once upon a time there was a lobster

lobstersOnce upon a time, I drove to Argyle St (also known as Little Saigon here in Chicago). I could not find a parking spot and parked about 3 blocks away as usual, but it was a nice day.  I walked to Argyle street and then up and down it a few times. Somehow every time I missed the store with the giant tank of lobsters and crabs in the window. (sigh.) Finally with the help of my trusty sidekick, iPhone, I was able to find the seafood shop.

At the front of the shop was a large tank, 1/2 crabs and 1/2 lobsters and a small empty counter, behind which sat a grumpy teenage girl, also consulting her trusty sidekick.  The shop was long and narrow as storefronts tend to be but this made more obvious by the fact that it was empty like a tunnel all the way to the back where there was also a small seafood counter.

The teenager was even more grumpy when I requested 2 lobsters. I know, having to be at work and do work! Life is tough and I’m sorry but this part never changes unless you can marry into the 1% and become a “real housewife of…” The problem then is of course that you have to be a “real housewife of…” but I digress. She grumpily set down her trusty sidekick, grabbed a brown paper bag grocery bag put it in a plastic grocery bag, put on a big glove, stood on a stool and started pulling out flapping-flailing lobsters for me to pass judgement on. A few were spared for the moment but two were sentenced and placed into the paper bag, weighed and paid for…cash of course.

I had luckily brought a bag of my own (that ikea one that looks like it is is made from a blue plastic tarp) because that soggy paper bag in a flimsy plastic bag with two lobsters flapping away in it would have made the 3 block walk back back to my car much more exciting.  To be honest after sentencing they accepted their fate with a respectable dignity.

I got home and started boiling the water. Rob offered to put them in for me but I don’t roll that way. If I can’t do this then I can’t eat it. I’m not going to go get myself a job at an abattoir but I’m not going to shy away from this lobster business either…no way, no how.

The first one went in and died immediately. The second was not so lucky as the water temp had lowered after the first went in and it seemed to take a few seconds for it to go.  But it was done and no one screamed: not the lobsters, not Rob, not even me.

After boiling the lobsters I realized that I had no way to get into them. That’s right it was only after they had been cooked that I realized that I did not own a single “cracker”…nut, seafood or otherwise of any kind. Luckily I live a short distance from a cookware shop. When I returned with an small assortment of crackers and seafood picks, the lobster lunch was able to begin. I think it was all the more delicious because I appreciated the reality and the work required. I realize that I didn’t actually catch the lobsters.   Maybe next time she will let me stand on the stool and wear the big rubber glove.

Prologue: I, of course, used the shells to make copious amounts of lobster broth which has taken over my freezer. Perhaps this calls for a sequel….Lobster Chowder Lunch.

pretty seafood ravioli


I was just discussing this meal with my brother and how making ravioli just seems like a lot of wasted energy… Now this ravioli is much prettier than previous attempts because 1) I use wonton wrappers instead of homemade pasta 2) Rob helped me to assemble them 3) they glow. – that is a of course just a dumb photo effect –

Boring broth, that was not really very gingery, but delicious ravioli;  just a combo of scallops, shrimp and whitefish with a little egg white to bind together.  I fried the leftovers for really great pot-stickers.


shrimp in hell or brother devil shrimp

scampi fra diavolo  - http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/2008/11/scampi_fra_diavoloOkay I should stop Google translating but it is fun. I know that scampi fra diavolo in Italian cooking means  “brother devil” scampi which is supposed to mean that it is spicy. I will say that in this case I think “shrimp in hell” better conveys the message.  This recipe isn’t really spicy but it is very flavorful and garlic-tastic and really easy.

I think the extensive ingestion of garlic and crushed red pepper can lead to odd dreams. This meal triggered a reoccurring dream of mine where I am apparently pregnant and I keep forgetting, and someone has to remind me or point it out, usually because I am drinking. It is especially weird because I’m a lucid dreamer so I’m dreaming that I am pregnant but I know this is a dream and that I am not, and that I am dreaming about forgetting something that I didn’t know because it isn’t actually true, but in the dream it is, and I still feel guilty all the while knowing that I have nothing to feel guilty about. (sigh-shrug combo)  It is all a little traumatizing. Maybe I just shouldn’t eat scampi fra diavolo so close to bedtime.

According to a Huffington Post article, pregnancy dreams, especially for women, are about craving a creative project. How creative does it have to be to get rid of this dream? Does blogging and/or cooking count or does it have to be painting, creative writing, or crafts made of beads and macaroni?

Are you sure cauliflower didn’t come from India?

I can’t quite pin it down via my internet search but it seems that cauliflower (and broccoli) probably originate from the Italy-Greece-Turkey region of the world. Okay, alright, maybe it did, but when I find a head of cauliflower in my shopping basket it is headed for some Indian inspired spice concoction.  I may even have other plans when I first pick it up, but by the time I get home I’m pulling the turmeric out of the cupboard again.

This time I used Deseree Anne Kazda’s concoction: salt, pepper, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, chili powder. It has just a little nip. Good stuff.

The “biryani” recipe is from food52. It is good but a little heavy on the cinnamon-cloves-cardamom for my taste.


cioppino the San Fransico treat

I have to admit that I absolutely assumed that cioppino was Italian…until I Google-d it this evening and saw that it hails from San Francisco.  Well…I learn something everyday.

I’m still nursing this #$%^ cold so “easy” and “soup” are big bonuses on my recipe selection list right now. Also I’m craving seafood after the Bavarian vay-cay diet.

So this is what my 1/2 batch of Rachael’s Everyday Cioppino ended up like:

  • olive oil, some red pepper flakes, half a can of anchovies, a bay leaf, 3 cloves of garlic minced in a pot over medium heat
  • After the anchovies started to melt a little I added 1 stalk of celery chopped, and 1/2 an onion chopped.
  • Once the veggies were a little soft I splashed in a little white wine (1/2 cup-ish of organic Torrontes from Argentina)
  • After about a minute I added the stock, mine was about 10 oz of chicken stock from a carton and 4 oz  fish stock from frozen concentrate (I freeze it in ice cube trays so I can pull a few cubes out when I want them)  also 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, a good handful of chopped flat leaf parsley and a 14 oz can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • After that came to a bubble I lowered the heat a bit (med-low) and added my fish (good sized chucks of cod – I seasoned them with smoked salt flakes and fresh ground pepper)
  • After about 5 minutes I added 1/2 dozen mussels and shrimp and a good handful of little scallops.
  • Then I covered it and cooked it for a another 5-10ish minutes then pulled out the now naked thyme stems. done.

My shrimp were a little overcooked….I could have added them for the very last next couple of minutes.

Now. What am I going to do with the second half of that can of anchovies?

cheater, cheater pumpkin eater

Okay that saying is kind of a dumb and there isn’t any pumpkin in this recipe.

What I have to say is that I based it on a recipe in my “500” best-ever recipes cookbook and they are CHEATERS!! This recipe is in there twice. Once in the pasta chapter and once in the grilling chapter. So it is really 499 best-ever recipes….and I’m sure I’ll find more eventually. cheaters.

The names were “Angel hair pasta with garlic, scallops and rocket” and “Garlic scallops with angel hair pasta” (Obviously I had some squid ink spaghetti which I used instead of the angel hair.) The recipes are identical. Even the photo used was the exact same one.  I mean it is pretty simplistic anyway; just garlic, white wine and lemon juice on pasta with some wilted arugula in it…and grilled scallops. (sigh)

I enjoyed the meal.  I mean it is really all about how the super pricey giant scallops I bought were super yummy! Sweet with the little grilled flavor on the outside and creamy on the inside. mmm….