Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fit for a BBQ

One of my favorite BBQ side dishes is from a recipe I found on the Food TV Network website.

 It is a salad that combines roasted corn and jicama with mango, red onion and cilantro. It's best when made a few hours before, so the clean fresh flavors of the orange/ lime vinegarette can soak into the salad.

I'm sure this will become one of your backyard BBQ standards.

                                            Roasted Corn, Jicama and Mango Salad


• 4 ears fresh corn, unshucked

• 1 large jicama, peeled and thinly julienned

• 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

• 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

• 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

• Citrus vinaigrette, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the ears of corn , with the husks still attached, onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool. When the corn has cooled, shuck it and stand it on end. Using a sharp knife, run the blade down the cob to cut the kernels off. Rotate the cob and repeat until all the kernels have been cut off.

Combine the jicama, mango, red onion and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled corn, and toss with the vinaigrette. Chill until ready to serve.

Citrus Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

2 teaspoons sugar

Dash hot sauce

1/2  cup olive oil

Salt pepper

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

In a large bowl combine the lime juice, orange juice, orange zest, sugar and hot sauce. Whisk together and slowly add the olive oil, whisking as you go. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and cilantro and whisk until combined. Yield 1 ¼ cups Serves 6

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Birthday Dinner

Last week was my brother's birthday.

Birthday dinners are a big thing in my family. A lot of time and effort goes into planning the menu, even if the dinner is for a small group. If you don't already know, my brother is a chef.  That puts a little more stress on me, when it's my turn to host the dinner...sigh.

When I asked him what he wanted this year, he chose stuffed lobster, champagne and an italian rum cake.  Thankfully, I didn't have to make the cake, as he specified that this cake should be purchased at Rispoli's in Ridgefield Park. I just had to order it and pick it up.

The Stuffed Lobster was another story.

The thing about this particular recipe is that it calls for female lobsters.  Why female lobsters, you may ask? Well, inside a female lobster is the coral roe and tamale( liver) that gets incorporated into the stuffing, along with bread crumbs, butter and tarragon.  It sounds gross, but it actually tastes quite delicious.

Finding 4 female lobsters was a bit of a feat. I had spoken to a few fishmongers, but none could guarantee that they would have them on Sunday, never mind have four of them. In this economy, I was told, people are not splurging on lobsters, so, they are not carrying the kind of inventory they used to.  But, as luck would have it, the day before, I just happened to pass a seafood store on Rt#9 with a giant sign of a red lobster overhead.  Wohoo!! On my way home, I stopped in, and they had a huge tank of lobsters, and they were able to pick out four 2 lb lobsters for my dinner. I know, this may sound crazy, to you all..but you have no idea how relieved I was to find them.

Now to make these lobsters.

Well. first you have to split them, while they are alive.  This, I tell you, I cannot do.  So, I waited for Bro Chef to arrive and he took care of that part. I prepared the stuffing, and into the oven they went. Then, the birthday guy and the rest of our group feasted on some Pol Roger Champagne and an assortment of cheeses, while the lobsters cooked.

Dinner was served, and it was splendid.  The rum cake was great, too. He made a good choice on that one.

Anyway, here is the recipe for the Stuffed Lobster.. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Four  1 1/2-2 lb lobsters
1/4 lb butter
1 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup oil
4 T melted butter
2 T finely chopped tarragon

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Split lobsters in half and remove  the intstinal tract and the small hard sac near the eyes.
Arrange the lobsters split side up, in a roasting pan.  Cut off the claws and put in a separate pan.
Remove the coral roe and liver and place in a mixing bowl.
Add butter and  the bread crumbs.
Beat mixture with a spoon until blended, and mix in tarragon.Add salt & pepper taste.
Fill each cavity with the stuffing mixture, being careful not to cover the tail meat.
Sprinkle the tail meat with salt & pepper and drizzle 2 T oil over each half.

Bake 20-30 min.  Drizzle with melted butter and serve.