Monday, December 6, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday- Making Lobster Tails As Seen on TV

Dan "The Lobster Man" Zawacki is here with another great tutorial on how to prepare beautifully butterflied and baked Maine Lobster tails in the comfort of your own home.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Have a New Favorite Bakery, and You Should Too!

Good morning friends and foodies! I hope everyone of you had a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend!
My weekend was great. It was my very last weekend off for December, so I decided to spend it relaxing as much as possible and relaxation now involves a trip to my new favorite bakery near my house. Cookies Fresco.
Matt and I found this place a few weeks ago when I was getting out of the immediate care center. He wanted to make me feel better, and knew full well that a bakery would do the trick.
OMG did this place ever do the trick. Their hook was the sample of the Lemon Ricotta Cookie.
After one bite, I HAD to bring some home. They are the most moist, lemony, light cookie you could imagine with a delicate glaze on top that brings just a subtle pop of sweetness. Beware, once you try them, there is no walking away. That's why the sample is free. These people are brilliant.
So on the first visit, (after discussing a few wedding cake details with the owner!) we left with chocolate chip butter cookies, lemon ricotta cookies and gorgeous white chocolate shooters filled with the most dense, creamy raspberry mousse ever to grace a dessert plate. We were in foodie heaven. After we had gotten through all of our goodies, we knew it would only be a matter of time before we returned to try their other goods.
It took 9 days for us to go running back for more.
Saturday afternoon we are in the bakery once again trying to figure out what we should try. Obviously, we were never going to leave without another helping of the Lemon Ricotta Cookies and the mousse, but we wanted to try something savory. The answer? Fresh Focaccia and pretzel buns. I am a hopeless fool for a good fresh focaccia, and this one took the cake. I left the bakery with two of them actually. The one I kept for myself (but was forced to share with Matt, that's love right there) and the other is sitting here in the office on the snack table for the enjoyment of the Lobster Gram crew. From the looks of it, they enjoyed it a great deal because it was gone within minutes.
So with that, I will leave you with some images of the goodies. If you are in the area, drop by. The people are wonderful and really put a lot of time and effort into their products. You can always tell when someone loves their craft. It shows in everything they bring to their business and Cookies Fresco is a wonderful example of just such a place.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Products in the Lobster Gram test Kitchen

Yeah...that's right. I'm trying to get your attention the cheap way! But it's for a good reason. I MUST tell people about this BBQ Pork Shank...

Today I was downstairs in the Lobster Gram test kitchen doing some cooking with Dan "The Lobster Man". Today, we prepared some some of our NEW line of heat & serve entrees to illustrate how dirt simple it is to make the most delicious cuts of meat and glazes you could ever hope to experience.
Personally, I'm Über excited about this new line for several reasons. Hopefully by the time I'm finished enumerating them, you will be excited too :)
1) It's literally easier than making Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Heat water, throw bag in, wait, serve. Imagine having a gourmet feast that goes from freezer to table in 20 minutes flat.
2) The cuts and flavors that we are carrying are beyond delicious. These people are true masters of their craft and they take the time to make their glazes with all natural ingredients that come from trusted vendors.
3) With the choices that are available, I'm just going to stuff my freezer full of these for those "I can't cook tonight" fits that I get into. I will look like the ultimate domestic goddess every night of the week with the same recipe I use for tea. Woot...effort points for Nikki.
4) The meat is so tender, you can pull it from the bones using nothing more than two spoons. Yes...really, I have pictures to prove it. I didn't even believe it at first. Silly me. that I have talked them up sufficiently, here are some images from the Balsamic BBQ Pork Shank Dan & I prepared this morning.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Home Made Lobster Pot Pie (filling)

I love the Fall. It's the time of year when everything becomes vibrant and the air becomes crisp.
I love warm sweaters and slow cooking meals filling my apartment with mouthwatering aromas. Despite the 80 degree weather we experienced here in Chicago over the weekend, I was determined to make an old favorite of mine that is perfect for taking the chill out of your bones. Home made Lobster Pot Pie. I admit, it had been a LONG time since I have made a pie of any kind, so I had to find a good crust recipe. The one I found looked good, but was really anything but. So I'll continue the search for the perfect savory pie crust recipe, and share with you instead the recipe for the most perfect lobster pot pie filling you can imagine. Also, the lobster in this recipe could easily be replaced with almost any white meat, so have at it! Happy eating foodies!

