Tag Archives: savory

Phat Tuesday Lobster Dinner

Phat Tuesday Lobster Dinner

I’ve never read anywhere that a fish dinner during the Mardi Gras / Lenten season couldn’t mean LOBSTER.  I mean, wasn’t lobster formerly the poor man’s dish?

Personally, I am not a Christian.  But I was raised in a very Catholic family and still have respect for the faith and, particularly, the period of mindfulness that comes with the 40 days before the celebration of Easter.  And the gluttony that’s inevitable on the eve of those 40 days.

And I like fish.  Acoreans are fishing people.  We know how to cook it up.

In truth, it was my father who requested this dinner last week.  I was fed lobster for my first birthday in a summer celebration that would quickly become tradition in my family, and my father’s stuffed lobster dinner became a meal I naturally inherited and serve for birthdays and such special occasions.  Dad was away for his birthday this year, so tonight was a bit of a post-birthday celebration.

If we were enjoying the summer months I’d serve this with boiled corn on the cob and a salad.  But as it’s still frigid in my hometown in Connecticut, I opted for recent favorites Ralph Macchio Dancing Potatoes and, for a little healthy green, Kamui Den Cold Aparagus Salad.  Along with too much red wine and a bit of Portuguese corn bread.

Now, like many European cultures, the Portuguese are loose with the amount of their “ingredients”.  They don’t measure their amounts and are skilled at utilizing what’s on hand. And there’s a pride in knowing that your particular recipe is yours.  And that means it’s yours every time too – as changeable as what’s in your cupboard or what looks best in season.

I often use beer or white wine in this recipe; because I wanted it completely gluten-free and wanted to feature fresh lemon I used neither.  Sometimes I include diced onion; tonight I didn’t have any.  I completely forgot that fresh parsley makes it sing.  I ran out of regular gluten-free bread that I had toasted and dried so I threw in some soft gluten-free corn bread that my dad brought me from Fall River (a mecca for Portuguese on the east coast of the U.S.).   I’ve made this recipe two dozen times – always differently.

Tonight, my sister remarked that she liked it better than my dad’s.  I take that as a compliment, for this night only, knowing that the recipe, like the seasons and the people who make it, is different every time.

Note: The ingredients are listed PER PERSON.  I suggest using these amounts as guidelines and estimating and being creative to taste.

Ingredients PER PERSON

  • 1 lobster between 1.25 – 1.5 pound
  • 1/2 can lump crab meat, with water/juice
  • 1 large piece of bread of choice per person – I’ve used anything from regular sliced gluten-free bread to classic Italian or French bread.  Either way, toast it well and allow it to cool completely before mixing.
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice plus one thick slice lemon
  • 1/2 Tbsp hot sauce or salsa, heat depending on company.  I used a Portuguese red pepper exclusive to where we get it in Fall River.  Any good simple hot salsa works well, or Frank’s Red Hot to taste.
  • 2 Tbsp butter, separated, melted
  • white wine or beer to moisten – optional
  • 2Tbsp fresh chopped parsley – optional
  • Other options: minced garlic, minced parsley, sauteed celery, small scallops, lemon zest, lemon or orange rind.


Lobster Massacre

This is always the hardest part, for me anyway.  I used to slice my way easily through and not bat an eye.  But the older and more yogic I get, the more difficult it becomes.  To the point that I had my father do it for me tonight.  And my boyfriend suggested I watch Annie Hall before.  Both very useful.

My recommendation for killing live lobsters for stuffing, though, is to use a sharp knife and dive in.  Using bare hands or an oven mitt (making sure that their claws are safe with rubber bands – I made that mistake once!), hold the main body back side / tail down and slice sharply from the head to the middle of the body between the rows of legs.  Doing so is the fastest way to kill them.  Don’t be alarmed if they twitch for a while after – this is purely muscular.  Set aside on a cutting board while you prepare the stuffing and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.


