Summer 2018 & Catalan Seafood Stew w/Lobster & Claims

      Today is the start of summer, that wonderful time of the year that many tend to forget what they are yelling or are discussed at in others and deem to strip down to sometime less than what would be their skivvies and dawn the beaches and waterways in the name of swimming or "bathing." It always amazed me that some of the biggest opponents were some of the biggest offenders. But hey, what am I so say, you know us penguins go a-la-natural anyway so I've never know what the big fuss is all about anyway. Summer, when the talk about ocean smells and really mean the smell of coconut oil and suntan lotion, cause we all know if you really smell the beach on a hot summer day, it can be mighty pungent, especially if the seaweed is clogging up the shallow waters or got deposited on the beach after last nights high tides. But summer brings warmth, brings sunlight, brings growth, and the list goes on. The healing of warm salt water, the abilities to get out of the cloistered halls of your habitat, the joys of socializing again. Summer, for most of us, even snow bunnies and snow bugs, is a time of rejuvenation of the body and renewing of the mind. It is travel time to the in-laws, out-laws, laws you didn't know you had in places you have never heard of before, or they are calling you want to come visit cause they finally figured you've got a place on Cape of Cod. Yes we can not wait for this time of year to get here, Kids can hardly wait for school to be out and the end of summer the parent's cant wait for school to start again. Are you ready? Have you made the arrangements, have you checked your packing lists. Have you figured what you wanted to do and where want to go, and most important how much it's going to cost. Summer time is here and Cape Cod is so ready for you to be here. We are ready and waiting, hotels and motels have changed hands and are sparkling clean, restaurant menus are set and the staff has been picked. And all the attractions and venues are up and ready to go, with show stopping acts and actors who have practiced and practiced so you can enjoy a wonderful evening out and about. So here's to the summer let the games begin, and let's all play nicely from locals to visitors. So that in the end all can say good night and hope to see your real soon, with all the sincerity that any could give. Now have a great and wonderful, and see you soon especially if it all happens right here on old Cape Cod.   

      Ok small business report, I love doing craft and artisan shows and well as farmers markets. This past weekend was kickoff craft show in Hyannis, I was very pleased to see the number of on Cape vendors and vendors within a hour of the canal. So with this in mind the first business is the Hippy Pilgrim. Yes you read it correctly. Find them online at on facebook and twitter. She does have an events page as we prefers to show at artisan shows and farmers markets. She is big into the Plymouth Farmers Market and Carver Farmers Market and she is also doing about every other Cape Cod Beer Farmers Market that is held on Fridays nights from 3pm - 6pm and she will be there this Friday 6-22-18. What they sell is Garlic Salts of all kinds. In there words: Hippy Pilgrim salt is made just a stone’s throw from historical Plymouth, Massachusetts and features FRESH garlic, kosher salt and ground black pepper. I purchase my garlic seasonally from Green Mountain Garlic in the heart of Vermont. When we receive our bucket of garlic, we hand peel the garlic and make our salt in small custom batches. Read more on their website. But let me tell you this stuff is wicked good, and you have got to try them to believe them, and so many uses. Check them out and enjoy with endless options. 
      Next is a small business out of Marston Mills called Wood Effects by Wayne Shepard. Now you will not find a website, the business facebook is gone and his personal has not been updated for some time. But he is still producing and some really cool stuff, He makes pepper and spice grinders, ice cream scoops, cheese spreaders, bowls and other wooden vessels. He does colored woods and natural colored wood pieces. Please keep your eyes open at the local craft shows for this artisan. We have purchased some of his works and they also make great gifts. 
      Last for this week is DandyFunk Arts, find them at and on facebook. This craftsman splits his time between the Cape and New Hampshire. Check out his calendar for the shows he is doing on the Cape. He makes hand carved Quarterboards and signs, Tavern signs, cutting boards, and more. It has been awhile since I have not seen this quality of Quarterboards in a long time. He does more, and will work with you to just about anything you can think of. Check out his website and go see him at one of the local shows he will be showing at.    
