Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lobster Truffles Sandwiches (serves 1-2)



It was difficult to decide what to eat for lunch today but with leftover lobster and roe, I decided to come up with some simple sandwiches. I like to refer to the lobster roe as our East Coast caviar. I also want to try out the truffle pate that was given to me by the staff of La Rustichella (an Italian truffle company) when I attended the 2015 New England Food Show back in March. Even just mixing in a little taste of truffle in the lobster the result is quite tasty. Thank you La Rustichella!

The first time that I cooked with truffle pate was a number of years ago. One of my brothers and his wife visited Italy and gave me a gift of jars of truffle pate and truffle oil. I just thought they were the most delicious mushrooms that I have ever tasted in my life!

Lobster Truffles Sandwiches (serves 1-2)

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp unsalted butter (add more if interested)
About 1 cup lobster meat (and roe if you have any)
A few sprigs of Chinese chives (chopped or use scissors to cut into tiny pieces)
1 1/2 tsp La Rustichella black truffle pate
Benacol, for spreading on toasts (optional)
4 pieces of rye marble/cracked wheat or your favorite type, lightly toasted

Method:

In a warm pan, melt the butter. Add the lobster meat, roe and chives. Once the lobster meat is warm add the truffle pate. This is enough to make 2 sandwiches.

*Add more truffles if you have any or if you can afford them!

whole truffles, Boston, 2015
(La Rustichella--truffles company)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Maine Lobster Banh Mi (serves 2)

I made My Ultimate Maine Lobstah Rolls and they tasted great. So I thought I should make another sandwich inspired by the Vietnamese banh mi. The combination of my parents' fresh home-grown herbs and tender young mixed greens and my local French baguette made for a tasty banh mi. What is the difference between a lobster roll versus a Vietnamese banh mi, you may ask? Well, I think it's mainly the bread. The Vietnamese sandwich can be anything you put inside a French baguette. The imagination and creativity of what you want in a filling is up to you. There is no right or wrong way to make them. When I was a child (still living in Vietnam) my mother (to me she is a "jack of all trades") used to sell freshly made banh mi in a push cart outside of my grandparents' store. I remember her banh mi filled with delicious sliced char siu (Chinese barbecued pork) with cucumber sticks, some pickled carrots and daikon sticks, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of sauce including soy sauce. The filling for my own particular banh mi in this posting is made similar to the rolls posted earlier except I added a few extra ingredients such as the herbs/mixed greens, mayonnaise and hot sauce. My husband and I wolfed down these babies with cold beer. A perfect meal to end a hot and humid summer day in New Hampshire!

this woman reminds me of my mother making banh mi
(Chau Doc, Vietnam)

My Mother's Secret Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup chopped scallions

Method:

In a hot sauce pan melt the butter. Once the butter has melted add garlic cloves, fish sauce, sugar and scallions. Cook until everything is blended and the scallions wilted (about a minute).

*I should say my mother never kept this sauce a secret. She made this when we first came to live in Bangor, Maine since 1980...after we discovered that we could drive 5 hours to Boston Chinatown for fish sauce! Most people I know in Maine eat lobsters and clams dipped in a butter sauce but this sauce was way too bland for us. So she came up with the idea to squirt some fish sauce and a few extra ingredients for a much better taste! Since then we always eat this sauce. Once you eat this you just might never go back to the bland butter sauce!
*I added garlic to my mother's sauce for extra flavor. You may adjust the sauce to according to your taste. 

Maine Lobster Banh Mi (serves 2)

Ingredients:

1 French baguette cut into 6 or 7 inch lengths, pan fried/grilled
8-10 oz of meat and roe (or meat from 1 large lobster)
My Mother's Secret Butter Sauce (see recipe above)
Lobster tomalley (liver)
Mayonnaise
Sriracha hot sauce
Fresh herbs and mixed young greens

Method:

1) Put a pat of butter or about 1/2 tablespoon of olive in a medium hot pan. Slice the baguette pieces horizontally leaving a little at the end so the halves are still attached. Spread the baguette out on the hot oiled pan and fry/grill until golden brown. May fry/grill both sides if interested. May do one baguette piece at a time.
2) In a hot pan heat the meat and roe with the butter sauce until well incorporated.
3) Spread the tomalley, mayonnaise, and sriracha sauce along the inside of the baguette.
4) Layer the bottom of the baguette with fresh herbs and mixed greens.
5) Stuff with buttered lobster meat.
6) Add a few herbs on top and drizzle more sriracha sauce to garnish if interested.

