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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Make Lobster Rolls with Five Easy Ingredients


I finally did it! After months of dreaming about cooking up this classic New England creation, I finally made my very own lobster rolls. The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming, but the taste far outshone my pride. This was the last dinner Dylan and I cooked together before heading home for the week to prepare for my Argentine adventures. We made the lobster stuffing the night before, so all we had to do was come home after work the next day, grill up the buns, and overflow them with lobster-y goodness.

Meet Judas.

I was so excited to bring home our new lobster friends, but saddened that we would have to end their short crustaceous lives. I decided we would name them after infamous historical figures to make ourselves (meaning me) feel better about boiling them. Thus, Judas and Brutus came to be. I'd like to think Judas and Brutus had a nice little vacation in our freezer before their time came. I made Dylan cook the poor guys, and he lectured me about how if I'm going to eat meat, I should be able to kill it myself. Somehow I don't see myself hunting wild boar anytime soon.

Here are a few photos of how Judas and Brutus made if from pot to plate.




Yum! After a lot of shell cracking, I started to feel less remorse about Judas and Brutus and more excited for these lobster rolls! Once I had all my meat, I simply mixed in some mayo, lemon juice, scallions and paprika and stuck it in the fridge. Serve with some chips and, if you're looking for a drink pairing, an ice cold Landshark. Bon App├ętit!


New England Lobster Rolls
Makes: 4 small rolls  Prep: 40 minutes  Total: 45 minutes

Ingredients
1- 2.5 lb lobster (or 2- 1.25 lb lobsters)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, diced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
4 New England-style hot dug buns

Directions
In a large pot, boil lobster for approximately 10 minutes until the shell turns bright red and the lobster floats to the top. (If you're using two lobsters, you most likely will need to cook them one at a time.) Remove lobster and place in a bowl of ice water to cool.
When the lobster is cool to the touch, remove and section off into four pieces: two legs (cut at the elbow joint), the tail, and the body. Begin breaking the legs to remove the meat, including the claws and leg joints. Bend the tail backward to crack the shell, and push the meat up through the end. Don't miss the meat in the fins of the tail!
Once you've extracted all your meat, chop it into small pieces. While the meat is still warm, mix in the mayo, scallions, paprika and lemon juice. Season with salt and peppers and refrigerate for no less than 1 and no more than 24 hours.
Before serving, butter the inside of 4 New England-style hot dog buns and toast until golden brown. Fill with lobster stuffing and serve with a side of chips.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Double Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies & Shake Shack Burgers: A NYC Weekend


I spent this past weekend in New York City with three of my best girl friends from school to celebrate our friend Dana’s birthday. The morning I left, I made a gigantic batch of these double chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, bringing half for Dana and leaving the other half for my other friend’s surprise party I had to miss. We lucked out with some beautiful weather, fun nights out, and an all around fantastic trip. New York can be dirty, unpleasant, and overwhelming, but it’s truly one of a kind.

There are thousands of hole-in-the-wall restaurants, each one better than the next. On Saturday, we took a leap of faith and tried a Venezuelan restaurant, suggested by Dana’s sister. This was a first for everyone, and it didn’t disappoint. Venezuelan food is awesome! It got me even more excited to dive into South American cuisine in a few weeks when I’m in Argentina. Here are a few photos from our meal.

Yoyos (fried plantains stuffed with white cheese)
Arepas (corn flour buns grilled and baked with shredded beef, black beans, fried plantains, and white cheese)
The biggest food adventure of the weekend was my relentless search for Shake Shack. If you haven’t heard of Shake Shack, then you need to get on your game. I discovered it about a month ago when my boyfriend sent me a link to this article from Serious Eats. It describes a lengthy competition between In-and-Out Burger (from Cali), Five Guys (based in DC), and Shake Shack, a newly emerging high-end fast food burger joint in NYC. The judges unanimously agreed on Shake Shack as the clear winner, and ever since I’ve been fantasizing about its juicy goodness.


Saying this burger did not disappoint would be a gross understatement. I waited with my two friends Garam and Shai for a full hour in a horrendous line and missed our 5:30 Chinatown bus back to Boston. (Luckily we caught the 5:45.) This burger is absolutely the most delicious, juicy, beefy, saucy creation I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. Do yourself a favor and book a ticket to New York ASAP – just be prepared to stand in line, and remember good things come to those who wait.

And now, what you’ve most likely been waiting for, (unless you already skipped this and went straight to the bottom of this page), my recipe for double chocolate peanut butter cookies. Enjoy!


Double Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes: 2 dozen cookies  Prep: 10 minutes  Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips 
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup peanut butter

Directions
Preheat oven to 375. Combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Stir dry ingredients, including cocoa powder and peanut butter, into the bowl and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, then chocolate chips and mix until the dough is light and fluffy.
Scoop tablespoon-sized spoonfuls of dough, roll into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool before serving.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Boston Food To-Do List


In the wake of an epic Game 7 win for the Boston Bruins during last night's Stanley Cup Final, my days in this city are winding down for the summer. In a little over two weeks, I will have moved out of my temporary summer housing back home to Upstate New York, packed up my things, and be on my way to Buenos Aires for 5 weeks. The study abroad program through my university is a Spanish language intensive trip. I'll be living with a host family for three weeks, taking 4 hours of classes Monday through Friday, then traveling through Patagonia and other regions for the remaining weeks. I am thrilled to go and particularly hopeful to learn some traditional Argentine recipes while I'm there.

