Lobster Love | Blogniversary

I seldom write about food. In fact, bar one post that used food as a medium for humour, I have never delved into this particular aspect of writing. Nonetheless, I will make an exception for once, since it is a special occasion. What better way to celebrate Shards of Silence’s one year anniversary than by uncorking a good bottle of wine, slicing up a few juicy tomatoes and getting the pot on the stove for a little lobster love.

One of the things that I have come to love about DC are its farmer’s markets. The first stopover was the weekly market in Georgetown, which is rather small when compared to others I have visited in the city, but does not disappoint on the variety of organic and free range produce on offer.

The summers here are so generous in their heat that light meals are the best option. I feel that I have turned Greek all of a sudden, as the majority of dishes on our table tend to be determinately Mediterranean in flavour. This time around we skipped the Feta, but the basic ingredients for this salad are otherwise the same:

Heritage Tomatoes (red and gold)

Cucumber

(I favour what the Americans call a “pickling cucumber” rather than the long-bodied variety; they are much more flavoursome.)

Fresh Lettuce & Rocket Salad Leaves

(Any will do, but we got the Boston “Bibb” Lettuce that is sourced by a nearby Glen’s Garden Market from a local farm. The Rocket is called Arugula in the States and the pepperiness of the leaves adds just the right zing to the salad.)

Spring Onions

(Here again I had some difficulty with the local slang. Apparently they are “scallions” in the US. Once the language barrier was overcome, however, the friendly staff at Glen’s got us some from their chef’s pantry, as it is so popular that there was none left on the shelves.)

Add a sprinkle of Salt, a few spoonfuls of Olive Oil and a dash of Balsamic Vinegar and you have the perfect summer salad: the best accompaniment to any dish.

Summer Delights by Vic Briggs

It is so good that even the lobster could’t keep his antennae off the plate 😉

Lobster Love by Vic Briggs

This lobster – whom I was very tempted to name, but decided against for fear that it would make it that much more difficult to turn the crustacean into dinner – also came curtesy of the farmer’s market. He is a gorgeous Maine Lobster and was very much alive, if a little dopey only ten minutes before this picture was taken. (For the squeamish amongst you, I am reassured by the head chef – aka my significant other – that it was a quick and painless event for Robbie. Argh! Ok. So that no-naming thing didn’t quite work out for me. Moving on…)

How do you prepare a fresh lobster? It is simpler than one would have guessed. Fill a sufficiently large pot half-way with water and a table spoon of salt and bring to the boil. When the water is boiling, drop the lobster in  (if you want to make steamed lobster then the water should cover your lobster half way up). Steam for ten minutes and voila.

The tail of the lobster is where most of the lobster meat comes from so this is the one to be removed first. Be careful when you do this, as there will be hot liquid inside the head. Next are the claws that you either need a special implement to crack them with or – if like me you had no such professional devices handy – the back of a heavy butcher’s knife will do just as well. Finally, I know that many dismiss the tiny legs as worthless, but to me they are the juiciest part: quite fiddly to eat, but hey – who doesn’t like to play with their food once in a while.

The simplest way to serve lobster is with melted butter: it simply melts on your tongue.

And finally… the wine.

Maryland Wine by Vic Briggs Since this is a one year anniversary, the wine is a young 2013 Albariño from the cellars of the Old Westminster winery in Maryland.

I swirled the wine in my glass. The citrus notes came through first and I longed to identify the exact blossom that gave the wine its distinctive bouquet.  Lime peel… Who would’ve imagined? It was a perfect pairing with the lobster, its refreshingly acidic aftertaste complementing the sweetness of the meat well. The wine has a silky texture and its citric undertones work wonders on the pallet.

Add some hand-made french baguette to the mix and this is it: my blog’s anniversary dinner.

Thank you all for your congratulations and kind wishes. Here’s to another good year together!

Daily Prompt: Handmade Tales

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Top Ten Specials

Restaurant Car

IN A vicbriggs-RESTAURANT CAR NEAR YOU

What are the savvy WordPress bloggers getting their teeth into on shardsofsilence?

It is not always easy getting the ingredients just right. A little spice for the savoury lovers, and a little something more for those of you with a sweet tooth. Lunch with vicbriggs can on occasion turn to a silver service affair.

There may be no sign of a smartly uniformed steward at your elbow serving Arnold Bennett crepe and rhubarb pavlova while London scenery flashes past the window, but what shardsofsilence strives to offer instead is more than just your regular prosaic menu du jour. 

You need not fear a request to steel you intestines for Trollope’s railway sandwich: “that whited sepulchre, fair enough outside, but so meagre, poor and spiritless within.” She knows full well that if you’ve taken time out of the daily bustle to visit her blog you expect to be paid for your troubles. So what are the delights awaiting you aboard? 

Here are the specials!

1. I don’t fancy Benedict Cumberbatch. Daily Prompt: Pants on Fire

For the amuse-bouche. Confessions seem to be top of the list this season, especially when it comes to white lies. Freshly farmed on England’s famous greens, it made all diners stand to attention.

Special Two Month Anniversary Issue2. COMING SOON…

The savvy diner wants to keep abreast of developments, so breaking news will always make it to the top of the menu.

