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Wine & Smoke "Without A Care!"

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

Happy Thursday to all you Wonderful Winos and here's to great things!



Yesterday, I was blessed to receive a fish - a big fish - a striper in fact, 38.5 inches, which a fisherman caught yesterday morning at the local beach here and then gifted to me.


How humbled, flattered, and delighted am I!




I paired this with an extraordinary California Chardonnay, "Far Niente," (an expression meaning "without a care"), and will admit that when dragging this fish right off the beach yesterday morning, and then preparing it and sipping THIS wine, I was "without a care" momentarily indeed and reminded not only about the "kindness of strangers," but about how wine can most certainly transport me, in an instant, (good wine that is) to somewhere else - whimsy evoked in my soul - and all is right with the world!




Delicious stuff!



I smoked the head (see the fish section of the forums) and that was DELICIOUS! The body wouldn't fit on my smoker but I seared that and used the skin and cracklings for some colored rice that got stuffed into the pan seared fish body and it all was so good!!!



The smoked tail was lovely too! And that wine? It was simply quite beautiful. Like today!



Happy Thursday to all! Please sip and smoke, "without a care," and with such joy for everything that is!!!!!!!


Cheers! - Leah



post #2 of 43

Leah, if anyone ever had any doubts about your commitment to or love of seafood, all they have to do is look at that picture of you cradling your gift.  I LOVE that picture!


As I read through your post I thoroughly enjoyed the mental meal and refreshing libation I savored between my ears.  No need for breakfast.  I'm full!


Happy Thursday to you too!



post #3 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much Ray!


I indeed have such love and passion for food, wine, and the planning and preparing and the sharing it with others!


Today, after bringing the kind fisherman and his pal some of that meal, I got so hungry explaining it even, that when I got home I then immediately ate another Tupperware container of some leftovers! OH MY.


In any event, I am touched that someone appreciates my zeal for it, and so THANK YOU FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE!


And happy Thursday!!!!!!!!!!


Cheers! - Leah

post #4 of 43

Striped bass is one of my all time favorites. Both the catching and eating thereof represent some of my happiest memories.

Funny, the oversized wine glass juxtaposed to the oversized fish gives the impression of a tiny little person holding a normal sized fish and glass of wine.

2 things:

It's hard to tell from the picture, but I hope you devoured the "cheek meat" from the head. There isn't too much of it, but it's the sweetest of all.

And secondly, do you plan to simmer that smoked fish head and carcass for stock? I'd guess it would be off the charts delicious for soups and sauces. Or even Gumbo...

Anyway, good to see one of your delicious and beautiful posts Leah! Happy Thursday.

post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hi Andrew!


And yes, indeed, I ate the cheek meat and loved the head more than the seared body (except for the cracklings and skin put into rice) but there was other head meat and it was so lovely!


I bet you've got some real tremendous fish with all your doings!


And my nightly stemware is fairly large I suppose compared to little restaurant wine glasses, though it's not a fish tank or vase however, right? Smiles.


And if the fish makes me look like a "tiny person" than I should wear it more often!


Thanks tons for sharing in my fun and here's some wonderful cheer sent you way!!!! - Leah

post #6 of 43
So here's a story: in 1970, I bought a book on how to really catch a striped bass off the beach.. Both of my grandparents were avid fisherman and took us kids beach and pier fishing almost every weekend . Caught my first big cobia at Sunny Isles fishing pier in Ft. Lauderdale when I was 11. So at 16, I was going to surprise everyone and bring home the most prized catch of a nice striped bass.

It is now 44 years later and I have yet to bring home that elusive prize. Granted, I'm not out there routinely but it still is on the ole' bucket list, as they say. That being said....I've never tasted one! Sure looks great! What time is dinner?
post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 

Knuckle47!!!!!!!!!!!! This is fantastic to read from you and for many reasons.


1. I was born in 1970 (hence I'm 44 and believe life gets better and better with age - indeed) and it's fun to think about what you were doing then regarding fish, as I came into the world with a penchant for it, and for tasty and decadent foods, indeed!


2. Unsure if you know, but COBIA is my favorite food.


Not just fish mind you, but favorite, top food in the world!


Just a simple piece of grilled or smoked cobia - skin on of course - is as good as it gets to me.


(Conch ceviche, any carpaccio - especially salmon - and/or some barely seared salmon as well, and ostrich steak being my other favorites, and BLUEFISH being my second favorite fish in the world, after cobia, and so there)! Camel burger is up there too, as is a good steak tartare but my top five are really the aformentioned.


Thus you were the most impressive 11 year old I've ever heard of, and that's incredible!


3. Our Vermonster connection, the fact that you taught me to use pistachio shells instead of smoking chips while smoking, and the striper interest (Wednesday's culinary adventure was mighty exciting to me indeed) just reminds me why I enjoy you so much in our fabulous Wino group.


And so thanks for being who you are!


Off to eat grilled cuttlefish in brown rice & flax spaghetti, with spinach and shallots and olive oil, blue salt, and black pepper. Happy Sunday to all!!!!!!!!!!


Cheers! - Leah

post #8 of 43
Thank you Leah for the kind words...at the time, I had never heard of cobia. With maybe 30 people on that pier fishing, that fish choose my line. 1970 was a big year for me in several ways...I'll leave that to your imagination but in addition, that was my high school graduation year too.

I wish I had the penchant for seafood that you have but I could not eat it every day. As for the striped bass, my brother and I were fishing for stripers when a guy in a boat about 50 feet away reeled in a beautiful fish that looked to be over 36" ... He kissed it on the top of its head and released it to probably make new fishes.

