Summertime Redux

With Halloween just around the corner, summer is just a memory. Yet today's temperature reached 70 degrees, and our local Stew Leonard's grocery store had lobsters on sale for a mere 3.99 a pound. That meant Chris and I could't resist a little just-like-summer-feast, even though it's the end of October. We bought four lobsters and some end-of-the-season corn on the cob, along with some other Stew specials. We boiled the lobsters and the corn and ate everything up with loads of melted butter. I love fall, but there's nothing like a good lobster dinner. Thanks, Stew!


Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Our neighbor M, yet another foodie in our lives, moved to Maine earlier this year. On her last visit, she was raving about this pizza joint near her new place that serves Buffalo Chicken Pizza. As she described it, I made a mental note that Chris and I should attempt it sometime. That sometime was last night. We heated the oven to a nice hot 500 degrees and in it, placed our pizza stone. While the (store-bought) dough came to room temp, we grilled up two chicken breasts that we had seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little bit of cayenne. We only did these medium-rare, because we knew they'd be finishing off in the oven and we didn't want the chicken to become overcooked. When it was cool enough, we cut it into bite-sized pieces. In the meantime, in a small saucepan, we put 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, a dash each of black pepper and garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons each of Frank's hot sauce and Trappey's hot sauce. We swirled it around as it melted to ensure it didn't separate; this would serve as our buffalo sauce. Chris worked his magic with the dough and got it onto the hot stone without a hitch. We could see it start to cook immediately and knew this was going to be a rockin' crust. We brushed the top with olive oil, then a thin layer of bleu cheese dressing. We then added the chicken, some shredded mozzarella, and our buffalo sauce for toppings. We put it in the oven for exactly 10 minutes. Since Chris has done such a stellar job seasoning our stone, the dough didn't stick at all. The crust was crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, the chicken was perfectly cooked, the sauce was spicy and the bleu cheese and mozzarella mixed to provide a nice cooling smoothness to the heat of the sauce. We'd pay $15 for it at our local pizza joint too, but why bother, when we can just make it at home!


Restaurant Report Cards

My foodie friend Joanne had a great idea. She suggested that we share a blog the way we share many of our food experiences. We started it today and have uploaded a few posts, a couple of which we took off of A Couple in the Kitchen. To sum up, A Couple in the Kitchen will focus on the culinary adventures of me and my husband, and Restaurant Report Cards will focus on the restaurant experiences of me and Joanne. Bon appetit!

I Heart Duck

I love duck. I've had duck around the globe, from Canard al'Orange in France, to Peking Duck in the Chinatowns of New York and Boston, from Panang Curry Duck in South Windsor, Connecticut to a fabulous grilled Duck in Raspberry Sauce in Rome, Italy.

However, no duck dish has ever come close to the duck I once had at Pho Lemongrass, in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, Massachusetts. Described as "Crispy Boneless Duck" on the menu, it had a little icon of a chili pepper next to it to tell me it's spicy. It is, and it can't be beat. Perfectly cooked to a tender moistness with plenty of reddish brown crispy as in crunches-in-my-mouth skin, it was served over a bed of blanched onion, celery and bell pepper strips in a lemongrass-basil sauce. The jasmine rice, garnished with chopped cilantro, cooled my mouth after each hot bite. If I had been alone in the restaurant, I would have licked the plate.

Last weekend's duck (pictured above) came pretty close, however. Chris and I were enjoying our annual Columbus Day foodie-fest in Providence, Rhode Island, and I'll post more about that soon. Our first night there, we had an amazing dinner at CAV, a unique location that offers an eclectic menu in an artistic atmosphere. I had a duck confit leg that was so tender it was falling off the bone. It was served with a medium-rare sliced duck breast glazed in Grand Marnier, and although glazes tend to take away from the crispiness of duck skin, this one did not. Served with sweet-potatoes mashed with caramelized onions, it was both seasonal and satisfying.


Amy's Crawfish Desire

It’s been a busy week in our house and we haven’t done a whole lot of cooking. But since I was recently blogging about crawfish, I thought I’d share my recipe for Crawfish Desire, something I based on a dish I enjoyed at the several New Orleans Jazz Fests I was lucky enough to attend. I’ve done this with shrimp as well, and it is delicious!


1 lb. seafood: crawfish (cooked and peeled) and/or shrimp (raw, peeled and deveined)
1 stick butter
1 pint half-and-half
½ cup chopped green onions
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
Creole seasoning to taste (the more, the spicier, and I prefer Tony Chachere’s)
1 lb. pasta (rotini if you’re being authentic)

Put water on to boil pasta and cook pasta al dente. Melt butter and sauté garlic and green onions until fragrant. Add shrimp and/or crawfish and cook for three minutes. Gradually add half-and-half, then the thyme and creole seasoning, stirring well*. Cook five minutes so that the seafood is cooked through and the sauce becomes thickened. Add cooked pasta and let the dish sit over low heat for five more minutes, stirring often. Serve with crusty French bread, of course!

*It is important to stir often so that the sauce doesn’t break (separate).