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Remembering Jon Rowley and Small Good Things

John Rowley, the man who taught me how to shuck oysters, passed away on October 4, 2017. I will always remember him. He forged his zeal for life out of an enormous sadness.

Photo by Kate McDermott

Here’s a story about him:

Sex, Death & Oysters, Chapter Nine: Will Shuck for Food

…It […]

Perfect Gift for Oyster Lovers!

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A limited number of signed copies of Sex, Death & Oysters are now available at Kitchen Chick in Galveston and El Real Tex-Mex in Houston.

One night at  Gaido’s, the historic seafood restaurant here in my hometown of Galveston, my wife and I were being seated at one of the popular tables near the windows […]

American Fish Wines

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Gravitas from Boony Doon is a California tribute to the white wines of the French Graves region. Made with lots of Semillion to smooth out the Sauvignon Blanc, I like this wine a lot better than many of the “flinty” Graves whites I have sampled. The crisp clean citrus flavors and aroma derived […]

Katie’s Meat Series: Wild Duck Gumbo

 

By guest blogger Katie Walsh

I spent some time in Houston with my dad On A Meat Mission, to learn about meat and how it’s cooked. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing recipes and tales from our meaty adventures.

With a fridge full of fresh daikon pickles, the next lesson on Dad’s list was wild duck. And what better to do with wild duck than make a big pot of gumbo?

We opened Texas Eats to Chapter 5: The Cajun Invasion and read through a recipe from Jim Gossen. It called for 6 wild ducks—the exact number we had on hand.

As they defrosted, I asked my dad whether they were hard to clean—ours seemed ready to go except for one feathery wing still attached. He explained that usually, a kid at the hunting site charged a couple bucks each to clean them for you, stripping them down to the breast (where most of the meat is) and throwing the rest aside.

One wing had to remain in tact so that the game warden could identify the breed. So the first step was to chop it off.

Lots of teeny feathers had plastered themselves to the clean meat, so after that I carefully plucked them clean, rinsing each bird under water to make sure they were fuzz free. We seasoned the duck breasts inside and out with Cajun seasoning. Then, we covered them with water in a big pot to get the stock started.

Cooking wild duck takes forever. It’s very lean, and very tough, so in order to get it nice and tender you really have to be patient. It would usually take 3-4 hours, but lucky for us we had a pressure cooker, which took it down to a quick 30 minutes.

We lifted them out, replaced them with a whole chicken, and topped off the pot with water. The chicken would continue to flavor the stock and also tone down the strong gamey flavor of all that duck.

Once they were cool enough to handle, I broke the duck breasts away from the bone and pulled the meat apart.

We did the same with the chicken. Meanwhile, we made a copper penny-colored roux and cooled it down with the holy trinity (onions, green pepper and celery) and a couple of minced garlic cloves. We seasoned the roux with white pepper, red pepper, dried thyme, and a little more Cajun seasoning. Then we added the roux a little at a time to our stock to thicken it. Finally, we added all that chopped pulled poultry meat.

To serve it, we would mound rice in the middle of a soup bowl, slide a couple of raw, shucked oysters and then ladle in some hot gumbo. But duck gumbo is one of those dishes that tastes better after a few days in the fridge. So we stowed it away in anticipation of the big party we’d started to plan for the coming weekend.

It was time for a little lunch, anyway.

 

read more Katie’s Meat Series: Wild Duck Gumbo »

Oysters, Brews and Blues

Oyster and wine pairing events are pretty popular, I’ve done three of them in the last couple of weeks. But in Texas, we are also fond of drinking good beers with our oysters. That’s the theme of the party on March 27, Oysters, Brews and Blues at Armadillo Palace will feature a variety of […]

Gulf Oysters Got Class

On Monday, I was in New Orleans leading an oyster and wine tasting that featured oysters from Redfish Reef and Slim Jim Reef in Galveston Bay; Pointe aux Pins rack-grown oysters from Mobile Bay, Alabama; and oysters from Christmas Bay in lower Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. We tasted the oysters with Girard Sauvignon Blanc […]

Texas Oyster Season Open

Good news for oyster lovers! Texas Parks & Wildlife has announced the opening of most oystering areas in Texas. The red tide has subsided and oysters from Texas bays are passing FDA testing to ensure no trace of the bacteria remain. Texas oyster fisherman in the southern San Antonio bay system began oystering […]

Her Sweet Hot Bark

The box of chipotle-almond chocolate bark I got from Expressions Fine Chocolate on Wilcrest may have been the best appreciated Christmas gift this year. I got it for my wife, but I am “helping” her eat it.

Judging by the front room at Expressions Fine Chocolate, it looks like the place […]

Oyster Season Delayed


Today, November 1, is the traditional opening of the Texas oyster season. But opening day has been postponed due to a massive outbreak of “red tide.” The red tide bloom is one of several problems hampering the oyster business this season. This is particularly disappointing in light of the great gains we made last year.
read more Oyster Season Delayed »

A Dozen Galveston Oysters from 12 Different Reefs

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On Saturday April 2, Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Clear Lake held a tasting of a dozen different Galveston oysters by appellation. All of the oysters were provided by Jeri’s Seafood of Smith Point as part of the Louisiana Foods marketing program called ” Jeri’s Hand-Selected Oysters by Appellation.” Here’s a map of Galveston Bay oyster reefs.

read more A Dozen Galveston Oysters from 12 Different Reefs »