That was year 42 out of 44 and Still nuttin'. Maybe this fall on their return south.
post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 

Wow that "catch and release" stuff is something else!


Meanwhile, I'd love to learn as well! Not sure I have the patience for fishing, but would be humbled to give it my earnest best!


Cuttlefish is another one of my favorites and "super simple weekly staples," and today's pasta and grilled cuttlefish, (in as much oil as I could douse right on), was incredibly delicious!


Cheers, and to fishing and fun! - Leah





post #10 of 43
I assume cuttlefish if essentially calamari? You may not do well fishing .... You're not supposed to eat the bait! ( only kidding! ) but I am quit sure you have a good sense of humor.

Fishing can be very cerebral, soothing, exciting..etc etc. The bumper sticker says " a bad of fishing is better than a good day at work". Once you do it, you'll know if you like it...it's like...never mind. As for fresh, it's great but you may have better skills persuading people to hand over their catch to you. I was never handed a striped bass!
post #11 of 43

Wow, this is another great thread Leah. That fish looks stupendous and it was prepared marvelously. I bet the fisherman was ecstatic.


I also love Chardonnay with a rich fish dish. This one sounds excellent. 


I am jealous all around.



post #12 of 43
Thread Starter 

Knuckle47, you've got a point! (Being gifted a fish may be easier than fishing to some degree, although I'm so beyond humbled and flattered still, from receiving that piece, that it's amazing)!


And Disco!!!!!!!! So glad to see you back here, (miss your righteous humor when you're not on here), and thank you greatly! This fish was an epic treat to say the least.


Cheers to all, OH, and yes, cuttlefish is much like calamari but fatter shaped and far more soft, succulent and juicy. I plan on giving that as Christmas presents this year in fact, but for my newly turned vegan family of origin. Sigh. But the mailman, and all others? They're getting some cuttlefish in spaghetti! Like it or not!


OK, happy Sunday! Cheers! - Leah

post #13 of 43
Looks great, Leah!

post #14 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thank you Martin! This really was fun!! Cheers! - Leah

post #15 of 43

Am I mistaken or is that a Reidel Sommeliers Burgandy Grand Cru glass?  :-D

post #16 of 43
Thread Starter 

Well well, Pretty Lady (and fellow dog lover of which I deeply share), you've got a mighty good eye!!!!!!!


And while I only love WHITE Burgundy (am not a Pinot Noir gal, not even when forced though love some other reds indeed that are a bit heartier) I nonetheless love this tulip shaped and voluptuous goblet for all of my wines, unless having dessert wine - rare for me but on occasion - and so yes, that is my goblet of choice.


How savvy of you to notice! I hope you've joined us here, and will share some threads or posts or photos or sips or anything you wish to do, as it's a fabulous group!


Meanwhile Happy Sunday, and here is to fun stemware for all!!!!!!! Cheers!!!! - Leah

post #17 of 43

Big Burg, as I so lovingly call him, is my "go to" glass for every wine I drink.  He is off limits to the rest of the house!!  (We are on Big Burg 2.0 because of a well meaning cleaning of the original BB)





post #18 of 43
Thread Starter 

So fun Karen!!!


That's fabulous!!!


I too drink out of such daily, and my husband and dogs do not.


I offer mind you, as I have just enough of "those" for all in this house to enjoy them, and oddly so, seeing as I too, in my gallant cleaning/breaking have destroyed a couple as well! (Although today I broke a Schott Zwiesel "non-breakable" glass, when emptying the dishwasher, and so their urban myth is shattered, smiles, but perhaps some good luck is coming, or for my husband anyway, as he uses those nightly by choice and doesn't like my fancy glasses)!


OK then, so hilarious and fantastic that somebody "gets" my daily stemware drama and nuances, and shares similar taste! Wonderful stuff!


Here's to a great wrap up of the weekend!!!!!! Cheers! - Leah

post #19 of 43
Yet another fine lookin meal Leah ! icon14.gif That just had to be so tasty !! That fisherman was probably just paying it forward as you are a kind person! thumb1.gif
post #20 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much Justin and what a gracious thing to say! Appreciated indeed.


It's funny, the fishermen are there early, as am I, hence me chatting and asking/learning about their sport and skill.


The gracious man who gave up his 38.5 inch fish recently, was perhaps appreciative of my expressed food passion and our shared banter over a couple mornings/sunrises.


Although I made 8 fishermen howl with laughter today and at 5 a.m., when only they, me, God, a few remaining seals, and some great guy with the most amazing English bulldog were on the beach.


Yes, I fall in love with each and every dog there!


But I asked them, what they do for cooking with the BLUEFISH that they catch. (They catch bluefish and striper each day or when they "catch" anyway, and of course bluefish is my second favorite fish in the world - second only to cobia, which isn't in our local water and must be special ordered from Florida, but bluefish we have plenty).


They all THROW BACK (gasp) the bluefish! They thought I was crazy for eating it! They couldn't even imagine that one would eat it! Oh wow!


And so, I promised to cook/make breakfast, to be served on the beach, and with my signature "Bluefish Pâté" of which I'm admittedly proud, (and my version is healthful even) in the event they catch a bluefish, and not throw it back! Sacrilege! 


And so we'll see...


Regardless, I was humbled and grateful indeed to receive the striper and never dreamed of such, I loved cleaning it, and such was a joy!


Thanks for sharing in my oceanic fun. Here's to great food and wine pairings for all and something fun smoked this week as well for me, and so stay tuned!


Cheers!!!!! - Leah

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