Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Cioppino Sunday

It’s Sunday.  Up, not too early (after all, we do need our beauty sleep) we plan our day.  Our Sonoma County museum is currently showing an exhibit,  a collection of maps, old maps, maps from the beginning of maps.  Discovery maps.  So we decide to go see this after an excellent breakfast of some Super Simple Scones, bacon and a beautiful Chandon Rose sparkling wine (it’s not champagne unless it comes from Champagne and that’s in France, Chandon is in Napa County in California so it’s sparkling wine.)  Of course, as is typical in my house, as we are eating our breakfast we are discussing what else we might eat during the day, specifically, for dinner… “I want something seafood” says the hubby…”and to be served with a red wine, a Syrah.”   “How about cioppino?”  I ask.  ”Sounds great” he says, “Whole Foods has some crab and I’ll make some garlic toasts to go with.”  Day planned.

We go to the exhibit, very interesting how the world was viewed in the years before Columbus, and even after how much influence the church had in determining what was acceptable as a world view and what was not. Did you know that Galileo was put under house arrest by the church because he proved the universe did not revolve around earth, but that it revolved around the sun?  Crazy thoughts now, but back then, not so much. And all the early maps show California as an island off the coast of America.  Well, if there’s a big quake, that might not be too far off the money.
Sonoma County Musuem
Early map with California as an island

 After the exhibit we decided to get a little bite at  a Thai place called Khoom Lanna, one of the few food establishments smart enough to be open in downtown Santa Rosa on a Sunday (and they wonder why there’s no business in our little downtown, um…people want to go to places where they can get something to eat…ya think?).  We ordered a few appetizers, they were not only beautifully presented, they were delicious.

Goodie Bags
Good Good Goodie Bags

On to seafood shopping.  As the DH said there was crab at Whole Foods, and I prefer their sustainable practices for seafood, meat and poultry, we decide to go there.  They don’t have any crab. “But you had some last week”…well they say, yes they did have it last week but since our local crabbing season starts tomorrow…we didn’t order any from Oregon or Washington and that’s where we got it last week…ya know, the whole local thing.   Great.  OK…so new plan.  We get our fresh clams, mussels, some shrimp and decide to go with Alaskan king crab leg (yeah, that’s totally local) and a lobster tail (Maine?) to replace the Dungenous crab.  While less local then before, I think it’s going to be one great Cioppino.

Lindy’s Cioppino

LindySez: When working with fresh shellfish, make sure that the bags (usually plastic) are not closed, ask them to leave them open.  Also, watch the person who is picking out your shellfish, don’t let them just grab them willy nilly, make sure they are checking them to make sure your bivalves are alive.  Alive is when the shells, even when open, close as soon as you touch them.  Dead is when they stay open .  And you don’t want dead. When you get home, take the clams and mussels out of the bags and put them into a large bowl, do not put them on ice, (as the ice melts they will drown) or put them in water.  I know, it seems counter intuitive, they live in water don’t they?  Yes, they do, but they can’t live in tap water.  So, put them into a large bowl and cover them with a damp clean towel and pop them into the refrigerator. (If you keep them like this, and the towel stays damp, you could probably keep them for a couple of days, although I like to buy and eat mine on the same day). Do not clean them until you are ready to cook them.  To clean them, rinse them under cold running water, scrubing the shells and taking and beards off the mussels.

LindySez: Cheers to Cioppino Sunday.

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