I have returned from vacationland, AKA Maine. Had a fabulous week filled with cool weather, low humidity, cold beer and fresh lobsters. I am now ready to dive back into the SS dining scene once again, but before I do I wanted to quickly share some highlights from the week.
Highlight number one, walking around the first evening and contemplating whether I needed a light jacket. I didn't - but it was nice jut having to think about it. The second highlight, and one that captures all the other highlights, is Maine's thriving lobster industry. And man, did we do our best to contribute to the industry. In total for the house (6 of us) - so this doesn't include any lobsters we ate elsewhere - we prepared (and killed ourselves) 22 of the wonderful crustaceans. I ended up doing the deed on 21 of them while one house member stepped up a took care of a single lobster.
I think this one was the final lobster for the week. Trust me, before we did them in we thanked them profusely for giving up their lives for our meal.
Buying the lobsters live certainly saved us money - our cheapest of the week was $4.25 per pound. But in general they were between one and two dollars cheaper per pound not having them steamed on site. And this way we were able to purchase them earlier in the day and just prepare them when we wanted. They do make a bit of a mess, but now that I've taken the step of killing them myself, I figured this is the way to go.
OK, some of our meal highlights. One meal we did was home-made tagliatelle with lobster, leeks, chanterelles and white truffle oil. Maybe the best lobster dish of the week. It was pretty rich. I think we included the meat of three lobsters and at least a couple cups of lobster stock and heavy cream. Here's a pic of lobster stock being prepared. You cook the shells by themselves in oil for a few minutes before adding your water, herbs and veggies if you like. I brought home about 2 quarts!!
This was not the week to diet! I'm surprised the pasta came out as well as at it did since my sous chef for the night and me were pretty inebriated when we made them. But in the end it all worked out.
Some of our other experimental dishes included lobster tacos with queso fresco and guacamole, a white lobster pizza with pesto, and a crunchy "lobster roll" done not in the New England way, but as sushi. I used a bit more rice here than I should have, but they did turn out pretty good. I added in some avocado, sliced peppers, and cucumber. After I steamed the lobster I pan fried it to finish the cooking. To make it crunchy I dipped the lobster in some egg white and then covered it in panko and fried it in sesame oil. They're drizzled with a mixture of soy sauce, ponzu, hoison and sambal.
Another dish that worked well that you can easily do at home this time of year - sans lobster - was gazpacho. Our version did include lobster and sliced avocado on the bottom of each bowl topped with the smoky and fine (as opposed to chunky) tomato-based soup. Great on a hot summer night. I do it Spanish-style with sherry vinegar and pimenton - a big hit.
And even though we did prepare a sushi "lobster roll" during the week, we could not very well get away with not preparing the more authentic version. As you can see for the bread we used the traditional Nissen roll, but for the lobster salad we went a bit more exotic than you usually get at the pound. Here I added thinly sliced and chopped kohlrabi, radishes, red onions and some fennel fronds too. I might have thrown in a small bit of basil but I can't remember now. I then added about 1/2 cup of mayo and 1/4 cup of sour cream and the meat of 6 lobsters. I mean there were 6 of us. And trust me, it took me quite a while to pick all that meat. The rolls were quite tasty - we had enough for two each, accompanied by some wonderful cole slaw.
I'll end with a pic of me about to gorge on two lobsters on the dock. Since August is shedder season up there (soft shell lobsters), I had to order two. The soft shell variety have less meat than the hard shells as the lobsters are growing into their new shells during the season. I can say after those 2 lobstah, a few cold beers, corn and cole slaw I was feeling pretty damn good.
And I bet you like that Hooters huggie I got going there. I mean, that's how I roll.
OK, that's enough for now. If I have you craving lobster you're in luck, I'm throwing an all-you-can-eat lobster fest at my house soon. Wait a second, I mean Red Lobster has got a promotion running. But seriously, the Red Hook Lobster Truck has just made its way to DC. Check them out on Facebook. They just went live in town this week and they're serving lobster rolls and other New England fare. Don't expect them in our 'hood, but if you work downtown you're in luck. If not, hop in the car. It's only about 10 hours to Maine. It's worth it.