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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Disney Springs 2017

This year, when my daughter came to visit, I didn’t think we could top our adventures from the last time. I was wrong! Before leaving for our Colorado vacation, we spent the entire day at Disney Springs.

We started out our day at The Boathouse.  A restaurant that overlooks the water, and has a bar set up at the end of its dock. Relaxing by the water, taking in the magnificent view, and enjoying a cocktail.

Dinner with family and friends was at Morimoto Asia.  I’d been there before and knew that my friends would love it, and they did! The food was delicious and the restaurants’ decor was simply candy for the eyes.

After an amazing dinner, we walked around. We listened to music, saw sidewalk performers, then, made our way to Paddlefish.  A little trivia, many years ago, this riverboat is known as, Paddlefish,  was once named Empress Lilly.

Paddlefish, a beautiful riverboat, is a restaurant with a cocktail lounge on the top deck. They make a Bloody Mary that included a few surprises!

Disney Springs was just magical. Enjoying time with family and good friends. Watching the sunset over the water then seeing it disappear into the horizon was beautiful.  Disney Springs flipped its magical switch, and all the many lights came on. The sparkle of the lights reflecting over the water was simply breathtaking.

 

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How To Cook and Open A Lobster

 

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Today was a really fun day! Tonya, a good friend of mine, went with to shop for seafood. I think she was somewhat surprised to see me stick my hand right into the lobster tank.

This is one of those posts that may not be easy for everyone to read.  Most all shellfish should be alive before cooking.  This makes it really hard for a lot of people to handle. BEING HUMANE IS KEY!

I’ve worked for many years cooking and handling lobsters, blue crab, shrimp, mussels, and clams. The fresher the seafood, the better the finished dish is going to be.

The Lobster Institute has come up with a study. The study reads… lobsters, like insects, do not have complex brains that allow them to process pain like humans other animals do. They have compared it to when you kill a mosquito. Cooking a lobster, in the practical sense, is like killing a big bug.

Let’s get back to cooking and opening a lobster. Once I bring the lobster(s) home, I make sure they are kept in the bag with some crushed ice. You want to cook them as soon as possible. Before placing them into the pot of boiling water, I put them to sleep. This is something I learned when I worked at a seafood restaurant.

Place the lobster face (head) down on a counter, tail end in the air. Cross their arms and claws, then rub the back side of their shell, in an up and down motion. In about 45 seconds, their legs and antenna will stop moving. The lobster will then be asleep.  Balancing on their heads, by themselves on the counter. If you want to see how this is done,  just google “How to put a lobster to sleep”, and there are videos available.

I make sure that the water is salted, with sprigs of fresh tarragon, and at a hard boil. Next,  I place the sleeping lobster, head first, immediately into the boiling water. You’ll notice that the lobster is not totally submerged. I prefer to let steam and water cook the lobster. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot. Using a dish towel, I hold on to the lid for about 10 seconds before letting go.

Below is a peek to show you how I do this.

In a very large stock pot, I place water and tarragon into the water. On high heat, I bring the water up to a hard boil. I place the sleeping lobster into the boiling water then place the lid on, holding it with a towel for around 10 seconds.

Once cooked, I lift the lobster up using large tongs to release any excess water the lobster may hold, back into the pot. Next, I place the lobster into a large plastic container to cool before removing the meat.

Once cooled, first I take off the rubber bands from the claws. I remove the arms with the claws. Next, I twist off the tail to release from the body, also known as the thorax. I discard the thorax.

There are two ways to remove the meat from the tail. First is to bend, in a backward direction. Now the very end of the tail meat is showing. Use a pair of scissors and cut down the inner side of the tail to release the meat. The other way is to squeeze to tail together until you hear the back side snap. Turn the tail over, where the underbelly is facing in the upwards direction. Using two hands, split the tail open.

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There is a piece of that needs to be removed on the outer side of the tail meat. It’s really a bit fibrous, just discard. You can see above, the indention it leaves on the backside of the tail meat. The tail is now clean and done. Next, the claws.

This is where a good pair of lobster crackers is needed. Even a meat mallet comes in handy. One of the claws in larger and harder to crack than the other one. You may need some help with that one, that’s why I mentioned using a meat mallet.

Lay a towel over the larger claw and hit it one time. That should put a crack into the claw and make it easier to remove the meat in one piece. When using the crackers, be careful not to crack the meat, just the shell. The is to ensure the meat will come out in one piece. The arms, they can be a bit tricky, they have knuckles and meat can get caught.  If you don’t have a lobster pick, you can use a large skewer to help get that meat out.

How’s this for a finished dish! Great to take to parties. For this recipe, click on the link at the bottom of this post. The only change is, I incorporated cooked lobster to my recipe for Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine.

Lobster And Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine (1)

Equipment:
Large stock pot with lid (8 to 16-quart pot)
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes per pound (Cooked lobster should be vibrant red in color)
Prep Time:
Allow for time to put the lobster to sleep as explained above. 5-7 minutes to bring water to a hard boil.

Ingredients:
1 live 2-pound lobster
1-1/2 quarts of water
2 heaping tablespoons of Kosher salt
3 sprigs of fresh tarragon

 

Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine

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Toasted Quinoa Salad

 

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I brought my Toasted Quinoa Salad to a graduation celebration and it was a hit! Something as simple as a salad, using a few fresh ingredients had friends asking me for this recipe. I knew I needed to post this recipe ASAP!

 

 

 

 

 

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes (add 5 minutes cooking time if you’re toasting the quinoa)
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 3-quart saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, mesh sieve, whisk, serving bowl

Ingredients:
1 12-ounce package (equivalent to 1 1/2 cups of uncooked quinoa)
3 cups of unsalted vegetable stock, HOT (substitute water or unsalted chicken broth)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 cups of feta cheese, diced
1 1/2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups of a hothouse (English) cucumber, diced
1/4 cup of fresh basil, Chiffonade style
2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley (dried 1 tablespoon)
zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
*E.V.O.O.

Directions For Toasting And Cooking Quinoa:
Start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve.

Directions:
If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First, you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa first. The outer coating is called saponin and it’s bitter. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.

In a large heavy bottom 3-quart saucepot on medium-low heat add (or leave) some water to the quinoa so that it’s moist, add the quinoa to the heated pan. Make sure not to overcrowd. using a whisk, quickly stir the quinoa around in the pan as it begins to toast.

Once the water is absorbed and the quinoa begins to pop, you’ll know it’s drying out. Continue whisking until the grains of quinoa begin to brown. The aroma will begin to smell nutty, around 5 minutes.

In another pot bring the 3 cups of vegetable stock up to a boil and salt. Pour the hot vegetable stock into the pot containing the quinoa. Give the quinoa a good stir, cover (with the glass lid). With the heat still on medium-low, simmer until all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking (during the 15 to 20 minutes) dice the vegetables and feta, zest, and juice a lemon. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl. Add in the cooled cooked toasted quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving my Toasted Quinoa Salad, I like to add a drizzle of really good *E.V.O.O.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

 

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