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Monthly Archives: February 2012

How to boil a lobster

From time to time, my sister, brother-in-law, and me like to have fancy pants dinner.  Like a couple of weekends ago.  I happened to see that Filet Mignon was on sale at Wholey’s and when I suggested a fancy pants dinner, my sister told me she had just been thinking the same thing because she saw that live lobsters were for sale for $7.98 each at Market District.  That’s right.  $7.98!  You can’t beat the price and it doesn’t get much fancier that surf and turf.  So, to the strip I went to pick up the filets and then to the Market we went to get delicious, fresh, and feisty lobsters.

Cooking lobsters at home is lots of fun, very easy and super economical!  The trick is to have a large enough pot enough to be able to completely submerge the lobsters (especially if you are cooking more than 1 or 2).  The lobsters are fine out of water for quite some time; I actually read you can keep them in the fridge over night wrapped with wet newspaper, but we left it up to the store to keep them fresh.  Whatever you do don’t, I mean DO NOT put them in fresh water for a last little swim in fresh water before their final swim in the boiling water.  If you put them in fresh water, they drown.  They drown and they release a poison into their body.  How do I know that?  Well, since you asked, luckily I know that from second hand experience and did not have to experience the heartbreak of witnessing a few drowning lobsters in the bath tub myself.  My parents lived near Boston for a few years early in their marriage.  Their best friends also had been living there.  One day they decided to have lobsters, and being the kind and humane ladies that they were (are) decided to give their little guys one last hoorah.  Even if you get a deal for $7.98 each, you don’t want that!

To cook the lobsters, you will need a very large stock pot.  Fill about 2/3 with water and slice 2 lemons in half.  Squeeze each half into the water and then add the lemon rind into the pot.  Cut a whole clove of garlic in half and add to the party.  Then add a handful of springs of fresh thyme and a few bay leaves.  We had used plain water several times, and honestly did taste the difference in the lobster by adding the extra flavors.   Bring the water to a boil.  Remove the lobster from their container and carefully clip the rubber bands off of their claws before dropping in (it’s helpful to make this a 2 person job).  Drop the lobster carefully into the water.  Repeat for each lobster you have.  Put the lid on to help bring the water back up.  The lobsters will take about 12-15 minutes to cook.  They will turn a bright red when they are done.  I also read that you can tell when they are done when you can remove one of the feelers easily.

It is a delicious treat!  Serve with lots of melted butter, a cracker and a little lobster fork to help get meat out of the little areas.

We had the lobsters, grilled filet and roasted potato slices (recipes to follow soon!).

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French Onion Soup

I love French Onion soup.  There was a fantastic little restaurant close to my house in my hometown that friends of ours owned.  We were frequent patrons.  Such frequent visitors that we could sit down and the regular bartender/ server would immediately put in an order for 3 French Onion soups (for myself, my mum, and my sister) so they would be at our table minutes after walking through the door.  This French Onion soup was/ is unlike any soup you’ve ever had.  I dream of this soup.  The ownership of the restaurant changed, and I don’t visit my hometown very often anymore, so it has been quite sometime since I’ve been able to enjoy it.  Joe’s French Onion is rich and tangy and has a bit of spice and is just phenomenal.  Luckily, our family friends still own 2 restaurants that I can hopefully get a nice big cheesy bowl of Joe’s French Onion soup soon!

I made this soup in the crock pot and did turn out to be quite delicious, but it still wasn’t the same.  But, we did think it was better than some restaurants.

2 medium red onions

1 large sweet yellow onion

1 large white onion

1/2 stick butter

1 – 48 ounce can beef broth (College Inn)

1 – 17 container bold tender beef broth (College Inn)

1/8 cup red wine

1/8 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 TBSP ketchup

1/2 TBSP flour

1/2 TBSP sugar

Splash of apple cider vinegar

Sachet with fresh thyme sprigs, 3 bay leaves, 1 clove fresh crushed garlic clove (a sachet is herbs/ aromatics wrapped in cheesecloth and dropped in while it’s cooking)

1 loaf French or Italian bread cut into 1 inch slices (and depending which type you’re using, cut in half)

Cheese (I used a shredded 6 cheese blend, but slices of mozzarella, provolone, or Fontina or Gruyere would be delicious)

Slice all of the onions.  Melt about 2 TBSP of butter in a large skillet and add the onions.  Let the onions cook down and caramelize.  Add more butter as needed (I probably used another 2 TBSP) to keep the skillet from getting too dry.  While the onions are cooking, make the sachet with 3 bay leaves, fresh thyme and garlic).  Once the onions have cooked down and have a nice golden color, add them to the crock pot.  Stir in a little broth into the skillet to deglaze the pan to get all of the delicious itty bits that are stuck to the pan.  I also added a little red wine to the pan.  The red wine we had on hand was pretty sweet, so I didn’t use much.  If I had a dry red, I would’ve used more with the broth to deepen the flavor.  Add in the rest of the broth.  Add the pan scrapings and broth from the skillet.    Add the vinegars, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and sugar.  Drop in the sachet.  Cook on high for about 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours.  Once the soup has simmered and slow cooked, toast slices of bread in the oven at 350.  Add some of the soup into your oven proof bowls and then put 1 “crouton” and then add more soup so it’s almost to the top.  Add another piece of bread and top with the cheese.  Place under the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden.

Enjoy!!

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“Chocolate Pie Shots” with fresh berries

While I was searching for mini desserts, I came across this recipe on Food Gawker.  It looked right up my alley.  I love chocolate and raspberries together.  The original site said that the recipe was based on the movie “Waitress”, and the story on the blog did make me want to watch it.

The only adjustment I made was to use crushed chocolate cookies instead of chocolate biscotti like the recipe called for.  In the future, I will also adjust the amount of raspberry vodka that I put in in.  I’m all about adding liquor into cooking, but this was pretty strong since it doesn’t have the chance to cook off at all.  I will probably cut that in half next time.

I also doubled the recipe, which made 18 shot glasses.  The amounts listed below however are the original which says it makes 6-8 shots.

 

About 1/2 cup crushed chocolate cookies1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

3 TBSP light brown sugar

2 TBSP raspberry vodka (I used raspberry Belvedeer)

1 pinch salt

4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup fresh blackberries

 

Crush the cookies or biscotti (I used my food processor) and put a layer in each shot glass.

To make the ganache, bring heavy cream, sugar and sal
t to just to a boil in a saucepan.  Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate and vodka.  Whisk until it’s melted and combined.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Then mash the berries together.  I used my pestal and mashed them by hand.  I wanted to still have chunks of berries.  (I did this step the about an hour before serving).

The original recipe also included fresh whipped cream flavored with flavored with raspberry vodka.  I ran out of time, so I didn’t do the whipped cream, but I’m sure it was an amazing addition!

Once the ganache has cooled a bit, carefully spoon it over the “crust”.  Once you have them all filled, put them in the fridge for several hours or over night.  Once they have had a chance to set a bit, spoon the berries on the top.  If you are doing whipped cream, layer that right on top and enjoy!

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Source: http://www.smithbites.com/2011/06/movie-bites-earl-murders-me-because-im-having-an-affair-pie/