*Add as much or as little of the ingredients as you prefer. After all it is your own banh mi, make it how you want to devour it!!



*Above are a few photos of the flowers that I took in New Hampshire and in Massachusetts. The hydrangea plants (lower photo) are now blooming with beautiful and colorful flowers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Ultimate Maine Lobstah Rolls (makes 4 rolls)



My parents and a few of my mother's friends (from childhood) came to visit. The friends came to visit them in Maine from different parts of the country. One from New York, another from Texas and one came for 3 months from Soc Trang, Vietnam. Now that's a visit! My parents drove them around showing them the Maine attractions including some famous places such as Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Stephen King's home and introduced them to fresh off-the-boat Maine lobsters and crabs. They tell me they loved visiting and appreciated the fun time with my parents. 

Of course when my parents drive through New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to visit their children they always bring huge coolers full of foods for each one of them. This time they dropped off lobsters, crabs, and lots of fresh garden vegetables/herbs as they drive their friends down further South. My father washed the vegetables and herbs and put them in ziplock bags so I can have quick meals.

I decide that it is time to make my ultimate Maine lobstah rolls using my mother's secret sauce recipe. She invented this sauce that has become a favorite in my family. It's a quick sauce to make and everyone loves it. You can put everything in a bowl and nuke it in the microwave for 10 seconds and it's done. When my brothers or I make this sauce we never measure. We just put some butter in, add some chopped scallions, squirt a little fish sauce and sprinkle in some sugar. We also like this sauce on steamed rice and lobster meat; I like to pile on lots of fresh home-grown vegetables. I must advise that you should definitely eat this sauce with moderation!! If you are lactose intolerant then you can use the clarified butter.  

My Mother's Secret Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup chopped scallions

Method 1:

May put everything together in a bowl and microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds until the butter is melted and the scallions wilted.

Method 2:

In a hot sauce pan melt the butter. Once the butter has melted add fish sauce, sugar and scallions. Cook until everything is blended and the scallions wilted (about a minute).

*May adjust the sauce to according to your taste.

My Ultimate Maine Lobstah Rolls (makes 4 rolls)

Ingredients:

4 hot dog rolls, pan fried/grilled
Meat and roe from 1 large cooked Maine lobster (or about 11 oz of meat and roe)
My Mother's Secret Butter Sauce (see recipe above)

Method:

1) Put a pat of butter or about a tablespoon of olive in a medium hot pan. Slice the rolls horizontally leaving a little at the end so the halves are still attached. Spread the rolls out on the hot oiled pan and fry/grill until golden brown. May fry/grill both sides if interested.
2) Stuff the rolls with the lobster meat and roe.
3) Drizzle the butter sauce over the top.

*If you like eating the tomalley (liver) you can spread a little on the rolls for extra creamy taste!

meat and roe from
1 large lobster


my parents and their friends, 2015
(my mother is in the center)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Four Vegetables Stir Fried (serves 2-3)

This is a simple and quick stir fried dish that I like to make. I usually make it with whatever fresh vegetables I can find. I prefer my vegetables just cooked but still have a little crunch in them.

Four Vegetables Stir Fried (serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, smashed
2 oz pancetta (optional)
2 small carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 lb asparagus, cut into 2 inch lengths
8 oz whole baby bella mushrooms, cut into wedges
1 handful of fiddleheads, pre-boiled for 10 minutes
About 1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 cup water (may also substitute with chicken, pork or vegetable broth)
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
A large pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp of cold or lukewarm water

Method:

1) Add oil to a hot pan or wok. Once the oil is hot add garlic and pancetta. Saute for about 30 seconds. Keep the heat on high to medium high.
2) Add carrots and cook until they are somewhat soft, about 2-3 minutes.
3) Add asparagus, mushrooms, fiddleheads and ginger. Cook for about a minute and add water or broth. Cook until the asparagus and mushrooms are just cooked, about another 2 minutes.
4) Add oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and cayenne peppers according to your taste. Stir until everything is well blended.
5) Stir in the cornstarch mixture until the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat.

