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oysters! i love oysters!

by: RiaD

Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 14:49:59 PM PDT


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oystering

FDA to ban sale of raw oysters from Gulf of Mexico
RiaD :: oysters! i love oysters!
NEW ORLEANS - Federal officials plan to ban sales of raw oysters harvested from the Gulf of Mexico unless the shellfish are treated to destroy potentially deadly bacteria - a requirement that opponents say could deprive diners of a delicacy cherished for generations.

The plan has also raised concern among oystermen that they could be pushed out of business.

The Gulf region supplies about two-thirds of U.S. oysters, and some people in the $500 million industry argue that the anti-bacterial procedures are too costly. They insist adequate measures are already being taken to battle germs, including increased refrigeration on oyster boats and warnings posted in restaurants.

this article really pissed me off. as with all most gov't BS ideas... it makes no sense

About 15 people die each year in the United States from raw oysters infected with Vibrio vulnificus, which typically is found in warm coastal waters between April and October. Most of the deaths occur among people with weak immune systems caused by health problems like liver or kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, or AIDS.

historically........

Until the 1960s, raw oysters were rarely eaten in the summertime. (The old adage was never eat oysters in the months without an R in them.) But changes in harvest patterns and advances in refrigeration and post-harvest treatment have made the industry a year-round business. About three-fifths of the Gulf's oysters are harvested during the warm months.

15 deaths a year?!?

& so we should shut down a $500 million industry... the sole livelihood of many families???

why not just return to the old way.... don't sell RAW oysters between April & September???

wouldn't that make a bit more sense??


oyster shuckin'

no... they just want to entirely destroy the product

The anti-bacterial process treats oysters with a method similar to pasteurization, using mild heat, freezing temperatures, high pressure and low-dose gamma radiation.

But doing so "kills the taste, the texture," DeFelice said. "For our local connoisseurs, people who've grown up eating oysters all their lives, there's no comparison" between salty raw oysters and the treated kind.
[...]
Treated oysters are "not as bright, the texture seems different," said Donald Link, head chef and owner of the Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant in New Orleans.

"This is an area the government shouldn't meddle in," Link said. "What's next? They're going to tell us we can't eat our beef rare?"

this, to me, was the kicker:

The FDA contends treating oysters would not affect the taste and would save lives.

"Oysters that undergo post-harvest processing treatment will rarely pose a problem," Taylor said, "while those left untreated can have deadly consequences."

The FDA cited California as the best example. In 2003, California banned untreated Gulf Coast oysters and since then "the number of deaths dropped to zero." By comparison, between 1991 and 2001, 40 people died in California from the infection.

that's FOUR people a year!

how many people does smoking kill? or drinking? how many people get choked on apples or p-nut butter? how many have health problems from fried fast-food?? from HFCS???

how many people die each & every day because they have NO health insurance???????

feh! this is just ridiculous!!

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there is something wonderful (4.00 / 6)
about an oak fire in the yard, a couple of cement blocks on either side with a piece of tin across them filled with fresh oysters & covered with wet burlap sacks....
gha! just thinking about it makes me hungry!

come firefly-dreaming with me....

Oysters with Mignonette Sauce (4.00 / 5)
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
white pepper to taste
salt as needed

Place wine and vinegar in saucepan and reduce to one-half. Turn off the flame and stir in the shallot, white pepper and salt as needed (remember: oysters tend to be salty). Set aside to steep. As you shuck your oysters, collect their juices and add to the mignonette sauce. Serve the sauce in small dishes or ramekins, letting your guests spoon it on top of each chilled, raw oyster on the half shell.

For the quick and easy Migonette Sauce:

1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
6 tbls water
1 shallot, finely chopped
white or black pepper to taste
pinch of salt


Hand over the authentic tamales and no one gets hurt!


[ Parent ]
mmmm (4.00 / 5)
that looks scrumptious!

come firefly-dreaming with me....

[ Parent ]
Perhaps the EPA could mix in a little pollution control in their (4.00 / 5)
oversight of crap that washes down into the Gulf and we could stop worrying about the slight chance that an oyster would contain contaminents that might do us harm.

This is ridiculous and completely an over reaction by a Government Office that for the past 20 years or so has given corporations the green light to screw over the environment.  They want us to think they are FINALLY looking out for us, and that is nice in a way, but they have to temper their assistance to include fixing the issues that are causing the problems.

