It is hard to believe that Apple Fest is behind us, and we are anticipating cooler weather and heartier meals coming up soon in Chicago. Fall on the East Coast is beautiful as well, so I booked a last minute trip to visit Boston and continue on to Provincetown, which is at the northern tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
I am most excited about the seafood and art here around the Cape. Provincetown is a very cool getaway, celebrating 400 years in existence. The seaside town is on the site of the Mayflower’s landing in 1620, commemorated by the towering Pilgrim Monument and neighboring Provincetown museum. This weekend there is an arts festival happening throughout the many small galleries on the island on Commercial street. This is truly a magical place.
New England is famous for great seafood, especially lobster. I am excited to try some of the lobster dishes and share some of my experiences with you. I also discovered a Portuguese influence here, which can be observed from bakeries to a very specific shrimp dish that is offered in many restaurants in town.
The best way to move around this town is by foot, but bikes are available for rent too. I prefer walking in order to see the area and work off all of the food I've been eating at local restaurants.
When spending the weekend here, I recommend starting your adventures off on Commercial Street, the main street full of the many galleries, shops and plenty of restaurants.
Every restaurant offers a great variety of seafood dishes and lobster dishes, from the classic lobster roll to modern fusion dishes. Of course, the lobster and all of the seafood is as fresh as it gets since it's sourced right from the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
One restaurant I would recommend visiting while here is Bubalas on Commercial Street. I loved the seafood cassoulet here, made with a variety of clams and mussels and fresh fish.
Another great restaurant is on Commercial Street, the Mayflower. After a busy morning of shopping, enjoy lunch there. They specialize in Portuguese dishes, such as the Portuguese shrimp dish I enjoyed, served in a spicy sauce with a side of rice and French fries.
The shrimp are tossed in a Piri Piri spice and lots of butter. This dish is also known under the name of Shrimp Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony. The key ingredient here is the Piri Piri spice, a blend of Spanish paprika, lemon peel, garlic, Greek oregano and African bird's eye chilies. The shrimp are grilled and then finished in the sauce. I don’t have a specific recipe for you, just remember the key ingredient for the dish is the Piri Piri spice, which is available in most grocery stores. For the shrimp, I would recommend purchasing tail-on raw shrimp.
How to Cook Rice
Sometimes the simplest things can be the most mysterious. Many cooks are positively superstitious about making rice, always using the same pot and scolding if one opens the lid before the rice is done.
There are actually two foolproof methods for making perfect rice. One is to use a rice cooker, which takes the guesswork out of measuring, cooking times and temperature. Just measure any variety of rice into the cooker, add water to the line, and turn it on. The cooker will cook the rice to perfection and keep it warm for hours. To use the stovetop method for rice, measure the rice into a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, place your little finger on the surface of the rice, and add liquid up to the first knuckle. (This method is not accurate for all varieties of rice; some types require less liquid—check the back of the package for information on proportions.) Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Allow to steam for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 more minutes.
There are many varieties of rice to choose from, as well as many flavorful additions you can add to change the taste of your rice dish to suit what it accompanies. Fragrant varieties of rice like jasmine and basmati are delicious, and black, red, and brown rice all have interesting tastes and textures.
Tip: Many cooks like to cook their rice in broth or stock for added flavor, and many Asian- influenced dishes go well with coconut rice, made by using canned, unsweetened coconut milk in place of some of the water.
Chinese cooks do not salt their rice, but many cooks like to add salt before cooking. The neutral taste of rice takes on flavors beautifully, so adding spices before cooking can transform a boring side dish into something more interesting. Some suggested additions include saffron threads (which also provide a gorgeous yellow color), cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, or other whole spices, or dried herbs. Ingredients that can be gently folded into rice after cooking included toasted chopped nuts.
Learn how to make the ultimate rice dish - Paella - in our Hands-On Night in Spain class coming up this Friday, October 15 at 6:30pm at Lincoln Square. You'll make and enjoy:
- Sautéed Strip Steaks with Romesco Compound Butter
- Seafood Paella with Shrimp and Mussels
- Flan (Caramel Custard)