Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fall ... already. Remembrance of lobsters past

HALLIE EPHRON: I can tell it's fall because I'm drinking my first cup of tea in six months, and look at what's on my feet.  Also we're sleeping with the windows closed and I've hauled out the blankets and I've had my first allergy attack in months.

There's one piece of pie left from my first apple pie this year, made with local Cortland apples. Cortlands are incredibly good when they're fresh picked and more or less useless from the supermarket, IMHOP.

We ate most of the pie last night with friends, at the end of a cookout that ended early because by 8 it was dark. Very dark.

The hydrangeas and hostas in my garden are starting to show fall colors.

This summer lobsters have been incredibly cheap. So cheap that I've started to think of them as an ingredient, not the star of the show. So in honor of the end of summer and cheap lobsters, here

Lobster mango salad... it was sensational and I only thought to take a picture after I'd eaten most of it... What makes this work is the bitterness of the arugula and the bite of the cilantro and the sweetness of the mango. I put the dressing on the lobster and added it to the rest of the (undressed) ingredients because you don't want to overwhelm it with the taste of the dressing. 

Mix together --
- About 3 T of mango chutney (if there are big chunks of mango in it chop them up)
- About 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- About 1/3 cup olive oil
- A healthy squeeze of sriracha (hot sauce)
Create a bed of:
- Romaine lettuce
- Arugula
Top with:
- chunks of meat from a steamed (chilled) 2-pound lobster that have been tossed in the dressing
- chunks of mango (I like to use 2 of the yellow "ataulfo" variety)
- chopped cilantro (about 1/2 cup loosely packed)

Lobster corn chowder, dinner for 2... much easier than lobster bisque.
First, boil 2 lobsters, take out the meat and chop it coarsely.
Cook 3 ears of fresh corn, cool, and cut the corn off the cob. Scrape (I use a grapefruit spoon) the cob to release all the nice white milky deliciousness that's still stuck on the cob)
are two recipes
- Crisp 4 pieces of bacon and set aside; keep the fat!
- In the same pan, saute about a cup of chopped onion, and a cup of chopped celery in the bacon fat drippings
- Add about 2 cups of cubed peeled new or yukon gold potatoes
- Add 3 c. of seafood stock
- Simmer until the potatoes are done
- Add the lobster meat
- Add the corn and crumbled bacon
- Add 1 cup of cream
- Warm through
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- To make it especially delicious, sprinkle each bowlful with chopped fresh tarragon (if you haven't got it, then use parsley)

Leaving you with this morning's New England sky... is this a fall sky or what?


Joan Emerson said...

Cooler days and fall colors . . . welcome autumn!
Both recipes sound yummy . . . of course, lobster anything is always delicious. Thanks for sharing . . . .

Karen in Ohio said...

It's going to be hard to distinguish the difference between summer and fall here in Cincinnati, we've had such a cool summer. But the days are growing shorter; I just had to adjust the automatic light timer we leave on in the living room to accommodate the shorter daylight hours.

Your lobster salad sounds amazing. Thanks for the recipe, Hallie.

Marianne in Maine said...

We have our second Frost Warning in a week for tonight. I have to cover my tomatoes and peppers. I love autumn but not quite this early.

The cooler weather reminds me that we haven't ordered our winter firewood yet.

Lobster mac and cheese is on many menus around here. Is that common in other areas?

Rosemary Harris said...

YES to cooler days, blankets at night, apple pie and toasty slippers - although I've never been a lobster person. I don't like any food that looks like it can attack me.
I've started to bring container plants in. Maybe I overdid it this year, I counted 75 containers and I'd like to bring in 50. Can only happen if i get rid of my furniture. Considering it.

Hallie Ephron said...

Laughing, Rosemary. I just tossed out the pots I bought early summer and put out big bushy chrysanthemums on the patio.

Lots of lobster mac and cheese on menus here, Marianne - but it has always disappointed me. Never cheese-y or lobster-y enough to warrant its title.

If anyone can point me to a great recipe, I'd be grateful.

Karen in Ohio said...

I've made (pre-gluten intolerance) this amazing Gourmet Mac and Cheese. You could certainly alter it to add lobster.

Please don't hold me responsible for any heart attacks, though. Seriously cheesy, but seriously fabulous.

Hallie Ephron said...

Yikes, Karen -- a pound and a half of cheese ... plus butter! But boy does it look good. For a special occasion.

Rhys Bowen said...

I have my reservation already for a table at "Chez Hallie" and that lobster mango salad sounds divine!
Living on the West Coast lobster is a treat reserved for birthdays and making best-seller lists.

Anonymous said...

Yummy yum yum... I'm on my way over before the lobster mango gets all eaten up!!! Thelma in Manhattan

Deb said...

Hallie, I'm wondering if you could substitute shrimp in your salad recipe... for us, like Rhys, lobster is a special occasion, and even then it comes out of nasty-looking tanks in restaurants. Ick. We do get lovely Gulf shrimp, though, fresh in the good supermarkets on weekends. They are trucked up from the Gulf Coast.