Hello, EPA?  This is the FDA....

Hand over the authentic tamales and no one gets hurt!


thanks brobin (4.00 / 5)
that's it exactly!
why don't these agencies communicate & work together?

i visited mississippi once & went down to the docks. the water was full of jellyfish, a sign that something is not right. i asked the dockworkers.... seems the town dumped sewage straight into the gulf for years & years.....
no one from there ever went swimming in the gulf.
too sad.

come firefly-dreaming with me....


[ Parent ]
Oyster stew (4.00 / 3)
was one of the more palatable things Mom made for dinner when I was a kid.  Okay, her version was watery & not especially appealing -- except for the oysters! -- but it beat the shit out of eating cornmeal mush!

(yuck, ptui)

May we all have enough cash to eat oysters when we crave them, and to NEVER have to eat cornmeal mush in any way, shape or form.  Including polenta.

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. -- Calvin Trillin


[ Parent ]
Polenta rocks. Grits with sharp white cheddar rocks. (4.00 / 4)
Gulf Shrimp with white cheddar, tasso gravy and grits rock.

Other than that, I agree with your comment!

;-)

Hand over the authentic tamales and no one gets hurt!


[ Parent ]
Grits rock. (4.00 / 3)
And I've never even eaten the good stone-ground grits y'all get...although eventually I will order some so I can make shrimp n grits.

Polenta does NOT rock.  Polenta is "cornmeal mush" in Italian.

yuck, ptui -- and you'd say the same thing if you were forced to eat it, too.

It's about as appealing as canned asparagus: another travesty I was served as a child.

People wonder why I became an adventurous cook & adventurous eater.  I tell them: self-defense

It is literally true.

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. -- Calvin Trillin


[ Parent ]
I like polenta! (4.00 / 3)
The again, 'cornmeal mush' sounds appealing to me, too.  Depends on what you add to it!  So that's maybe another issue for another day...

:)


[ Parent ]
Cornmeal mush: (4.00 / 3)
Cornmeal (around here, usually toasted cornmeal, finely ground) mixed with water & maybe a bit of milk.  Boiled until it is sludge.  Served with fake maple syrup and margarine.

Still appeal to you?  If so, I have an apartment I will give you if you let me move into your Portland place.

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. -- Calvin Trillin


[ Parent ]
Ooh, I forgot the best part! (4.00 / 3)
Put the leftovers in a loaf pan & let them congeal overnight.  Then slice 'em up, fry 'em in still more margarine, and serve hot with more fake maple syrup poured over them.

Yup:  Two days' worth of bad food for one hour of sludge cooking.

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. -- Calvin Trillin


[ Parent ]
Grits do not inherently rock. (4.00 / 2)
One of the worst things I ever ate in all my life was plain grits. OK, nobody eats plain grits, but a restaurant actually served it to me once, and it was terrible. I only ate a couple of spoonsful - even Tabasco couldn't help it.

On the other hand, if it has enough cheese and butter and adventurous seasoning, grits can be great.


[ Parent ]
i dunno (4.00 / 3)
yellow stone-ground grits are pretty tasty!
(^.^)

another option is:

SHRIMP & GRITS
serves 4 as main dish OR 6 as a side dish.

ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs. fresh white or brown shrimp
(shrimp boil seasonings- i use Zataran's)
bacon (4-6 slices)
3-4 tablespoons of bacon grease
1 smallish onion chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2-3 tablespoons of flour (maybe a bit more)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon parsley
yellow stone ground grits (1 cup)
chicken broth (3 cups)
heavy whipping cream, to taste (1/3- 1/2 cup)

procedure:
cook grits in chicken broth instead of water, about 45 min to an hour. stir occasionally. add whipping cream near the end.

while grits cook:
peel & de-vein shrimp while raw. bring a pot of water to boil adding shrimp seasoning. boil shrimp for a couple minutes, dip out about a cup of the water & set aside, drain shrimp.

in a large frying pan cook the bacon. set on paper towels or brown paper bag to drain. when cool, crumble bacon.

pour off most of the grease, leaving about 1/4" to cover bottom of pan. add onions & black pepper. when onions go translucent sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly until the fat is absorbed & the mixture begins to turn brown. add the shrimp water a bit at a time, stirring constantly, until you reach desired consistency. add parsley & crumbled bacon, wait 2-3 minutes then add shrimp. cover & let simmer 2-3 minutes.

dish up grits & add shrimp&gravy on top.  

come firefly-dreaming with me....


