Lobster is a luxurious treat

Lobster is a luxurious treat; something my family uses to celebrate.  My father chose lobster for his 55th birthday dinner. For a man that isn’t too fond of fish, he absolutely adores crab, lobster, shrimp and mussels alike. At $14.00/ pound, four of these beauties came out to be $100. We got some fine crustaceans from up north, Maine. It pains me that these are not local, that I don’t get to see the process of raising and harvesting the lobster. Its scrumptiousness told the story.

We went to the local fishmonger, giving the local business the attention it deserves. The options were vast, but lLobster was what we came to get. Our fishmonger suggested we steam each lobster for 7 minutes per one pound. Add three minutes for every extra pound. Pretty simple, who would have thought such an intimidating crawler, was so easy to cook.

The lobsters may have been the star of the show, but how good can the show be without outstanding supporting actresses. We grabbed 10 ears of fresh jersey corn to make a grilled corn salad. The difference in texture was epic. Sweet and spicy crunchy corn paired with the forgiving tender elasticity of the lobster meat just snapped around your tongue. A big salad filled with greens, and of course a fruit tart as requested by my more than deserving dad.  I told him in his birthday card, that nothing comes close to the happiness I feel when dancing around the kitchen with him. It’s a small kitchen, a big island with a decent size stove top, and very little counter space (thank you kitchen aid mixer, and Cuisinart coffee maker). It’s the perfect small farmhouse kitchen, we laugh as we bump into each other, as kitchen bumper cars do, whilst putting away groceries, simmering butter, or dashing off to the grill. It was a perfect day, usually I would object to the birthday being lifting a finger on their day, however I couldn’t dismiss such an eager helper, after all it was his idea. I would have loved to have had this feast outside somewhere, with a blanket to set us atop the grass and away from the bugs, but it was much too hot out as most mid July evenings are in NJ. So we slurped our lobster dinner in the cool air conditioning, not many words were said, our jaws were dropping for the star of the show. That’s when you know you did well.

That’ll do!

Grilled Corn Salad:
* I adapted this from Half baked harvest’s grilled street corn recipe

Ingredients:

-6 ears of fresh corn, husked
-extra virgin olive oil
-two limes, squeezed
-2 tsp of honey
-1.5 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp smoked paprika
-1 jalapeño
-sea salt & black pepper ( I love fresh cracked pepper!)
-a couple stalks of chives chopped
-1 cup of basil leaves chopped
-1/2 cup cilantro chopped
-4/4 cup feta cheese
Instructions:

1) Put three of the 6 ears of corn on the grill, allowing to blacken a bit on all sides, remove and cool, then when you are able to handle, slice the kernels off the cob.
2) Slice the remaining 3 ears of corn so the kernels are the only thing remaining, keep all the juices.
3) Stir all the remaining ingredients together

* I added a bit of chipotle powder to some ranch and had it as a sauce to add on… however I never used it because the flavors of the fresh corn & spices were incredible!

Berry Tart:

I borrowed this recipe from Manger, my favorite food blog, curated by Mimi Thorisson

A very impatient but good boy, jealous of the attention of our yummy berry tart

Ingredients (for dough):
-1 cup of flour
-1/3 cup of butter, softened at room temp
-2 tbsps of sugar
-4 tbsps of confectioner’s sugar
-1/4 cup ground almonds- almond flour will do!
-1/2 egg
– pinch of salt

Instructions for the shortbread crust:


1) in a medium bowl mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. Shape into a ball and wrap in cling film, putting in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
2) On a floured surface roll out the dough, to fit the tart pan, gently pressing the edges of the pastry against the pan. Prick the fitted dough with a fork.  Cover with more cling film and place in the freezer for 30 minutes… the longer the better… (this prevents shrinking of the crust!)
3)Cut out parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan, fill with marbles, rice, beans or popcorn (yes it works! And no they don’t pop… however they make a mess when you drop them everywhere)
4) Bake for 15 minutes @ 350. Remove the weight and bake until slightly golden ( 5-10 mins) Cool for 20 before putting the filling in.

For the lemon crème patisserie:
ingredients:
-1 cup of whole milk
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-3 egg yolks+ 1 egg
-2 tsp of vanilla extract
-two lemons zested
-2/3 cups of heavy cream
-juice of one lemon
-1/4 cup of plain flour

instructions:
1) whisk the sugar, eggs, and flour until light and fluffy( 8 mins). Then add the lemon juice & zest
2) Bring the milk, cream, and vanilla in a saucepan to a soft simmer. Pour the mixture gently into the egg bowl, whisking continuously.
3)Put the mixture back into the saucepan, continuously whisking on low heat until the mixture becomes a custard consistency ( this could take 10 minutes or more)
4) pour into a bowl and cover, place in the refrigerator once completely cool, close to serving time
5)Spoon the crème patissiere into the tart and smooth with a spatula.
6) place the berries on top in any fashion that pleases you!

** I would recommend letting this custard sit overnight, it becomes so much firmer for a day 2 serving**

Enjoy!

