Friday, November 29, 2013

Volcano, Amador County, California


My family has a house about 20 minutes away from Volcano, California. As kids we would drive down here and explore all the old mining equipment and shop at the hippie jewelry shops. During a Thanksgiving trip up to the house this last year, we decided, after years of not visiting the area, to take a hike around and explore the National Natural Landmark at Black Chasm Caverns.


Not much open on Black Friday. To be more specific, nothing was open and no one was out and about in downtown Volcano; a census designated place (CDP). Take your time walking through the city, it's a 5 minute walk from start to end. However, for such a small town, there is so much history and is considered the “gem of the Gold Country”.

Mildred Hoover’s commented in her authoritative book, Historic Spots in California, “Volcano is the Sleepy Hollow of the West. One can look for goblins in the ghost rocks or headless horseman to come galloping from the steep wooded mountain road.”


Old Abe was cast in bronze by Cyrus Alger & Co. in Boston in 1837 and now resides at the intersection of Main and Consolation Street in downtown Volcano.


This 800lb cannon held by the Valcano Blues was only fired once during the civil war.


"Old Abe" was fired down main street causing windows to break in the shops that had not been warned or who were sympathetic to the south. Go Valcano Blues!!


"Hydraulic mining operations (high pressure water jets to wash gravel away from mountainsides), begun in 1855, brought thousands of fortune seekers to form a town of 17 hotels, a library, a theater, and courts of quick justice." wikipedia.org


A rusty mining trolley, pushed or pulled by men and animals, sits just outside the famous St. George Hotel.

"The historical "Mother Lode" belts the county entirely across, extending north into El Dorado and south into Calaveras, and in Amador are found the most important and most numerous leads upon it." amadorgold.net


Cobblestone sidewalks in downtown Volcano


Platform base of Bandstand is reconstruction of original portable bandstand built around 1856.


Portable bandstand in Volcano and me.


Cool, old 7UP sign on the main market



Jug & Rose Baking Company gets 5 star rating on Yelp.com



Historic downtown Volcano and Jug and Rose Baking Company.



Main Street Volcano, California 2014



Volcano Jail, built 1857



The jail is virtually escape proof, and the story goes that its first prisoners were the men who constructed it.



The Masonic Lodge, built in 1856 by Samuel Hayes and James Adams

Later that day we took a guided tour of the Black Chasm Caverns, designated a national natural landmark in 1976 because of it's rare helictite formations.

Due to low light and my iPhone, my photos do not do this type of formation justice. You must see this in person.



a wide variety of formations including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and the vast arrays of rare helictite crystals, for which Black Chasm Cavern is justly famous.

Although small, Volcano is a town of many "firsts":
1854 First theater group in California
1854 First debating society in California
1854 First circulating library in California
1855 First private schools in California
1855 First private law school in California
1856 First legal hanging in Amador County
1860 First astronomical observatory in California
1978 First solar still in California
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano,_California

Volcano (No. 29 California Historical Landmark)
sierranevadageotourism.org

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thai Crab and Mango Salad with Lime Pineapple Jalapeño Mint Dressing

Thai Crab Salad with Lime Pineapple dressing

Dungeness Crab fresh out of the Pacific Ocean in a Thai style salad. Fresh mango, cucumber, basil, cilantro, mint, avocado, carrots, green onions, and mixed greens. For the dressing I blended pineapple, jalapeño, mint and lime.

No oils, no dairy, no gluten. Paleo. Local.

Thai Crab-and-Green-Mango Salad

Ingredients:

- 2 or 3 fresh whole Dungeness Crabs
- 2 mangos
- 1 or 2 cucumber
- 1/2 cup basil
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup mint
- 3 scallions, green parts only
- 3 carrots, finely julienned
- 1/2 pineapple cut and blended
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- Mixed greens or 2 bunches of watercress
- Sriracha
- 1/2 cup fish sauce







Thai Crab-and-Green-Mango Salad

Start with the carrots since they will need to marinate for about an hour. Chop or julienne. Mix the fish sause and sriracha in a bowl and add carrots. Set aside and get to the dressing next.

How to cook and clean fresh crab

In a VitaMix blend the pineapple, 2 tablespoons of fresh mint and the fresh lime juice. Place this mix into a bowl and add the scallions (green onions) and fish sauce.

Thai Crab-and-Green-Mango Salad

Place this in the fridge to settle.

Thai Crab-and-Green-Mango Salad

After cooking your crab for about 10 minutes, clean it. If you need instructions on how to do this, please check out How to Cook and Clean a Crab.

