December 31st, 2014

Lobster Rolls, Gratitude, and Farewell 2014

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I haven’t gone out for New Year’s Eve–not for many years now. It’s become tradition for friends to come to our place. We cook something extraordinary, something de luxe; then we feast, tell stories, play games, reflect on the year, our moments of gratitude, and talk about what might be in store in the months to come.

Lobster has often figured into the mix.

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For many NYEs, we’d have a community lobster pot. I’d make a spicy-winey poaching bath, and everyone would bring their own lobster tails, ready to take the savory plunge. We’d serve that luscious meat with lemon butter as part of a 4 course seated dinner. It’s very fun, very delicious,

also very laborious.

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So we changed things up.

Now everyone brings an appetizer or two to share. The buffet table fills up quickly with delectables such as Vietnamese Summer Rolls, Fig-filled Brie in Puff Pastry, Bibb Lettuce Cups with grapefruit and avocado, “Cowboy Caviar” (gotta start eating those black-eyed peas!) and baby crabcakes with citrus remoulade.

This year, lobster is part of the scenario, in a more casual–yet still luxurious, way. I decided to make little lobster rolls—of the buttery yeasty Parker House type– flecked with sea salt, then stuffed with lobster salad. I make the same spicy-winey bath to cook them–recipe to follow–so that if you take the notion to just eat lots of poached lobster and drawn butter–well, here ya go.

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For the salad, the meat is lightly dressed. You don’t want to mask that sweet lobster taste. Lemon, green onion, red bell pepper, celery, and a little Sriracha lend it the right crunch and zing.

Notes about the Parker House style rolls: My recipe uses sourdough starter along with a boost of dry active yeast. If you don’t have the starter, no worries. Use 2 packages of yeast, also increasing the amount of flour (add 2 cups) and milk (2 cups) I also use honey instead of sugar.

Recipes for this kind of roll abound on the webs. The main thing to remember about these rolls—which are buttery and rich, yet light as the ethers—is that milk, butter, and an egg are key to making the dough supple and elastic.

If you don’t have time to make the rolls, Cooking Light offers an easy-peasy solution here:
Lobster Roll recipe, using hot dog buns

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LOBSTER SALAD
Spicy-Winey Bath: (for 6 Lobster tails)
6 cups water
2 cups White Wine
1 Lemon, cut in half
2 Celery Ribs and leaves, chopped
1 small Onion, quartered
2 cloves Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Celery Seed
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seed
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Place all these ingredients into a large covered stockpot and simmer until onions are softened–about 25 minutes. (this will accommodate up 6-8 lobster tails)

Prepare the lobster tails for their bath: Using kitchen shears, cut up the center of the thin cartilage underside of the tail and snip off the sundry flippers. Gently crack the base of the tail backwards to make it easier to remove meat after poaching. Rinse well.

Plunge the lobster into the gently rolling bath and poach for five-seven minutes. Remove the now bright orange-red tails from the bath. Allow to cool.

Remove the cooked meat. Discard the shells.

The Lobster Salad:
2-3 ribs of celery, finely chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
1/2 cup good mayonnaise (such as Hellman’s or Duke’s)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce
Cooked lobster tail meat, cut or pulled into bite-sized pieces

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SOURDOUGH PARKER HOUSE ROLLS
1 cup “fed” sourdough starter mixed with 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup water
1 cup lowfat milk
1/2 pound butter, divided
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 package dry active yeast
1 egg
4 cups all-purpose flour

The night before: mix your starter in a bowl with flour and water. Stir well. Cover with plastic and leave at room temperature for an hour. Then refrigerate.

Ready to make the rolls:
Remove the sourdough mixture from the refrigerator.

Warm the milk on low heat, add 1/4 pound (one stick) butter, then the honey and salt. Stir until the butter is melted. Remove from heat. When the mixture feels tepid, stir in the package of dry active yeast.

Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the sourdough mixture.

Using a dough hook, begin to mix, adding the egg, and the flour, a cup at a time.
Knead until the dough comes together into soft elastic mass. Cover and allow the dough to double in size—about 1 1/2 hours.

Melt the remaining 1/4 pound butter in a saucepan set on low heat.

When dough is doubled in size, turn it out onto the work counter that has been dusted with flour. Divide the dough ball in half, setting one piece aside.

Brush baking sheets with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Brush with melted butter and cut into squares. You should get 16-20 pieces. Roll each piece around your finger and place onto the buttered baking sheet. Leave 1/2 inch space between each roll.

Brush their tops with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until rolls are light and golden. Cool on a rack before slicing and stuffing with lobster salad (and a piece of leaf lettuce, if you like.)

TWO GRATITUDE MOMENTS FROM 2014

This year has been rich and full of wonder. The launching of my cookbook, Third Thursday Community Potluck, features high on my list, to be sure. I am so pleased with the result. The book is beautiful. I couldn’t have imagined anything finer. I am so grateful for this accomplishment, at this stage of my life.

