted the recipes for two Whiskey Sour recipes a few days ago in honour of National Whiskey Sour Day.
So that’s my booze contribution for this week.
This is a G rated food blog after all.

In honour of the Sturgeon Moon I’m posting a sturgeon recipe Ma had clipped, adjusted and forwarded to me.

Time for a disclaimer:
No sturgeons were injured in making this post.
Yes, I know the recipe calls for sturgeon.
Tell that to my local butcher/fish monger.

I live in the north end of Winnipeg.
There are limits to what I can find in my local stores.
I’m over 65 and I’m not about to waste what time I have left searching for a fish.
I’m just cooking a dinner, not going on a mythical quest.
Captain Ahab’s obsession for Moby Dick always struck me as a bit compulsive.

Back to my local butcher/fish monger…
He explained that sturgeons are at risk of total extinction.
They are slow growing and slow to mature.
So they don’t make many babies.
Especially since a ton of their eggs are made into caviar.

I also got an education on how they make caviar.
It ain’t pretty.
They stun the fish and extract the ovaries.
Ovaries are where ovaries usually are, so, yes, we’re talking blood.
Or they do a C section, as if that makes a difference.
This is very painful and stressful for the fish.
No fooling.
A kinder method involves making a small cut in the fish’s urogenital muscle.
Most caviar makers aren’t all that touchy feely.

The kindest way to eat caviar is to buy a caviar substitute made from seaweed.
Your vegetarian guests will love you forever for serving it.

Sturgeon can also be a problem if you’ve invited your Jewish friends.
Surgeon have ganoid scales instead of the permitted ctenoid and cycloid scales. 
While all Orthodox groups forbid the consumption of sturgeon, some conservative groups do allow it.
Don’t give your Jewish friends the third degree.
Play it safe and don’t serve them sturgeon.

In England and Wales, the sturgeon, along with whales and porpoises, is a royal fish.
Every sturgeon caught in those countries is the property of the Crown.
Remember what they did in Robin Hood’s day to peasants who shot the king’s deer?
Queen Elizabeth's job has been hard enough, what with her kids and all.
Don't push your luck.  
You might not catch her on a good day.

This recipe calls for something hefty, like a mackerel or tuna.
You can also use skinless, boneless chicken breast.
Which is always available, and is often on sale.
That’s what Ma did.

Maybe her butcher/fish monger gave her the same guilt trip.
The north end of Winnipeg is just the Canadian version of Queens.
Anyway, Ma liked finding another caper sauce recipe.
The butter base was a little change from her caper sauce with olive oil.

Chicken breast can be eaten with a clear conscience by your Jewish friends.
Your vegetarian friends won’t like it, but at least the Queen won’t have you arrested.


On the off chance you actually find sturgeon in the store:
It is a meaty fish that can be served baked, fried, smoked, or grilled. 
Its flesh won’t flake when it’s done. 
Don’t overcook it because it will just become tough with a more fishy flavour.

The grill should be 4 inches from the coals.
Prepare a medium hot fire in a grill, either charcoal or gas.
Or preheat the gas grill or broiler.
When the grill is ready, wipe the grilling surface with a towel soaked in vegetable oil to coat the grill plates.

You can also serve the sauce in a gravy boat.
Some folks don't like lemon or capers.
No problem.

                        Grilled Sturgeon

Serves 4

Lightly coat with extra virgin olive oil
4 sturgeon fillets, about 1/2 pound each, skin removed 
Season with
salt and pepper to taste

Place the fish on the prepared grill.
Do not move or disturb once placed on the grill.
Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side. 
Remove from heat, cover, and let rest.

                        Lemon Caper Sauce

Place in a small pot
4 Tablespoons butter
Melt butter over medium heat.
1 small clove garlic, grated or minced
Sauté for about a minute.
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon capers
Sauté for another minute.
Remove from heat and add
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Place the sturgeon fillets on a serving platter.
Spoon the sauce over the fillets.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

About the moon this week…
According to the Farmers Almanac:

August 29 – Full Sturgeon Moon at 2:35 p.m.  The visible moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Although the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it is considered full for the entire day of the event and appears full for three days.
It is also called "Corn Moon", "Red Moon", "Green Corn Moon" and "Grain Moon”.

August 30 – The Moon will be at perigee, meaning it’s nearest point to Earth in its orbit. Because perigee comes less than a day after the Moon is at its “full” phase, many are calling this a “supermoon.”

August 31 – Neptune will be at opposition.  Nothing personal.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Whiskey Sour Recipe - Margaret Ullrich

It’s been one of those summers here in Manitoba.
Sometimes it’s been too hot, or too rainy, or too windy, or too something to do anything.
This weekend it’s been too rainy and windy.