Thai Crab-and-Green-Mango Salad

Chop the greens and the mango and mix in a very large bowl.


Thai Crab-and-Green-Mango Salad

Now you can drain the carrots from their bath and place them in the bowl of mixed greens. NOTE: Toss the carrot bath mix. You do not need or want that in your salad.

Drizzle the pineapple dressing on the mixed greens and toss until evenly distributed.

Thai Crab-and-Green-Mango Salad

Do not add the crab to this large mixing bowl. Plate the mixed greens and top with fresh crab.

Thai Crab-and-Green-Mango Salad

Garnish with the avocado and left over cucumber and serve cold.




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How To Cook and Clean Fresh Dungeness Crab

How to cook and clean fresh crab


First you should have a current fishing license and know the legal crabing areas in outside the Bay. Second, you should keep the male crabs while tossing back all female crabs so they can reproduce more crabs for next season.

Note: Dungeness crabs (Cancer magister) may not be taken from, or possessed if taken from, San Francisco and San Pablo bays at any time. For complete regulation information, see the California Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

How to cook and clean fresh crab

If you look at a crab’s underside, there’s a 'flap' or apron with a distinct shape. Male crabs have a narrow, long apron and female crabs have a wide, triangle apron.


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add one or two carbs.  The crabs should be fully submerged and covered by water. The water will stop boiling for about 3 ot 5 minutes when the carbs are first put into the water. It's OK. Boil the crabs for about 10 to 15 minutes depending on their size. After boiling or steaming your crab, take them out of the water and 'clean' them for storage.

For starters, turn the crab over and use your thumb to pull the apron away from the body. See above photo


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Place both thumbs into the apron area to pull apart the carapace from the body. The carapace detaches completely from the body, but watch out for the yellow guts. They sometimes fly all over the place.


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Here you see the yellow guts in the carapace. Rinse the yellow guts off the body. I don't keep the carapace.


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Cleaning a crab is very time consuming and messy


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Remove the gills from around both sides of the body. What I'm holding in my hand on the left side of photo


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Decision time: Do you want to crack the body in half down the middle and server as is OR do you want the crab meat without the shell...?


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Two crabs ready for anything!


How to cook and clean fresh crab

I'm going to remove all the crab meat from the shell to make a salad. Remove the legs first and place them somewhere safe while you clean the body.


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Crack the crab leg shell with a hammer or crab cracker. I've not mastered this process yet, but a good hammer and some chopsticks are very useful in a pinch. Toss the shell and keep the meat.


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Now I have my crab meat ready for a salad, crab cakes, crab omelette or by itself with butter.


How to cook and clean fresh crab

Thai Crab mango, carrots, cucumber Salad mixed with lime-pineapple-jalapeño-mint dressing. Another favorite is Crab Avocado Mango Salad with Pomegranates! You must try all of these dishes!

Crab Avocado Mango Salad with Pomegranates



Or an omelette like the one below?

How to cook and clean fresh crab


Crab Omelette with ginger, green onions, corn, eggs, basil, avocado, and red onions with a side of brown rice, ginger and mint.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Crab Avocado Mango Salad with Pomegranates

Crab avocado mango salad
Take one:
Crab avocado with mango salsa in a citrus dressing garnished with pomegranates

Crab avocado mango salad
Take two:
Add arugula to the crab salad

Untitled
Take three:
Stuffed avocado with crab. Add arugula as a base to help the avocado sit and not roll around on the plate

Crab avocado mango salad

Ingredients:

- 1 Fresh crab meat (I harvest my own crab out of the Pacific Ocean, cook and clean it myself)
- 1/2 mango
- 1/4 of a whole orange, just the juice
- 1/3 cup red sweet onions chopped
- 2 tablespoons of cilantro
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 whole lime - juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of lime rind
- 1 small jalapeno chopped fine
- 2 avocados cut in half
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 fresh pomegranate







Crab avocado mango salad

Make the salsa first

In a bowl mix the olive oil, lime juice, lime rind, orange juice, cumin, jalapeno, cilantro, red onions, and chopped mango. Put that in the fridge to marinate while you work on the crab and avocado.

Crab avocado mango salad

Cut the avocado any way you want. Cut it 1/2 and stuff it. Slice it in small strips and plate it. Toss it in a salad.

Crab avocado mango salad

Tossed avocado and crab salad

Crab avocado salad

Say hello to my friends from the Pacific Ocean.