[ Parent ]
yellow grits (4.00 / 2)
good point, the ones I disparaged were white grits.

[ Parent ]
my pa-in-law (4.00 / 4)
taught me to make oyster stew:

take a stick of butter, melt in a pan over medium heat
add a couple of shakes of pepper
add 1 pint of oysters
when their edges start curling up
add 2 cups of milk & then 1/2-1 cup whipping cream
heat through.
serve w/saltines

i make this every year for thanksgiving.
& several times throughout the winter!


come firefly-dreaming with me....


[ Parent ]
We had the same stew but with a few aromatics introduced (4.00 / 3)
such as sauteed onion, celery and some fresh or bottled thyme.  Likely went a bit more crazy with the pepper grinder too.

Either way, I'm eatin'

Hand over the authentic tamales and no one gets hurt!


[ Parent ]
no! (4.00 / 3)
onions & celery & carrots are for she-crab soup!

SHE CRAB SOUP

ROUX:

1/4 LB. BUTTER
1/4 LB. FLOUR

PREPARATION:
MELT BUTTER STIR IN FLOUR TO MAKE ROUX. ADD MILK AND CREAM, BRING TO BOIL. ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS, SIMMER FOR 20 MINUTES. GARNISH WITH SHERRIED WHIPPED CREAM.

INGREDIENTS:

1 CUP HEAVY CREAM
3 CUPS MILK
2 CUPS FISH STOCK OR WATER AND FISH BASE
1/4 LB. CRAB ROE
1 LB WHITE CRABMEAT (SPECIAL)
1/2 CUP FINELY CHOPPED CELERY, LIGHTLY SAUT√ČED WITH:
     1/4 CUP FINELY CHOPPED CARROTS
     1/4 CUP FINELY CHOPPED ONION
     1/4 CUP SHERRY WINE
     1 TBL. TABASCO SAUCE
     1 TBL. WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

MAKES 12 SERVINGS.

and because this was in the same folder....

McClellanville Crabcakes

Ingredients:  
1    Lb. Lump Crabmeat
1/4   Cup evap milk
2    Green Onions chopped fine
 celery chopped fine, same amount as onions
2    Dashes of Tabasco
1    Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
1/2   Cup Coarse Bread Crumbs (i use crushed captains wafers!)
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

PREPARATION:
put onions & celery in a small bowl, cover with water.
put in microwave on high for 1 minute. drain.

Combine above ingredients thoroughly, then form into desired cake size ... about 4inches across.

Fry in butter over medium heat until brown, flip & do the other side.

I often put one peeled raw shrimp, pushed into crabcake as the first side fries.
 

come firefly-dreaming with me....


[ Parent ]
YUM. (4.00 / 2)
When am I coming for dinner?

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. -- Calvin Trillin

[ Parent ]
One shrimp per crabcake? (4.00 / 3)
That must be a RiaD original. I have never had that, but it absolutely is an inspired creation.

[ Parent ]
thank you! (4.00 / 3)
♥~

come firefly-dreaming with me....

[ Parent ]
Your recipe & brobin's variations (4.00 / 3)
both sound wonderful.

Mom didn't use cream.  Mom didn't use butter.

We got milk, a tiny bit of margarine, and a can of oysters.  Maybe some potatoes, I forget.  Salt, no doubt.  She didn't have a pepper mill & the can of pepper in the cupboard was usually a few years old.

Do you get the picture?  ;-D

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. -- Calvin Trillin


[ Parent ]
O! (4.00 / 3)
poor you! :(

come firefly-dreaming with me....

[ Parent ]
Well, Ria, now you (4.00 / 3)
know why I say I learned to cook in self-defense.  ;-D

The one really great thing she made was ham & hominy.  I like Bush's whole white hominy (Bush of the Bush's baked beans) and a ham steak that isn't too thinly sliced.  And she made good pie crusts...unfortunately she wasted them on canned pie filling.  :-(

No, Mom wasn't much of a cook.

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. -- Calvin Trillin


[ Parent ]
I refuse to accept that recipe as is. (4.00 / 3)
A pint of oysters purchased in the seafood section of my supermarket contains a good amount of oyster, not much oyster juice. However, when I start with a bushel of hosed-off oysters, and open them myself and collect the juice with the meat - omigawd. It makes all the difference.