On August 24 it’s National Whiskey Sour Day.
After we looked out the window, we decided to celebrate early.
If you also live in Manitoba, maybe you’ll think that’s a good idea, too.
Can’t fight Mother Nature.

The first mention of a Whiskey Sour was in a newspaper published in Wisconsin in 1870.
The state of Wisconsin isn’t far from Manitoba.
Maybe they were having one of those summers, too.

You might also like to try the Ward 8.
It is based either in Bourbon or rye whiskey, with both lemon and orange juices, and grenadine syrup as the sweetener. 
Do not add the egg white to the Ward 8.


Whiskey Sour can be served either straight up or over ice.

Some people add a dash of egg white.
If you add that, it’s called a Boston Sour.

Some recipes call for Gomme syrup.
It’s easy to make a simple syrup.
Boil 1 Cup water.
Stir in 1 Cup sugar.
Store in fridge.

                        Whiskey Sour

Serves 4

Pour into a shaker
crushed ice
3/4 Cup whiskey
1/2 Cup lemon juice   (4 lemons)
1/2 Cup lime juice    (4 limes)
2/3 Cup simple syrup 
Strain into an ice filled old-fashioned glass. 
Garnish with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice.

                        Whiskey Sour #2

Pour into a shaker
1 1/2 ounces whiskey
1 1/2 ounces lemon juice 
3/4 ounces simple syrup
Pour into an ice filled old-fashioned glass.
Garnish with a cherry.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Perseids and the Milky Way - Long Island Iced Tea Recipe by Margaret Ullrich

Summer is just zipping along.
Here we are in the middle of August.
In a couple of weeks the kids will be back in school.
Tonight the Perseids meteor shower will begin.
In a couple of days you’ll be able to see the Milky Way.
Time to create a few summer memories.

While the kids are oohing and aahing, you can sit back and relax with a nice drink.
The kids have been home for a couple of months.
You've earned it.

August 16 is National Rum Day.
In honour of that, you could go all pirate-like and knock back a few slugs, while singing Sixteen men on a dead man’s chest.

But maybe you should save that bit of fun for when the kids are in school.
You don’t want to give them any ammunition for when they do ‘Show and Tell’.

Long Island Iced Tea has rum in it.
Along with a few other things.
Think of it as a way of using leftovers.
You’ll have a bit more change to buy the kiddies’ school supplies.
Aren’t you being wonderful!!

Some Long Island Iced Tea history…
It may have started with a drink invented in the 1920s during Prohibition, by an "Old Man Bishop" in Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee.  
It was then perfected by Ransom Bishop, Old Man Bishop's son. 
This drink included whiskey and maple syrup, and varied quantities of the five liquors.

The Long Island Iced Tea appears in literature as early as 1961.
It's also called Texas Iced Tea, Georgia Iced Tea, Tokyo Tea, and Three Mile Island.

Back to the meteor shower viewing with the kiddies…
Make some regular iced tea for them and they’ll never know.


Some recipes call for 1/2 ounce sweet and sour mix instead of 1/2 ounce lemon juice and 1 teaspoon sugar.

Some replace the cola with actual iced tea, or add white crème de menthe. 
Some restaurants substitute brandy for the tequila. 

                        Long Island Iced Tea

Shake with ice
1/2 ounce light rum
1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec (or other orange-flavored liqueur)
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
Strain into a chilled highball glass filled with ice.
Top with cola (leaving 1/2 inch space at top of glass)
Gently stir and garnish with a lemon wedge or spiral.
Serve with a straw. 

                        Long Island Iced Tea #2

Shake with ice 
1/2 ounce rum
1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce triple sec (or other orange-flavored liqueur)
1 ounce lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Strain into a chilled highball glass filled with ice.
Top with cola (leaving 1/2 inch space at top of glass)
Gently stir and garnish with a lemon wedge or spiral.
Serve with a straw. 

About the meteor shower and the moon…
According to the Farmers’ Almanac:

August is often regarded as “meteor month” with the appearance of The Perseids Meteor Shower. Viewing will be nearly ideal this year, as the Moon will be heading toward the New phase so it won’t be so bright.

The Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus, which is in the area of the sky where the shower appears. Look for the constellation Perseus in the northeast, near Cassiopeia, which looks like a large letter “W.”  The shower’s peak occurs around August 12, and  will be visible through August 22. 

The meteors are created by the dusty trail left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle as it orbits the Sun. The particles burn up in our atmosphere, becoming meteors, also known as “falling” or “shooting” stars.

The meteors can be seen with the naked eye. The best time to observe any meteor shower is during the early morning hours, between 2 and 5 a.m., but meteors will be visible any time after dusk, with a sharp upturn in activity around 11 p.m. Observers can expect to see as many as 60 meteors per hour during this shower.

August 14 - New Moon - no moon to see.  
Because the Moon is in its New phase, it will be dark, making it the best time for the kiddies to view the Milky Way.