In a large bowl, dump in crab meat.  Tear toasted bread with your fingers into a combination of small pieces and crumbs.  Add 1 Tbsp melted butter (per person), lemon, hot sauce, parsley, and enough beer or wine to make moist.  I actually had no problem tonight not adding any extra liquid, but would have thrown in a splash of the red wine we were drinking if needed.  VERY adaptable recipe.

Not for vegans.

Gut the lobsters.  I actually find this part easier than the killing.  Basically, you want to clean out any soft matter from the insides.  I usually run the knife down from the head to the tail so that I’ve split the lobster length-wise, leaving the main shell intact.  This way I can easily crack the middle cavity open and take out the digestive and reproductive tracts, which are basically all lobsters have.  If it’s gooey, remove it.  And maybe say a prayer of thanks for the little guy who’s about to nourish you deliciously.

Fill em and line em up

Distribute stuffing equally amongst lobsters, packing tightly into empty body cavity. Melt remaining butter and mix with a small additional amount of hot sauce if desired.  Carefully pour equally into the crack you’ve made in the tail and onto the top of the stuffing.  Cover with one slice of lemon.

Cover with tin foil and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until lobsters are almost bright red.  Uncover and turn up to broil.  Broil for 5 minutes.

Vibrant bright red lobster

Remove from heat, allow to stand a few minutes and serve!  There’s a good amount of butter in the recipe and good lobsters don’t need the addition of melted butter with serving.  But a nice option would be to infuse some fresh herbs into melted butter.  I served this with asparagus salad, roasted potatoes and fresh melon.

SO yummy!

Happy Phat Tuesday!

Kamui Den Cold Asparagus Salad

Kamui Den Cold Asparagus Salad

It was a long weekend, full of way too much fun with good people and delicious food.  And at the end of an exhausting Sunday, where I had gotten drenched by the NYC rain too many times, sort-of enjoyed THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU and muscled my way through YogaX (the yoga version of P90X a visiting friend shames us by doing daily),  I wanted to “eat the crap out of some sushi”.

Enter Kamui Den.  The best thing about eating sushi there is that the sushi is not the best thing on the menu.  It is delicious – buttery soft with lots of ginger and mild wasabi on the site – but it’s the appetizers that win.  Lotus Root salad, picked vegetables, tempura so light you can see the texture of the vegetables before you bite into them.  And a simple cold asparagus salad that my boyfriend boldly proclaimed to be the best asparagus he’s ever had.

Thank god it’s a simple dish.  The boyfriend can’t cook to save his life (sadly I think that’s a completely true statement) but the visiting friend (Tim) is an extremely able man in the kitchen.  We agreed that the most likely way to replicate the dish is to flash boil the asparagus and then douse it in a cold water bath before drizzling on the simple sauce of lemon, oil, salt and pepper.  Tim also pointed out to salt the crap out of the water – literally, so that it tasted like the Arctic.  I knew it would help bring out the color of the asparagus, but didn’t know how much salt it takes to season vegetables in the boiling state.

This morning I hit the train to Connecticut and stopped by my brother’s place, where he left me some Brussels sprouts and asparagus in exchange for checking in on his cat (it’s sort of endearing that he knows leaving me his unused vegetables does really make it that much easier to get a favor out of me).  While my laziness enticed me to stick to my millet/lentil/get-my-tush-in-the-office plan, the desire to learn how to make this for someone I care about won over.

And it’s really simple.  Really.  As in, he can make it.



  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • salt (table salt for boiling and I used rock sea salt for flavoring)
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice (fresh preferred)


Plain old asparagus, sorta green and full of potential

Trim the ends off of each spear and then cut in half, so that your pieces are about 3″ long.  Bring a medium pot of water to a boil with a lot of salt… I estimate that I used about 2 tablespoons.  While waiting for the water to boil, prepare an ice-water bath and make sure you have a colander ready.  When at a roiling boil, drop in asparagus and cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, until the thickest spear is soft enough to easily pierce with a fork but the pieces still have a lot of firmness to them.

