A few weeks ago, my friend and accomplished cook, Kippy Rudy volunteered to be my first guinea pig for my food blog videos. I had just procured a new camera and was eager to test it out. The blog was barely a few days old and I wanted to see if I could incorporate videos. We decided to feature her beloved Lobster Risotto which she has been perfecting over the past few months.
One night we took over her kitchen and invited over some friends to help with the chaos. Harris and Meredith came over to help, provide comments and keep us laughing and sane. Marina, Kippy’s daughter, helped me light the space and do screen tests. We started around 6 pm and did not eat until 10 pm. It was a long night full of tech problems, giggle fests, wine and learning. All of us were pretty silly by the end.
The next day I downloaded my camera and anxiously realized that I had shot over two hours of video. To top it off you could hear my tripod creaking through the entire shot. Oh well, you learn from your mistakes! In addition you could hear all of us laughing and cracking “that’s what she said” jokes throughout. Would it be ok for something as serious as my fledgling food blog?
So I reminded myself of the true goal of cooking and food. Yes, at its core level food is about nourishment but it is so much more. Food is a common ground; a medium through which we all can enjoy, laugh and come together. Why do I love Julia Child so much? Because she embraced the silly, the mistakes and the adventurous! By golly! This video was not going to win me an award but it would at least document what a great time we had filming it. Kippy had done a top-notch job demonstrating how to clean a lobster and had provided me with a wonderful glimpse into the world of risotto. The video deserved to be shown.
To fully embrace the silly I’ve decided to add a contest to this post. First person to comment with the correct amount of times there is an outburst from the peanut gallery will win a bag of Aborrio rice! You must use a valid email address to enter and the mother of the author does not qualify for this contest (sorry Ma!).
For the full recipe see below the video.
Kippy Rudy’s Lobster and Shrimp Risotto:
- 5 cups fish stock
- 1 1/4 cup aborrio rice
- medium onion, chopped
- olive oil
- 3/4 c white wine
- meat of 1-2 cooked lobsters
- 1 lb cooked Maine shrimp
- fresh parsley (1/4 cup, more to taste)
- parmesan (at least 1/2 cup, more to taste)
- 1 1/2 tbs butter
1. Heat the stock and keep warm on the burner.
2. Add olive oil to heavy bottom pot on medium heat, when hot add onion and saute until tender. Add garlic (I do more garlic than most people, one two or three good cloves, but you can go more mild). Stir and add rice, coating in olive oil of the pan. Stir for a few minutes, then add wine. When all the wine is absorbed, begin adding ladelfulls of stock. Stir continuously, tradition dictates a figure eight pattern. When all the liquid is absorbed, add another ladelfull of hot stock. This process will continue until rice is tender, about 22 minutes.
3. Just before the rice is finished, add the chopped lobster and shrimp. At the end stir in cheese and parsley, and glaze with the butter at end. Garnish with more parsley and cheese.
A friend, knowing my love of food, had heartily recommended Clementine’s to me back in February of 2008. It took me another two years to venture through Clementine’s doors. And, oh, how I wish I had listened earlier to her advice about this restaurant. Located at 44 Maine Street in Brunswick, Maine, Clementine’s is an intimate dining location in an area with several other culinary stars. Clementine’s stands out from the rest of the pack with its creative and excellent cuisine, decadent drinks and attentive and friendly service. I can say, without hesitation, that Clementine’s is possibly the finest dining in Brunswick. I now go there as often as my wallet will let me!
On a recent cold winter evening, I returned there with some friends. The lovely hostess greeted us at the door, took our coats and led us to our table The restaurant is cozy without feeling crowded. With a party of four the space felt perfect.
Clementine offers a spectacular three course prix-fixe special for $25. The prix-fixe menu includes most of the regular menu items at a reduced portion size. While they say that they are reduced portions, I have never left Clementine’s hungry and find the servings to be the perfect size.
I highly recommend trying some of Clementine’s cocktails. Their mixed drinks are some of the best I have had in the area. (In fact their bartender, Carly Lowell, is a finalist at the 2011 Cold River Bartenders Bash.) You cannot go wrong with any of their drinks but I recommend Carly’s creation called the Shimmer.
