Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

This Sunday we celebrated Father's Day with a menu hand-picked by Dad. It is tradition in our house that we have lobster at least twice a year: on Dad's Birthday (in October) and on Father's Day. This year was no exception. Here was the menu:

  • Cocktails and Japanese Snack Mix
  • Heart of Palm and Artichoke Salad
  • Lobsters!
  • Onion Rings
  • Macerated Raspberries with Chantilly Cream

    For our cocktails, Dad drank Johnny Walker Blue, the super-special scotch. The ladies drank a delicious, expensive bottle of champagne with a beautifully hand-painted bottle.

  • For our snack with drinks, Dad requested Japanese snack mix. Sounds relatively attainable, right? Well he insisted that the snack mix have the little fishes (sardines, I think?) in it, which proved very difficult to find! We found it though, and he was very happy. For the rest of us, we had some delicious cheeses from Calvert Woodley: brie, goat cheese, and a delicious morbier.

    After the cheeses and snack mix, we had our salad. Again, Dad asked for something a bit obscure and this time we were not so lucky. He wanted a hearts of palm salad with fresh white anchovies, but the anchovies were impossible to find. Sorry Dad! We ended up, however, with a lovely salad of hearts of palm, olives, artichoke hearts, and anchovies (out of the can). Xani made a great, simple vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

    With the salad we had a great, rustic bread that we got from Bonaparte, a bakery in Jessup, MD. Mom and Dad kept calling it "Napoleon."

    Now, onto the main event: LOBSTERS! This is an area of culinary practice where our family is extra-weird. Why, you ask? Because instead of getting 1-2 pound lobsters for each person, we instead get 1-2 HUGE lobsters that the whole family shares. This time, we got two 6-pound lobsters from Frank's Seafood, a great fish market in Laurel, MD. As expected, they were enormous! To cook these bad boys (well, one turned out to be a girl...), we used a tried and true method: boil the lobster for 5 minutes per pound, plus 2 minutes. A quick calculation told us that each lobster should be cooked for 32 minutes. (Note: The timing for this method begins once the water has come back to a boil after putting the lobster in.)

    Getting the lobsters out of the boiling water is quite the feat! But then comes the fun part: dismemberment. (Wow, that sounds so sick!) Dad has a great method that includes a large Chinese cleaver and lots of cold water for your hands so you can grab onto the hot lobster. Dad did the first one and Erin tried her hand at it for number 2. So fun!

    We served the lobster with melted butter and onion rings (see below). As you can see, the claws were as big as Dad's face!
    As a side dish to the lobsters, we made onion rings (another Rachael Ray recipe). The batter sounded really interesting: pancake mix, beer, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne. Unfortunately, the batter didn't seem to stay on the onion when it was frying, so it was a bit disappointing. They tasted great, they just weren't as beautiful as we had hoped.

    Here's what everything looked all put together:

    After a few minutes relaxing and digesting, we served dessert. Dad is a fan of fruity desserts (as opposed to chocolatey desserts), and he found a recipe he wanted us to make for him. The original recipe involved baking ridiculously complicated cookies, then serving them with macerated raspberries and homemade whipped cream. We made the recipe but we nixed the cookies and replaced them with toasted slices of poundcake.

    For the raspberries, we took Marsala wine, limoncello, vanilla, and sugar, and boiled it down to a syrup. Then we let it cool and then added the berries to hang out for about an hour. Meanwhile, we made the Chantilly Cream: we whipped heavy whipping cream with limoncello and sugar. Yum.

    We served the berries on top of the poundcake, then topped the whole thing with the whipped cream. Dad loved it.

    For his presents, Dad got a martini shaker (he's already got two, but neither had a large enough capacity so we could make four cocktails - it was essential!), and a great gadget from Brookstone: a remote meat thermometer! It was a great Father's Day, and we are insanely lucky to have such a great Dad! We love you, Dad!

    Happy eating,
    E & X


    1. Wow. 6 lb lobster. I didn't even know such a thing existed! Looks like a fantastic meal.

    2. If you ever want to get fresh hearts of palm give me a call. My family has a farm in Costa Rica, and I distribute it throughout the US. Check out my website:


    3. holy crap those are big lobsters!


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