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illustration: clams

January 13, 2017

clams_by_al_lau

The earliest clams first appeared 500 million years ago. Clams are a bi-valve mollusk. Unlike oysters and mussels which need to be anchored to rocks in order to survive, clams burrow themselves within the sandy bottom of the ocean floor.

Although clams may look uninspiring, they play an important part to healthy coastal waters because of their role in filter feeding.

I am experimenting with a new type of art pen which gives me a finer line. It reminds me of when I used Repidograph pens in school. Drawing clams formations is a good exercise for me to study contours and detail. So with my clam sketches, less is more.

cartoon: first contact

December 30, 2016

cartoon_alien_comm_by_al_lau_a
cartoon_alien_comm_by_al_lau_b
cartoon_alien_comm_by_al_lau_c
cartoon_alien_comm_by_al_lau_d
This is my little cartoon about first contact with an alien.
Happy New Years, everybody!

Dungeness Crab Version 2

Along the west coast of America, up to the Pacific Northwest, lives the Dungeness Crab. It is one of the larger family of crabs. Their name is derived from Dungeness, a fish port town in Puget Sound, Washington state. Their lifespan is about 10 years. Commercially caught Dungeness Crabs are usually around 5 years old when their shells reach 6 to 7 inches wide. Crabs grow through a process called molting where it sheds its shell for a new, larger one. Each time this happens, the crab grows 15 to 25%. They can be found in muddy/sandy portions of estuaries with eelgrass, along rocky shores, or as deep as 2000 feet in the ocean where they forage for small fish and invertebrates, such as clams and mussels.

Here is some good news. In a world full of so many threatened species of sea life, Dungeness crabs are actually a very good choice as a sustainable food source.  Regulations is saving the species. For example, in Canada, Dungeness Crab fisheries have catch size limitations. This protects male crabs until they are sexually mature, giving them the chance to spawn before being harvested. Female crabs are also protected by having fishing season restrictions.

What is your favorite prepared way to eat crab?  Mine is Hong Kong-style which is stir-fried in a wok and tossed with soy sauce, green onions, and lots of scrambled egg. Yummy.

I have painted a Dungeness Crab before, however, my approach toward doing watercolor has changed over time, so this is version 2 of the beloved tasty subject.

sushi_shrimp_by_al_lau

This is my drawing of shrimp sushi.  Ebi Nigiri is another easy to make sushi.  All that is needed is headless Black Tiger shrimp, or any type of jumbo shrimp, and sticky short grain rice.  Remove the shell, but keep the tail on.  Use bamboo skewers to straighten the shrimp, then boil until they turn a bright orange.  Stop the cooking process by dipping the shrimp into a bowl of ice.  Add salt and a squeeze of lemon. Lastly, butterfly the shrimp on the bottom and lay onto the rice. Easy!

sushi_salmon_nigiri_by_al_lau

If you want to make sushi at home and impress your friends, Salmon Nigiri could be the easiest to do. No rolling required. Just have a sharp knife to slice salmon and lay it over sticky short grain rice, seasoned with vinegar, salt and sugar.  It’s important to freeze the salmon over night, approximately 16 hours, before thawing the next day, and preparing to eat. Freezing kills off impurities in the fish. Or simply ask your fish market that you want to make edible raw sushi, and he/she will give you “sushi-grade” salmon.

This is my little sushi drawing. Doesn’t it look delicious?

sushi_california_roll_by_al_lau

It is coincidental that this post has California in the title (like my previous post).  Nice segue huh?  But this time, I’m on a foodie kick, and hungry.

California rolls are a nice introductory sushi for newcomers to the delicacy because there is no raw fish in it. It has imitation crab sticks, which is actually the processed meat of whitefish, or Alaska Pollock, to resemble the look, feel and taste of crab leg meat. And yes, in the process, the whitefish is cooked. So go ahead and try it, if you haven’t already. Then, be more daring by trying one of the raw fish sushi’s, next time.

Which is your favorite sushi?

happy rosh hashanna

September 26, 2009

matzah_ball_noodle_soup

I added Chinese noodles and Vietnamese hot sauce to the Matzah Ball Soup for more flava.

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