Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lobster Bacon and Cheese Strata

Good Wednesday (almost afternoon) foodies! It's definitely fall this week in Chicago, and when this time of year rolls around, we here at Lobster Gram start craving simple comfort foods that warm you body and soul. This recipe is another masterpiece from our Creative Director Nancy, and every delicious ingredient combines beautifully to bake in a nice big cast iron skillet. I am very, very, *VERY* partial to foods prepared in a cast iron skillet. They just taste like home to me. If it's Lobster (the ULTIMATE Lobster Grammer comfort food)and in a cast iron couldn't be better. That is...unless you add hot gooey cheese and crispy apple wood smoked bacon to the delicious equation.
Ahem...excuse the drool :)~
But you see what I'm talking about I'm sure...

and here is the blueprint for this culinary masterpiece. Happy eating foodies!

Lobster, Bacon &?Cheese Strata
Strata is a baked dish that combines chunks of bread with eggs, cream... and the rest is up to your imagination. We let ours run wild in this indulgent lobster-filled version. If Challah bread is unavailable for you, a good substitution is the Hawaiian bread for its slight sweetness and tender, cakier texture.

Lobster, Bacon and Cheese Strata
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 loaf Challah bread, cut into 1” cubes (about 8 cups)
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
5 large eggs
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
4 oz. goat cheese
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1-1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 cups cooked lobster meat, chopped
8 slices apple wood smoked bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a large, ovenproof skillet. In a large bowl, whisk the milk and olive oil until blended. Add the bread cubes, and toss to coat, allowing it to soak up the liquid.
Then, in a small bowl mix the cream, eggs, garlic, shallots, salt, pepper and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, crumble the goat cheese and mix with the Gruyere, Parmesan, sage and thyme.
Line the bottom of the skillet with half of the soaked bread cubes. Top with half of the lobster meat, bacon and cheese mixture. Pour half of the egg mixture over the layers. Repeat layering with the remaining bread, lobster, bacon, cheese mixture and egg mixture. Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, about 1 hour. The strata will puff during baking, but will settle once removed from the oven.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Images from Classic Roasted Chicken with Citrus Herb Oil

As is the image mash up for

Classic Roasted Chicken with Citrus Herb Oil

Good Monday Morning Foodies! I hope everyone had a nice enjoyable weekend. Here in Chicago the weather was seeming a little more like fall, so I thought it would be the perfect weekend to make a Sunday classic, Roasted Chicken.
I was very excited to prepare this meal, because although I have roasted many chickens in my life, this was the first time I have prepared a Poulet Rouge Fermier. A little back ground on what a Poulet Rouge is, and why it's better than regular run of the mill poultry.
Niman Ranch Epicure Reserve™ poultry are grown on small U.S. family farms by growers committed to humane and traditional farming methods. The Poulet Rouge Fermier is a heritage breed that originated in France. It has a distinctive flavor, thin translucent skin and an elegant shape. Lobster Gram supports Niman Ranch’s commitment to raising livestock humanely and sustainably on U.S. family farms and ranches according to the strictest animal handling protocols in the industry. Niman Ranch never uses added hormones or antibiotics and their animals are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. Born, raised and processed in the United States.
So, obviously with hype like that...I had to find out what this special chicken was all about.
The's all about flavor and an incredible texture I have never experienced in any type of poultry before. A simple bed of onions, potatoes, celery and carrots would be the perfect compliment to a chicken this incredible.
To enhance the natural flavors of this incredible gourmet feast, I decided to make some fresh Sage Thyme Oil for the skin.
Everything was simply delectable, and the Chicken was so meaty, the 3 1/2 lb chicken fed my family of four *with 3 big eaters*.
The next recipe I will be using this fantastic chicken for...
Home made chicken noodle soup with home made noodles or dumplings.
I can hardly wait! Well, here is the recipe for Fresh Thyme Sage Oil and a Classic Roasted Chicken. Happy Eating Foodies! I'll be back soon with delectable images!

For Fresh Thyme Sage Oil for Chicken Skin
1/2 large bunch of fresh sage
1/2 large bunch of fresh thyme
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup combination Lemon and Orange Olive Oils

Combine fresh sage leaves, fresh thyme, garlic and oils in blender. Blend until completely combined. Shake well. Keep refrigerated.

Classic Roasted Chicken (Poulet Rouge Fermier)

1 -3-3.5 lb Whole Chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1/2 Spanish onion, thickly sliced
1 whole small white onion sliced
Several Large Fresh Sage Leaves
Kitchen Strings
4 large stalks of Celery chopped
2 large carrots chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Remove excess pockets of fat around the cavities. For even cooking and crisp skin us the rack to lift the chicken. Season the chicken inside and out with Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Fill cavity with herbs, garlic and lemon.
Rub skin with sage/thyme oil to keep moist. Place chicken on it's side on the roasting rack, and roast for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the chicken over on it's other side and continue roasting for another 15 minutes. Then, flip the chicken breast side up and finish roasting for another 30 minutes. If additional browning is desired on the skin, remove cover or tin foil from roasting pan and allow chicken to roast uncovered until desired golden color is achieved. Rest chicken 10 minutes and serve.