Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gulf Oyster Safety

OK, I've been remiss, reserved and retracted in terms of dealing with the fallout from the BP disaster, from which I still feel traumatized. I was out on the Gulf within eyesight of the burning rig as it went down, and can remember the horrible smell that permeated the air, accompanied by a burning of the eyes and throat.

What is certain is that the damage from the BP oil disaster will resonate for years, and many of the affects on the Gulf ecosystem are yet to become apparent. Along with that goes the affects on seafood and, hence, consumers health. What we can do is to educate ourselves, and I'd like to do my part in making information more accessible, and encourage information sources to be more diligent and accurate. With that in mind, let's take a look at this website:

An informational site setup by the state to provide test data on all types of seafood. I am in the process of assessing how useful the site actually is, and how to improve its utility. Please do the same.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gulf seafood is safe, LSU researcher says, but oil-spill stigma lingers

We need a few more articles like this one:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oyster Poetry

OK, so I'll start this off, and would love to have contributions from blog visitors.

A Dozen

You can rest easy
Standing, seated
Say what you will
Eat as you like
Stay awhile, or not
What's important
What's not political, and is
Is right here
In front of you, and me
To share ...
A dozen

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why are oysters a keystone species?

Without oysters many coastal ecosystems would collapse. Each oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. A healthy oyster bed can  dramatically improve water quality, in addition to cycling water between the water column and bottom-dwelling species. In Louisiana and other Gulf states, they are considered crucial to coastal restoration.

Here's how some smart folks in Mobile are utilizing oyster shells to help restore the health of Mobile Bay: Alabama oyster bed restoration among first since Gulf oil spill

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wine and Beer / Oyster Pairings

I've been thinking about which wines and beers pair well with raw oysters. Conventional wisdom is that it's the crisp, dry, clean-finishing wines which work well. I would assert, however, that it greatly depends on the oyster. What may work beautifully with a Royal Miyagi may not pair well with an Atlantic or Olympia. The saltiness, brininess (which I distinguish from saltiness), creaminess/butteriness, sweetness, metallic quality, and other flavor profiles such as cucumber, seaweed, kiwi, etc., all must influence the sort of interaction which occurs with a beer or wine on the palate. Texture and temperature (of oyster and libation) would obviously also be a major factor.  Picpoul, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris are grape varieties which tend to get used a lot, but are they best. What do you think? I'll post some of my favorites here.

I'll begin with a beer pairing. One of my favorite combinations for moderately briny Pacific oyster is Pilsner Urquell, which I find stands up without overpowering, possibly due to the high carbonation and mild hoppiness.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oyster Quote of the day

"Oysters are the most tender and delicate of all seafoods. The stay in bed all day and night. They never work or take exercise, are stupendous drinkers, and wait for their meals to come to them."
Hector Bolitho 'The Glorious Oyster' (1960)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Choupique on top

OK, oyster lovers who aren't from Southeast Louisiana may not be aware of the beauty that is "Choupique," the black bowfin fish (even more ancient than the Sturgeon) which produces a wonderful row. It used to be fairly inexpensive, and you'd sometimes hear it referred to as "Cajun" caviar.  Neither is now the case. It can now be ordered online, and it's not cheap ... generally around $10-$15/ounce. As far as I know, it has to remain refrigerated, and is seasonal to the winter months around here.  There might be other areas producing it that I'm not aware of. It pairs particularly nicely with raw oysters, as the shiny, firm, naturally black eggs are light in flavor, and don't overpower our local bivalves.