Friday, March 23, 2007


all photography by Wilbur M. Reeling
... also a Nautical Vessel !

OK, we're out on the boat bobbing like a cork on a fishing line and we are all greased up so now we decide that we're hungry.

Mmmmm -- What to do? There are two definite schools of thought here to quench that ravenous hunger.

One camp wants to have the food on board. And that's me. Give me a great ice cold, mouthwatering, freshly sliced cool and sweet fruit salad with lots of pineapple, summer peaches, delicious pears, apples, plenty of different sweet delicate berries and Maryland's Eastern Shore melons.

OH BOY-YEAH!! ... But NO!! they say to cold fruit & melons ... and no even to a Delmonte can-‘o-fruit!

OK, or ... maybe a big heaping 'massive pile of pasta salad' with some crisp veggies & dip or nice plump 10 count steamed jumbo shrimp with the Original Maryland Old Bay spices.

NOPE AGAIN ... now the war starts here because we all have our opinions.

When I surveyed some boaters recently, they actually agreed on something. It was the notion of there being two camps for food on a boat. Either eat in a restaurant or eat on board?

I was very surprised to find how many boaters like to have their salami and cheese already in a wrapper called a Sub Roll. About 80% of the boaters I talked to said they wanted to take cold cut Italian Subs on board with them for when the "munchies" arrive. The other guys don't want any food on their boat. ("It makes a mess and you get food crumbs" - GOD forbid!)

For the rest of us there is the fact that we may be a "sub-culture."

The rest of the country may clamor for po' boys and hoagies, grinders, heroes or torpedoes, but I know what really constitutes an awesome gigantic Maryland "Sub" sandwich, and what raises the Sub above those pretenders and what makes it of semi gastronomic nobility.

The original Italian specialty Sub combination features Genoa salami, soppressata, capicolla, prosciutto from Italy, pistachio-studded mortadella, fresh mozzarella or sharp provolone cheese, hot or sweet peppers in an olive tapenade, some olive oil vinaigrette and herbs like basil, parsley and oregano.

The sub is a sandwich of strong tasting cured Italian meats. These are layered into a forearm's length of fresh crusty bread, often with a few slices of Italian cheese and a condiment or two atop them. It is made by Italians, most often, in a family run store and is usually served wrapped-up in paper to eat outside somewhere, preferably on your boat.

It is a meal in a tubular Submarine form and has working class origins. It is said that the Italian sandwich, was first made in New York in the late 19th century, at the Petrucci's Restaurant at 488 Ninth Avenue. The Italian sandwich was mainly served to southern Italian manual laborers who wanted a taste of home — a big one.


Panini --bread - Everything begins with the bread. It should be crisp and crusty, not soft and doughy, with a pronounced yeasty flavor. The best bread to use is a good crusty Italian baguette cut in half. If the place has good bread, it's time to look closely at the cold-cut case.

Affettato -- sliced cured meats - Look for high-quality, Genoa salami, capicolla or soppressata, prosciutto di Parma, imported mortadella studded with pistachio nuts too. -- what you want in an Italian Submarine is the taste of home-cured meats.

Formaggio -- cheese - When it comes to mozzarella in subs, you should get it only as a wonderful creamy mozzarella. When it is cut into to make a sub, it's so fresh it spurts some milk. The aged Italian provolone called piccante is a fabulous cheese, but it is so sharp it should be used sparingly.

Dressings & condiments -- can make a huge difference on a sub, but they cannot redeem a bad one. Sliced summer perfectly vine-ripened tomatoes. Fresh basil, can make a sandwich into a work of art. Roasted peppers and olive tapenade can also make a fine addition and just a drizzle of olive oil vinaigrette.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

~~"molecular gastronomy"~~

the 130 degree steak!
... but I'm not so sure.
photography by Wilbur M. Reeling
Although it doesn't look it (in the pix) the center was a perfect-pink-130 degree m.r. pinkish perfection ... served with new Russian fingerings w/Kerry Irish Butter & Spring time creme'd spinach and French bread for lunch today.

I did some of my best work on this
molecular gastronomy Wing-Tip from Brooks Bros., but I couldn't save it from itself.

The best we got was a Birkenstock from the "Scratch & Dent"!

.... there is just no way to make a $3 a lb. Round Steak become a $25 a lb. Filet, no matter what Dr. Herve This says. You need to start out with a FILET.

No matter what you do to it, shoe leather is shoe leather -- sows ear v. silk purse, you get the picture.

I did the prep and cooking exactly as Dr. Herve prescribed to save this patient but it was all in vein.

Proper mix & marinate time and temperature, exactly 130 degrees (+or-) 2 degrees the whole time it soaked and .59.999 seconds of extra high heat on each side to finish up.