That said, this departure is making me realize all the great things about New England I'll miss this summer - including the food! So I made a list of my top three New England dishes I'm determined to try before heading to Argentina. I've been planning to make these for forever, but I figured putting them in writing will motivate me to finally conquer these Boston favorites. Look for these recipes to come!

1) Lobster Roll

http://www.myrecipes.com/
One of my fondest summer memories is visiting my cousins on Cape Cod, eating at the local fish shack and busting into the freshest lobster I have ever tasted. There's nothing like New England seafood, and in the world of underwater cuisine, lobster is king. Although I've only eaten a lobster roll once, last year with my grandparents at the famous Stephanies on Newbury, I have talked about making my own for months.

2) New England Clam Chowder

http://www.widgetbox.com/
This easy, classic recipe is a staple in traditional Boston cuisine. I usually associate soup with the winter months, but clam chowder has always reminded me of east coast summers. Plus, making a big batch of soup for a week's worth of meals saves you time, money and allows you to focus on the rest of your busy schedule.

3) Corn Bread

http://www.examiner.com/
This one goes hand in hand with clam chowder - classic and easy to make! Corn bread is one of those foods that grew on me as I got older, and now I'm an avid fan. My mom has a fantastic recipe I'm hoping to steal that is super dense and sweet like traditional New England corn bread, although I think I might mix it up with a little something extra.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp


I wish I could say that all the recipes I create come from my all-encompassing knowledge of food chemistry and methodical, precise recipe development with carefully measured ingredients. The truth of the matter is, I know very little about the scientific balance of a macaroon. When I discovered a passion for cooking, I became intent on creating original recipes that reflect my unique taste, which is strongly influenced by my mom, grandmother, and all the delicious home cooking I grew up around.

Everything I cook or bake is more or less a guessing game. I'll get an idea in my head of what I want to make, spend about 15 minutes looking up similar recipes to get a feel for what ingredients I might use, then rush out of the grocery store with a jumbled pile of ingredients that may or may not make it to the finished product. Sometimes A lot of times, this results poorly. Other times, to my surprise, it turns out really freaking good. This was one of those times.


Alright, so "healthy" could be a little bit of a stretch, but compared to other strawberry rhubarb crisps I saw, this one uses much less sugar and butter. The natural sweetness of the orange juice goes a long way in the dish, and I used the minimum amount of butter and oil to hold the oat crisp together. When it comes to dessert, healthy is a relative term. Healthy without sacrificing taste is difficult; the key is portion control, a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet (with the occasional exception). That said, I'm not going to judge if you have the sudden urge to eat the whole pan.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Serves: 10  Prep: 15 minutes  Total: 1 hour

Ingredients
3 cups rhubarb
3 cups strawberries
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla
1 cup flour
2 cups oats
½ cup butter
1 tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tbs vanilla
½ cup brown sugar
2 tbs canola oil
2 tsp cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Chop strawberries and rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and mix in a large bowl. Combine orange juice, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Layer strawberries and rhubarb at the bottom of a greased 8x8 inch pan and set aside.
Soften butter and add in a medium bowl with flour, oats, salt, vanilla, brown sugar, canola oil and cinnamon. Combine until the oat mixture is moist all the way through and spread on top of strawberries and rhubarb. Bake on top of a baking pan (in case of overflow) for approximately 45 minutes until the fruit mixture bubbles and the crisp is lightly browned. Let cool and serve with ice cream.

Monday, June 6, 2011

"The Lure Burger" with Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam

 
I went home to Upstate New York this Memorial Day for a long, relaxing weekend by the pool. I'll be heading to Argentina in less than a month for a study abroad program, and since it's winter in the southern hemisphere I'm trying to take in all the sun I can get before departing. It was great seeing my hometown friends and celebrating mine and my sister's May birthdays with my family!

Summer in Upstate New York is perfect - 80 degrees, dry and sunny. If I could, I would spend one last summer lounging in my hammock, sipping fruity drinks and reading books by the pool without any responsibilities. But alas, with college comes a transition into adulthood, and with adulthood comes work. Yuck. Why can't I just get paid to cook delicious food and hang out with friends?


Speaking of delicious food, Dylan and I cooked up these burgers before catching a 7 hour bus back to Boston on Monday. Based on the winner of the 2009 Rachel Ray Burger Bash, this recipe was surprisingly easy, totally delicious, and wonderfully... unhealthy. But hey, if you're eating a hamburger anyway, you might as well go all out.

"The Lure Burger" with Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam
Adapted from Chef Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar's "The Lure Burger" *
Makes: 8 burgers  Prep: 40 minutes  Total: 1 hour

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Vegetable oil
4 cups white onion, diced
1 pound bacon
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcester sauce
Kosher salt
Coarse ground pepper
8 hamburger buns

Directions
In a large bowl, combine ground beef with Dijon, kosher salt and coarse ground pepper. Form into 8 burger patties and set aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a large pan. Add diced onion and cook on medium heat until caramelized, about 15 minutes. In the meantime, fry the bacon in a large skillet and drain on paper towels. When the bacon strips are dry, chop into fine pieces. Combine bacon bits and caramelized onion in a bowl, add salt and pepper, and mix well.
To make the sauce, mix ketchup, mayo, red wine vinegar, Worcester sauce, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and combine. Refrigerate until serving.
Grill burger patties on an outdoor grill until medium rare. Toast hamburger buns on the grill inside face down for several minutes before serving. Assemble burgers with sauce and onion and bacon jam. Serve with Sweet Potato Fries with Tangy Chili Aioli and fresh fruit.

*I changed the recipe quite a bit, so check out the link for Chef Capon's original burger.
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