Posts Tagged ‘cod’

RI: Mystic Seaport

Before heading to a Connecticut Tigers game, we spent the afternoon at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut.  The museum consists of many parts which include a 19th Century seaport village, numerous demonstrations, historic ships, a preservation shipyard, and a planetarium.

I took over 150 photos while we were there, so I’ll just show you the absolute cream of the crop.

The ROANN, built in 1947, is an Eastern-rig dragger which pulls the nets over the side as opposed to over the stern like the Western-rig draggers. Powered by a diesel, she drug a conical net called an otter trawl along the sea bed for haddock, flounder, and cod.  Far more efficient than the hook-and-line boats she replaced.  Of course this led to the over-fishing problem that we have now.

I never knew that the fork that we used on the farm for moving silage can also be used to scoop up oysters.

Lobster traps. They look cool and they catch tasty bugs.

I think this is just a cool photo. Minus the modern dress, this could easily have been 150 years ago.

You have to have at least one picture of a cannon if you visit a maritime museum. I’m not sure what to classify it as though. It seems awfully big to be a signal cannon (they would fire a blank before entering port to signal that they were coming in), but on the small side for a weapon.

Jellyfish! These little guys were everywhere in the waters around the ships. It was really cool watching them swim around.

An old blacksmith’s shop. I’ve always found it fascinating what these guys could do with heat, muscle, and a bit of ore. Plus the science of metallurgy is really interesting. It’s amazing how people figured out differential tempering, alloys, blast furnaces, and everything else that is associated with metal working.

The bleeding edge of technology back in the day. The sextant was used to calculate a ships latitude out at sea. By measuring the angle between a celestial body (like the sun, a star, or the moon) and the horizon one can calculate a position line on a chart. The real trick is to calculate longitude, which led to the development of ever more accurate clocks.

The woodshop. Everything was run off of belts, much like modern day Amish woodshops. But instead of using a gas engine to drive everything, in the past people used to use nature, i.e. a waterwheel.

Salt cod drying. Ships would gut, salt, and store the fish out at sea. Once they reached land, the cargo would be off-loaded and laid out on these racks called flakes for their final drying. The little “houses” at the edges of the picture were put over the fish to protect them during bad weather.

Janessa screwing around in a rowboat.

This is a whaling boat. Whalers would pile into this TINY boat and row out to harpoon a whale. This boat is roughly 20′ long and it went after whales that could be around 70′ long. These guys were nuts!

The fo’c’sle on the fishing schooner L.A. Dunton. The forecastle (shortened to fo’c’sle by seamen) is located at the bow of a ship. This is where the crew ate and slept. It looks reasonably sized until you take into account that this space is home to 15 men. Really cozy.

This conch shell was used as a baptismal font in the 1800’s. It’s hard to judge the size here, but it is roughly 18″ across. Just think of how much conch meat you could get from a creature that size!

The museum has a carving shop where they create some ship mastheads. This one seems a bit odd for a ship, but it’s impressively carved.

A bit of a random photo, but it was very intentional. Having recently built a limestone retaining wall at work, I can appreciate the amount of effort that went into making all of these cobblestones. I was working with a relatively soft rock, but here is granite and basalt (?). Both of which are significantly harder. Plus each was squared off and had the corners rounded. A serious commitment of time and labor.

This is a freaking huge pulley used to hoist sails. As a perspective, that is Lindz’s arm and foot in the photo,

The band saw that they had over in the restoration half of the museum. It ran off of a 8 cylinder diesel and could slab wood a couple of feet thick. I have no idea what I would use it for, but I want one.

The bow of the whaler Charles W. Morgan built in 1841 and currently undergoing extensive restoration.

The fireplace and cauldrons used to render whale blubber into oil. Gotta love the idea of a large fire under flammable liquid on a wooden boat.

I know people were generally shorter a century ago, but I couldn’t even stand up in between the beams. It must have been fun working below decks. Yes, heavy on the sarcasm.

Just to give you an idea of how big the ship is. This was taken at deck level looking down about 40′ to the ground. Plus you had the mast a hundred feet or so above you. These were not small ships.

I found this museum to be a lot of fun.  It hit upon many of my interests.  It has old ships, a nice emphasis on seafood production, a really well done job of showcasing the technology of 1800’s, woodworking/shipbuilding/restoration, and capturing the general atmosphere of the past.  If you ever pass through Mystic, CT, and have an afternoon to spare, I suggest walking through the museum and enjoy the past.

My kind of surf & turf

A couple of weeks ago, our friend Erin (a.k.a. Ringer) came over for a visit and some food, cuz that’s how we roll.  A very quick aside, she found a different all-you-can-eat sushi place that we are going to try at some point in the future.  Anywho, I was put in charge of making supper for the three of us.  I know, big surprise.  I had run across a recipe for bacon wrapped fish fillets and I wanted to give that a go (a Jamie Oliver recipe of course).  This was one of those situations where I took the basic idea and did all the details on my own.  Naturally, there was one or two flaws that happened in the process, but I’ll get to those later.

First off, the ingredients.  I had some nice cod fillets that I had bought a few days prior that would work perfectly.  Also from the freezer was a pound of bacon.  For seasoning, I used a dill dip blend that I had sitting in the cupboard for way too long.  It may be my Polish background, but in my ever so humble opinion, dill goes great with fish, especially cod.  As a final ingredient, some extra virgin olive oil for a little binding action for the seasoning.

Not a lot of ingredients, but they work amazing together.

I mixed the dill blend into some olive oil and drug the fillets through the mixture for an even coat.  The next step was to lay out four slices of bacon side by side and lay a fillet on top of it.  Then the bacon came up, over, and finally tucked under.  I found that it worked a bit better to do the wrap at a bit of an angle because it fit around the fish better.  I repeated with the remaining fillets.  I took the last bit of oil/dill mixture and smeared on top of the bacon just to help round out the flavors.  Here is the first thing that I will change the next time I cook this.  The bacon didn’t crisp up enough by the time the fish was done, so I’m thinking that if I partially cook it before wrapping the fish that will help it crisp up as well as helping the second issue which I will get to in a bit.

A perfect picture of impending doom.

I put the fillets on a baking sheet and popped them into a 475 F degree oven for around ten minutes.  Basically long enough for the fish to firm up throughout.  The near disaster started about five minutes into the cooking process when the bacon started to render and the fat was pouring onto the heating element in the oven.  Amazingly, I didn’t set off the fire alarm with the amount of smoke that was coming out of the oven.  Which is good since we live in an apartment complex with hard wired alarms.  We had a string of fire alarms several months ago because people kept burning food.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to become a hypocrite for swearing at those people as well as doing the walk of shame out of the building.  Which brings me to the second thing I would change.  Put the fillets on a half-sheet, or any kind of pan with sides!  Despite the chaos and mess, the fish turned out really well.  The only downside was the not-so-crisp bacon.

Surf, turf, and dirt. Terry-style.

Ringer’s favorite part of the meal was the tomato salad that I literally whipped together in three minutes at the very last second because I needed something else to go on the plate.  All it contains is diced tomatoes, thinly sliced onions, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch or two of salt to bring everything together.  Ringer liked it so much, she finished hers, what was left on the counter, and what Lindz left on her plate.  I’m taking it as a compliment.

The silver lining to the oven fiasco is that it finally motivated me to clean the oven like Lindz has been asking me to do for quite some time.  I’d call myself a procrastinator, but I think I’ll have time to do that later.


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