Still thought it was a wing-tip in disguise.

So much for that idea. ---

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


all photography by Wilbur M. Reeling

In just a few days (April 1st) it will be soft shell crab season on the Chesapeake Bay. It's that time of year everyone waits for with bated breath. When it gets a little warmer in the Spring the local crabbers start their SOFT SHELL CRAB SEASON when the crabs shed their shell, become soft and get bigger. They actually come out of their old shell nearly 40% larger as a new soft crab and as tender & soft as a new born baby's butt.

Eastern Shore soft crabber, Andrea Jacquette, starts her season as soon as possible after the April 1st season's beginning. At first there are few molting crabs but as the weather warms up the number multiplies and stays pretty constant until the early fall when it closes for the season. Once the season is in full swing, Ms. Jacquette gets little sleep as she needs to remove the soft crab every 2 hours or the crab will harden or be eaten by the hard crab. That's 6 whole months worth of getting out of a warm bed and a sound sleep every 2 hours to check the soft crabs.


3 ½" hotel size, is the smallest and in it's first year of life

4 ½" prime size

5 ½" jumbo size
6 ½" whale size
7 ½" slab size and anything larger also. These can be 2 or 3 or more years old.

Last year a very rare occurrence happened when some soft shells were monsters. They were just over 10 incher's, slab size, and were sloughed out in the molt stage and became the biggest of the season.

Stages for hard shells to become soft shells are called by the crabbing professionals as GREEN PEELERS or ready to peel. A pro can look at the under side of the crab and on a finn and see a fuzz-furry area that is changing color. They start out as a green peeler, then the color changes to a black peeler, white, pink and finally red peeler before it becomes a "dead-ripe."

Their next stage is called a buster (as it's busting out of the shell) and within an hour or two it is a new SOFT SHELL CRAB. When it comes out of it's old shell it is about 40% bigger than it was previously in the old shell. At this stage of just coming out it is as soft as room temperature butter. If it's not taken out of the water it will become a paper shell (a very undesirable chewy and leathery-tuffish-membrane forms as the shell starts turning hard again) and the final soft crab term is when it's a SNOT! -- mmmmmmmmm a SNOT! --

That means that it'snot soft anymore and s'not hard yet either -- LOL --
a ‘lil real Eastern Show' of Maryland Crabber's lingo~
. . . a.k. Hon!

Sunday, March 4, 2007


all photographs by Wilbur M. Reeling & Nikon 5400
... but not "molecular gastronomy"Recently my friend Chuck, at, blogged a $40.00 S.F. chicken tale.

I think the Farmer's Market chicken fellows are charging you for killing the famous S.F. “Screaming Eagle” at the price you are paying. At that $40.00 price tag they should throw in eating it at the French Laundry and have Keller himself hand-feed it to you. Now come on, mmmmm, it's still just a chicken!!

They're selling a bill-a-goods to you poor San Fran Rubes.

You 'Boys' out there in the West must be nuts to pay that! I think you guys in S.F. are getting the old Navy pick-up-the-soap in the shower deal with those Chicken Farmer's prices!! Only a rube fresh off the boat would be shelling out that kind of money for any kind of hen. IT'S JUST A CHICKEN- come on now ... it didn't come STUFFED with PERIGORD TRUFFLES did it?

above: This is a pix of a hen that I recently prepared for the famous gourmet, Mr. Art Bocutti, in Ragged Point, Maryland just a few minutes drive from Camebridge.

We have a couple of beautiful bucolic farms in the area here in Maryland but my favorite for free-range chicken has become this little ORGANICLY GROWN & GRASS FED "de HEN" from a local Mennonite farmer.

BELIEVE IT WHEN I SAY …"$1.65 per pound and killed & dressed out the day you order it"… and as to the stuffing in Maryland, we like a type called 'select' plump, Chesapeake Bay Blue Point Oyster Stuffing, with a bread dressing , some pine nuts, white wine, Fleur De Sel , fresh cracked Penja Pearl of Cameroon Peppercorns and a touch of fresh herbs. I add the Chop Tank River Oysters from my friend's company, "SOFT & SALTY CRABS 'n OYSTERS" outside of Camebridge, Maryland. I use the very best of everything including the stuffing bread from Ned's Breads in Baltimore and I prefer the Ned's 'Ciabatta' because it's as good as the best of your S.F. sourdough types. (w/out the sour part) Serve 'er up with a bottle of cheap $8.00 Chateau de Chasseloir Muscadet sevre et SUR LIE -- it's like being in Mennonite Maryland Heaven and I'm a Daoist-Chicken-Quintessencetist!

- LOL -