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Wild & Colorful Pizza (makes one 14-inch pizza)



I am not a fan of pizza. However, my husband loves pizza. Over the years I learned not to ask my husband what he wants to eat since he would typically reply with, "whatever you want to make" or "surprise me".  If I feed him the same old food every day, particularly any meat dish, he probably would not mind! Lately he has been traveling quite a bit for work and is forced to eat out in restaurants. He mentions that he has not been eating much vegetables. Today just for a kick I asked him multiple times what he wants to eat, he finally requested vegetables. Today I am inspired to make this colorful pizza but with some meat and lots of vegetables, flowers and even wild strawberries.

The strawberries came from near the cabin of our friends Karen and Jim up North. They have the wild strawberry plants growing all over their yard and last year my husband brought some back and planted them in our garden. This year we basically have been so busy with work that we did not have time to tend the garden. About 2 weeks ago I went to the garden to pick some mint and noticed the strawberries popping out. I had forgotten how amazingly tasty these wild berries were. Today I was out there to harvest some thyme flowers and noticed more strawberries. So, I decided to pick them and add them to this pizza. The result was both tasty and pretty looking.



Wild & Colorful Pizza (makes one 14-inch pizza)

Ingredients:

1.2 lbs wheat pizza dough
6-7 oz of puree tomato sauce
Your meat of choice (I used a mixture of one Italian hot sausage, a few large slices of peperoni and pancetta)
8-10 pre-boiled fiddleheads for about 10 minutes
A handful of fresh baby arugula
A small handful of wild strawberries
A small handful of young purple shiso leaves
A few partially dried wild rose hip petals
A few thyme flower tips
4 chives flowers
A few young Chinese chive leaves, chopped or snipped with scissors
A large handful of your choice of cheese

Method:

Try to get the pizza dough to about the size of your pizza stone. Spread the tomato sauce over the dough evenly. Layer on the rest of ingredients. Bake the pizza on a pizza stone in a pre-heated oven at 500 degrees F until golden brown (about 10 minutes).

*The store-made wheat pizza dough came from my local Market Basket (grocery). This is great for last minute inspiration!
*You can purchase a can or make your own puree tomato sauce. When I make my own I like to add garlic and onion to the tomato sauce for extra flavors.
*Be sure to add extra flour between your pizza stone and your pizza to prevent it from sticking. I used semolina flour.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Steamed Maine Mussels and Asparagus Salad (serves 1)


I have been busy with my new job and recently have to learn a new computer system (at work). Hopefully things will slow down a little for me to focus on other fun activities outside of work. 

Farmed raised Maine mussels are sold in the local New Hampshire markets. Sometimes I can get them for as low as $2.99 per pound. These mussels are fresh and sweet. Once cooked I normally eat them as is or with a simple dip of lime or lemon juice with salt and pepper. Today I decided to make a salad with ponzu seasoned sauce. Ponzu is a Japanese citrus based sauce. The resulting salad was light and tasty. 

farmed raised mussels from Maine
wild mussels from the
coast of New Hampshire

Steamed Maine Mussels and Asparagus Salad (serves 1)


Ingredients:

10 trimmed asparagus, use a vegetable peeler and peel each one into thin strips
1/2 cup cooked mussels, remove from shells, remove the fiber-like clump
4-5 mint leaves (or your choice of herb), hand torn or julienned
1 Tbsp sliced almonds
2 tsp Kikkoman ponzu citrus seasoned dressing & sauce
1 tsp olive oil

Method:

In a large bowl add asparagus, mussels, mint, almonds, ponzu seasoned sauce, and olive oil. Gently toss all the ingredients together.

cooked mussels
*If you want to add the almond slices last you can sprinkle them over the finished dish.
*The farm raised mussels have much less sand in them. Once I brought them home, I washed them well several times in cold water. I tend to boil about 2 inches of water in a pot. Once the water comes to a boil I drop the mussels in and cover the pot. I steam/boil them for about 5-7 minutes or until they have opened up. I stir them a few times and remove from heat. I try not to cook them too long. Sometimes I save some of the broth and use this for cooking.
*I added my favorite type of mint that I have growing in my garden. You may add your herb of choice.