Lobster Pot Pie Filling
6 tbs salted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped celery salt, black pepper, white pepper and garlic to taste
6 tbs flour
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup lactose free milk
2 cups unpeeled red potatoes, blanched in stock
1 cup diced carrots, blanched in stock
1 cup sweet peas
1 pound Maine Lobster Claw and Knuckle Meat, cooked and torn into bite-sized pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees . Grease a rectangular Pyrex dish. In a large skillet, melt 6 tbs butter. Add the onions and celery and saute for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the flour and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes for a blond roux. Stir in the chicken stock and bring the liquid up to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken. Stir in the lactose free milk and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, peas and lobster meat. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the filling thoroughly. If the filling is too thick, add a little water to thin out the filling. Pour the filling into the prepared pan. Place the crust on top of the filling. Carefully tuck the overlapping crust into the pan, forming a thick edge. Brush entire top layer with an egg wash for beautiful browning. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I have a New Nephew!

As of yesterday afternoon, my only sister became a Mom. George Jacob was born Thursday, September 30th at 4:25pm weighing 7lbs 14 oz. He is absolutely perfect.
I was lucky enough to get to the hospital about 20 minutes before he was born and the family and friends that were gathered in the waiting room got to meet him just after 5.
Check out how cute this guy is...

Come on now... that's a gorgeous baby, and he looks just like my sister.
Great work guys. He is perfect.

Georgie meeting Oma for the first time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Asian Style Kobe Flat Iron Steaks from Lobster Gram

Weekends are supposed to be for relaxation.
When one is moving, planning a yard sale for Labor Day weekend and trying to plan a wedding all at the same time, it's used for anything BUT relaxation.
This weekend however, I made time for a new recipe I have never made before with a NEW steak from Lobster Gram. And it was FAN-FRICKEN-TASTIC.
For a very long time I have hoped that we would carry a steak like this, and now that it's here, I couldn't wait to use it for a fruit and meat pairing.
Kobe Flat Iron Steaks. That's right...KOBE.
A little history lesson on Kobe Beef:
Kobe beef is a term that refers to the breed known as Waygu cattle that has been raised by the strictest techniques known the world over.
These cattle are fed grain and beer on a daily basis and massaged to ensure the marbling and flavor make their way through the entire animal.
Actual Kobe Beef from Japan is very difficult to come by because land is so scarce in Japan, but in recent years, Waygu cattle have been brought to America and Australia and raised by the same strict Japanese standards that create the most memorable steak you will ever have.
And that is how these amazing steaks came to be at Lobster Gram.
So, in honor of the Asian inspired beef, I prepared Asian Style Orange Kobe Flat Iron Steaks with Orange White Rice.
Happy eating foodies!
Asian Style Orange Marinade for Kobe Flat Iron Steaks

*Makes enough marinade for four 8oz Steaks*

6 tbs Sweet Dark Vinegar
2 tbs Honey
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs fresh grated ginger root
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
1 Cup Orange Juice
2 tbs Finely grated orange rind
2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Four 8 oz Kobe Steaks

Combine all ingredients into a gallon sized zip-lock plastic bag. Shake well to combine. Place all four steaks in the bag and shake again to coat.
Place in refrigerator for 8-24 hours, turning the bag occasionally.
If you fear the bag may open in the refrigerator, place it inside a second bag.
Grill or broil the steaks to taste.
Serve with white rice.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Vacation of Fantastic (FRIED) Food

Hey there Friends and foodies. I'm finally able to post some pictures from my vacation the last week of July!
After sorting through my vacation pictures, I came to the conclusion that I miss southern food.
I LOVE the South. I have a lot of family in the south and have spent many summers with cousins grandparents soaking up the slow going ways of the south.
The food down there is amazing.
They still cook with lard, and it makes me weak at the knees.
So, here is a short presentation of some of the best foods we got our hands on while on Vacation in Tennessee. Happy eating foodies! I'll be posting more vacation goodies tomorrow!

