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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Spring Time Outdoors

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers and Lavender

Lavender and Cinquefoil (from the rose family) always add a spring touch.

My Hanging Herb Garden

Rain Lillies

Aside from cooking and entertaining, I love flowers and herbs. Early spring, especially, is the time where beautiful flowers are available. Let me show you what I’ve been up to so far. Above are my rain Lilies. They bloom during the summer rainy season.

My Fig Trees

Crotons (1)

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Spathiphyllum

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Bird Feeder

Having Jasmine grow up a bird feeder with its little star-shaped white flowers begin to bloom. Their fragrance fills up the yard with such a beautiful aroma. I also want to say, checking the zone (climate area etc..) in which what plants or flowers will thrive is really important. I always try to Google the name of the plant or flower to seek the information first.

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This Haas avocado tree is really an experiment for me. I planted this pit from the avocado and this is what has happened so far. They say that the avocado tree grows very slowly, and I guess I’ll just have to be patient.

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are definitely my favorite flower. Their beautiful large blooms and deep green leaves add so much color to my backyard,

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Heather

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Planting flowers or plants and watching them blossom and grow is an amazing feeling.

Comfort Place

Periwinkles

Changing up your accessories for the season can give you whole new look. My lavender is growing so fast and the aroma fills up my “comfortable place”.

English Ivy

Just a few seasonal changes can make such a big difference. My next project is new patio furniture and a couple of new grills. I can see outdoor cooking videos in my future!

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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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Two-Heirloom Tomato Salads

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Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes are in season right now, so I’m buying them fairly regularly. I have, two, really easy and delicious salads here that can be a main coarse or a side dish with any protein you like. The second one is completely vegetarian. Let’s talk about my first salad.

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Heirloom Tomato Salad With Bocconcini And Sopressata.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients:
1-1/2 heaping cups of diced Sopressata  (or diced Genoa Salami)
8 cups of heirloom tomatoes – halved and wedges ( depending on whole or grape size tomatoes)
1- 8 ounce package- herb marinated Bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls or pearls)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup e.v.o.o.
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1-1/2  tablespoons Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of freshly chopped tarragon leaves

Dressing For Salad:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup e.v.o.o.
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1-1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
Directions:
Place all ingredients in a “2 cup” measuring cup. Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined.

Marinate For Bocconcini:
1-8 ounce package of mini Bocconcini
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of E.V.O.O

Directions:
Separate all the the mini mozzarella balls and place them into a small bowl along with the other ingredients. Using a spoon, gently mix together.

Direction For Heirloom Tomato Salad:
In a large salad bowl, place all the halved and tomato wedges. Add in the marinated mozzarella balls. Next, add in the chopped fresh tarragon leaves. Pour the dressing over and toss all the ingredients together. Serve with your favorite bread.

Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

My second tomato salad called, Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad. This on is a vegetarian salad, totally meat free!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients:
1 pound of cooked drained and cooled orzo pasta
2 cup of arugula leaves
4 cups of diced and halved heirloom tomatoes ( depending whether whole or grape size)
1-14.6 ounce jar of long stemmed artichoke hearts, halved
1-8 ounce package of Bocconcini ( mini mozzarella balls
1 lemon juiced
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1-1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

Directions:
Place the halved and diced heirloom tomatoes, cooked and cooled orzo pasta, halved artichokes hearts, mini mozzarella balls arugula leaves, Kosher salt, black pepper, and chopped parsley into a large salad bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and drizzle the two tablespoons of agave nectar over the top. Toss through gently. Next, refrigerate until your ready to serve as a colorful and tasty side dish.

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