This drink is made with Cold River Gin, Prosecco and Elderflower Syrup. The Shimmer is addictive with a clear, bright tone and sweet after taste. The rest of my table tried the Passion, the Sidecar and the Margarita. The Margarita was described as one the best my companion had tasted. I was unable to try the Passion as it disappeared quickly leaving me to believe that it must have been good!
To start my table had the Pan Roasted Mussels, Lobster Tortellini, and Caesar Salad. The mussels were in a Meyer lemon, garlic, shallot, oregano and white wine sauce which brought out the richness of the mussels. It was so scrumptious that we all made sure to mop up every last bit of the sauce with the Standard Bakery bread. My companion really enjoyed the Caesar salad, but the true star of the appetizers, and whole menu in my opinion, was the Lobster Tortellini.
The Lobster Tortellini are served in a white wine butter sauce with wasabi tobiko on top. They are a food revelation and the tastiest creation I have come across this year. Biting into one is an orgasmic experience. One can almost feel the food gods parting the clouds and shining down on you. If I had to choose a last supper these things would be first on the menu. The lobster is succulent and sweet and highlighted by the wine butter sauce. The wasabi adds a subtle heat and the tobiko pops in your mouth bringing a salty note. My companions described the tortellini as: “The best taste of lobster you have ever had concentrated down into a bite-size morsel”, “A whole other experience from looking at a boiled lobster” and “Tourists should experience lobster this way!”
For our second course our table went with the Salmon in Bric Pastry, Grilled Pork Loin and the Tenderloin Tips. The salmon was wrapped in a crispy bric pasty and then steamed to a moist perfection. It was tender, flavorful and delightfully flaky and accompanied by stewed white beans, black olive salad and rosemary oil. The pork was expertly cooked and paired with flavorful spinach, glazed root vegetables and a rosemary-Dijon sauce.
The tenderloin tips were served with haricots verts, mashed potatoes, roasted garlic butter and a red wine demi-glace laced with mushrooms.
The third course did not disappoint and further sealed my love for Clementine’s. When it came time to decide on dessert, our party of four split evenly between the Chocolate Mousse and the French Cheesecake. This cheesecake was not heavy or overly rich, instead it was light, fluffy and had a delightful texture that was more reminiscent of a mousse.
It packed one heck of a flavor punch when paired with the ginger syrup and fresh strawberries. The Chocolate Mousse was almost too beautiful to spoil by eating. Once tasted though, it was equally pleasing to the taste buds with its deep chocolate flavors highlighted with a drizzle of mango puree and a garnish of candied pistachios.
Clementine’s is a treasure and Brunswick is fortunate to have it here. The staff treats everyone with respect and creates a dining experience that is both first-rate, casual and comfortable at the same time. My companion summed up the entire experience: “In some restaurants the experience goes beyond food. An adventurous cook creates a certain culinary atmosphere with the space, presentation, service and food. In such an establishment the cook does things we don’t think of in our comfort food zone and makes us rethink our food assumptions.” Clementine’s does just that!
Please go support Carly Lowell at the 2011 Cold River Bartenders Bash! You can buy tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/142950
For more info on the bash: http://frontburnerpr.com/uploads/MD_BarBash_Release3_Feb10_FINAL.pdf
Our hens have been laying between seven and nine eggs a day. I am in the middle of a large egg overload. What should I do with the plethora of eggs? If I eat one more omelette I may turn into one! Please vote!
Update: Maple Pots de Creme won! I will be making them sometime this weekend. I may also have to make “an enormous vat of hollandaise for lora-faye to bathe in” since that was an amazing answer to the poll!
Valentine’s Day is a time when we all rush out to get flowers, chocolate, cards, jewelry and any other item that might show our darling just how we feel. While I am a big fan of all of the aforementioned items, I have to say that this year we took a different path on Valentine’s Day.
This year, Ben and I decided to show our love with the true superhero of food: Pork! “Such a sweet meat!”
“Pork – no animal is more used for nourishment and none more indispensable in the kitchen; employed either fresh or salt, all is useful, even to its bristles and its blood; it is the superfluous riches of the farmer, and helps to pay the rent of the cottager.”
Alexis Soyer 19th century French chef.
‘The Modern Housewife’ (1851)
What else could show true love more than a boneless pork roast stuffed with sausage and sage and then wrapped in bacon?