With that not-so-minor amendment, I'm all for that recipe. In oyster stew, simple rules.


[ Parent ]
O! my bad! (4.00 / 3)
when i say pint of oysters i mean pint of you shucked 'em oysters!
we often get two bushels & freeze oysters in one pint pkgs.

come firefly-dreaming with me....

[ Parent ]
Ha! (4.00 / 3)
This might be like people who have never had a tree-ripe peach or tree-ripe apricot. People who haven't had you-shuck-em oysters might wonder what the fuss is about.

[ Parent ]
I've never had 'em... (4.00 / 3)
But the way youze all are making them sound?  That's exactly why I'd fight against this apparently stupid regulation!

:)

As I mentioned in a linked article below, why focus on something that affects less Americans every year than lightning strikes do, while imported seafood is clearly a massive threat that our "regulators" are apparently paying little if any attention to?


[ Parent ]
you may also like (4.00 / 3)
OYSTER PIE!

drain a pint of (you-shuck-em)oysters, reserve the juice.
store bought will do, in a pinch!

butter a 2qt casserole.
1)crush enough saltines to make a layer in the bottom.
2)lay out a layer of oysters on top of crushed crackers.
(don't leave a lot of room between them but do leave a bit of space...maybe 1/4inch between)
3)shake on salt & pepper & about 2tsps of butter (NOT margarine!) chipped up & spread about.
repeat steps 1-3 until you are out of oysters.
crush saltines to cover oysters.

in a measuring cup whip one large egg, add oyster juice & mix well, add enough milk to make 1 cup of mixture.
pour this over 'pie'
add chipped butter on top.

bake at 350 until top begins to brown, appx 30-45 min.


come firefly-dreaming with me....


[ Parent ]
That sounds sort of like (4.00 / 3)
oyster fritters, but much better.

Drat, where's my oyster knife?


[ Parent ]
oyster knife (4.00 / 3)
By the way, the article RiaD cited has a photo of a shucker. That guy is either an ultimate Guiness Book of Records professional, or he's crazy. Even the pros in our raw bars wear heavy (rubber) gloves, and I would never ever ever use his blade, which looks lethal. Mine has a blunt tip and dull edges, thank you very much.

[ Parent ]
(^.^) (4.00 / 3)
i noticed that too!

come firefly-dreaming with me....

[ Parent ]
The thing is, they can and we need them to (4.00 / 4)
Again, I have a feeling that they are just trying to help and going overboard thinking about individuals and their health issues (when was that last time that happened?) instead of looking at the big picture and dealing with the reality of what is causing the problem.

Like you said in the body of your post, perhaps we should go back to fall and early winter harvesting for a couple of years until the do

MIX IN

something in the way of greatly reducing the contaminates that cause this issue spilling from the Mississippi River and other tributaries as well.

Yes, it will be more costly for the oyster harversters to do their jobs, but it won't totally derelict the business.  If they work quickly to defuse the problem, we can go back to earlier harvesting sooner than later.  

Oh, and the rest of the sealife in the Gulf will be much better for the effort.  As well as the people eating that which comes from the Gulf.

Hand over the authentic tamales and no one gets hurt!


[ Parent ]
brobin, I just noticed your sig line (4.00 / 2)
and it reminds me of NYC circa 1998/99:

There were always a few Mexicans, mostly Mexican women, selling tamales (illegally) on 8th Avenue, just down from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.  They had some kind of container that kept the tamales hot but would fit in those fold-up grocery carts (you know, the ones city dwellers use to lug a bunch of groceries a few blocks home and up to their walk-up apartments).

Anyway, those were the best, most authentic tamales I ever ate.  I preferred the pork ones, but the chicken ones were also good.

Heh, once, after work, I bought a bunch, took them to my neighborhood bar, and handed them out.  At least one person had never eaten a tamale before, and tried to eat the corn husk!

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. -- Calvin Trillin


[ Parent ]
Wow... (4.00 / 5)
I was just working on something about this, but you beat me to it and did it much better than I could have...

Thanks!


Oh, but please give us your take on the subject!!!!11 (4.00 / 5)
I know you are a big oyster slurper!

;-)

How you doing today, my friend?  Life is looking lovely from my perch.

Hand over the authentic tamales and no one gets hurt!


