Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lobsters and Luminarias

School board drama continues apace. I’ve been diligently applying my researching skills to sort out where the proposals made by the Superintendent are heading. Seriously, I actually do have some skillz for researching, despite being otherwise a total flake. I am a killer researcher, when I put my flaky mind to it. Really. I just forget that things are in the broiler until they’re on fire. If nothing else, the fire alarm bleating away lets the kids know it’s twenty minutes until our take-out order is ready.Um. Anyway.

Sometimes earnest and worthy things have got to be set aside in favor of more frivolous pleasures.

Like lobsters and luminarias.
I decided to live it up a bit on New Year’s eve, and so I made lobster risotto, based on the recipe in A Platter of Figs. I love the book. Boyfriend is a bit on the humorless side (seriously, Mr. Tanis? It wouldn’t kill you to lighten up and eat a Dorito.) but holy keee-rap can he put together a menu. We already had his fish tacos (dreamy, even with out-of-season tomatoes making a pico de gallo), and his roast bunny (the kids were a little wary at first, but grew quite gleeful about eating bunny when they realized it is insanely delicious), and his lobster risotto recipe sounded just right for New Year’s eve. Some of its appeal, I admit, was that using lobster in risotto would be a way to stretch the meat and not buy as many. Maine lobster is not quite local seafood in Seattle.The risotto was a royal, massive, enormous pain― almost as much of a pain as the making and setting out of the luminarias on the same day (My planning skills? Not always red hot). There were the lobster races on the kitchen floor, not included in the recipe per se, but an important part of overall festivities (I know the second lobster picture is dark, but I thought it highlighted their slightly creepy, creature-from-Alien appearance). There’s the killing of the lobsters (intently watched by the kids, which was a little unsettling), and boiling them up. Then there’s the dismemberment and meat extraction, and then the making of the broth with the shells and some other schtuff. And then you can start in on making risotto. And the spicy lobster mayonnaise to accompany it. Oh, and the chicory salad that’s part of the menu (I love chicories and their bitterness). Although in my head, unless it’s a composed salad that actually involves cooking, I don’t count salad as “making something.”

The risotto rocked. I cannot recommend it highly enough, and I may post my version of the recipe eventually, but… not now.

And the luminarias? It’s amazing and improbable how serenely beautiful a block-long line of candle-filled paper bags are. I think the total bill for 200 luminarias came in at less than 40 bucks.

Happy new year.


cook eat FRET said...

happy new year to you
a wonderful post

i have the book
your description is too good

i adore who you appear to be....

Bee said...

Lobster risotto sounds PERFECT for New Year's Eve . . . but only if someone else makes it. I have been wanting the Tanis book, but am somewhat put off by your descriptions of humourlessness and difficult recipes as I like humour and easy recipes.

Word verification: matter.
(Such a nice multiple meaning word, don't you think?)

Meg said...

Claudia- and a happy new year to you. Thanks. It wasn't the best planning to do a heavy-prep recipe at the same time as the luminaria production, but it was really fun.

Bee- So... I DO like the book. The risotto is a pain, but the fish tacos were easy. There's a wide range of fairly simple recipes that look to have superb results, and... his lack of humor is kind of funny. He doesn't intend it to be, but he comes across like a foodie Sam the Eagle (the muppet). You could always check it out from the library first, to see if it's worth buying.