      Well I guess the old guy was right, he is actually gonna let me do some of the reporting today, but I think it is only because he is with a group of school kids right now and I am seeing another tour bus pulling in. So I will see if I can at least get a word or two from him. Morning folks, I sure hope you are making the round of the lighthouse this week. It is just spectacular weather now that the heat of this past weekend has past. I have been doing last days school tours since these critters do not do well sitting in a class room it is great to get them out and about and learning something about history and our great Cape. As you can see, Ok like I know you readers can, but I'm talking to this reporter guy and pointing stuff out, anyway I'm pointing out the buses coming in, we have them rolling in with those travel groups of all ages. The beaches are just starting to pick up during the week but I think they will really start next week or the 1st of July since so many schools are getting out late this year. We are ready for you, so come on out and visit with us and be sure to come by and introduce yourself, I just love meetin' new folk. Later now: Well off he goes again, I will say the place really looks nice, the tower is sparkling with new paint job, the path through the woods even looks like it has been cleaned up a lot. With all the tics this year this will help control those, and I saw the grounds treatment guys leaving as I was pulling in. The observation table has a new fence along the edge of the cliffs and there are some new picnic tables around. You really need to come out here and check it out. And his wife I see is putting out a plate of fresh cookies, well folks that my cue to leave and go check those things out. I would not want to offend her and not try a couple. Well as the old guys would say, Have a great and wonderful especially if you can do it right here on old Cape Cod, or something like that.   
      This recipe is basically a Spanish Seafood stew, from the region of Catalonia in Northwestern Spain. I have looked at a couple difference recipes and most is standard from recipe to recipe whether fish or seafood stew or the beef stew or any other types of stews. i read someplace that places we remember are greatly related to the foods in that region. Catalonia is that way. Although I have not been outside of the U.S.A. I can visit around the world just by eating foods that come from that area, the spices they use in there cooking, the styles and what the lay of the land or sea offer them to use. Most of the world (and so much better than the United States of American) use local ingredients that give it its own unique taste. So with this in mind I will present you with a seafood based stew. Now please look over the list it is a lengthy on, I know this is not the norm for a Cape Cottage Kitchen, where less is better. But every now and then we have to break the bank. Remember what Jeff Smith the Frugal Gourmet use to say, Frugal does not mean cheap, it means being wise with what you have. Now on with the show:
      This Week's Recipe: Catalan Seafood Stew w/ Lobster & Claims
 1 1/2-2    cups       fish stock (real Catalan stew makes from scratch)
         1        dried        nora pepper or 1 dried ancho/California pepper
         2        tbsp         olive oil
         1        med        onion
      1/2        med        red pepper
         2        large       cloves garlic (large)
      1/2        tsp          fennel seeds
      1/2        tsp          dried thyme
      3/4        cup         finely chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
      1/2        cup         white wine
         1        each       bay leaf
      1/2        tsp          Spanish paprika (sweet)
         1        pinch       saffron
         1        tbsp        tomato paste/puree
         3        tbsp        ground almonds
         3        tbsp        ground hazelnuts
         1        lb            clams
         1        lb            mussles
         1        lb            lobster ( or you can use poor mans lobster, Monkfish)
         1        handful   fresh parsley , roughly chopped
      If you are making your own stock get that started up front otherwise: 
      Break the dried nora/ancho/Callifornia pepper open and remove the seeds. Break it into pieces and put it in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and lave it to soak around 15 min or more. While that's soaking, finely dice the onion and slice the red pepper into half-length strips. Finely chop or crush the garlic. If using chunks of lobster make sure they about 1in pieces, if using Monkfish, make sure that filmy skin is removed and chunk into 1 in+ pieces.  Warm the oil in a pan then add the onion. Cook for around 5min until it starts to soften. Remove the dried pepper from the water it was soaking in and roughly chop.
Add the garlic, red pepper, chopped dried pepper, fennel seeds and thyme to the onion and cook another 5 min or so. Then add the tomatoes, wine, bay leaf, paprika saffron and tomato paste and stir. Add 1 1/2-2 cups of stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 10-15 min until it reduces in volume a little. If you add in the larger amount of stock be sure to reduce equally so may take another 5 mins. Next, add the almond and hazelnut flours and stir in well to thicken the sauce. Add the clams and mussels to the sauce and press them under. If they are larger clams (like littlenecks), cover with a lid and allow them to steam a few minutes first. When they are starting to open add the lobster or Monkfish and press them gently under the sauce and cover again. If the clams are smaller, you can add everything together. Check now and then and turn the to be sure everything is under the sauce.Once all seafood has changed translucent and the clams are open (ie they are cooked), sprinkle over a little parsley and serve.
      Please come and visit me weekday mornings at for some fun whimsical Morning Thoughts Thunks & More. Just a little way to laugh a little, know you are not in the race along and some fun holidays, observances, and weird food holidays. See you there. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on