hello everyone! i hope you're having a lovely saturday. i am most definitely spending mine inside, as new york has been drenched in a cold, weepy rain for the last 36 hours. i did venture out last night, though, and i got a little gussied up to do so.
i don't know what it is about the cold, rainy weather that makes people dress in blacks and browns. looking down the subway platform last night, i felt like a sore thumb in my tiffany blue coat and bright yellow shoes; we mourn winter in funeral gear and don't bring out the bright colors and fun patterns until it gets nice outside. i think this is all wrong. certainly, i was walking to the subway to go home last night with my teeth all a-chatter and my knees practically knocking together, but dressing in dark colors all the time is just too much of a bummer.
silk jacket: guy baxter
knee highs: american apparel
shoes: shop in union square
purse: kate spade
i think i'm going to have to start wearing my glasses more. i really should wear them every day but i am in that weird in between zone of people who really SHOULD wear glasses but can totally get by without them - i have trouble identifying friends in bars, for example, but it's not like i'm driving, or trying to copy notes from a blackboard, so i've just kind of gone without them. i haven't ever gotten used to the way the world looks through them and i find myself taking them off and putting them on constantly throughout the day, so i tend to just leave them behind. it is nice to be able to see things, though. i should probably make a habit of it.
so, sam has been a vegetarian for years but i have finally worn him down to the point that he's agreed to eat seafood. i went seafood insane this week as a result; i started sunday night with homemade lobster thermidor, a super old-fashioned meal that is incredibly decadent and not very good for you but oh so delicious. i got my recipe from the red cat cookbook - one i got as a gift from my little sister a few years ago and i HIGHLY recommend to any home chefs looking for some not-too-complicated but absolutely beautiful and delicious recipes. it's never let me down. (try the peach and pancetta risotto. do it.) i made many adjustments to the recipe, as i went grocery shopping for it from memory and without a shopping list; i kind of improvised along the way, and i think it turned out very nicely. i guess you could call this a poor-man's thermidor - i substituted dried herbs for fresh in many cases, and subbed brandy for cognac, etc. recipe follows.
poor man's lobster thermidor*
*relatively poor. it still ran us about $32 for two pound-and-a-half lobsters.
estimated prep time: 45 minutes
cook time: 10-15 minutes
2 1-1/2 lb lobsters
about a cup of cream
2 T olive oil
1/2 small sweet yellow onion, diced
1 T dried, ground fennel
8-10 button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced (i always just clean off mushrooms with a dry towel - i think my older sister told me that if you wash them in water, they soak it all in and get rubbery when you cook them.)
about 1/4 cup dry white wine (i used a pinot grigio)
2 T cheap, cheap brandy (or nicer stuff, or cognac)
about 1 t chopped fresh thyme
1 t dried tarragon
couple dashes of cayenne (to your taste)
fresh ground pepper
1 T butter, melted
a couple handfuls of finely grated pecorino-romano cheese
juice of 1/2 lemon
preheat the oven to 400. bring the biggest pot of water you can find to boil. drop the lobsters in, LIVE, and cook 'em for about a minute to kill them. let them cool enough that you can handle them, then flip 'em tummy open and cut through the meat all the way (but not through the bottom shell, if you can help it.) spread them wide open. clean out the stuff that looks like it should be removed - there are clearly intestines and muck in there you wouldn't want to eat. when you're done it should be clean and white inside.
twist off the claws and drop them back in the boiling water for about 5 minutes; use a slotted spoon to scoop 'em out and set them aside to cool.
put the lobsters tummy-side up on a sheet pan and pour a little bit of the cream into them, just enough to fill the bottom of the shell. put them in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, then let them cool elsewhere.
i used a nutcracker (and sam) to break open the claws and remove all the meat. remove it from the tail as well. cut all this meat into 1 inch dice. start the oil heating in the sauté pan and add the yellow onion, cooking it at a medium heat for a minute or two before adding the mushrooms. cook them until they start to get soft and then add the wine and brandy, and cook until most of the liquid is gone. add the cream and reduce until there is just a few tablespoons of liquid left. add the thyme, ground fennel, cayenne, and tarragon. add the lobster meat and lemon juice and season, cook for just a minute or two, then scoop the mixture into the cooled lobster shells. top with the cheese and the tablespoon of butter. bake for about 10 minutes, and bam. a most delicious meal.
all right. i've got beer to brew, chores to do, and i am suddenly itching to bake a layer cake today, so i've got to get a-running. lots of cooking happened this week, though, so more posts soon!
have a lovely evening!
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