Xx,

Voyage to Medoc, Voyage to Mimi!

My rendition of Mimi’s Chateau…anticipating this trip (queue the 8 year old on Christmas morning squeal)

Mimi Thorrisson Manger Workshop- How I am making this work

Taking the voyage to Medoc, France is a dream. An expensive dream. Pitchfork and Pearls started with my own version of a vision board. Not necessarily cutting and pasting images from magazines (haven’t gotten there yet) but writing down goals that would propel me forward in this journey. Mimi was not on the top of the list. And I say this to bring reality to the conversation, I chose simple little goals that would be attainable in a few week, maybe a couple months, non threatening and totally in my comfort zone. I had just bought the new IPad Pro- which to me was a BIG splurge- and was feeling drained financially. As the list of goals got longer the visions got bigger, because 1) why not- no harm in day dreaming 2) its was FUN! Stretching my mind to open to the endless possibilities was invigorating. Physically writing them down was propelling them forward. That list is important and I will absolutely share with you. See how the goals JUMPED.

Apologies for my handwriting

Hmph, I should briefly introduce Mimi Thorrisson before I go on. Mimi, her husband Oddur, 8 children, 14 Fox Terriers, and one Italian Pointer Monte Critso reside in Medoc, France. The Bordeux region, you may have heard of it once?or twice, probably in a wine store. Author & food blogger Mimi shares her excuisite life in France. Inspiring and dropping jaws in seasonal cooking, her travels, her entertaining techniques, and her incredible workshops. Find her on Manger, her food blog, or pick up her book A French County Kitchen. Miss Mimi also has quite the tantalizing instagram account…and if that is not enough many many posts reside on Pinterest gifting you windows of the fascinating life she leads. Ahh yes back to goals.

After writing Mimi’s name down on my vision list I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Visiting France in the summer like so many other lucky glamorous folks, taking so much more from this event, more than a simple vacation. I daydreamed about using this material to create connections, grow strangers into friendships, and picking up more and more inspiration along the way. Addicted. So I emailed Mimi thinking 2020 would be the year of Medoc & Me, & her 14 terriers, maybe I would even go home with a pup.. (heh okay keep your goals in check miss) Email sent, 7 hours later I get a reply from Mimi herself. Yes most of the workshops were full, there was a seat open in a new workshop that might be right up my alley (I told her my goals & my very unique (ha) interest in farm to table food because 1) why not give her the low-down, she knows her workshops best 2) She may not even respond, the least this email can do is get my goals in writing again).

Whoops- guess 2020 goals might just have to happen sooner than expected. Putting these bad boys in writing… was dangerous. So I replied with, let me make sure this can work financially and I will get back to you very soon. I knew if this was going to happen it needed to be smart decision. No room for buyers remorse.

Can I afford it? It would be tight. Is this bettering me & my business, my future livelihood. I 100% believed that it would and so the answer was Hi Mimi- I’m in. Because plans began in January I had time to pay in increments. ½ of the workshop fee now to reserve my spot. Flights & lodging would have to be done in a couple paychecks. And I was going to make it work.

As February comes to a close I am feeling tempted to splurge on warm weather dresses and Brigitte Bardot outfits for the Bordeaux region. I am reminding myself that those aren’t in my goals, my vision list. I will look the part just perfectly when wearing the clothes I have now. I mention this because a shopaholic at heart this might urge a reader to keep their goals in check, writing down ideas and visions that propel you forward, clothing is definitely not optional in this world, but it certainly will not take you to the places you want/ need to go (not for me anyway). Style will develop, transform and leave you like a one night stand. I am toning it down to only investing in staple items when need be. Grow the vision but be sure to not focus on what one is wearing (my personal weakness ladies & gents!)

So this is just the beginning to my next chapter & I am oh so grateful for it. I feel beautiful trips like these need to be broken down into real terms. I do not have deep funds to pull from & make these trips happen. Instead it is a very real budgeting system. Stripping down my ego, spending less. Cleaning out my brain of the luxuries crowding our vision daily (belive me- nyc can be crippling at times) and getting down to the basics. Simple meals can be just as exquisite, just stretching a dollar. Breakfast, stewed apples and plain yogurt, (ah my favorite!) what’s for lunch? Sweet potato brought from home. Keeping the grocery bills lower, the material goods at 0 spending and growing my brain. If this is on your radar, you’re going to make it happen! But there will be sacrifices. Sacrifices that grow you.

I brought this up to my mom when I guiltily explained my next adventure (guilty because I wish she could come with me! She absolutely is my best friend!) and she reminded me of growing up in Vermont, though beautiful it is an expensive place to live. Mum and her friends would do “no spend months” where groceries, gas, and of course monthly payments are the only items you are spending money on. No special dinners out for no reason, no splurges at the mall, and certainly no online shopping. Home, work, grocery store, home, it may seem drab at first but you soon will fine ways to brighten your simple world up. She said she was always so impressed with how much savings there were that she would challenge herself to an extra month of savings. So that’s what I’m doing!

Thanks mom, you truly are always right.