And ah, fall, only a dream here in Texas, still. But our morning low temps have dropped to 70, so in another few weeks there might be a hint of autumn in the air.

In the meantime, however, highs still in the 90s, still in flip flops and shorts and cooking on the grill.

Hallie Ephron said...

Deb, the first time I made this mango/seafood salad, it WAS with shrimp. Especially good if you grill them - but good, too, if you just pan roast them.

And we'll all be in Albany for Bouchercon in 2 weeks and I won't be surprised if their fall is even ahead of ours. Bring your coat and scarf.

Deb Romano said...

I'm beginning to prefer lobster as an ingredient in a dish instead of as the main attraction, and I really want someone else to do the killing and cooking! Hallie, your lobster mango dish looks yummy but I think I'll look for something like that at a restaurant!

Autumn: such a depressing time of year for someone who loves sunshine and feels that it's unnatural to have to throw on a sweater or jacket! Moving through autumn is like keeping watch at the deathbed of a loved one; you know what is coming next (in this case, death of all the bright and beautiful blossoms and leaves, and the coming of darkness and cold, achy weather.)

How many days until spring???

Libby Dodd said...

Mac&cheese with lobster seems a waste. You can't really appreciate the lovely taste of the lobster.
Better Than Bullion makes a lobster bullion paste that is quite good. You can try that for an added lobster boost.
Autumn/fall has always been my favorite season. Living in south Florida I look forward to cooler temperatures!

Anonymous said...

....season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...
Love fall. The trees reflect to the color and beauty of the flowers we have enjoyed all summer. Here, on an Island in the Pacific North West we welcome fall, the apples, the squash, and soon, the fields filled with pumpkins..

Reine said...

Hallie! Love you and Lobster! The way I feel about lobster growing up in Marblehead and Salem? Lobster first. Rent later. I don't care where I live. Lobster is a staple. And steamed clams. The fresher, the better. Does not taste the same out of any restaurant or supermarket tank. Except a couple back home.

My chore as a teenager in Marblehead was to walk over to the lobster pound on State Street and buy fresh lobster and steamers every Friday.

I cooked my first lobster one Friday after school when I was 13. I came home to a note to learn that my mother was visiting friends in Vermont. My father was out of the country. I walked over to the lobster pound and said I'd pay them when my mother got home. No one blinked. No one wrote it down. They just gave me the lobster and clams.

If it isn't a New England lobster—If it does not have claws or come from the north Atlantic—well it just isn't right. I have to admit I've had African rock lobster and Australian lobster in my youth. On dates. I figured if we hit it off I'd teach them about real lobster. I am sorry, but they taste absolutely nothing like the lobster I grew up with. They grew in warm water. You know? Come on.

Hallie, our first sign of fall out here in Arizona, where I am temporarily dislocated, is when people back home start talking about it. I am so glad you dd today. I would go crazy without these reminders of home.

And to top it off the Red Sox are having a great season—AND the Americas Cup is back in the States.

Lobster cookouts forever.

Deb said...

Deb Romano, maybe you should move to Texas! Autumn is such a relief here, after the heat. I become truly obsessive about checking the long-term forecast multiple times a day. And, oh, that first day with crisp air and the smell of woodsmoke--heaven.

We do have four distinct seasons here and I love them all, but summer is more wearing than winter most years, and autumn is always my favorite.

PS All you New Englanders, I must come to visit in the summer and have lobster as it should be eaten!

Hallie Ephron said...

I have a dear friend who, like Deb R, gets so bummed out when fall arrives. She uses a sun lamp... really... all winter, for so many (not sure how many) minutes a day and reports that it does help. I think a trip to Dallas would do wonders. Or to Australia where it really will be summer when it's winter here.

After today's comments, I have a craving for mac and cheese for dinner. (Agree: Hold the lobster.) Now I KNOW it's fall!

Reine said...

Lobster Mac & Cheese? Oh I don't think I could do that.

I miss winter. The only bad part of it for me is realizing I'm late starting dinner when it turns dark around 5 o'clock at night.

Hallie Ephron said...

I DID make mac and cheese. It was delicious and warming... Cheddar, parmesan and fetah -- which is what we had in the house. America's Test Kitchen recipe with skim milk.

Reine said...

Hallie, that sounds great. I would never have thought to trying fetah. Next time I make mac and cheese, if I have any fetah, I Will add it.

Deb Romano said...

Hallie, I am laughing at the skim milk in your three cheese mac and cheese!

Gee,if I could (but work and family responsibilities get in the way) I would spend winters visiting all of you who live in warmer climates! Someone tells me southern California is pretty decent, too. Looks like I'll be here in southern CT for a good long time to come, though!

Reine said...

Actually, skim milk brings out the cheese flavor in any dish, much like using water in a chocolate cake recipe brings out the chocolate flavor. I make a very rich tasting hot chocolate with no milk at all.

Anonymous said...

I never get to have lobster because the Accordionist is highly allergic, so your post was a vicarious delight. We are still hot in Ohio. Ninety degrees today. So I walk at the Mall. But I never wear sneakers, and I always have my purse: I am determined not to be taken for one of tbose senior citizens! Happy autumn! Molly C