This is a deep fried Oreo. read that correctly. The order comes with three Oreos that are battered, deep fried and loaded up with powdered sugar. Eating all three I think is impossible, or requires a trained professional with a defibrillator near by. Just for the record, this was not what I ordered. What I ordered was even better...

The Fried Milky Way. I never knew this existed, and I wish I didn't now. Again, it's a plain candy bar battered and deep fried, then covered in powder sugar. In all honesty, I think I might have eaten half before my body was screaming for a salad or something. So worth it though.
Hand Made Peach Ice Cream from BBQ. The Best BBQ Place in Tennessee is half way up the side of a mountain next to a farmers market. They sell pulled pork, brisket, ribs and their sauce. They also have one type of Fried Pie (yes, this too is fried) and one type of hand made ice cream available. The flavor of both the pie and the ice cream are totally dependent upon what is abundant and fresh at the Farmer's Market next door. The fruit of choice the week we were on vacation, PEACH *SWOON*
This is the peach pie. I ordered two of them for Matt and I thinking they would be somewhere near the Hostess size, and walked away with two HUGE containers with this inside.
A Fried hand made peach pie covered in whipped cream with fresh peach ice cream.
After enjoying the most mouthwatering Brisket in the world, this is the perfect dessert.
This is the smoker that IS BBQ. BBQ is literally a stand. They have fryers in the back, and a smoker in the front. The food is assembled inside the hut. With food this good, I don't care where it comes from or where I eat it.
Last but most certainly not least, this cupcake came from a small bakery near Pigeon Forge that had the BEST baked goods I have had outside our dessert vendor. You choose your cupcake flavor and icing flavor, they will go in the back and choose a HUGE cupcake and cover it with FRESH butter cream frosting in any flavor. They will then drizzle it with any flavor they have that you want. The end result is a huge, messy, perfect cupcake. Also, the baker was the one who directed Matt and I to go find BBQ next to the Farmer's Market. We NEVER would have found it otherwise.
The cupcake was rocking, the cinnamon buns we got the morning we got engaged were even better (sorry for the lack of picture) but his advice, was the most precious of all...

His advice, lead us to this beautiful Brisket sandwich. The pulled pork was incredible as well, but I forgot to take that picture because I was so enamored of my sandwich.
The Sauce that BBQ makes is called Smokin the Pig. It's hands down,the BEST BBQ Sauce I have EVER had, and I usually make my own.
It was dark, thick, sweet and was heaven.
So much so, that I purchased 3 quarts of it to bring home as gifts.
There have been rave reviews all around since.
Well friends and foodies, that's my foodie vacation. Tomorrow I'll share some videos and pictures from the rest of vacation!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Scallop and Sweet Pea Risotto as a Celebration Dinner

Good morning all!
It's been a while since my last recipe, but with the Vacation I took and catching up from that...time has been a little short.
Forgive me dear readers, I promise I have a REALLY good reason.
While on vacation (pictures and video will be up this week)...
I'm got engaged!
My boyfriend Matt (also known as the SO, the boy and the one who shoots my videos) and I will tie the knot in October 2011. Planning started almost immediately upon our return home, hence the shortage of time.
So, to celebrate our first night together without family and work insanity, Matt and I decided to make Scallop and Sweet Pea Risotto.
We shared a bottle of wine that was given to me by an awesome friend of mine, and enjoyed the evening of relaxation.
So, here is the recipe for that incredible dish.