Valentine’s Pork Roast
- 1 large boneless pork loin roast
- 2 – 3 Italian sausages, casings discarded
- 2 large shallots
- 6 large fresh sage sprigs, plus 4 to chop up
- 1 ½ cups white wine
- Peeled carrots
- Washed and quartered potatoes
- Kitchen string
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.
Chop shallots and four sage leaves up and toss together. Toss this mixture with the sausage to create the stuffing.
Cut the pork roast open through the middle to create a crevice to put the stuffing in.
Rub pork, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Put the stuffing mixture inside the cut roast. Roll the roast back together with the cut side facing up. On top of the incision drape the six large sage leaves across the roast covering the cut. Then cover the entire top of the roast in bacon. Next tie the roast together with kitchen string.
Put roast, bacon side up, in a large roasting pan with carrots and potatoes, then pour in wine. Roast 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and continue to roast, basting meat every 10 minutes or so with the pan drippings, until a meat thermometer registers 155°F, about 1 – 2 hours more. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve with pan juices and roasted vegetables.
Eggs are a big deal at my house. We have always had a flock of spoiled chickens in the backyard, so there is a never-ending supply of fresh eggs.
Most mornings my family has eggs for breakfast. Omelettes are a favorite. I have been making them forever. Sometimes, when I made over-stuffed folded omelettes, I would have a horrible time getting them to fold in half or thirds. They would fall apart, burn, get dry or the fillings would fall all over hell’s creation.
Then one day the mediocre folded-omelette clouds parted and the light of simplicity showered down upon me: the omelette epiphany! There on YouTube was the answer and the end to all my dry, lackluster egg creations. Naturally, Julia was the angel of culinary mercy who spared me a lifetime of dry, overcooked eggs. She revealed her technique for l’omelette roulée to my humble eyes in this video:
The key is simplicity! Keep it simple and forgo the heavy fillings that take so much time to add that the eggs overcook. If you want the multi-combos of fillings and sauces, just serve them on top or to the side of the omelette. Add a minimum of herbs, spices, or cheese to the eggs, so the whole cooking time will be no more than a minute.
Madame E. Saint-Ange describes the perfectly cooked omelette as:
“a creamy omelet: an omelet that has the consistency of scrambled eggs inside and an exterior that is just solid enough so that it can be rolled on itself.” (La Bonne Cuisine)
Julia says, an omelette “should be soft and tender inside, enclosed by a cloak of lightly coagulated egg.” (We, Americans, tend to be overly concerned about undercooked eggs and so fearful of the 1 in 20,000 eggs that may contain salmonella that we deny ourselves so many delicious foods and condemn ourselves to eating dried, overly cooked eggs.)
So keep the ingredients to a minimum. Each omelette should be prepared individually and contain two to three eggs. To the eggs, you may add salt, pepper, a few herbs or spices, thinly sliced or grated cheese and a teaspoon of water, if you like. The water forms steam as it hits the hot pan and contributes to the tenderness and lightness of the eggs. I usually do not add the water. My current favorite egg addition is Aleppo pepper from Griffon Ridge’s stand at the local winter market. These beautiful red flakes add just a hint of faint heat.
The final ingredient is butter. Add about a tablespoon of butter into a hot pan and swirl it around to coat the entire pan. As Julia says in the video, “If you don’t have a hot enough pan, you ain’t got it.” Wait for the foaming of the butter to subside and just before the butter begins to brown, quickly add the beaten eggs. Swirl again to distribute the eggs, and then pause for a few seconds before you begin the jerking.
It’s all in the motion: continuously jerking the pan towards you until the eggs begin folding over themselves on the far side of the pan. Julia says:
“The perfect way to master the movement is to practice outdoors with half a cupful of dried beans. As soon as you are able to make them flip over themselves in a group, you have the right feeling; but the actual omelette-making gesture is sharper and rougher…You must have the courage to be rough.”
The last few jerks should include a lifting of the handle to tilt the eggs further onto themselves at the far side of the pan.
I am big fan of the half moon omelette and have made a video clip demonstrating the flipping motion necessary to get that shape. No matter how the eggs come together, be confident that they will be delicious!
Here is my video of the Omelette Epiphany. Please let me know what you think of the format and any other suggestions.