The vibrant green after boiling

Quickly drain and toss in the ice-water bath, swirling the asparagus to make sure they’re all submerged.

While the asparagus chills, whisk together 2 Tbsp very good virgin or extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, and freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the cold asparagus in and then drain as much of the oil off as possible.  Use excess oil for drizzling


Kamui Den Cold Asparagus Salad


Tapioca and Buckwheat Gluten-and-Dairy Free Crepe Batter


Savory Breakfast Crepes

Yesterday I woke and immediately started daydreaming about Sunday breakfast.   With all the writing and social networking that goes with my job(s), sometimes I just get cranky for time IN the actual kitchen.

Crepes.  I don’t know why, but I started daydreaming about crepes.  Filled with eggs and goat cheese and something bright colored to remind me what spring looked like.  Luckily I was only a few blocks from Whole Foods, where a bunch of gorgeous little tomatoes from Mexico found their way into my basket, along with some fresh cilantro and small Mexican champagne mangoes.  The sun was out, the air was warm, I walked home with my jacket unbuttoned and my raggedy hair blowing in the wind.  New Yorkers had a bit more of a spring to their step, and I didn’t realize at the time how this quick break from the cold would make smiles turn up a bit more on most of the lovely people I’d encounter in my day.

Anyway, back in the kitchen.  I had decided on using a little buckwheat – which is common in some crepe recipes but used sparingly as it can be a bit bitter – and tapioca flour to pull along with the eggs and soymilk I was using for the crepe batter.  A tiny bit of butter and salt, and that’s it!  I utilized the whipping strength of a blender and the ease of a non-stick skillet to aid in making sure that the eggs would be beaten light and fluffy and the crepes easy to flip.  When the first one actually WORKED I called my boyfriend to the stove, giddy like a school-child out the first day of holiday.  We delighted in a few seconds of cheery contentment, flipping gluten-and-dairy-free crepes onto a waiting pan while eggs slow-cooked nearby.

This recipe is quite simple, and quick, and with a little practice I soon had a stack of warm crepes that I filled with sauteed eggs and served with a guacamole-type mix and the freshly sliced champagne mangoes.

It was a good, good, good day.


  • 1 1/3 cup soy or unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp melted butter or olive oil


Whip eggs and milk of choice in blender until creamy and a bit fluffy (if you don’t have a blender you can use a standing or hand mixer, or just whip the heck out of them with a whisk).  Add the flours 1/3 a cup at a time, whipping thoroughly with each addition.  Add the melted butter or oil and salt and whip quickly to incorporate.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium high heat and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Hold skillet away from heat and let cool for 5 seconds, then pour enough batter in the center of the skillet, swirling quickly to cover the entire surface, until the bottom of the skillet is just covered with batter.  Return to heat and cook for 15-20 seconds or until the sides of the crepe start to curl.  Flip gently and cook on the other side another 20 seconds.  Remove to plate.  Repeat until you get a pretty stack of crepes!

Before I started cooking the crepes I had a second skillet going on low heat with melted butter, slowly stirred eggs, fresh cilantro, soft goat cheese and the skins of these tomatoes:

I then reserved the insides of them and mashed them with avocado, more cilantro, a squirt of fresh lemon juice (in the absence of lime) and some sea salt and pepper.  And then adorned the dish with the fresh champagne mangoes.  They’re a little tarter, firmer and less fibrous than regular mangoes.

While the tomatoes weren’t quite what I wanted (beautiful in color but still lacking that perfect summer tomato sweetness), it was a gorgeous dish, paired with orange juice and locally roasted coffee.  The perfect start to one of the best Sundays I’ve had in a long while.


Creamy egg-filled crepes with champagne mangoes, avocado and Mexican tomatoes


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