Scallop and Sweet Pea Risotto

2 cups sweet peas (frozen or canned depending on preference)
6 cups chicken stock, heated
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 pound Sea Scallops, Thawed if Frozen

Put 1 cup peas and 1/3 cup chicken stock into a blender and blend until smooth; set aside. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat and pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add celery and shallots and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in rice, making sure to coat all the rice grains with the oil. Add wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Ladle in 1 cup of hot stock. Using a wooden spoon, stir gently until most of the stock has been absorbed. Keep adding stock, a cup at a time, and stirring. After about 10 to 15 minutes, test the rice. It should be cooked and creamy but still have a slight bite to it. (You may not need all of the stock.) Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the butter. Gently fold in the pea puree and remaining 1 cup whole peas. Taste for seasoning.
Remove from the heat and cover while you sear the scallops. Set a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Pat the scallops with paper towels to make sure they are very dry. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Add scallops to pan, making sure not to overcrowd, and cook until they are nicely browned on both sides, about 4 to 8 minutes depending on the size of your scallops. Check the risotto and add a bit more stock if it has gotten too thick. In a shallow bowl or plate, make a nice mound of risotto and top with 3 or 4 scallops. Garnish with the Spring Green Salad, Parmesan, and olive oil. Serve immediately.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Easy Persian Lime Grilled Live Maine Lobsters

The best foods in life are usually very simple to prepare.
If you start with great ingredients, you don't need to add much to get a great result.
One of the best "simple" recipes I use for lobster takes just one extra ingredient besides the lobster.
A bottle of Persian Lime Extra Virgin Olive Oil from The Olive Tap.
From start to finish, this recipe should really only take about 20 minutes.
The longest amount of time will be spent on bringing the water to a boil.
So, if you have a hankering for easy-peasy lobster with a lime-tastic flavor, use this recipe.

Lime Grilled Live Maine Lobsters
Bring a stock pot with enough water to cover both lobsters to a boil.
Once the water reaches a full rolling boil, throw the lobsters in head first and cover the pot.
Once the water returns to a full boil, set your timer for 5 minutes.
After five minutes, the lobsters will be undercooked, but it's time to pull them out and give them a cold water rinse to stop the cooking process.
Once the lobsters have cooled, remove the tail and arms from the body. Place the claws in a zip lock freezer bag and use at another time.
Once the tail has been removed, use a sharp knife and split the tail completely from front to back length wise.
Once the lobster tails are split, brush the meat with a little Persian Lime Olive oil, and place meat side down on the grill for 3-4 minutes or until all of the Lobster tail meat becomes firm and white.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Follow Up- I didn't know...

I'm sure yesterday's wordless Wednesday post needs a little further explanation. There are a lot of search queries on Google for a strange phrase "black stuff in Lobster". Apparently, people really want to know about the black stuff in Lobster. Not seen it? Take a look, you might scratch your head as well.
There it is. black glossy ooze in the center of your crisp clean cold water lobster tail. So was this Lobster sick? Is it from the Gulf where the effects of the BP disaster are more apparent? No. Thankfully, this lobster is not sick. This lobster is not oily.
This lobster, was going to have a clutch of eggs attached to her abdomen in a few days time.
That's right, this female lobster was pregnant and what you see oozing out of the tail, is uncooked Lobster roe, or Lobster Caviar...whatever you would like to call it. Some think it's gross, others think it's black gold.
I tend to side with the later of the two. Lobster Roe is difficult to come by for one reason. Female lobsters that are caught showing eggs on their abdomen are illegal to harvest.
In fact, if a Lobster man pulls one up and she is berried, he must cut a notch in her fin to show that she is a breeder and should someone else catch her, they must also return her to the sea. Unfortunately, this particular lobster came from the tank we keep in the Chicago warehouse. She had no visible notch in her tail, and was not showing any berries. When I removed her tail to split and grill finish, the uncooked roe came spilling out and I realized the mistake that had been made.
Had she been left a few more days, we would have flown her back to Biddeford Maine where our warehouse is located so she could be thrown back.
Unfortunately, that wasn't to be the case. Obviously, I feel a tinge of guilt, but in all honesty...this is nature, and people are too disconnected from their food sources. Besides...once the roe is cooked and brilliant red, it tastes like Maine Lobster Concentrate, and who does not love that?