by Erin and Xani
Last weekend we celebrated Father's Day as a family, and as some of you long-time readers may recall, on Father's Day and BCD Dad's birthday, we celebrate by having Dad's favorite crustacean: lobster! Here was the menu:
- Cocktails and Japanese Snack Mix
- Truffle Parmesan Frites
- Homemade Mini-Cheesecakes with Strawberries
The day began by picking out which bottle of champagne we would enjoy while cooking and snacking on Japanese snack mix (BCD Dad requested that we get him the kind with the little fishes, and that we did!).
We decided to go with a Champagne Grand Siècle, which was so delicious. It's amazing how crappy a glass of normal, everyday champagne can taste after a sip of this stuff. We toasted to Father's Day, Xani's new house, and EP's grades, and then got back to cooking!
They each had their own fancy box!
Our choice for the evening
Notice that we did not have a first course...the better to focus on the lobsters, my dear! Speaking of lobsters, we ended up with 3 lobsters that in total weighed 11.25 lbs (2 were 3.5 lbs, and one was 4.25 lbs). We cooked them per BCD Dad's Technique for Cooking Super Jumbo Lobsters (SJLs). In short, this requires boiling a huge pot of salted water, and cooking the live lobsters for 5 minutes per pound plus 2 minutes.
"We who are about to die, salute you" (said the lobsters, not BCD Dad)
We had to keep them from attempting to escape their watery grave
After the first lobsters were done, it was time to take them apart and plate them up. Erin was on Team Dismember this time, and she had a blast taking those lobsters apart! Working with (and supervised by) BCD Dad, EP began by removing the claws, then the tail, occasionally running her hands under cold water because recall that those lobsters had just come out of boiling water so they were HOT! Then, using a gigantic and very sharp cleaver, she split the bodies and the tails in half. Then, she cut each of the joints of the claws with the cleaver, and then gave the claw itself a huge WHACK! with the backside of the cleaver to crack it (but being careful not to mangle the meat inside too badly). Who needs therapy when you can hit something as hard as you can with a huge cleaver?? SO FUN.
Now that's a knife
Meanwhile, Xani worked on the latest iteration of her amazing fries. This time, instead of using her standard duck fat and herbs and/or spices, she busted out the big guns and used truffle oil and parmesan cheese. Both the BCD girls had had either fries or popcorn with the parmesan/truffle flavor combination in the past, so we were excited to try to recreate it at home. Xani used her regular technique of putting the fries (frozen, shoe-string shape) in a single layer, adding some sort of fat (we're not sure what it was this time - duck or chicken fat, probably), and putting them in a super-hot (about 425-450 degree) oven and tossing occasionally so they get really crispy but not burned. Then, when they are done, she puts them in a towel-lined bowl and tosses them about such that most of the grease is removed (she got this technique from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook). Then, she removed the towel from the bowl, and drizzled on some black truffle oil and finely shaved parmesan cheese (she used the microplane) and tossed them up.
The verdict? Amazing amazing amazing! The earthiness of the truffle oil was so awesome with the saltiness of the cheese, and added to the crunch of the fries, these were her best batch yet! We are still thinking about them, more than a week later. That's how good they were.
Also amazing were our lobsters! These lobsters were some of the best we've ever had. The meat was sweet and not tough at all, and with a little melted butter with salt, it was pure heaven. And for the first time, we ended up eating every scrap of lobster left on the platter, which usually doesn't happen. We attribute this to our lack of first course, so we didn't waste valuable "room" on other things.
No more meat left! Just shells...
During this incredible meal, we had some incredible wines to go along with it. We began with a classic white Burgundy recommended by our good friend Pepe at Calvert Woodly Wines and when we finished that, we had some of our old favorite, Treana.
After dinner and a little bit of clean up, we had our homemade mini-cheesecakes. We were originally going to use Martha's or Ina's cheesecake recipe, but those took forever (lots of time was required to gradually cool the cheesecake, to prevent cracking), so we went with this recipe from Cooks.com, which seemed simpler and not as time-consuming. The recipe required making the crust out of graham crackers, butter, and sugar, and pressing the crust into muffin tins. Then the batter, which consisted of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest (our own addition), was ladled into the muffin tins. The cheesecakes were baked in a 300 degree oven (no water bath) for 30 minutes or so, until they were set.
Gellie was the beneficiary of some extra batter
For our first time making cheesecake from scratch, we think they turned out pretty good! They may have been a bit overcooked, so they were not as fluffy as we had hoped. Also, the muffin tins were basically filled to the top when they went in the oven, and they totally shrank! But, in the end, Dad was pleased with them so mission accomplished. We served them with some fresh strawberries and a cup of BCD Mom's awesomely strong coffee, and it was a lovely dessert. Dad also enjoyed some Remy XO cognac during this course.
While we were having our cheesecake and coffee, we played our favorite game, "How much would this meal have cost in a restaurant?" (i.e. How much did we SAVE by cooking it at home?) I think we are the only people on the planet who do this, but it's still fun and we have a lot of laughs doing it. If you are truly interested in the end figure, shoot us an email.
After dessert, we presented Dad with his Father's Day gift: an iPod! Welcome to the 21st century, Dad! For the man who has lots of great electronic gadgets, we thought it was about time that he have his own iPod. Now if we could only get Mom to stop using that 8-track ;)
It was a wonderful meal together as a family, and probably our last big blow-out meal in our house on Summer Leave Lane. The moving trucks are coming in a few weeks to move the BCD parents out to the shore, and while we are so excited about the new house, we are very sad to be leaving our childhood home. We moved there in 1986 (EP was 4, Xani was 7), so it's been a good 22 years there!
Hugs from Gellie on Father's Day!
Anyway, Happy Father's Day to the best dad we ever had! We love you!
E & X