Maine! And Homemade Seafood Stock

It’s Wednesday! Hooray!

Ok, so Wednesday’s aren’t always the most exciting, BUT this one is pretty great. In just a few hours I’m flying to Maine for a long weekend with my college roommates Anna and Michelle!

red-hot-chili-peppers
Probably the most recent picture I have of just the three of us! Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in 2012!

We have been trying to plan a reunion/girls trip for at least two years so the fact that it is finally happening is pretty exciting. The fact that we are going to Maine, all as first timers, is also pretty exciting. We are flying into Portland, spending the night and then driving up to Bar Harbor for the remainder of our trip. We have a rough itinerary but would welcome any suggestions! I’m ready to eat all the lobster rolls and Maine blueberry pancakes my little heart can handle!

Segue time…. speaking of lobster rolls and fresh Maine seafood, how about a recipe for homemade seafood stock?

ingredients

So a few weeks ago, the beautiful island we call home was the unfortunate landing locale for Hurricane Matthew. The governor called for a mandatory evacuation, which we reluctantly followed, and it was a little terrifying  quite an adventure.

tree
Robert cutting the tree off of our house and simultaneously giving me a heart attack

Robert, his parents, Renly and I all evacuated to our Aunt Teen’s house which is just off the island. She had a generator (lifesaver) and welcomed us and all three dogs into her home. After 4 days together with no power/AC or phone service, she deserves a medal!

hurricane-team
The whole gang! Before we lost power…

Now, this was my first hurricane evacuation, and packing the morning before we left was nerve wracking. Its amazing how little most of your stuff actually means to you in a situation like that. My bag basically consisted of comfy yoga pants, plenty of underwear and our wedding and travel albums. It took me all of 5 seconds to throw together and then it was time to worry about the important stuff: Food.

I packed all the non-perishables we had in the pantry and then made a few careful selections from the freezer knowing that we would probably lose power and all of our food (which we did). *side note: food gone bad was a VERY small price to pay compared to others who had extensive damage to their homes.

Our careful selections: Air-dried sausage that my grandparents bring us and I use sparingly because it is the best sausage ever; a bag of boiled peanuts (Robert’s choice) and last but certainly not least, several pounds of shrimp Robert caught this summer that we were saving for a special occasion. No special occasion like a hurricane party eh?

shrimp-shells
A small portion of our bounty

So in the spirit of salvaging, we ate all the boiled peanuts and then had shrimp and sausage for every meal of our evacuation. Things could certainly have been worse!

There were SO many shrimp! We boiled them, pan fried them, grilled them and when the power finally returned, made shrimp and grits to celebrate. There were so many shrimp in fact, that I couldn’t bear to waste all the shells, and decided to use them to make seafood stock!

Seafood stock is expensive and making your own is VERY simple, especially if you have a slow cooker which is my preferred method. Anytime I roast a whole chicken, I use the bones to make chicken stock and it is so much tastier than what you buy in a carton. I thought the same would probably be true for seafood stock and boy was it ever! The stock had so much flavor and a beautiful rich color, I can only imagine the health benefits!

Half the shrimp shells (about 4 cups) yielded 3 mason jars full of stock. I used two last weekend during a date night at home to make Robert a special seafood risotto with seared scallops.

seafood-risotto

I froze my last mason jar and am saving it for something special. Maybe I’ll try my hand at she-crab soup, Robert’s favorite!

Next time you find yourself with leftover bones/shells, try a homemade stock! Not only will it be delicious and save you money, but you’ll feel like a domestic goddess! Or at the very least like an Inuit who wastes nothing and uses every part of the whale from bones to blubber. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Seafood Stock

Ingredients:

4-5 Cups of seafood leftovers (shrimp shells, fish bones, crab claws, whatever you’ve got!)

Water

1 Onion, Chopped into several large pieces

2-3 stalks of Celery, Chopped into large pieces

1 Carrot, Chopped into large pieces

1 bulb of garlic, peeled and separated

Directions:

  1. Place all of your ingredients in slow cooker, season with salt, pepper and any other desired herbs or spices.
  2. Cover ingredients with water.
  3. Turn slow cooker on for longest setting and cook on low (I cooked mine for 24 hours since this is the max setting on my slow cooker, but I would suggest at least 8 as a minimum).
  4. Once cooked, strain stock into a large bowl. Once cooled, transfer to jars and freeze or enjoy within the week!

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