 

3. PROJECT R in session #10 Sreejit Poole

No luncheon can go well without a little conversation to help with digestion, and what better topic than a peppery dosage of relationship troubles. From the heart of India, this treasure of a meal will take you on a spiritual journey in more ways than one.

4. Breaking the silence on Depression

This special isn’t for the fainthearted. But give it a chance, and it may just be the perfect accompaniment to that glass of sherry the sommelier recommended as an aperitif.

enhanced-buzz-14855-1364912424-105. #BenedictCumberbatch goes Brokeback Sherlock

Local legend has it that the Brokeback Sherlock was created when the chef misunderstood The Batch’s instructions and layered the nose of the world’s most famous detective on a rainbow soufflé. Whatever the truth, the concoction has been popular since at least the late 19th century, when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced his “consulting detective” to a certain Doctor Watson.

Manhunt Daily_You Have A Big Crush On Benedict Cumberbatch6. Sex with you-know-who

The chef’s answer to sex-on-the-beach, this cocktail is sure to delight you pallet and get you in the mood for a healthy main course.

7. When you complain or otherwise, go British: Lunchtime Tarom

And since we are on the topic of mains. Why not try to go for something a little different?  Tarom’s own sweet and sour chicken, complete with vegetable steamed rice.

8. Project O

Ever fancied a trip down to Platform 9 3/4 for the Hogwarts Express? This is your chance to sprinkle your day with a little magic. It’s not all smooth riding, but Mad-Eye Moody will ensure that you make it back safely: “Constant Vigilance!”

time-travel2-photo-courtesy-of-junussyndicate-on-deviantART9. Truth stranger than fiction… #BenedictCumberbatch

Time is of the essence when it comes to making a success of any dining experience. This may be the one all-British special that will linger on your pallet long after you’ve emptied your seat.

Jesus' Final Words10. God @TheTweetOfGod Sigh… maybe Nietzsche was right.

You’ve just had a leisurely four-hour dinner, and while the conversation and food have been fantastic, you find yourself terribly full. But you’ve had such a good time and don’t want to go home just yet. Cue the digestif.

And a little desert with your coffee, since it only missed out by the sprinkle of four views Project O – Harsh Reality EXCLUSIVE: Interview with vicbriggs and AOpinionatedMan

 

Why are these the ten top specials? Wouldn’t I like to know!

The only one who can tell me why those dishes have wetted your appetite is you.

Bon appétit and thank you for your custom. 🙂

*

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/daily-prompt-food/ with a twist, as usual.

When you complain or otherwise, go British: Lunchtime Tarom

Promoters v Demoters

Seldom am I compelled to promote something.

As a naturalised Brit, more often than not I fall in the “demoter” category. I expect things to run smoothly. I don’t notice it when they do. When they don’t, it takes a while to move from the moan-to-friends-in-library-voice-territory to being irritated. I rarely get cross; when I do, it is high time to pen a commensurately angry, yet well-mannered letter of complaint.

“Dear Sir,

     As a loyal customer of your Finary Dinary bistro, I am grieved to find myself constrained into writing to you on this occasion. It appears that we have reached an impasse over your head chef’s latest offering.

     With the greatest respect, there is an insurmountable difference between a rare and medium-rare fillet steak. I am very particular on this point, having developed a full proof evaluative method over the years triangulating temperature, texture and blood-spill.

     To avoid a partying of ways, may I be so bold as to suggest, that your employee revert to his customary approach to the steak-case, and forever abandon this latest craze of char-murdering an already determinately late cow.  

     Sincerely yours,

     Ms Steaks-are-Us”

This being said, I find myself in the unusual position of wanting to share a positive experience, and lacking the know-how to do it. If you have a better approach, feel free to share.

Promoter hat on. Go!

September 6, 2013. 12.15 GMT. (2.15pm local time)

Altitude: 36500 feet (plus minus a couple of toes)

Ground Speed: 532mph

Somewhere north-west of Bucharest, nosing ahead towards Vienna; final destination: London.

Lunch arrives.

     It’s fair to assume that no one ever looks forward to an airplane meal. It is bound to be a disappointment. We’ve all been there: soggy sandwiches filled with a protein-equivalent of nondescript provenance, pasta for which ‘al-dente’ is as distant a memory as The Bangles are to the iPhone generation, vegetables that have long given up on trying to maintain any bio-chemical semblance to that of their original state. If it’s not bland, it’s stinky, and more often than not it is both.

Imagine my surprise when, having peeled back the cellophane cover, I am presented with a healthy looking portion of sweet and sour chicken, complete with vegetable steamed rice.

I refuse to be lulled into a sense of security by such good first impressions. It wouldn’t be the first time when content did not live up to form. I’m not shallow that way. Looks are not enough to tempt me.

I lift the container to my nose – cautious, apprehensive – and sniff it. There’s nothing to cause any alarm. Second test completed, I unwrap the plastic fork and dig into one of the best warm meals I’ve had on a plane in a very long time.

I hope Tarom keep it up, and that other airlines follow suit. Heston would’ve approved of it, I’m sure.

Promotion over. Hat off. I wish you all a good day and poftã bunã.