[ Parent ]
O! pleeeaze (4.00 / 4)
do yours too!
i should've checked w/you...sorry!

come firefly-dreaming with me....

[ Parent ]
Oh, don't worry about it! (4.00 / 3)
I was actually just on like the starting paragraph, and I probably wouldn't have even finished it 'til the weekend, anyways.  I'm pickin' football games right now, actually...

(hear that, brobin?!)

:)

You summed it up perfectly, don't worry about it!


[ Parent ]
Here's a piece from Seattle... (4.00 / 3)
on how this might affect shellfish everywhere in the US, even in areas where the virus of concern on this doesn't, and can't, exist.

Great point in the original NOLA article, too -

"What is particularly interesting is while the FDA seems focused on domestic oyster production, there is wide evidence that imported seafood is a far greater health threat, and there seems to be little movement by the FDA to get their arms around that problem," Levine said in the statement.


thank you for that! (4.00 / 2)
♥~

come firefly-dreaming with me....

[ Parent ]
Did the word PROCESSING (4.00 / 5)
slip past alla y'alls eyeballs?

This is about selling processing equipment and forcing all small harvesters to either buy processing equipment or sell to larger firms. We already have agribiz. Now we get to be subjugated by aquabiz as well.

And aquabiz won't be happy until the oceans are stripped clean of all life. The oceans are getting warmer and jellyfish are multiplying out of proportion. Guess what! We'll be eating jellyfish when all the rest are gone.

Excellent article, RiaD. Thank You.

Yankee Frugality: use it up, wear it out, make it last, or do without.


thanks AB! (4.00 / 5)
i really appreciate your kind words.

& yes. this is what they're tring to do to the small shrimpers here in SC...first it was turtle deflectors, then refridge units.... then catch limits...
now hardly anyone is still shrimping our waters, except the huge boats that stay out for months at a time, have processing right on board & computers & ship-to-shore lines so that they have sold their catch by the day after they've caught it & small boats come & ferry it to shore.

& then there's the oysterers & clammers....

come firefly-dreaming with me....


[ Parent ]
Let me count the ways. (4.00 / 2)
The anti-bacterial process treats oysters with a method similar to pasteurization, using mild heat, freezing temperatures, high pressure and low-dose gamma radiation.

I'm not aware that I have ever eaten oysters processed that way. It seems uncivilized, frankly. Steamed oysters, oyster fritters, or stewed oysters might not be rendered terribly different, especially if the cook commits the travesty of making oyster stew without the full complement of oyster liquid. For raw oysters, however, I can't imagine the tender morsel surviving that fierce treatment unscathed. I know - let's just soak the oysters overnight in a solution of Tide laundry soap?

About three-fifths of the Gulf's oysters are harvested during the warm months.

I wonder why that is? Seems strange. I'd like more information.

A moratorium for summer months seems perfectly reasonable to me, primarily to give the beds a rest. Wouldn't do much short term for the watermen and oyster bars but, in the long run, nature will impose its solution - the oysters will disappear.

"Oysters that undergo post-harvest processing treatment will rarely pose a problem," Taylor said, "while those left untreated can have deadly consequences."

This is precisely analogous to the slogan "Uninspected meat is unsafe meat." Of course, all large outbreaks that kill dozens and sicken hundreds originate in inspected slaughterhouses or processed meat factories.

The rule would not affect oysters harvested outside the Gulf. Oysters are harvested up and down the West and East coasts, but the bacteria is not found in such high concentrations there.

Yes but: Vibrio is a problem in every U.S. harvest region I know of - how can FDA hope to discriminate against the GoM while giving a pass to the coastal and Chesapeake Bay fisheries of Virginia and Maryland, and the New England fisheries? That's an exquisitely subtle calibration, and it seems like an automatic fail.

John Tesvich of AmeriPure Processing Co. in Franklin, La., said the industry has "suffered from all the negative publicity" associated with Vibrio vulnificus. He said his oysters, which are treated in a warm bath, taste as good as any others.

BS, OK John? BS.


RiaD, you struck a nerve! nt (4.00 / 3)


good! (4.00 / 3)
this article got on my last nerve!
(as mrD's gram used to say!)

come firefly-dreaming with me....

[ Parent ]
got on (4.00 / 2)
I have also heard "plucked my last nerve,", which always reminds me of the last harp string tweaked way up!

[ Parent ]
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