Birthday Dinner, Food Shows & Documentaries

Sorry it’s been a little quiet here lately, but we actually just finished moving this past week and we’ve also been without air conditioning for an entire week since, Surprise! Our air is broke. If you live in or have ever been to the desert you know what that means. It’s been miserable. Hopefully the part will come in tomorrow and the lovely nice AC man will come back and make it work again.

On happier subjects, however, Luke had his 24th birthday this past Tuesday and I always try to make him a nice dinner. This year I decided to go all out and I spent about a third of our weekly grocery budget on lobster tails! Definitely worth it every once and again, I say. (But of course they go on sale this week, so guess what? Lobster again!)

So here’s what I made. First up, Lemon Risotto from here at Smitten Kitchen, which I have to say was divine. She suggests that it pairs nicely with seafood, which gave me the idea to use lobster tail.

Luke requested that I use some recipes from the Bobby Flay cookbooks that I have (Mesa Grill and Boy Meets Grill) and I found his recipe in Boy Meets Grill for Grilled Lobster Tail with Mango Curry Butter. I don’t have a grill (yet!) so I did them in a pan and they actually turned out pretty well. I discovered right before I started dinner, though, that I really didn’t have much of an idea of how to cut open a lobster tail. Can you believe that even the Professional Chef didn’t have directions on this?! After a little searching on the internet I found I was trying to cut the wrong side, but I still didn’t do it quite right because I had a little trouble getting the shell away from the meat and ended up breaking it a lot. Next time I’m going to have the butcher show me how to do it properly.

Finally, dessert. Another Bobby Flay recipe, and I have to say this one sealed the deal for me: Bobby Flay, you are my food hero. Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Creme Brulees from his Mesa Grill cookbook. Oh. My. Gosh. Velvety, smooth, a more sophisticated peanut butter cup yummy scrumdidlyumptious concoction. It starts with infusing the milk and cream right from the outset with toasted peanuts, continues with milk chocolate and peanut butter and ends with a thin coating of demarara (raw) sugar, crisped into a hard shell with the coolest of kitchen tools, the blowtorch. Even I can only eat one of these, and I’m pretty sure that’s definitely a good thing, otherwise my (already suffering) waistline would completely disown me. Heaven, I tell you.

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Since we moved, we wouldn’t be getting free cable TV anymore like we did at the last apartments. We ended up getting another set of channels added to what we had for two reasons: Top Chef on Bravo, and the new Food Network channel, The Cooking Channel. Boy, I already LOVE the Cooking Channel. Not only do they have some great new shows on there (“Cook Like an Iron Chef” with Mike Symon, “Unique Eats,” etc) but they play amazing classics like Julie Child! Have you ever watched her episode on chicken? So informative, yet funny, because she is adorably clumsy, and because clearly people did NOT know or worry about little things like oh, say, bacteria…watch her sling those chickens! I actually remember watching Julie as a little girl because my Nana Anne and Pop-pop Vin’s TV only got the news and PBS and when Pop-pop would nap (and therefore not be watching NASCAR), we’d watch Julia on PBS.

The other show I’ve discovered and is probably hands down one of my favorite cooking shows now (along with Giada deLaurentis, Bobby Flay, and Mike Symon) is Jamie at Home with Jamie Oliver. I love how very British he is, he called an English muffin a “crumpet” on the episode I watched yesterday, and uses phrases like “bang off the meringue from the whisk” and “brilliant” and such. I also love what he is trying to do with food in America now, to teach families how to learn what they’re eating, and how to eat better, and how to cook and enjoy each other around the table.

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I know this is a long post already, but one last thing I wanted to mention was that I watched the documentary Food, Inc. today and was completely blown away by it. I already “knew” to some extent that our food really was that changed from what it was intended by God to be, but the documentary really showed me that consumers can also change that. WALMART of all places even paid attention to what America has started to see, by realizing that they didn’t want hormones in their milk anymore because they were consistently buying milk without any. It’s only one tiny change, but it is a start. I have no problem with big business or capitalism, and capitalism is what makes it possible for consumers to change what they have access to! The documentary definitely made me want to only shop at the farmer’s market and never step foot in a supermarket again, but unfortunately, that’s not always possible. But you learn that you have a choice as to what you buy and I definitely think I’ll be more careful about the food products I buy from here on out!

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