First things first. I have to get this out of my system:
Okay! Now we can get down to business. #6 Deviled Rock Lobster Tails. I chose this menu for 2 reasons: 1. lobster tails were on sale for $6.99 each (yeah, pricey. But who knows when they’d be on sale again). 2. I wanted to do something celebratory and special for when Cleve came home from taking the LSATs. I thought that lobster and Champagne (well, sparkling white wine) were in order. Huzzah for the LSATs!
This might appear to be super-fancy, but I was able to make this whole meal, including dessert, on a weeknight after work. In the words of my beloved Charlie Sheen: Winning.
My preparation of #6 began at 5:15 with the dessert–Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce. Since this recipe wasn’t provided on a supplementary card, I went to the Internetz and found this recipe. I had all of the ingredients, with the exception of the apples, in my cupboard. I used the following types: Fuji, Braeburn, and Cripps Pink. Per the recipe I didn’t use any Macintosh or Red Delicious. I went with a blend to cover my ass. If you want to know the steps for the recipe, click on the link. But really, all you need to know is that I did what the recipe said and when all was said and done, my cobbler was in the oven at 5:50pm.
It was at this time (5:50) that I put on the water for the tails. While waiting for that rolling boil I washed and trimmed the fresh green beans for the Green Bean Salad.
At 6:50 my lobster tails (I made 2 because it was just me and Cleve) went into the water. Per #6’s instructions, the tails were boiled, drained, and drenched. I then went about removing the lobster meat and keeping the tails intact to be stuffed. This, to my surprise, went off without a hitch thanks to my handy kitchen shears! Although the underbelly shell wasn’t the easiest thing to cut with scissors, this was definitely the best method. Using a knife would’ve been just crazy. But with this method I got big chunks of lobster and scarlet shells just waiting to be stuffed.
Back to the cobbler. At 6:20 I took a gander at the cobbler and decided that it needed some more time. At 6:31…another five minutes? 6:37 I bumped up the oven temp to 375, which is where the oven needed to be for the lobster anyway. Finally at 6:43, I got the cobbler out of the oven.
During my cobbler hokey pokey (you put the cobbler in, you take the cobbler out) I chopped the yummy lobster meat and combined it with the bread, eggs, milk, and seasonings and then shoved it back
into the shells (note–I only made 1/3 of the recipe since I was working with just 2 tails instead of 6). I must admit that I was pretty impressed with myself. I topped the tails with the cracker/butter crumble and added a nice sprinkling of paprika for both color and flavor.
At 6:45 my lobster tails, in my jury rigged aluminium foil ball cradle, went gingerly into a 375 degree oven, and I went about cleaning everything that had been used thus far.
You know what I just realized? As I’m writing this I am watching The Rock, starring Sean Connery and my all-time favorite wackadoo (sorry, Charlie) Nic Cage.
Kinda weird, right? Rock. Rock Lobster. Rock. Rock Lobster. No…?
Now, I will get on my soapbox:
Nic Cage shouldn’t be remembered for the current schlock that he’s churning out (What’s with all the wizard movies, dude? They’re not even so bad it’s good guilty pleasure kinda shit like Gone in 60 Seconds! All this stuff is just LAME). I have seen a good deal of the Nicolas Cage canon and Mr. Cage needs to be remembered for his odd ball characters in Moonstruck, Valley Girl, Wild at Heart and this:
I love that movie! Nic, for the love of all that is holy let your freak flag fly in a movie not directed by Bruckheimer or funded by Disney!
But I digress. Back to #6.
Ok, so 7:04pm. I have moved onto the Green Bean Salad. At this point the beans have already been blanched and I have already chopped the cucumber, onion, and tomato. All that’s left to do is combine it and chill. So that’s what I did. I then rinsed the cherry tomatoes and put those in the fridge as well.
7:10 I brought out my new favorite convenience food–canned whole potatoes. I think that this might be the potatoes’ third or fourth appearance. Anyway, I put them on the stove top with some margarine and chopped parsley. That is what #6 called for–Parsley Buttered Potatoes. Done.
At 7:20, the timer for the lobster tails buzzed. I decided to keep the tails in for a bit longer. I wanted the cracker crumble to get nice and crispy, and besides, there were 10 minutes left on the episode of The Simpsons that Cleve was watching. At 7:27 I began to plate.
7:30 DINNER IS SERVED!
So because I only had 2 servings I had to modify my plating, but look at my lobster tails! They’re just like #6! OK, well, they’re not identical, but I think that my version is a reasonable facsimile. But to the right, look how pretty it turned out plated as a meal! I will say one thing about the Dinner is Served! menus–they definitely get all of the food groups represented. And I read or heard something (probably from Oprah) that you should have a colorful plate. If your plate is all ROY G. BIV, it’s somehow healthier. Maybe there’s some truth to that. Well, as long as you’re not just tasting the rainbow and drowning yourself in a bowl of Skittles and artificial food coloring.
The wrap-up. Survey says…YUM-O! And I hate to use that term because I really don’t like Rachael Ray (she was orange before the world knew of Snookie), but that is the best way to describe #6. I thought that the lobster would be good (how could it not be–duh, it’s lobster!) but I didn’t think it would be as good as it was. It was rich without being heavy and fancy without being fussy. The sparkling wine did aid in #6’s fanciness factor. I believe that this stuffing preparation would be just as successful with any other (cheaper!) crustacean, either in-shell or without. Looking back on it, the stuffing was similar to a Maryland Crab Cake, just without Old Bay.
I also enjoyed the green bean salad. It was a nice, bright touch to temper the creamy deliciousness of the deviled lobster; as were the cherry tomatoes–I mean, it was kind of odd just throwing cherry tomatoes onto the plate the way I did (I don’t know–was there supposed to be some sort of sauce or marinade?), but they were flavorful and juicy and added more of that vivid red on the plate.
As for the potato side, there’s not much to say. The potatoes were canned potatoes in margarine. Nothing special. But I am building an arsenal of pre-made, precooked, canned shortcuts.
Overall, I think that #6 was a big success. I impressed myself with my presentation skills (way to work the kitchen shears!) and it was delicious. I think Cleve liked it, too. But who knows. I think he might have just been on auto-pilot after enduring 4 hours of reading comprehension and logic tests. I would be, too.
For dessert I whipped up some simple Vanilla Sauce and served it on the aforementioned apple cobbler. This, too, was good. And I made a successful sauce without the help of the Gravy Master! But was the dessert Deviled Rock Lobster Tail good? Nah. But how could it beat lobster? It can’t. It just can’t.