Nichole, Domenica, Nancy and Tracy

I am also so grateful for all of the support I’ve received from family and friends for this effort. Here are three blogging friends who came to my book signing in the Washington DC area last month. We knew one another from our blogs, but this was the first time that we met in person. Big hugs to Tracy of Amuse-Bouche for Two, Nichole of And Baby Cakes Three, and Domenica of Domenica Cooks and American Food Roots. Y’all rock! The connections that we make through our blogging, sharing our mutual love of food and community, is what it’s all about.

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Last, and best is grandson Zachary. Bill and I, aka Pops and Nanaroo, enjoyed a wonderful Christmas visit with him. The boy loves food! And he knows that nothing compares to licking the beater.

Happy New Year, Everyone. All best wishes for love peace health and prosperity in 2015.

Nancy

Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Breads, Fish/Seafood, Recipes, Sandwiches

22 Responses to “Lobster Rolls, Gratitude, and Farewell 2014”
  1. ernestine Says:

    Oh my what a wonderful post.
    Like you
    many years since celebrating out of home.
    At this stage of life
    just me
    but that is fine :) as so many memories…
    I love lobster
    and may make your salad (a smaller version)
    Thank you for your wonderful recipes
    and the joy you share with your writing.
    You make me smile this early morning…

  2. JP & Lynn Evans Says:

    Happy New Year Nancy, we love you!

  3. Barbara Greene Says:

    Oh Nance, those lobster rolls look divine! Happy new year to you! Our cousin Kathy bought her sister one of your cookbooks for Xmas, and Patty was thrilled!

  4. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Dear Ernestine–thank you for your kind words. I wish you much happiness in 2015.

    JP and Lynn—Love you Back! I know your year will be filled with laughter and delicious food.

    Happy New Year to you, Sister B! so nice that Kathy got a cookbook for Patty.

  5. Maggie Says:

    Happy New Year, Nance! There’s so much to be grateful for; food, friends, and family‚Ķ I’m grateful that you’re my friend (foodie and otherwise!) Blessings and Abundance in this new year!

  6. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Love and happiness to you and Steve, Mag. I look forward to more adventures–food and otherwise—in 2015.

  7. heather Says:

    Happy New Year Nancy! GREAT lobster rolls!

  8. paulette Says:

    Aw, Nance! How wonderful. The lobster and the rolls sound so scrumptious — I must try those rolls! Happy New Year and yay and applause to all you do and create! :)

  9. Michele | Cooking At Home Says:

    The perfect New Year’s Eve, and a wonderful photo of you with our blogging friends! All the best to you for a healthy, happy New Year!xo

  10. Tracy Says:

    Happy New Year, Nancy!!

  11. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thanks, Heather! Loved your spread of veggies and hummus.

    Hi Paulette–hope you and Duane have a much joy and prosperity this year.

    Thank you Michele. I hope that we’ll get the chance to meet in person someday too!

    Happy New Year to you and Roberto, Tracy.

  12. Joyti Says:

    Awww, your grandson is too adorable for words! What a little sweetheart.

    And your idea of New Years sounds ideal – what a lovely friend you are. Happy new years to you…may your 2015 be merry and bright!

  13. Barbara Says:

    Divine lobster rolls, Nancy. I love your addition of heat…must try that.
    What a cutie of a grandson…it’s such fun to have little ones around during Christmas. Wish mine lived closer.
    Happy New Year, my friend, and I’m looking forward to some great cuisine in 2015!

  14. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Joyti—thank you so much. Zach is a darling. all the best to you this year.

    Hi Barbara–I know what you mean–I wish mine lived closer too. So happy when we can get together. To wonderful cooking in the new year!

  15. Teresa Blackburn Says:

    Nancy we had such a great time as always this New Year’s Eve…Lobster Rolls and all. Such good food, lively talk and story telling. We so look forward to this every year’s end…spending time with you and Bill and all our other friends on this small gathering, cozy evening…toasts and appreciations for our friendship for lo these many years. For this and so many other things am I appreciative and lucky for.
    Great post and looking forward to more this year.

  16. Gerlinde Says:

    No lobster rolls here in Germany but I will try them when I return to California. Happy New Year, have a great year.

  17. Tammy Says:

    I love that fellow bloggers came to your book signing! Happy 2015 Nancy! Hope it’s the best. BTW – have your book on my kitchen shelf!

  18. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    a community lobster pot now that sounds like a fantastic idea to me:) My husband and I simply adore lobster rolls but it is so expensive and hit or miss here at times. All other seafood is simple to get but lobster not so easy. regardless i love them and here is to a wonderful delicious 2015! So enjoy visiting you each week:)

  19. Juliana Says:

    Happy New Year Nancy!
    This is such a sweet post…I enjoy the pictures, especially of your grandson…so precious!
    The lobster rolls look fabulous…
    Have a wonderful week :)

  20. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    So cool to see you all having fun at that table together! Hello! And those lobster rolls… Oh my!

  21. Kath Says:

    Zachary is gorgeous! I love that you met up with Tracy. I have been reading your book again this week (each day I pick a cookbook off the shelf to read whilst I have breakfast and it is often yours) and I just love it, the recipes and the introductory pages to each chapter, they pull you in and make you want to cook. I hope 2015 brings more exciting adventures.

  22. Sabrina Says:

    Wow, these lobster rolls look amazing!!



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